Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Weird Cards

Card show finds that I had trouble categorizing. 

I was in a buying mood at the last card show, which isn't always the case. I picked up a bunch of fairly odd stuff, much of it not even baseball, at a table that had dime boxes where I spent most of my time. Some of these cards are not even for me, and I bet you can guess which ones they are.

Before I really dig into the dime box stuff, I have to mention that this was a fantastic show for loose packs. I used to go to these shows occasionally back when this blog was in its early years, and would often lament the lack of anything I could afford to actually open. Usually, you would see a couple people with hobby boxes (out of my price range) and that's it. This time, one guy had a variety of packs for 75 cents while another (apparently new) guy had multiple tables of open boxes from the '80s through present. Basically, his selection was what I wish you could find in a local card shop, if we actually had any.

The Andre Drummond blue jersey card was pulled from one of these loose packs, which only ended up costing me $1.50 if I recall.

This, of course, was a dime box pull. I saw a lot of 1982 Donruss at this show for some reason. I don't remember ever owning this card, but as a fan of the multi-player cards of the '80s overall (another thing that Fleer did best), I decided to buy it for the sheer purpose of scanning it for the blog.

I have no earthly idea why I bought this card. I think my still sleepy brain was amused at a time where Kobe Bryant and Shareef Abdur-Rahim were peers on the court, even though Abdur-Rahim was a very good player in his own right. This card even has the start of a fold on it -- not quite a crease -- that could probably be flattened out over time if I felt like it. I don't.

Random Duck Alert! Random Duck Alert!

I must have been riding pretty high after the Eagles Super Bowl win, because I actually bought some football cards, something I never do at card shows. I don't even like looking at Ducks cards because they're always way overpriced, especially when it comes to Marcus Mariota.

This certainly falls into the category of "weird cards", which is where I got the name of this post. No one expects to see a red Sonics jersey, let alone Patrick Ewing in a Sonics jersey of any color. It's just strange. Any random hipster can rock a Kevin Durant Seattle jersey, but you'd achieve some sort of hipster gold status if you wore Patrick Ewing in red.

I bought a handful of '80s football packs in my youth days, before I had any idea what I was into. I remember the stickers looking really cool, but I don't think I had any idea who any of the players were in a 1983 set unless they happened to be in some sort of TV commercial.

Back to the present. I guess I lied about Mariota, because this definitely only cost me ten cents.

Mack Hollins was an unheralded backup rookie wide receiver who wasn't much of a factor in the playoffs. He did come up with some big catches during the season, and the price, again, was right.

Panini releases NBA sets every few days it seems. Totally Certified was something I totally missed, which also probably means it's a hobby only one. I scooped up three quarters of the Blazers team set for some coins.

These Rediscover Topps buybacks are destined to be dime and quarter box staples for years to come. Has anyone ever seen one of these sell for a decent amount? Some of these have different colored stamps, which doesn't add anything to their appeal whatsoever.

Another Ducks card for me, as well as another Sonic.

I really like the cardboard/card stock that Panini uses for these Donruss [fill-in-the-blank] Kings inserts, as well as the Diamond Kings sets of recent years. Topps doesn't do anything like this, unless it's high end and super thick.

Finally, I also grabbed my first 2018 non-base baseball card in the form of this Yadier Molina "not from any specific game, event, or season" card. It was not ten cents, unfortunately, and it's going to Erin. If anyone out there has another one of these, let's talk.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Dollar Days

Trophies from the card show dollar bin. 

Even though Google Maps tells me I am more than two thousand miles (31 hours of travel time!) away from Busch Stadium, Cardinals cards seem to be in somewhat short supply around these parts. Recently, I took advantage of a $1 bin at the monthly card show that actually had some things of interest for me. I came away with 12 things (for $10 if you bought 12), some of which will end up in future trade packages. Here's what I kept for myself.

