Thursday, June 30, 2016

Repack Hits?

Who knew? 

As I recently teased on Twitter, I bought a few of the drug store variety repack boxes over at Walgreen's on Monday. I was only going to grab one as my reward for running errands that actually involved said drug store, but they happened to be on sale ($3.99!) for some weird reason, so I bought all three that were on the shelf. As those who are familiar with these sorts of dealings know, there is a supposed 1:4 "hit" ratio on these boxes. I have to say that I was surprised that two of these boxes contained what some would call "hits", and not entirely worthless ones at that. Stolmy Pimentel is a young pitcher who hasn't received a ton of big league playing time so far, but he has a fun name!

And Randy Wolf... seriously, Randy Wolf? To be honest, when I saw an old minor league auto fall out of the first box I opened, I was expecting some long forgotten player name I could barely pronounce who hadn't so much as sniffed the big leagues. Wolf may not be Halladay or Hamels, but he spent 16 (!) years in MLB, so I'm sure someone will enjoy this.

Now, not everything was on the "hit" level, but there were some interesting parallels to be found, including a couple of (retail exclusive?) purple refractor prospects from 2013 Bowman Platinum.

Jonathan Schoop has proven to be a pretty good player with a strange last name.

Nineties gold! This is like, I don't know... shiny grunge?

David (not Daniel) Murphy on a Target exclusive parallel.

Unfortunately, I did not need this retail Heritage parallel card of Jon Lester, though there are a ton of these that I do need from this set as well as similar cards from other years. Stupid collection.

I have no idea how these HTA stamped cards were originally distributed (packs? factory set? thrown at random passers-by?) I don't think I have any Cardinals like this, unfortunately.

The font is so hard to read on these 2015 Bowman cards that I originally read this prospect's last name as "Prank", which got my hopes up for nothing.

Of course, the bulk of the boxes were mostly full of pesky base cards. Nomar was the shiniest of the bunch. A small handful of Cardinals were found, but there was nothing that ticked any boxes in my collection. These will all get distributed in future trades.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your long holiday weekends, everyone. Don't blow off any of your digits.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This Again

Most Wanted card number 26. 

There have been a number of Ozzie Smith rookie card facsimiles produced by Topps during this millennium (or Willennium? are we still calling it that?), but nothing beats the real thing. Topps added another fake Ozzie rookie card to the pile as an insert in this year's set as part of the Berger's Best collection, a somewhat arbitrary look at some Topps cards over the years. Peter from Baseball Every Night was kind enough to send along this card as one of my last non-paralleled needs from 2016 Topps Series One. Unlike in previous years (2010's "Mom" cards and 2011's "Topps 60"), it appears there is no "original back" version of these cards.

While I was able to join in on a jumbo group break for Series One and avoid buying a single pack. I wasn't so fortunate for Series Two. In addition to a couple of Albert Pujols retail parallel inserts from Series One, I can say at this point that I don't have a single Cardinal card from Series Two. It's probably too late to latch on to a group break at this point, so if any of you out there has a bunch of extras, let me know.

The sideburns may be real, but this card is glossy, so it just heads to my Ozzie binder for now. Someday I will bite the bullet and buy a copy of the Wizard's O-Pee-Chee rookie card.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Anatomy of a Baseball Card: So Taguchi 2003 Topps Kanebo

Topps goes to Japan, albeit briefly. 

I am headed up to Seattle this weekend to catch the Cardinals in person for the first time in a very long time. In every Cardinals game I've seen live, my favorite player (Jim Edmonds at the time) was always missing due to various maladies. My only attempt to see the Cards in Seattle ended up being So Taguchi's major league debut as he took Jimmy's rightful place in center field for the game. As you might imagine, this was of great local interest to the Mariners crowd, already abuzz with Ichiromania (it was the worldwide hits leader's second MLB season). Taguchi was a former NPB teammate of Ichiro's, but I had no idea who he was. All I knew was that it was bold for someone to make their big league debut wearing #99, and right in front of my section more or less.

Kanebo Gum manufactured Japanese baseball cards in the '90s and early '00s, and for a couple of years teamed up with Topps to reproduce some of their MLB cards with Japanese text on the back. Both the 2002 and (supposedly rarer) 2003 sets use the 2002 design, and while the stats on this 2003 release do not reflect Taguchi's first MLB season, they did at least scrub the "2002" banner from the front of the card. Taguchi's 2002 Topps card (the English language version) also has his full NPB stats on the back, but this one comes complete with Japanese characters. I still need to track down all of the other Cardinals from both Topps Kanebo sets, but it just made the most sense to start with Gooch.

Continuing the tradition of me not getting to see my favorite players, Adam Wainwright is not scheduled to pitch this weekend. Hopefully neither Matt Carpenter nor Matt Holliday get into a ferry-related accident or eat any bad sushi while they're in Seattle.

Monday, June 20, 2016

2014 Calling

Back to the past with a prize from 2014. 

