Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Shiny End to the New Year

Plus contest results and more! 

The year is winding down, and like any other year, I'm way behind in some trades and blogging about trades. The good news is that there's a whole 'nother year ahead of us, unless we all get nuked to oblivion before this time next year.

The contest-within-a-contest, the Belk Bowl prediction game is over, and wow... there were a lot of close guesses this year! Most correctly predicted that the Virginia Tech Hokies would prevail, but even crazier were some of the guesses:

  • Actual Score: VT 35, ARK 24
  • Need More Cardboard: VT 37, ARK 23
  • VT 35, ARK 21
  • Justin's World: VT 34, ARK 21
  • Wilson: VT 34, ARK 27
  • Matt Stupienski: VT 30, ARK 24
  • JediJeff: VT 38, ARK 28
  • Trevor P: VT 38, ARK 20
You guys were really smart this year. There can only be one winner, however... except when there is a tie. Both Need More Cardboard and will receive the jumbo retail pack of 2017 Topps (when it's released, of course.) Shoot me your email addresses, guys! Also, I forgot my own prediction, which probably would have been hilariously bad. At least I picked the Hokies to win in the main portion of the contest.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd show off a couple of shiny Heritage Cardinals cards recently acquired. I found a hanger box of 2016 Topps Heritage High Numbers for $9 a couple of nights ago, which I'm a big fan of because they're impossible to search as far as I know. I only snagged one base card that I needed, but the requisite SP was a need and so was the shiny Aledmys Diaz card. Nice!

I also picked up this Albert Pujols from 10 years ago on Listia, which arrived in the mail yesterday. I've been picking up a lot of Pujols cards lately, mostly because there are more unique Pujols cards than humans on this planet, and the majority of them feature him with the Cardinals.

Finally, I've refused to buy in to the silliness that is the Wal-Mart Holiday set, but this still makes a nice year end capper. And I still want all the Cardinals, of course. If anyone out there has some extras, I've only managed to acquire Wainwright and Diaz with Seung-hwan Oh on the way. And then, of course, there's the matter of the parallels.

I hope you all enjoy the last moments of this (terrible) year!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Group Break Results and a Contest Update

And a Merry Christmas Eve to everyone. 

I'm a sucker for an affordable group break with a guaranteed team spot, and Tracy's Box Breaks pops up now and again with just the thing that I seek. This time around, boxes of 2016 Bowman Chrome and 2008 Tristar PROjections High Series were opened and distributed. While the output was small in number, I ended up with a couple of nice cards for my collection.

Junior Fernandez is an up and coming prospect out of the Dominican Republic that should be turning some big league heads in a few years. A lot of nice things have been written about him, and it was great to get an on card auto of him even on a badly Photoshopped card.

Tyler Herron is, however, not an up and coming prospect in the Cardinals system. He is, however, a minor league soldier, and assuming he keeps the ball rolling he will be entering his 12th season of professional baseball next year. This particular card is a low numbered parallel, 8 out of 25.

Tracy was kind enough to throw a bunch of extra Cardinals my way, which is never expected and always appreciated. The Rolen/Walker card that heads this post was my favorite of the bunch, but I was also intrigued by this Big Mac card from 2014 Panini Classics, a set which seems to have completely escaped my radar.


And now, your Bowl Pick 'Em Contest Update Report. Heading into today's light action, Wilson is the overall leader in total points, while there's currently a 3-way tie for most number of correct picks (Raz, AJ!, thepeavine). Raz is the overall leader in possible points, which can sometimes be the best indicator of who has the best shot at winning. If you're all watching the Yule Log on television right now instead of a meaningless college football game, 6-7 Hawaii is currently stomping on Middle Tennesse State.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

PPBBB: Panini Prizm Basketball Blaster Break

It's the last day of fall. Why not check out a new box of hoopsters and hoops stars? 

I was a big fan of last year's Prizm NBA set, stopping just short of actually trying to put together a set of basketball cards for the first time in decades. I was prepared to not like this year's version as much, but I really can't find anything negative to say about it. Chrome'd up cards just look really nice to me these days, that's all there is to it. They are still way too expensive for their own good, but they make nice trade fodder.

