Monday, July 30, 2018

Not Dead Yet

A big trade stack from @dimeboxman as the trade deadline approaches. 

The 2018 Cardinals season can probably be best described as a merry-go-round where people are constantly falling off. It's been more thrilling, it's been dizzy, and there's been a surprising number of casualties. The club is just barely above .500, their staff ace keeps finding new ways to get injured, but they're not out of the race just yet. There's just hours left before the non-waiver trade deadline, and you still don't know if this team is buying or selling.

Someone who is always buying (transitions!) is Nick from Dime Boxes. Back in April, he sent me an envelope stuffed full of cards I could use, and it took me until late July to make things square (and write this post.) I'll delve in to some of the cards that he sent, because that's what I do here.

My Twitter feed has been pretty consistently flowing with random pictures of baseball cards these days, but I always seem to drop what I'm doing whenever someone posts a Bowman Heritage card. I need to get more of these things.

I'm not sure about the border color here, but the rest of this card is pretty cool. I like that it's not colorized.

This feels like the 10th consecutive season that Lou Brock and Dee Gordon have shared a Heritage Then & Now card. I'm a bit tired of it. Next year should break up this duo, with 1970 being an anomalous year for Brock and the stolen bases category and Gordon moving over to the American League.

Nick sent along quite a few cards I couldn't really identify, including a minor league card of an obscure player that I have a PC for. Nice!

This is from one of those many attempts at a baseball card game set, apparently, and it's another thing I'd never seen before. It's officially known as the 2007 Trade Up set.

I think it's safe to say now that Topps Fire was my least favorite thing of 2017, which also means that I still need a ton of cards from said set for my team collection. I surely didn't open any of this stuff.

Here's another mystery item. This is from 2013. I guess I could check out the website, right?

'90s Pacific parallels! Swanky!

I blinked and nearly missed this year's Gypsy Queen set, which is fine with me. This is another one of the very weak areas in my collection. I feel like I didn't see much of any of this stuff on the shelves, although I'm not often tempted. I should probably go to next month's card show and try to pick up what I'm missing.

I will always have a soft spot for 1986 Topps, the first set I ever bought packs from. Somehow, I never actually had one of the Willie McGee cut-from-the-bottom-of-the-box cards from this. I really love this picture, which is clearly a photo from Spring Training in Florida in the '80s. Look at these kids in the background that are just hanging out at the park, not even watching Willie McGee!

Finally, it bears mentioning that Nick sent me a healthy stack of Heritage needs, mostly from the past two years. These aren't as much fun to post about, but I did pick the young talented Phillies starter Nick Pivetta to represent the lot.

Thanks a bunch to Nick, and everyone else who has been patient with me!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Now We're Up in the Big Leagues

A new set from @Topps is all about value, and I like it. 

I don't frequently have great things to say about Topps these days, so I feel like it's only fair to point out how much I like the new Big League product. It's affordable and fun, and reminds me a bit of some of the mid-'00s Bazooka and Fleer sets. I won't collect the set, but I am sure that I will pick up more of this stuff if it stays available at the current prices. (In fact, I have two more blasters on the way from Prime.)

I bought a loose pack, whose first card was the water feature out in Kansas City.

Gold(ish?) parallels fall at one per pack, or three per fat pack. I'm not a big fan of the color. It's sort of in between yellow mustard and brown mustard.

The loose pack contained a numbered (to 100) Adam Duvall parallel, which was a nice surprise. Some Reds fan will probably appreciate this.

I also bought a fat pack and a blaster. In the fat pack, recently traded reliever Zach Britton was one of the parallels.

An auto in something that cost me $4.99? Not bad. It's a sticker auto, of course, but I'm sure Pirates fans wouldn't spit on this.

I originally assumed these were some sort of nickname insert, but I can see now that this is supposed to be a Player's Weekend parallel. It's weird when a parallel has a completely different design.

Tyler O'Neill's first official Topps rookie card ended up being my only Cardinal pull of the purchase, which is frustrating. I think my Cardinals luck died after I pulled the Harrison Bader /25 auto out of a Bowman Megabox.

In the blaster box, there's a 4-card "bonus pack" of blue parallels. This a nicer color, and is very Bazooka-like.

Is this Photoshopped? I haven't done one of these in awhile.

Embed from Getty Images

Why yes... yes it is.

There are caricature cards in this set, both the original artwork (rare) and reproductions (not so much). This is one of the reproductions. It still congratulates me on the back, for some reason. (Side note: not a caricature fan.)

This is really hard to read, at least for me. Red and blue together usually makes my eyes want to reboot. It's a Ministers of Mash insert, although I would have preferred Monsters or something like that.

