Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Failed Buyback? Miscut Weirdo

This is one goofy card. 

One of the weirder cards I've received in the mail is this 1961 Topps Curt Simmons card, in all of its miscut glory. Unfortunately, I neglected to remember who it was that sent me this, but I set it aside thinking that Topps has some serious problems. I'm fairly certain -- at least 95% certain -- that this mishandled card was stamped with the Topps "75th" buyback stamp, and it didn't take for whatever reason. Here are some good examples of what they should look like. The only thing that made me a little uncertain is that the space the indent takes up on the card seems smaller than the stamps I've seen. But it's a pretty uncanny resemblance, nonetheless.

You can even see an indentation suffered on the back of the card. Whatever this was nearly punched its way through the card. I don't have another copy of this card in my collection, and I will probably never replace this one. It's too unique.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

This Week in Envelopes

Actually, one of them is from last month. Don't tell anyone. 

I use plain white envelopes as my primary delivery vessel for my Listia auctions (yup, I'm still doing that) and have achieved a more than 99% success rate as far as my calculations can take me. Amazon has already managed to screw up more deliveries for me than the good ol' USPS, and I've only been a Prime member for several months. In any case, I can certainly appreciate a well crafted PWE, and I received three such examples recently(ish).

Marc of Remember the Astrodome sent over some brand new Cardinals cards, including one of the Cardinals new callups (DeJong) and these two Gypsy Queen parallels of former/future super prospect Alex Reyes. Like most things in life, all I can do about Reyes is keep my fingers crossed and occasionally yell things at the TV.

Marc was one of the many who answered my Heritage call, and sent along a nice stack of the 2017 stuff. We all need a good laugh now and again, so I thought I'd bring out Smilin' Matt Kemp here.

Before he hooked me up with some group break goodies, Peter sent me my first Matt Holliday of his post-Cardinals career. Holliday has had a productive first season in pinstripes, though he was recently shut down with some sort of mystery illness.

Peter also sent me my first look at the 1992-style Archives cards from 2017. These are fairly accurate representations of the original set, aside from the usual quibbles about fonts and trademarks and colors and such.

1992 was part of a two year experiment by Topps with their flagship set to find themselves in a competitive market. The cardstock on these and the 1993 set were completely unlike anything they did before or since. In 1994, they would unfortunately settle on the thin white stock with the UV coating that we know and loathe today. (Well, at least, I do.)

We go back to the original set as we move on to the envelope sent over by Matt of Summer of '74.

This isn't your garden variety '88 Fleer version of Kenny "Two Gloves" Dayley. It's glossy, folks. Only the good stuff here. (Side note: I kind of like 1988 Fleer, the basic version. Don't tell anyone.)

Glossy Dayley came with a glossy friend in rookie Lance Johnson. Matt also sent a 1/1 sketch card that I'm saving for a rainy day. You're just going to have to trust me on that. (Matt is on my list of people I'm overdue to send stuff to, in case he's reading or in case you're nervous about trading with me.)

I haven't done so well on the 10 Most Wanted list lately, but Matt was cool enough to help me out with this 1984 Topps card that I really should've owned decades ago already.

Finally, I neglected to mention last night that the group break came with this Topps (all CAPS) BUNT code. If anyone is interested, let me know. I guess it probably only has appeal to people who haven't tried the app and are curious about it, or perhaps a Kris Bryant super collector who hasn't bought any packs in awhile? I downloaded this and played it for awhile a couple years ago and then got mad and threw my phone in the river.

Monday, June 26, 2017


Series Two: It's the next series after One. 

Peter from Baseball Every Night just hosted what was essentially a free group break, with the participants just covering the shipping. This is a very generous thing to do. I have done a couple of free group breaks in the past and have something new in the works for this summer, but it won't be anything brand new like this.

As I've mentioned numerous times, I am not a fan of the flagship Topps set and have sworn off opening paying for any packs for the second consecutive year. However, that doesn't mean I don't feel the need to get as many Cardinals as I can get my hands on, and I was able to get nearly the entire base team set out of this. This is fantastic. I think I'm just missing Jose Martinez now.

Even though these are brand new cards, a couple of players have already been jettisoned from the roster, including big ol' Broxton here. This wouldn't be a bad landscape card if it wasn't for the gigantic graphical interference, cutting off Broxton's legs.

In keeping with tradition, Series Two cards are Photoshopped for your pleasure. Fowler is wearing a home jersey, supposedly, but there's a lot of blue in the blurry background.

It's been a pretty disappointing season for the Cardinals so far, and Gyorko's name has already been floated in trade rumors. Of course, the thing that makes Jedd an attractive trade piece is the same thing that makes it make sensible to keep him around: he's on an incredibly team-friendly contract for the production they are getting from him.

Peralta is the other roster casualty. He never seemed to recover after the huge chunk of time he missed at the start of last season.

Topps is paying a lot of attention to their 1987 set year (30 years!), which is probably one of their most recognizable sets. There are multiple reasons for this, but one of them is certainly the abundance in which it was produced.

Bonus Matt.

Oh looks like he's asleep here. Did they seriously not have a better photo available of the Cardinals closer?

This is also using the ubiquitous '87 design, of course, but it's a from hobby continuity pack. I think that's a fancy way of saying that Topps is thanking the consumer for spending exorbitant amounts of money on stuff when you don't really have to. This one was very shiny with a fancy background pattern.