I bought a box during some holiday time shopping excursion and it comes with a guaranteed, per box, on average, autograph or memorabilia card. That could be fun?

Pack 1:

1 - Ben Simmons - Simmons was the first overall pick, and in grand recent Sixers tradition went out and broke something so he's been out for awhile.

142 - Nikola Vucevic

238 - Kyle Anderson Prizm Green - This is a Prizm parallel and a green one at that. Don't say the 'R' word.

263 - Andrew Wiggins - The back of the card features the same photo as the front, but without the effect that dims the background and focuses on the player.

Pack 2:

10 - Nik Stauskas

199 - Tim Frazier - Frazier used to reside at the end of the Blazers bench, but since catching on with the Pelicans he's elevated his game as a max effort guy who also happens to be incredibly annoying.

122 - Derrick Rose Prizm - Panini went big this season with the "guy posing with his new jersey" look rather than showing players in their old uniforms with a new logo in the corner.

221 - James Harden - Harden and his beard are trying to play both guard positions simultaneously this season, which is putting the famed flopper on pace to lead the league in assists and break the all-time league record for most turnovers in a season.

Pack 3:

68 - Wade Baldwin IV - Did Wade Baldwins I-III also hoop?

157 - Seth Curry - Steph's lil' bro.

179 - Will Barton Prizm - Ex-Blazer lost in the ill-fated Arron Afflalo deal.

278 - Al-Farouq Aminu - Nice to pull a Blazer here. The Chief has been injured for much of this season, contributing to Portland's league worst defense. They're 3-0 in games I've attended this year, however, so maybe I just need to go to more games.

Pack 4:

26 - Robin Lopez

115 - Malachi Richardson - He looks like he won a contest to be an NBA player for a day.

42 - Luol Deng Orange Wave Prizm Auto (2/25) - Here's the hit, and I suppose I could have done worse (memorabilia card?) Deng is pictured with the Heat but is now with the Lakers. While he's still a starter, he's averaging career lows in every noticeable category including minutes.

 235 - LaMarcus Aldridge

 Pack 5:

83 - Josh Richardson

172 - Kenneth Faried - It's the so-called Manimal.

3 - Paul George Explosion Prizm - It's a parallel version of an insert card. George is really good.

259 - Mitch McGary

Pack 6:

40 - Mo Williams

129 - Marshall Plumlee - Yes, it's another Plumlee. This just might be the last of them, for awhile at least.

16 - Blake Griffin Explosion - The regular version of the Explosion insert.

217 - Norman Powell - I started to type "Normal Powell" for some reason.

And there we have it. Like any of the cards you see here? Interested in receiving the occasional package of basketball cards? Got any Blazers you don't need? Let me know!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Anatomy of a Baseball Card: Bob Gibson 1992 Ziploc

A truly odd oddball. 

To get into my head space in 1992, I would have definitely dipped into my budget to purchase food storage bags if it came with a baseball card included, despite my meager $3.50 hourly wage. With that being said, I don't know how it came to be that I didn't know about Ziploc baseball cards until 2016. Perhaps this was a regional release, or maybe you had to send in 40 proofs of purchase of Ziploc branded bags to get a complete set of these cards. I really have no idea. What I do know is that I found a nearly 25 year old oddball card of Bob Gibson at last weekend's card show, in fully color, likely unlicensed but with team logos firmly in tact.

Note the lack of any MLB or MLBPA logos on the back. Robert Gibson thinks this is pretty suspicious. DowBrands Inc. skimps on the stats in favor of a bio that touts Gibby's five 20-win seasons, not knowing that 25 years in the future the Pitching Win would have been abolished and replaced by wORPmArP or some other advanced metric too impossible for early '90s puny human brains to possibly comprehend.

He also no-hit Pittsburgh in 1971, though.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Contest Reminder!

