Monday, July 31, 2017


Putting to bed a set I started collecting (in my head) ever since I was a child. 

With the help of a generous blogger and trading partner, Dennis of Too Many Verlanders/Manninghams, I finally am able to put down a set I've admired since I could barely grasp what baseball cards were. A lot of people find the 1985 Fleer baseball set to be ugly or boring, but to me it was one of the first idealistic looks at what baseball cards could be, outside of the venerable The Topps Company. With team color-coded borders, SuperStarSpecials and plenty o' stats on the back, I always wanted a complete set of this stuff. The various rookie cards made it a bit outside of my meager budget for much of my collecting youth, but not many of those rookies (Clemens aside, I guess?) held their value over the years. More than once, I could have snagged a more or less complete hand collated set at a card show for a bargain price, but I decided to put it all together the old fashioned way. I bought some packs (okay, not too many) and put a want list online, occasionally whittling away at it throughout the years. Now, it's done and all slapped away in a binder. I couldn't be happier about it.

Dennis likely was sweating out the MLB trade deadline today, which passed without a trade of his (current) blog namesake. He did find some time to send me a bunch of Cardinals cards that I needed. I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but I used to really like the Topps gold bordered parallel cards. They don't look so great anymore, though.

This may look like a simple base card from the 2005 Donruss Diamond Kings set, but the logo is shiny and reflective and the card itself is numbered to 100. This set is one of the best examples of what people complain about when they talk about modern sets having endless numbers of parallels that are barely distinguishable from each other. And while I agree that it's all pretty silly, I really like these cards. They sort of feel like vinyl.

Speaking of the best things from the '00s, Fleer Greats are... great! Yeah, that's pretty much all I've got. I received another half dozen or so cards of the Wizard for my collection. I've temporarily lost track of how many unique Ozzies I own thanks to the demise of Zistle, but I'm (slowly) working on replacing my online checklist outlet.

Speaking of endless parallels. What was Topps thinking with this Co-Signers stuff? It didn't last, of course.

I don't have many slabbed cards, but since I'm guessing the only way to get this Tyler Johnson silver parallel from 2003 was in uncirculated form, I'll leave this in its cardboard prison for now.

More Edmonds, because... why not?

It certainly wouldn't be a "Too Many" package without a great crop of Ducks cards, and Dennis certainly didn't disappoint on that end. I usually save most of these for the college football Saturdays, but there were so many great cards to be had that I couldn't hold everything back.

Prior to receiving this, my collection of baseball cards in Ducks uniforms was comprised entirely of anything I pulled in that Panini Oregon Ducks Collegiate blaster from awhile back. Cleavinger was a 3rd round pick a couple years ago and was just dealt from the Orioles to the Phillies before the trade deadline. He's been playing at the AA level this year.

They were never my favorite, but I was a defender of the Ducks tire tread or steel grating or whatever the hell uniform look from the late '00s. In recent years, the team has strayed further and further from their primary colors, which is why it was actually refreshing to hear new head coach Willie Taggart announce plans to scale it back and stick to a more basic look.

Yeah, it's uh... a signed card of a shirtless Ducks football legend. Those fringe draft picks/prospects card companies are super weird. I don't actually collect a lot of football cards, but when I do I'm continually surprised at how willing people are to buy cards of players doing everything but actually playing their sport.

Finally, I have to say that I was really happy to get a Max Unger card. Unger plays positions that are generally overlooked when the card companies are setting out to print up some cards. Even though he's been to the Pro Bowl, won a ring and has been a league mainstay since he entered the league, I would be willing to bet that he doesn't have many cards out there.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Minis for Days

So... many... minis... 

The master of minis himself, Night Owl Cards, unloaded a huge lot of minis (and more!) on this unsuspecting part time blogger last month. I do seem to recall reading a post awhile back (possibly this one?) where Night Owl detailed the need to offload a bunch of these cards. Despite my reservations about collecting this year's Allen & Ginter set (I can't do this forever, can I?), I am definitely a super willing recipient of minis of sets past.

This is a lot of minis, folks. This means I'm probably going to have to pony up for some more 15 pocket Ultra Pro pages, and carefully thumb in and out some tiny cards into their plastic shields. Fun times ahead!

This curious group of six is headed for a different set of binders, of course. Only of these guys is a current Cardinal, and though it seems like just yesterday that Yadi was a 22 year old with a rocket arm that couldn't hit his way out of a wet paper bag... well... it's not 2004 anymore, I guess. That is sad news for all of us.

