Thursday, May 26, 2016

Anatomy of a Baseball Card: Trevor Story 2013 Topps Heritage Minors

Nuts to that. 

Minor league cards are supposed to be fun, which is why I wish I bought them more often. Topps's recent reentry into the minor league game has been nice, but the cards (Pro Debut and Heritage Minors) are a hobby-only thing. Hobby shops are like unicorns around these parts. It's totally understandable that Johnny Targetshopper isn't going to snag some loose packs of guys playing in podunk Modesto, however, even though the player selection leans more towards future stars and away from organizational soldiers.

Trevor Story was the story for April, and it seems the Replacement Tulo has the pedigree to be a major league mainstay instead of the next Kevin Maas or Chris Shelton. Minor league cards are fun if you have a minor league team in town, but they can also be fun if you decide to buy a few packs on a rainy day and put them aside for a few years. Some of those formerly head-scratching names are now beginning to fill out fantasy rosters. I wonder if anyone in Modesto (or Tulsa, or New Britain, or Albuquerque...) got Story to sign the back of the card in the empty space left for an autograph. Does anyone actually do that?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Brought to you by the Letter L

Still viable. 

I'm still active on Listia after all these years, after nearly ditching the site this past winter over an auction dispute where their customer service was being completely unreasonable. For the most part, the issues that were prevalent have lessened lately, where I'm no longer seeing a bunch of accounts created by people who either have no idea what they're doing or have no intent on actually following any of the rules. They just launched some sort of tiered bonus rewards program for people who buy certain amounts of credits, although I sell enough on the site that I never actually have had the need to spend any cash money on buying credits. (All my cash money ends up going to stamps, envelopes, tape, and a hobby supplies store. Fun stuff.)

In any case, I continue to find interesting cards as my reward for my hard work at basically getting rid of crap that I don't want, like this Bob Gibson 2014 Panini Hall of Fame auction that I recently won. This is a set that completely escaped me, and it appears to be one of those parallels-upon-parallels sets that any reasonable set collector would avoid like some Listeria-infected frozen vegetables.

The seller was kind enough to throw in a couple of extras, which happened to be Cardinals from the same set. Since I had no idea that this set even existed, these were all new to me. It's not my favorite set in the world (check the no logo sadness), but I got these cards for what feels like Monopoly money, so it's cool with me.

Again, parallels upon parallels. This Dizzy (seriously, a numbered card as a freebie throw-in?) is a "Green Shield" variant apparently, while the Gibby at the top of the post is a "Blue Shield, Red". Because, of course, there has to be red versions of blue shields. Yup, that's how baseball cards work.

In a completely different auction won around the same time, I also snagged an on-card auto of out-of-nowhere-and-back-to-nowhere reliever Josh Kinney from the 2006 championship team. I already had another auto of his for my (so far) undocumented 2006 + 2011 World Series autographs project, but this is clearly superior to what I had before. I'm a sucker for Heritage-esque sets, even if this isn't an actual Topps Heritage card.

Anyway, Listia is still a thing. Sign up if you haven't or check it out again if you've been there before.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sports Cards from All of My Teams

What in the world is going on with Wacha? Nevermind, here are some cards. 

Last month, a bubble mailer rolled in from Sportscards From The Dollar Store, hitting up all of my sportsball teams. It's times like these that I realize I have a lot of teams. Apologies, of course, to the St. Louis Blues, who I recently decided to start rooting for even though I can only name one of their players (Tarasenko? He must be good because people say his name a lot.) and the Portland Timbers, who are more of a rooting interest and less of a collecting interest. Everyone else I'm into was represented, though.

I usually save these for a rainy day (actually, it's never rainy) Good Luck Ducks post, but buckstorecards has sent a few old school CFL Oregon alumni cards over the years, so I figured I'd show this off.

Evenson was an O-Lineman back in the day, years before I was born in fact. I had to show the back, because there's a cartoon on the back. One of these days, I might actually get my Ducks collection organized and go on a scanning spree. This is not one of those days.

Former Ducks super hoopster Joe Young, son of Phi Slamma Jamma member Michael Young, is represented on this rookie Prizm card. I really like this season's Prizm NBA set and would probably consider collecting it for real if I had the time and money.

Blount has bounced around a bit in the NFL, but he's always been very productive. Panini seems to have sort of maybe held on to some licenses that used to be Pacific, but hasn't done much with them because a lot of what Pacific did was weird. Either that, or this Crown Royale set is just a coincidence?

I also received my first Eagles cards in quite awhile. One of these days I'll figure out how to be a good Eagles fan. Between the Michael Vick Era and last season's punchless performance, it's been hard for me. I also just really can't stand the NFL, but something keeps compelling me to turn the TV on during those Sundays.

Kevin Kolb was disappointing, but mostly in that he just wasn't good enough to keep Vick off the field.

Well, you knew this post couldn't end without any Blazers cards. It's great to see Uncle Spliffy (née Uncle Cliffy) represented in current sets. He was an integral part of the '90s Blazers teams and really took over as one of the primary stars after Clyde Drexler left.