Don't forget to sign up for the Bowl Pick 'Em Contest. #collect

Time is running out! If you haven't already, check out this post and sign up for the contest before the games start (in less than 48 hours.) Don't forget to make your Belk pick as well. And with the advent of the playoffs, I always neglect to mention that you won't be able to make the pick for the championship game until the semis have been played, since we don't yet know who will be participating. So make sure to check back in early January even if you have made all of your picks ahead of time!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Odds & Ends & Pins

Cards and things from Canada in all shapes and sizes. 

One of the joys of being a full on team collector is that you get to experience weird and wonderful oddballs that don't necessarily fit everyone's type of collection. In short, if it's got Cardinals on it in some way, it's something I am going to want. A ways back, Angus from Dawg Day Cards sent along a bunch of this wonderful weirdness, much of which is going to be tough to fit in a normal 9-pocket page.

I don't know anything about this release (did it feature actual players?) but this team card comes complete with team facts on the back. Those are the best kinds of facts. At some point Super Sugar Crisp was renamed Super Golden Crisp (at least here in the States), without anyone actually discovering what was so Super about them in the first place. I don't see having "Sugar" in a cereal name depressing sales any in today's climate.

I know I have a couple of these pins somewhere, but I couldn't find that I had any in my official online inventory. I want to affix this to one of my shirts and wear it around at work, but I'm not sure how that would fly with the bosses.

Angus sent a whole pile of these 1976 discs (Isaly's / Sweet William's variety) with Cardinals on them, all in pristine shape. They are glorious.

And finally, here's a trio of 1973 O-Pee-Chee needs. Pre-'80s O-Pee-Chee cards are very rare in my collection, so I was really excited about these.

And to prove their authenticity, here's a look at the bilingual backs. Ted fut d'abord receveur, indeed.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Contest Time! College Bowl Pick 'Em #8

Pick games and win baseball cards as the contest returns for the 8th consecutive year. 

For the eighth straight year, I am giving away free cards to the best prognosticators of (mostly) meaningless college football games. Past winners include Adam from Thoughts on Sox (2009-10), Mark from Stats on the Back (2010-11), AJ from The Lost Collector (2011-12), Royal Dan (2013), The Prowling Cat (2014), Jeff from One Man's Junk (Wax) (2015), and last year's winner Matt of Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits.

If you want to skip all the blah blah blah and just get to the free stuff, go to the bottom of the post for the sign-up link and make sure you submit picks for every game. There's even a separate contest for non-Yahoo people, but you don't care about that because you've already tuned this out and started paying attention to the holiday baking show on television.

If you've participated in the past, you know the drill. Go on ahead to Yahoo and sign up. I have sent out invitations through Yahoo's automated system. If you don't get an email invite, follow the manual procedure at the bottom of this post (and if all else fails, send me an email and I will try to help you out.) For the rest of you, here are the rules and prize details, which will be similar to past years:

  • First place will receive: a 2017 Topps Series 1 blaster OR suitable equivalent (subject to availability at Target)... as well as a small plastic pouch of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc.
  • Second place will receive: a Priority Mail padded envelope full of cards from your favorite team/player(s)/etc. (this usually ends up being around 8 bags/pouches or so)
  • Worst place will receive: whatever I feel like sending you. Be very afraid to finish last. I don't advise it. You say how the enemy of your enemy is your friend? Well, I'm none of those. Of course, as past "winners" of this prize can tell you, you will still receive some cards targeted toward your favorite team/player(s).
Because there's no such thing as a free lunch, at least without a copious amount of rules and guilt, here they are (basically copied from previous years):