Other, non-mini Cardinals were included as well. Peter Bourjos popped up on my television in a Rays uniform the other day. Good for him.

I feel bad for Aledmys Diaz, an All-Star just barely more than a year ago. He's been uprooted by Paul DeJong, most likely permanently.

(Not So) Smokin' Joe is in a three-way tie for third place as the oldest card in my collection. I love these. I have no Topps cards prior to 1956 for some dumb reason.

Finally, Night Owl sent over a few needs from the 2017 Topps Heritage set. Here's the world's first mouse... I guess? This is definitely the best News Flashbacks card I've seen in awhile. This looks more like some sort of crazy device that would be used in a lab rat test maze.

Thanks again to Night Owl, and all of the other kind people who have traded with me over the years that make this place possible. And Blogger Google, I guess.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Side Trip

A few cards from the other sports. 

I've been pretty baseball focused this summer, both in my online activities and general collecting pursuits. I'm working on (for the second time in a couple years) going through all of my Cardinals collection so that everything is online and the data is easy to access. The action in the MLB season, as they say, is starting to heat up. The trade deadline approaches.

Here are a few non-baseball cards sent my way courtesy of Sportscards From The Dollar Store.

Here's a card from LaMarcus Aldridge's last season with the Blazers. I believe it's the only card from this set I even own.

I mostly remember Greg Lewis from the last new NFL video game I ever played, the last one in the 2K series (NFL 2K5).  I never needed Madden in my life, and am quite happy with playing Tecmo Super Bowl if you really want to play some video games.

Shady managed to make the Eagles somewhat watchable during some dark seasons. I'm cautiously optimistic about the new direction the team is taking now, but I don't see a lot of reasons to get carried away with bold predictions yet.

Finally, I usually leave these kinds of special cards for certain Saturdays in the fall, but I couldn't help myself. Look at that big yellow thing! Ifo was one of my favorite players to ever wear a Ducks uniform, so it was rough to see him continually derailed by injuries in his attempt to make it in the pros. Even though certain things are Photoshopped away, I am always happy to get cards in Ducks uniforms.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Welcome to the Club

Stadium Club, that is. 

Topps is in the 4th year of their Stadium Club revival (let's just forget all about that mess in 2008), and their latest effort just hit the streets recently. With the baseball card aisles completely devoid of anything useful these days (thanks in part to Judgemania and Bellingermadness), I decided to venture out into the World Wide Web to purchase a blaster of the latest and greatest. The font is weird, once again, aping 2000s Fleer Ultra with a weird Coke swoosh on the end of the last letter of each name. Otherwise, this looks a lot like the last two year's offerings. Those were pretty good, although I doubt I'll be chasing this year's set.

The inserts are notable because they're not glossy on the back. The base cards and their assorted parallels are coated in the familiar slickness, and Topps doubled down on this by also making the card backs this way. You could probably fashion a slip-n-slide out of them.

Gold parallels such as this struggling Cub are a fairly common pull.

Wow, no one has trotted out the Faux '80s Graffiti font in awhile. I'm not impressed with these Contact Sheet inserts.

This, on the other hand, is pretty nice. For every hitter focused insert set, you need one for the pitchers I assume.

Sepia-toned parallels fall at 1:8 packs, or basically one per blaster. Seeing a team with black and white as its primary colors kind of ruins the sepia effect, though.

As with the other recent years, the black parallels are a bit of a tougher pull than the golds.

Moose Tacos is inexplicably one of the players I enjoy outside of any connection to the Cardinals. Actually, it's really not that hard to explain. It's the name.

Ozzie Smith's base card photo is in black and white for whatever reason, which briefly me had me thinking I'd pulled some sort of sweet parallel of the Wizard. Ah, too bad.

On the other hand, vintage Rickey is in full color glory here. I would love to see the A's bring these jerseys back as their alternates.

The backs of the card are light on stats (never really Stadium Club's thing unless you liked their weird attempts at '90s style advanced stats), but the little photo in the upper left is a nice touch. This is like a sunny day version of Ultra.

I was never good at pulling those coveted Beam Team inserts (I still need lots of '90s ones for my various collections I'm sure), so it was satisfying to get one of one of the game's best -- even if he doesn't fit into my collection.