This color looks a bit better on an Astros card.

Finally, here's another Player's Weekend parallel. What is up with that nickname? Is it his gamer name or something?

Monday, July 23, 2018

I Hate Allen. I Hate Ginter.

I think I just hate set collecting. 

Self-assessment is often a good thing. I took a good long look at my collecting habits recently and decided that I am really not a set collector. I don't care about a lot of the subjects of the cards I collect. I like the cards of the guys who played for the team that I like, and that's mostly it. Still, the collecting urge is a strong urge, and I'll never stop being interested in what Topps does with its Heritage line (still the best, even as the years drag on.)

I was ready to give up Allen & Ginter.

Before I get to that, I have to confess that I am giving up on something. I'm taking a baby step. I really like this year's Stadium Club design (apparently, I'm in the minority), and in a different time I probably would be working hard on this thing. Instead, I'm letting the cards pile up before I send them all off in trades. I don't need them. I also don't need any of my 2015 Stadium Club cards, a set I had semi-sorta stealth collected for awhile, until I realized that unopened product would never be affordable on the secondary market because of stupid Kris Bryant.

One of the things I hate so much about this hobby is that it only takes one player these days... one card, even... to ruin it for everyone.

I'm breaking up my feeble attempt at the past Stadium Club set, and possibly looking to thin out some of my other side pursuits. Unfortunately, for the time being anyway, my pursuit at 13 straight years of Allen & Ginter is continuing onward. I think I'm just going to buy stuff a lot more cautiously this time around.

The only thing I've purchased so far is one of the 3-pack rack packs. It did contain a Cardinal card, which is nice. Unfortunately, it's one of these landscape oriented insert designs that tends to bore immediately. Also, the idea of Bob Gibson getting behind the idea of fantasy baseball, let alone existing in a period of time when someone might have drafted him for their fantasy team, is a bit laughable. I dare you to go back in time and tell Bob Gibson what his WAR is!

As for the base cards this year, the overall design isn't my favorite, but the color is interested. They are as dark colored as they've ever been. The mini parallels are much closer to the standard white color, though.

I do appreciate that these cards are often educational. I could currently tell you absolutely zero facts about any moon outside of the Earth's orbit.

A couple of complaints here, while I'm in that sort of mood: One, I miss Old Planter. Doesn't everybody? What the hell is this logo?

My other complaint is that, strictly for the mini cards, they moved the team name below the player name. I have no idea why they did this, but it looks off.

Those 3-pack retail rack packs come with gold parallels once again this year. I never saw a single one of these packs last year, and fully expect that by the time I return to the Target where I purchased this, they will all be gone. And that's probably just fine, because I should stop spending money on this set.

I just can't quit it, though.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Some Updates

Caption contest? 

Group Break stuff: I still have yet to ship the majority of this stuff, but I am preparing to send a bunch out this coming Friday. I've bought too many blasters lately and need to divert most of my card-buying funds to shipping.


I wrote about a thirty-six year old pack over at A Pack To Be Named Later.


I am finally, completely done with my Portland Trail Blazers want list after finishing up with cataloging my collection earlier this year. The full want lists (as always, minus any serial numbered/autographed/memorabilia laden cards) can be found here. The full collection is documented here.

Meanwhile, my Cardinals collection is 99.9% up to date, and I have started the extensive work on the want lists. Have any requests? (i.e. "I have a bunch of 1997 Score cards and I want to know what you're truly missing!") Just let me know!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Totally Raz!

@chonk34 sends along a huge pile of Cardinals cards (and more!) 

We jump start the second "half" of the MLB season tomorrow with a spotlight on the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry. For good luck, and to dig out of the hole I put myself in, I'm taking a look at a bunch of cards sent my way from The Raz Card Blog back in April. Yes, April was a long time ago... shut up, I know what I'm doing, etc.

A solid chunk of the cards were from the online exclusive 2017 Topps Mini set, which was allegedly printed "on demand" this time around. I didn't even know it was a thing, so it could very well be that not many of these cards were printed. There were the usual base cards from Series 1 and 2, and also the '87 style inserts like doomed Alex Reyes here.

Harrison Bader is a player I'm very excited about right now, and I've already begun to build up a base of his nicer cards. Is there anything nicer than an on-card Heritage autograph? No, of course not! This is one of the things Topps does well, even if Bader looks like he's 15 here. He was actually injured in the final game before the All-Star Break (aka Post-Matheny Era Game 1), and I haven't heard a word about him since. Hopefully, in this case, no news is good news?

Raz included some shiny Chrome parallels from last year's Bowman Draft set. I don't really know these names, but it should be fun to dig these back up in a few years and see how the dudes are progressing. I'n guessing Kramer will get a haircut at some point.