Here's Piscotty again on a Topps Salute insert, which is a dull look at an otherwise interesting concept. I like that this commemorates a particular moment in a game when everything else about the flagship set these days seems to take the player out of the game altogether. The design isn't great, though.

More pitchers getting cut off below the waist.

We only get half a Wong.

Another closely cropped shot. Yadi deserves better than this. Perhaps they didn't want us to notice that hardly anyone was at this game.

Huge thanks again to Peter! I'm off to update my want list.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Kitchen Sink Trade

As in, everything but the... 

Long time reader and Tribe supporter Tim and I exchanged some cards this past month, and my end of the deal netted me stuff from all corners of my collection. It's not always easy finding Ozzie Smith cards that I need (at least not outrageously expensive ones), but good people like Tim seem to keep doing it. Perhaps that seemingly endless '90s pipeline will never dry up.

Here's an Altuve for Erin from the 2016 Topps BUNT set. Yes, you have to capitalize BUNT, you see. Otherwise, no one would know what I was talking about.

I'm a stealth Eagles collector, even though I don't really talk about it here. I don't even really have an idea of what to do with the cards I accumulate. They all go into a box for now, although my Randall Cunningham cards will at least get their own time to shine at some point.

This one ticks the "player collection, non-Cardinals division" box. It's crazy to think a sports highlights show on ESPN was once considered appointment television, but for a time it really was.

Ah yes, vintage stock. Quite lovely, really. Oh, I'm not talking about any rare high ABV beers that I'm cellaring. This is just a Mike Leake card, numbered to 99, with the kind of card stock that would get me to collect the flagship set if they ever switched to it full time.

It's always great to see an LMJ card. He helped take Ducks football to a whole new level.

Speaking of endless supplies of things, is there a light at the end of the tunnel of Mark McGwire insert cards? Big Mac supercollectors have probably been featured on that Hoarders TV show. This is a nice one, though, with the always classy Chromium finish.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Low-End Theory

Also, it's Mike Zunino Appreciation Night.

Some blogs have a theme and some just slap some Cardinals up there and call it good. While I'd like to be the former, what I do here never really comes close to the things that long-time blogger Nick (aka Dime Box Nick) and his blog (long name: Dime Boxes -- The Low-End Baseball Card Collector's Journey) contributes on a regular basis.

While I'm still putting together a pool of cards to send back his way, Nick sent over a healthy stack of set needs as well as Cardinals-based goodies. While I'm always scouting out the former, it's the latter that I am most excited about writing about here, so the Cardinals get weighted a bit more heavily here.

Here are two guys I've never heard of in my life. It will be fun to look back on this in a few years when they are both superstars. Maybe?

Although I've watched a fair amount of HBO so-called prestige dramas, I've never seen half a minute of a Sopranos episode. I've heard it was good, except for the ending.

On to the juicy stuff here. Aledmys Diaz is having the kind of down season that would escape the notice of most TV announcers, while Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler have gotten a lot of attention for underperforming despite each carrying an OPS well above average.

Let's pour one out for Jhonny, who was recently released. He was really good for a time, until he, you know... wasn't anymore.

This from 2016 Stadium Club is kind of a strange photo of the Wizard, likely before an All-Star or playoff game. I'd like to figure it out if I had more time.

The inserts from the Heritage High Number sets are usually some of the trickiest for me to track down for whatever reason, but at least I won't have to find this Piscotty card for my St. Louis collection.

I've given Topps a lot of flack lately for lazily paying tribute to cool things from their past like this "stand-up" card that is just a card and couldn't stand up on anything without a lot of help. They impressed me with their coins in this year's Archives set, but this and the Walmart "buttons" are still incredibly stupid to me. Still, I am very glad to knock this off my list.

Not quite a "zero-year" guy as Nick likes, Tejada logged a grand total of 40 ABs with the Cards early last season as an emergency signee when Peralta went down in the spring. Fortunately, Aledmys Diaz stepped up and seized control of the everyday SS job.

Did they end up making Spring Fever cards this year? Hobby exclusives are always so out of reach to me. This is a nice addition to my Waino collection.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

From the Archives

Blaster results, skewed heavily towards the Cardinals. 

It's been about a week, and I'm still impressed with 2017 Topps Archives. Since this stuff wasn't available at the local stores last time I checked, I went ahead and ordered a blaster online. And while I was really excited about the exclusive coins that actually resemble the late '80s coins sets Topps produced (and not just a picture of them slapped on a piece of cardboard), it was pretty disappointing to find that there were no Cardinals in the set of 25. I would have actually attempted to scan the coins I received, but both of them were rotten lousy Cubs. Instead, lets look at this poorly scanned image.

Not the right year, but you get the drift. Also, these things are actually metal, so they will oxidize over the years. Be careful how you store them!

Back to the present-ish, here's a fantastic photo of Carlos Martinez. I think I've narrowed things down to Martinez and Matt Carpenter as far as whose shersey I'm going to buy next, but I might also do something off the wall and get a Jedd Gyorko.

Hmm... still Photoshopped? This is way too closely cropped for me to be able to tell.

Does anyone actually collect these?

In today's new economy, I am guessing people's wealth will be measured in number of Aaron Judge cards owned before too long.

These are fun. This is an insert modeled after '59 Bazooka.

What the hell?

This is great. But you knew I'd say that.

This is some sort of faux-retro insert that was completely unnecessary. I wish that Topps hadn't included these. If they really needed to fulfill some sort of insert quota, they could have gone for something like the tacky 1992 Topps Black Gold design, I suppose.

Always good to end with a Waino.