This Sweet Spot Update Chris Duncan card, circa 2006, boasts of "game-used swatches". There's absolutely no reason that's not just one big piece of cloth behind the scenes now, is there? This seems silly. All of the pieces are the same color and the threads are running in the same direction.

Josh Pearce is a local guy who got into a few games for a few seasons, but I don't really have any recollection of him. It's always fun to get bat relics of pitchers, though. (ABOLISH THE DH!) This one is numbered to 150.

I was about 80 to 90 percent sure I had one of these, and now that I've scanned it I am 100% sure.

I also have one of these Mulders, something I wasn't really prepared for. Both cards were acquired in 2010 according to my image date stamps, so I guess my excuse is going to be that it was eight years ago?

Here's a fun card of two guys who would be traded straight up for each other about five years later. This is an odd one, of course, in that only Troy Glaus (and not Scott Rolen) gets a jersey piece here.

There often aren't a lot of autograph cards of players who actually played Major League Baseball in these bins, so I was happy to get this 1996 Tom Urbani signature, even though it notes that he had moved on to the Angels at this point. Urbani is a guy who I first heard of when I started playing Triple Play 97 on my PC. I doubt I had any idea he had already been traded when I dragged him out of my bullpen when Mike Timlin inevitably ran out of ammo.

Like the weird Rolen/Glaus mash-up, Upper Deck's Ballpark Collection was notable for pitting a lot of different players together, sometimes with strange results. This is a strange pair indeed. Wood's 2008 would be the year he was reinvented as a reliever and made his second All-Star appearance, while Mulder was more than two years deep into his nightmare of not being able to figure out where he should put his arm to release a baseball. This isn't the first card to incidentally feature a Cubs player relic in my collection, and it almost certainly won't be my last. Thanks, baseball cards!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Anaconda37, Are You Out There?

Last month's first place contest prize remains unclaimed! 

If you participated in the annual bowl pick 'em contest and you used a name like Anaconda37, please contact me as soon as possible. I need to know where to send your stuff! If I don't hear back by the end of this week, I am going to set this 2018 Topps Series 1 blaster on fire, or something like that.

If you are someone else (and that literally includes everyone else in the world), let it be known that March Radness is nearly upon us. This will be the 10th annual edition of this contest, so I am planning on doing something extra special for it. I just don't know what that is, yet. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to leave a comment or two!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This Week in Plain White Envelopes

Single card joy from @SafeAtHomeShop @pksteinberg and @thedimwit to peruse.

I'm still starting to get settled into the groove of the week, so it's time for a quick blast about a few cards received recently in individually wrapped packages. First up, thanks to Tracy's Box Breaks, I won a Yadier Molina photo variation from last year's Topps Update set in a Twitter giveaway by Safe At Home Shop. This is one of the more interesting photo variations I've seen, as it captures a weird moment that happened during last year's All-Star Game. It was great to see Yadi have good humor about a situation that supposedly wasn't pre-planned by Nelson Cruz.

Thanks again to Peter of Baseball Every Night, I have inched closer to team set completion with the fledgling 2018 Topps series. Seven down and four to go! Everyone is crossing their fingers that Waino will be a contributor to the Cardinals 2018 run, but no one really knows for sure what's going to happen.

Finally, I may have stretched the truth a little bit when talking about "this week" with regards to the card I received from The Daily Dimwit... over a month ago. Well, time flies and all, but that doesn't diminish the intrigue of this card. Upper Deck surely loved their multiple player swatch cards, which sometimes brought together a unique combination of players. Other times, you get a fan favorite (and Cy Young Award winner) in Carpenter paired up with a guy that's mostly a trivia answer (Barton) and the frustrating end of Mark Mulder's career. Still, it's super cool that I own this, and as I get further on in my collecting years, it can be more fun to own weird cards than normal ones.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Team Set Special

Panini's blister pack NBA team sets contain a special bonus this year. 