For several years running, the preeminent Cleveland Indians blogger (and all-around goofball) David from Tribecards has run a season long pack breaking frenzy that results in his giving away all of the cards at the end. Sounds crazy? It is pretty crazy! As you can imagine, it takes awhile to sort of everything when you're talking about busting a pack or more every single day of the season and figuring out who claimed what, so it's no surprise that it took awhile for some of this stuff to arrive. I didn't get a chance to snag a spot in this year's break as it went to more of a team-based draft and my favorite team was already claimed. Still, there's plenty of pack breaks to check out over at Tribecards Central if you're already a fan of the A Pack To Be Named Later blog.

I was very happy to get another copy of this "stamp" card from the 2006 Bazooka set. I already had a copy of this for my Edmonds collection but I'm still working on a so-called master set of this particular year's Bazooka stuffs.

Here's the back of the "Original Back" version of an Ozzie Smith card that my mom didn't actually throw out. Topps: The Reprintiest!

Nothing like a certified bona fide hand-numbered autograph!

Here's further proof that there's plenty of Junk Wax Era Cardinals cards that I don't own yet. (More to come in the near future on the want list front.)

Finally, this mini from the 2014 Gypsy Queen set is the 246th unique Wainwright card in my collection. Hooray for numbers!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nighttime Night Owl Post

One of these guys isn't a cheating cheaterpants who cheats. 

For the second year in a row, there's a Lou Brock/Dee Gordon pairing on a Topps Heritage insert, which has thrown me for a bit of a loop as I try to get my checklists in order. This probably seemed like a nice idea before Mr. Gordon got popped for a PED suspension under the newer, stronger penalties which are forcing the perennial steals leader to miss 80 games. Gordon is also an ex-Dodger, and his card was sent along with a bunch of other needs by longtime trader and poor condition graded card enthusiast Night Owl Cards.

I've made some progress on the 2016 Heritage set, and part of me is hoping they aren't planning on doing another High Numbers Heritage release like they did last year (and 2008-2009) because I just don't know how much room I have left to collect these sorts of things. Night Owl sent some cards I needed from the current set along with a few 2015 needs. Trumbo is having a resurgent season with the Orioles, whose uniform he was Photoshopped into here for fun. He looks like he might be related to TV's Jesse Plemons.

Most of the Topps Archives inserts have proven elusive to me, so it was nice to pick up a couple from the 2014 set for my team binders. My scanner robbed Joe Kelly's card of much of its deckle-ness, but you can see some of it.

If it wasn't for the font being slightly off, you might mistake this image for something straight out of a 1989 rack pack. Instead, it's another much needed (retail?) 2014 Archives insert that I was able to cross of my ridiculous list.

Finally, here's a shiny pink refractor of the struggling Michael Wacha. I don't know what to make of him anymore. This is starting to become one of those awkward situations where I actually hope a guy is injured so that he can be, well... fixed?

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Travesty on a Baseball Card

This Listia win makes me cringe. 

The Topps Heritage Minors line is a step removed from what I currently enjoy as Topps Heritage, which itself is at least a couple of steps removed from an honest to goodness vintage cardboard baseball card set. Putting tape on these cards still makes me cringe. As good as the on-card Heritage autographs usually look, I just can't get behind these at all. This is coming from someone who isn't really big on autographs at all (they're... eh... a bit of a weird thing to collect as an adult.) The tape just ruins it for me.

For his part, David Kopp struggled when he was given a shot at AAA. B-Ref tells me he's been out of organized baseball the past couple of seasons. I might have one of his other minor league cards in my collection, but that's probably it. The hobby only minor league sets are probably put together on a shoestring budget compared to their big league brethren, so it makes sense that they might not have the ability to get the prospects to sign the actual cards.

This only set me back the equivalent of about 75 cents in Listia Bux, and I did know exactly what I was getting when I bid on this, so I don't want to sound too whiny. Just a little whiny. It's Monday, after all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Some notes. 

I have a few projects going on at home right now, the largest of which is to add my entire Cardinals collection to Zistle so I can finally get a handle on my want lists. The want lists I have up on this blog are 99% accurate, but they are lacking because I am missing many, many sets and haven't taken a second pass to almost any of the sets to double-check if I'm still missing anything. This is a crucial thing to do for someone who mostly squints at baseball cards in dim light late at night.

I'll leave you with a few cards recently purchased from COMC as I ponder another stupid Cardinals loss. Defensive wizard/offensive dunce Brendan Ryan remains as one of my key players to collect, and I recently snagged three versions of his Bowman's Best rookie card from 2005.

Green, blue, whatever. Three more cards added to the list. Click, click, click. Numbers, numbers, numbers.

When I am through with this project (I'm up to "Slaughter" now in the alphabet), I will start finding things to pawn off on you all again. You've been warned.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Fresh Value Pack of Archives

The Archiviest! 