Finally, here's a mysterious little Canadian oddball from 1991 that holds a pop-up Ozzie Smith inside. I probably won't bust this card open, but maybe if I end up with another one I will consider it. This goes down as Ozzie #605 in my collection. It's getting tougher and tougher to find cheap cards of the Wizard that I don't already own, but it would be great to hit 700 unique cards by the end of the year. We'll see.

Monday, May 16, 2016


Money changes hands. 

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts agreed to a contract extension today, keeping him in Portland through at least the 2019-20 season. That season is entirely theoretical because the Earth will probably be completely inhabited by nonhumanoid entities, or at least that's what I think when I ponder the year "2020". I've been kind of quiet about the Blazers lately, but I have been pretty floored at what this young team has accomplished.

Stotts was what most would consider a typical "retread" coach who had had limited success in his previous head coaching stints in the NBA when he took over a tire fire of a Blazers roster after the disastrous lockout season of 2011-12. He had won praise in his recent work as an assistant up to that point, but still seemed like a "value" hire at the time. It's clear that he's done some impressive work with the Blazers, and it's great to be able to have him around for at least the bulk of Damian Lillard's contract. This season was fun and it seems like more fun times are ahead.

Mostly, though, I just wanted an excuse to post this awkward card, courtesy of COMC. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Anatomy of a Baseball Card: Pascual Perez 1991 Leaf

An interesting life. A stint with the Yankees. That hair. 

I can say that I was very aware of what a Jheri curl was when I was young, even if I didn't always know the name for it. I don't think anyone boring has ever rocked a Jheri curl. Pascual Perez certainly led an interesting life before his passing a few years ago. Of course, he didn't die in a boring way: he was the victim of a grisly murder during a robbery.

Perez couldn't have been older than 33 at the time at the time the photo was taken, unless he was among the Latin America imports who were rumored to be part of widespread age falsification. He looks like he had lived a million interesting years already. He missed time during his career for all manner of reasons, both on field and off field. He's famous for getting lost on the way to his own team's ballpark and being forced to miss a start. He had good numbers when he was on the field. He had the mound mannerisms and quirks of an '80s Al Hrabosky. He finished his career, sadly, as a Yankee in some down years.

Leaf manages to squeeze in Pascual's full stats, both minor and major, on the back of the card. He gets the ignominious "OUT OF ORGANIZED BASEBALL" line for 1986, a feat usually reserved for catastrophic injuries or major position/life changes. Who knows what Pascual was up to in '86? Maybe he was just lost.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

On the Brink

Baseballers and basketballers from @CardJunk as I try to make sense of the intersecting seasons. 

A big heap of cards from my two favorite teams arrived the other day, courtesy of old-school card blogger Cardboard Junkie. This blog was around when people still had to use clicky things to navigate to their favorite "websites" instead of sliding their greasy fingers across a tiny piece of a glass-like slab. The Grouchy Junkie sent over some Blazers cards, some Cardinals and a bunch of set needs from the wayback machine (circa 2006-07). I thought I'd lead with some basketball cards because the Blazers are on the brink of elimination in the NBA Playoffs, with a Game 5 against the Warriors set for tomorrow night. It's been a remarkable season for Damian Lillard and a bunch of relatively unknown guys, a team expected to finish at the bottom of the conference and win no more than 25-35 games. Hopefully there are even bigger things on the horizon for this fun to watch group.

I remember getting these cards in my cereal and noting how frustrating they were. They're just slightly too big to fit in a normal 9-pocket page, or penny sleeve, or top loader, or really anything. It's not even a Topps Big Baseball situation. It's just kind of random. I'm pretty sure I had the Hakeem Olajuwon card from this set and maybe another one, but definitely not The Glide. This is now my 176th unique Drexler card.

I am pretty sure this is my first Blazers McBob card. I miss Fleer. Ultra wasn't always the best, but it certainly held its own.

I've been reading Breaks of the Game lately, David Halberstam's informative but somewhat rambling book about life in the NBA at the end of the '70s. It focuses on the Blazers in particular. It's definitely helped fill in a lot of information gaps in my brain, having been raised to listen to and watch the Blazers since birth. I heard a lot about the '77 championship team and have seen the final game in its entirely, plus a bit of archival footage. My first memories of listening to and/or watching games came about a few years later, so the book has done a good job filling in the years after the Bill Walton blowup. Lloyd Neal's card is from the championship season, when Topps was experimenting with card sizes (this set is HUGE, dimensionally speaking).

From Walton-to-Oden, the franchise has been cursed with serious injuries to core members (not to mention poor draft choices and, for a time, mismanagement.) This card actually comes apart in the middle and can be slotted back together. I don't know, it's weird.

On to baseball... St. Louis baseball! (Portland baseball was exterminated.) There are several Bo Hart candidates on this year's team, players who get inexplicably hot from the moment they are called up. Jeremy Hazelbaker and Aledmys Diaz could quality, although Diaz was a guy that was imported from Cuba and given a serious MLB contract. Hazelbaker is a guy who had been flushed out of a couple of organization's minor league systems before ending up on this year's Cardinals. This year's team has beaten up on bad teams and has looked feeble against good teams, good enough for a just-barely-above .500 record.