  • Participants must sign up through the official Yahoo link. Unfortunately, this means that you must have a Yahoo account. I know this is a deal breaker for some, but I can't figure out another way to accept manual entries and try to math them up according to Yahoo's point system.
  • Promote this contest! No, that doesn't mean you need to "follow" my blog, nor does it mean that you'll gain any competitive advantage by posting about this contest. I just want to see a lot of people participate, and will be willing to award more prizes if there are more participants. Send some tweets! Tweet some sends! Put a subliminal message on your blog post. Make an animated gif. Send a mass email with a questionable file attachment. Get the Russians involved. Casually tell your co-workers in the break room while discussing Doug Martin's disappointing fantasy numbers.
  • Points are scored according to the Confidence System. This basically means that while you are predicting which team wins which bowl game, you will also be responsible for ranking how confident you are in each pick. This is where I normally provide examples of games with crazy mismatches, but most of the bowl games seem to be a toss-up this year. Just go with your gut and let's see what happens?
  • Email me your contest information after you sign up. You can't assume that I will automatically recognize your clever Yahoo Pick Set name, nor will I necessarily disbelieve your "friend" who claims your prize after everything is said and done because he swears he's BuckeyeFan7659 and is "geeked" about his "baller picks".
  • You can change your picks at any time, so long as your pick is made before the official start time (usually the TV broadcast time) of each game.
  • "No tanking" rules are in effect. You must make a pick for every game to be eligible for the "worst place" prize. The prizes aren't that great, folks. I'd much rather award the prize to someone who failed in spectacular fashion than someone who intentionally went with picks that are doomed to fail.

Click here to sign up! It's free! First timers are very welcome.

Group ID: 8104
Password: quackquackquack

DEADLINE: There's a hard deadline of Saturday, December 17th at 9:00 AM PST. That's the start time of the first bowl game.

But wait... there's more! Available to all entrants as well as non-entrants who don't want to use Yahoo, there's a bonus contest:

Leave a comment here predicting the final score and winning team of the BELK BOWL before the Belking officially begins (the game is on the 29th) and win a retail jumbo pack of 2017 Topps Series 1. Whoever is closest gets it. Belk on, Belkers!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sapphire Gems and More

Online-exclusive bling and a whole lot more. 

I've already looked at this Adam Wainwright card on at least three separate occasions since it arrived courtesy of P-Town Tom, but I still had to look it up when doing this post. Topps did a high roller online exclusive set of Sapphire Chrome versions of the disappointing 700 card base set this year, so my confusion all comes down to this Waino parallel not having the same card number as his regular Topps Chrome release. And that's fine. It looks great and I've got it all sorted out now.

A bunch of other really nice, but not quite as shiny, Cardinals cards came over to me courtesy of the blog formerly known as Waiting 'til Next Year. Fleer made some missteps over the years, but they also cranked out some really impressive looking cards in the ought years, including this Rick Ankiel Showcase card from 2001.

Another early 21st Century card, this isn't the best artwork I've seen, but you get to see Bob Gibson with one of his more modern contemporaries (and not, like, some 22 year old Phillies phenom or something.)

Hey, it's Gomber! It's awwwwfully close to Goober. Just sayin'.

I've been going through a stack of J. D. Drew duplicates on my desk that I've trying to get rid of recently. I was pretty floored by how many of his cards I've managed to accumulate considering that his entire Cardinals career happened during the years I never collected cards.

And finally, because they are my favorite thing ever, here's a 7-11 Slurpee Disc of a Hall of Famer from 1985. Glorious.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

November's Loot

Another month in the books, another box from @thelootlocker to unpack. 

The Loot Locker is an online store/monthly service that sells a box of hobby packs and card supplies for just the cost of a blaster box. I've purchased their baseball box quite a few times this year, and I feel like I've had pretty considerable luck. This month's box includes packs of 2016 Bowman Platinum (x2), 2016 Bowman Chrome and 2016 Panini Diamond Kings.

Bowman Platinum is supposedly a Walmart-exclusive, but the packs definitely have the "Hobby Edition" logo on them. I think that means that Walmart actually sells the "hobby" boxes. I don't even know what hobby means anymore! What I do know is that I managed to pull a signed card of a young Twins star with lots of the proverbial upside. The autograph is on a piece of tape, but not everything in life can be an on card signature.

Out of the Chrome pack came this purple Cespedes refractor. Yoenis, pictured here in an '86 throwback jersey, just re-upped with the Mets.

Behind door number three was the pack of Diamond Kings, a product I've already seen my fair share of. what I hadn't seen before was a mini card fall out of one of these packs, which is what happened here. I also don't believe I've ever pulled a Dom DiMaggio card before. There's a first time for everything!

Put Tim Raines in the Hall, people. Sheesh. I can't believe the self-appointed faux commissioner Bud Selig gets elected before this guy.