During the second half of the Blazers recent overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets, Erin disappeared for a bit to the team shop and picked up a 2017-18 NBA Hoops Blazers team set for me. Usually this blister pack product just has the regular base cards in it and nothing more, but it appears that there's an exclusive bonus this time. I wasn't able to find much info online about this, but this link to the official NBA Store website probably has as many details as anyone could expect to find.

Essentially, each team set contains a special blue parallel. I expected this to be the regular blue parallel you can pull from packs, but it appears to be something entirely different. I'll get to that in a moment.

I did... almost... polish off the regular team set with this purchase. I consider Allen Crabbe's Nets card a must have for my collection, since he's still pictured in a Blazers uniform. Noah Vonleh joins Crabbe in the ranks of ex-Blazers as he was shipped off to Chicago as a cap casualty, a term I am borrowing from the NFL.

The Blazers traded up to get Zach Collins, and after a slow start to his career he has settled into the rotation, which is what ultimately forced Vonleh out. Collins famously never started a college game and hasn't really logged a ton of minutes in his career, so you would expect it to be several years before he fully forms into an impact player.

Here is that bonus card. As you can see, this is more similar to a blue color that we saw with the Walmart Topps baseball parallels from 2011-2014 than the color of the parallels from you can pull from packs. Also worth noting is that the NBA Hoops logo itself is rainbow reflective.

I also just realized that I hate describing what cards look like. I'd rather just collect them.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Some 2018 Cardinals

And former Cardinals. 

Thanks to @pksteinberg of Baseball Every Night, I now have roughly 55% of the brand new Topps Series 1 set. Unfortunately, there are only a paltry 11 Cardinals cards in the entire series. I know that this has long been a problem for certain teams, and now we've reached the point where St. Louis is officially out of the limelight, having missed the playoffs in consecutive years.

Of those 11 players featured on a card, 3 of them are already getting ready to put on another uniform later this week. Aledmys Diaz, his 2016 All-Star appearance already a distant memory, was shipped off to the Blue Jays for a prospect. He'll join Randal (with one L) Grichuk in Toronto. (I still need Grichuk's card.)

The Cardinals did hang on to rookies Jack Flaherty and Harrison Bader, and both figure to be factors this season with the big league club in some capacity. It would be a bit surprising to see Flaherty win a spot in the rotation, but it would also be surprising to not see him make some starts at some point if he isn't moved to the bullpen.

I haven't really talked about the new flagship design yet. It's better. And this is a really solid photo.

I think I am still going to pass on buying packs of this stuff, as I have for the previous two sets. The lack of stats on the back is what upsets me the most now. One of the biggest reasons I got interested in baseball as a kid was from poring over box scores in the local newspaper. It was the stats, man! So the allure of baseball cards at an early age was really just a natural progression from the back pages of the Sports section to the annual document of record for each ballplayer. I realize it's easy to pull all of the stats up on B-R (and I often do), but not having full stats for a player really kills the appeal for me. (This was why I strongly preferred Fleer to Donruss in the '80s, even though they occasionally cheated for some long time veterans.)

It kind of looks like Stephen Piscotty (now in Oakland) is caught between bases and doesn't know what to do. I do like the photo choice. Let's check out the source image, because we haven't done that in awhile.

Embed from Getty Images

(If you check out the caption, he was totally caught stealing.)

All in all, this new Topps set beats last year, but it was a very low bar to clear. About as low as the space between Kolten Wong's hands.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


2008 was nothing special, at least for the Cardinals. 

Nearly ten years ago, Upper Deck tried something that'd never been done before, and hasn't been attempted since. They put together a set that included two cards for each game played in the long MLB season, one for each participating team. Even if you don't try to do the math in your head, that compiles a much larger set than any reasonable person is used to dealing with. Perhaps they were still feverous with whatever caused the Yankee Stadium Legacy set from the same year, but Upper Deck decided to put this concept out in the wild as a separate product. And, of course, they cut some corners. They cut a lot of corners.