I've mentioned this several times recently because I'm excited about it, but I will be up in Seattle to catch the series against the Cardinals next month. The last time I got to see St. Louis play here in the Northwest, Bud Smith was on the mound and things did not go well.

Carlos Martinez has, once again, looked like the best pitcher in the Cardinals rotation. He was pulled early from his last start and has been pushed back a couple of days (until Saturday) for his next outing. Supposedly he's not hurt. Supposedly!

HAMM! No one has sent me more than one Hamm so far, so JediJeff remains Hamm King for now.

For a number of years, there was no flagship Fleer set even as there were many other Fleer sets. Some have decided that Fleer Tradition replaced (Plain Ol') Fleer for these lost years, but how do you explain this 2002 Fleer set?

I wonder what Scott Rolen is up to these days. I wonder if he has Tony La Russa's face on a dartboard at home, just for when he gets bored?

Every time I get a Tyler Johnson card, I'm reminded of my plan to collect a an autograph of every member of the 2006 and 2011 World Series teams. I should get on that someday. I have a few Tyler Johnson autos at this point, but I am less optimistic about Scott Rolen.

Waino hasn't pitched like an Elite pitcher this year, but he is showing signs of "turning it around", which in baseball lingo means competency.

As mentioned above, part of this trade package was a bunch of cards from 2006/2007 sets, Bazooka and Allen & Ginter. This one is headed straight for my Cardinals collection, however. I don't have many Grudz cardz in a Cardinal uniform as he just spent the one season with St. Louis. He did well.

With the Cardinals currently playing the Angels in a series in Anaheim, I thought it best to leave you with this card. If both teams had a chance to reconsider the Pujols contract today, I wonder what would happen. How much would the Cardinals offer Albert in hindsight? Would the Angels want to sign him at all?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

80 Cards!

Quantity, not quality? 

I was in a bit of a buying mood at the last card show I attended, so I decided to sample this year's Bowman by picking up a blaster for $17. Bowman is usually a refreshing change of pace for me after the Topps flagship set has been out for awhile, but I don't usually pay much attention to it aside from a sample pack or two. The thing that struck me the most was that "80 CARDS" seems to be the largest print on the whole box. 80 cards!

Here are a few of those 80 cards:

Reyes is the Cardinals top pitching prospect, although his career has been temporarily sidelined by a marijuana-related suspension. Someday, hopefully, we won't be talking about these trivial things anymore.

These inserts are done in a refractor-style. I don't know anything about Barreto, but he's, y'know... on the list.

Bregman is one of the two players on the packaging, along with the Dodgers' Corey Seager. He was the #2 overall pick in last year's draft.

One of the things I do like about this year's Bowman is that they made the base (non-Prospects) cards a little more distinctive. The player names are running up the side of the card instead of at the bottom.

It's weird to name an insert set "International Ink" and not have an autograph on it, but here we are. I'm assuming that there are signed versions of these.

I have a bunch of Kaminsky's cards in my collection from when he was still a Cardinals prospect. He was part of last year's deal that brought over Brandon Moss, who is currently leading the the mediocre Cards in HR.

Luke Weaver is missing a number on his uniform like it's 1999 or something. (The Cardinals haven't gone numberless on the front since the McGwire days.)

One of the many Hall of Fame-bound Cubs players on the 130-win 2016 Cubs team.

This one's for all the Airbrushed Fridays Fans. Both of you!

Finally, Yadi is a good way to end it, I think. He's been a bright spot on a team that's had a pretty inauspicious start.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

April's Loot

My latest trip to @thelootlocker nets a card as thick as a brick. 

The end of the month means the rent is due and I have debts to pay. It also means a box of hobby packs and supplies from The Loot Locker. Let's check out what I got this time around.

2015 Bowman's Best

Normally these packs have 5 cards in them, but mine only had this one in it. That means I was treated to a thicky-thick card of young Astros star shortstop Carlos Correa. Hopefully there are a few Astros fans left on the bandwagon after their rough start this season so I can find someone to send this to.

2015 Bowman Chrome

I'm sure some people love these pretzel mustard colored Brewers jerseys, but I am not one of those people. I don't love much that the Brewers do, however.

Here's a SS prospect out of the Dominican to make Rangers fans forget about Elvis Andrus.

 We've seen him here in a different Loot Locker. It might be my first Loot Locker double?

Nothing but base cards in my Bowman Chrome pack, but at least I snagged a Rosenthal for my team binders. I still need a ton of Cardinals from this set if anyone has any.

2016 Topps Heritage (2)

I'll spare you the details of my Heritage packs and just direct you to my want lists if you have any junky doubles cluttering up your area. Cespedes will join Big Papi in my Heritage trade pile (basically just the Chrome inserts until I accumulate some doubles myself). This was numbered 678 (of 999) for all the numerologists out there.

No inserts, but it's nice to pull an SP out of a pack that you don't already have. I think I have about 70 left to collect. I will be done with this set by 2030, I assure you.