'80s slugger Jack Clark is somewhat lightly represented in my collection (63 unique cards so far), and this is clearly one of the best that I own now. Unfortunately, he was somewhat famously sued by Albert Pujols for making PED allegations about him on a radio show and just generally seems like kind of an obnoxious character. Sometimes I stop focusing on the baseball aspect of collecting player's cards, which is frustrating.

Here's Matt Carpenter, featured on a Bowman Chrome card from last year that throws back to his first, weirdly cropped Bowman card.

I wish Matt Carpenter had made the All-Star team. Unfortunately, Cardinal fan apathy had hit a new low right about the time people were supposed to vote for players. Also, I love Tek/Hi Tek! I wish I could afford more of it.

Dexter looks anguished. Dexter should feel better now that Matheny's gone. I'm hoping for a big final couple of months for Dexter.

It's former Cardinal Randal with One L on one of those super thick Topps Inception cards. (I never really understood how the name of this set fits.)

This is kind of a goofy looking card, but it's a nice addition to the collection.

2008 notwithstanding, the 2014 Stadium Club set was the official return for the populate product. They didn't go full borderless until 2015, which makes this look like a bit of an outlier. This Ozzie Smith card is a foil parallel. It's kind of subtle.

Raz is a big Houston Rockets fan, and the majority of the stuff I've sent him has ended up being basketball. I have a lot of excess basketball cards. It was cool to get some Blazers stuff back. This past season's Optic set was one of the first looks at the new Nike uniforms on cards.

Unfortunately, one of Panini's problems is their seemingly unlimited thirst for parallels. This is a special Mega Box parallel of Blazers rookie Zach Collins. I like Zach, though, and am definitely looking forward to seeing if he can improve on his rookie season as he's already showed some promise befitting of a lottery pick.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Derby Night Trade Post

@ShaneKatz73 sends over a heap of Cardinals: vintage, retro and more! 

This season has been a slog for the Cardinals (just ask the recently fired manager!), so it's actually nice to get a little break from baseball and watch the exhibitions. Congrats to Bryce and his hair and all that, but I was actually most impressed with Rhys Hoskins tonight. I hadn't seen him play a ton, but his swing just looked so effortless compared to the rest of the contestants. I doubt the Home Run Derby will screw up that swing.

I'd like to think I'll take advantage of the break to get through my own personal slog of backlogged trade post material, but I try to do this every week and it rarely works out. We soldier on to a quite intimidating pile of Cardinals goodies from Shane from the blog Off The Wall. This was a trade I largely worked out on Twitter, which is a fairly new thing for me.

We kick things off with mins. Minis are the best! I prefer the tobacco card sized minis to the '75 Topps shaped minis, but to each his/her own.

It was fun to see some on-card autos in the mix (TTM? in person?! mysteries!) I wouldn't consider myself an autograph hunter, but I've built up a nice little group of cards like these that would be fun to show off in a display somewhere someday.

For such a weird little signature here, it doesn't actually look like it would be all that quick of a signature. My signature certainly has become more, let's say, efficient over the years.

Growing up the '80s and starting to collect in the '80s means that there aren't a ton of '80s oddballs that I haven't seen. This is one of those, however. This looks sort of like someone pasted another card on top of a 1987 Fleer card.

You've got to love vintage team cards. No, seriously, you do.

Floating Carpenter Head Alert! This was a welcome inclusion in the 2012 Topps Heritage set. I am still lacking some of the floating head stickers.

The next Cardinals manager?! I am interested in seeing how the interim guy does with the rest of the season, and how many times his zero MLB playing experience will be brought up over the course of the dog days of summer.

Here's a fun unlicensed Joe Magrane card. People called cards like these "Broders" back in the day, for a reason that was never quite sufficiently explained to me, at least at the time. (Apparently there was a mythical sports card bootlegger named Rob Broder, who filled the hearts and minds of happy collectors with awesome fake Bo Jackson baseball cards, or whatever.)

Mark McGwire calls BS on this whole Broder thing.

Unlicensed cards make Sad Toothpick Sam Jones even sadder.

(Truthfully, I love weird cards, and that includes some unlicensed things and customs. 2018 Donruss is horrible, though.)

The gem of the lot, and the reason you bothered to scroll (or swipe?) down this far, is this glorious box topper from the 2015 Topps Heritage set. It's a cool patch card modeled after an obscure 1966 release that you can read more about here. As much as I'm starting to question my own interests in set collecting and Topps products in general, I absolutely love the weird nods to the past that they have been included in the Heritage product line. Topps Heritage is great! Everything else is Bootleg Donruss.