Topps Archives seems like an unnecessary product because it doesn't really attempt to do anything different. If they could get the vintage card stock right, or take a sharper eye to the designs that they replicate, or just do something different to cement its status as a necessary product, I wouldn't be so dismissive of it. (Heritage does a better job with card stock, but at the same time Heritage cards always feel like Heritage and nothing else, save for 2013 when they were basically Allen & Ginter cards printed with the 1964 Topps design.) As with most years, I end up buying a pack or two out of curiosity and then eventually worry about putting together my Cardinals team set and forgetting about the rest of it. The Fan Favorites autographs are nice, but they also remind us that there was a superior product (called Fan Favorites, of course!) that existed more than a decade ago. The Archives name makes sense, but it also reminds us that there was a superior Archives product some 15 years ago. That being said, there were a few things to like about this pack.

141 - Stan Musial - Musial was showing through the front of the pack, which is what talked me into this in the first place.

4 - Bret Boone - Boone is an interesting choice for this set. It's also really strange to see someone who was in the 2002 Topps Heritage set on this design again.

101 - Babe Ruth - Are there actually any Red Sox fans who saw the checklist for this set and were like, "Hell yeah! The Babe!"?

25 - Kyle Schwarber - Here's the back of a card for a guy who plays for the Cubs, when not injured.

200 - Bryce Harper - Harper is officially Erin's least favorite player in the league (non-bicycle-kicking-Johnny Cueto division.)

83 - Satchel Paige - This will probably end up in Erin's unofficial Satchel Paige collection.

195 - Mark Melancon - Part of this makes think, ugh, Pirates closer? I guess that's how Pirates fans must feel when they pull a Trevor Rosenthal card.

92 - Bartolo Colon - Cult hero. He was also in 2002 Topps Heritage, looking a bit trimmer.

140 - Jung Ho Kang - It is nice to see the little loved 1979 designed used in this product. I had a bunch of cards from the 1979 set gifted to me when I just a touch too young to respect them properly, unfortunately.

66 - Shelby Miller - It's interesting that the big Shelby Miller/Jason Heyward trade has been reduced to a footnote in Cardinals history, barely worth a mention at this point.

188 - One of the San Francisco Brandons, this guy seems to sneak on to one of my fantasy teams every year for lack of better options.

67 - Lorenzo Cain Blue (168/199) - Blue parallels are a 1:10 pull. I am a big fan of this particular color, so I am sure I am going to want to go out and get the Cardinals blue parallels. According to the pack wrapper, there are also rarer red (more appropriate for Cardinals) and even rarer black versions. This is a better idea than the ugly foil parallels they've done in the past at least.

FS-AAL - Sandy Alomar / Roberto Alomar Father/Son - This 1985 Topps design is a welcome look for this insert set, if anything for its familiarity. Not pictured: Sandy Alomar, Jr.

282 - Lou Brock - Two Cardinals in one pack!

291 - Kaleb Cowart - I have no idea who this is, which explains why he has an 'RC' logo.

223 - Goose Gossage - The last five consecutive cards are done in the 1991 Topps design, which is some strange collation after the alternating '79/'53 thing that was going on.

271 - Ted Williams - Note the switch up of the logo from 40 Years of Baseball to 65. Wow, the '91 set is 25 years old? That's exactly how long gum has been missing from basic Topps packs.

212 - Gaylord Perry - This might be my favorite looking card of the pack overall. I'm not sure why, but I do like it.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Anatomy of a Baseball Card: Tony Fernandez 1984 Donruss

One of the first Rated Rookies. 

Early on in my card collecting days, my younger brother decided to collect Tony Fernandez cards. These days, you really couldn't go wrong collecting Fernandez cards. Tony was an '80s star who made 5 All-Star teams and won a World Series with the Blue Jays in 1993. There weren't many card show dealers with cards of Fernandez in their display cases, and no Costacos Brothers posters could be found of the Blue Jays shortstop. For a household that hosted a Jose Canseco 40/40 poster, Fernandez certainly offered a more affordable collecting alternative, although I'm not sure to this day if even my brother could explain how he became a fan.

The d'84 series, as I like to call it now, represented the ultimate level of '80s baseball card monetary value. The packs cost several dollars. They were always high up on a shelf, out of reach of a teenager's grubby mitts. Tony's rookie card could fetch a few bucks back in the day, and you could convince an insurer that it's worth $2.00 today. Of course, you can snag one for just under a buck if you know what you're doing. I have no idea how I got this card, but I'm guessing it was at a card show in some dime box based on the fact that I found it in a box that was set aside for posts like these after starting this blog in 2008.

A few more notes:

  • According to the bio, Fernandez was sent "back to Triple A for 1 more year of seasoning." Sadly, this is terminology that seems to no longer exist in today's game.
  • This is the first year that "Rated Rookie" appears on the front of Donruss cards, but the iconic logo doesn't actually show up until 1985. A few 1983 Donruss cards got the "Rated Rookie" moniker on the back of the card, where it was barely noticed.
  • Fernandez was something of a nomad after his initial '80s stint with the Jays. He came back to the team in 1993 for their second World Series win, and then returned two more times for a total of four separate stints that must make Cardinals hitting coach John Mabry a little jealous. He also made the All-Star for the final time in his 17th (!) big league season.