As I mentioned, I'm not really collecting these, so feel free to think about sending some Cardinals from this set my way if you're interested in any of these and have picked up any yourself. I only have the Ozzie, so far.

Monday, July 17, 2017

When Did You First Learn the Word 'Collate'?

Don't everybody answer at once, now. 

I've traded with Steven from Collating Cards before, but this was the first time I'd dealt with him since he took an interest in Pacific Northwest teams, specifically the Mariners. I usually seem to be pretty flush with M's cards, and while I usually root for them when I see them on TV in passing, they're not my team. Basically, this was a good fit, but pretty much anything that gets cards out of my home is a net positive for me.

Unlike this year, I didn't really buy any Archives last year, so it was helpful to pick up some base cards for the 2016 team set.

Throwback jerseys are great. I didn't see many of these throwback quasi-variation cards back in 2015, so I was super pleased to get a couple of these (not pictured: former Cardinal Jhonny Peralta).

Steven is the first to up the Hamm Count in awhile. Sadly, the count is a measly 6. Why won't you send me your Hamms? Is he too handsome? It wouldn't take more than a couple of cards to crown a new Hamm King, you know.

I completely missed out on this swanky Baseball Royalty insert from a couple of years ago. I also got a card of Big Mac from the same set. These things are thick and were probably hobby exclusives, I'm guessing.

As far as memorabilia alternatives go, this is a pretty cool idea. It looks like Topps took an actual stamp from the year that's being commemorated and put it in the frame. Of course, if they used any stamps from the last several years they wouldn't even have prices on them, which is usually the best indicator of date.

Finally, here's another, let's say, memorabilia substitute? It's kind of like the Splenda of patch cards. Anyway, it's not bad looking and I do enjoy the fact that they put bonuses like these in blasters. We also get a very serious looking Yadi. Serious business.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Market is Crazy Right Now

Spare some change for some cards, bro? 

It took me longer than it should have to realize why the local retail stores (Target, mostly) are out of pretty much everything baseball in the dreaded trading card area. Prices are getting ridiculous for pretty much anything related to Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, so the product is drying up. Yes, even entry level base card junk is getting scooped up off the shelves. The few times I've made it out to a store to buy cards this summer, the shelves have been lined with football (gross) and college football (gah).

I managed to hang on to a few Aaron Judge cards before everything went nutso, after trading a couple off to The Lost Collector (of course.) I might put these last few on eBay or I might entertain offers. I'm not really sure what to do. I don't think any of these cards will ever be worth as much as they are now, but I'm also still not entirely sure I understand what's going on with unopened packs of 2011 Topps Update these days. (I even pulled out a few Topps flagship rookie cards of guys with names like Betts and Springer because they're suddenly commanding prices unseen in basic Topps cards since the rookie card craze of the '80s.)

I don't have any Cody Bellinger cards as far as I know. I did get a couple of these Judge/Austin cards thanks to all of those Heritage packs I opened. But I might... just might... visit a store in the hood I grew up in soon that seemed to still have a Bowman blaster in a dark corner the last time I checked. You just never know.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Envelopes upon Envelopes

Many Heritage cards stuffed in multiple envelopes. 

Not content to just send a few cards in one PWE when I was looking for extra Topps Heritage cards to fill my collection needs, reader Jeff stuffed several envelopes full of bunches of Heritage cards. His blog has been dormant for awhile, but I am linking it here anyway just in case it pops back to life one of these days.

Moncada is being featured at the Futures Game (currently in progress), while Fulmer has struggled at the AAA level so far. It seems like Moncada should get the big call-up any day now.

Jeff also sent a ton of 2016's. Sano has pulled his weight of this young Twins tandem, but Buxton has failed to do anything but be incredibly fast. I guess his ceiling is Billy Hamilton, maybe?

At one point last season, this card was the equivalent of the Aaron Judge/Tyler Austin card from this year's set. Judge has blasted past that level and, along with Cody Bellinger, seems to be completely shifting the market for low and mid level baseball cards in 2017. Meanwhile, this Schwarber card can be had for 54 cents on COMC.

Here's one for the Cardinals collection. Matt Adams heads into the All-Star break with 14 HR after riding the bench for the first six weeks of the season. It's hard to see him as the one that got away, though, as there are a ton of guys with power who have limited defensive versatility in this league. I'm rooting for him just the same, as I always hoped he'd develop into an every day player in St. Louis like he has the chance to be in Atlanta (... even though their franchise player plays the same position. Hmm.)