I didn't intentionally buy any 2008 Upper Deck Documentary at the time, but I've had bits and pieces of it trickle in via trades and repacks. Jon from Community Gum busted open a whole case of the stuff, and was kind enough to send a whole brick of Cardinals my way. For the first time, I can genuinely say that I've put a significant dent in the team set, although I'm sure I have a long way to go. (The Cardinals want list is still a work in progress at this point, but it's one of my top priorities in 2018.)

If you have been buying cards as long as this blog has been around, you're probably familiar with the Documentary cards, which generally come in two flavors: base, and the rarer gold (labeled with 2008 in gold print, a la the Rick Ankiel image you see at the very top.) Contrary to popular belief, not every card of every player in this set reuses the same image. Some of the more popular players appear on multiple images. Still, with the frequency of repetition and the fact that the player photo never had anything to do with the game being commemorated, Upper Deck Documentary was not a huge critical smash.

Something I was not personally used to seeing was insert cards. I'm not sure if these All-Star inserts were a hobby only thing, or just something so uncommon that you had to buy a whole case to uncover.

Despite all the criticism, it's fun to have a huge team set to chase. Still, I'd rather have a Topps Total or Upper Deck 40-Man any day: two sets that unfortunately existed in a time outside of my collecting window.

Upper Deck Documentary even had hits! While not an integral part of the set, rookie reliever Chris Perez signed a bunch of stickers in 2008. Perez was a talented pitcher whose career was seemingly undone by personal issues.

Thanks again to Jon for sending me these Cardinals Documentary cards en masse!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Nick Foles: Super Bowl MVP

Congrats to the Eagles, and Philadelphia - if there's anything left of you.

Stunning! I don't even know what to say.

Super Big Game Day


It's hard for me to know now if I've been an Eagles fan since I first played Tecmo Super Bowl, or if it all started when I first gorged myself on $5 boxes of 1990 Pro Set. In any case, somewhere around that time, I declared myself for House Eagles and have watched (and sometimes not watched) all the ups and downs since then.

NFL has always come in a distant third in terms of my professional sports fandom, but I have memories of watching every Super Bowl going back to 1982 (coincidentally, the first one after the Eagles first one.) Technically speaking, I listened to most of Super Bowl XXXVII on the radio on a drive back home on I-5, but I caught some of it on the air at least. Still, I really didn't delve into actually paying attention to the league as a whole until Randall Cunningham came along and made me root for sports played largely on the opposite coast.

I'm excited about today's game. I rarely have a rooting interest in this game, so my usual witty banter will probably be kept at a minimum today as a I actually get excited and/or cringe at each play. I won't be devastated or surprised by a loss, but I'll be rooting hard for Nick Foles, Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins, Jay Ajayi, Alshon Jeffery and (Ducks!) LeGarrette Blount and Kenjon Barner. And a lot of other players I didn't mention! Like... Jake Elliott! He kicks bombs! Hey, I named a bunch of football players. Look at me.

Enjoy the game. Enjoy the nachos. Enjoy Justin Timberlake, I guess. Go Eagles!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Straight Fire

Coming soon. 

Can you believe it? It's February already. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting soon (unless they strike.) Weather is already getting warmer (that might not actually be a good thing... we didn't really have a winter here in Portland.) 2018 baseball cards are out! Ehh... I wish I could be happy about that last one.

Alex Reyes is on the way back to the mound and the Cardinals will, presumably, be playing baseball soon. The latest word is that he's eyeing a return at the beginning of May, which means his recovery from Tommy John surgery sounds a little more reasonable and not on the Lance Lynn timeline. I picked up this Topps Fire relic card on Listia recently, as time may be running out on finding affordable Reyes cards. Of course, the market for cards of pitchers usually seems to be a bit fickle, so you never know.

As far as 2018 cards goes, I think I'm going to stay away from the Topps flagship product again. The design seems better, but I can't get over the lack of stats on the back. Stats are what drew me to baseball cards in the first place. I pored over box scores as a kid, and was fascinated about the little documents of player statistics from year to year even more than the pictures on the front. It's just not as fun to look at, even though I do it often.