Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Variety Pack

Buckstorecards is all about variety. 

Whenever I get something in the mail from Sportscards From The Dollar Store, I know that it's never going to be boring. Usually all three, and sometimes four, major sports are represented, and that was certainly the case with the stuff I got back in May. I actually got two packages from our friend within the span of a couple of weeks. I'll save the second one for a later post.

Plenty of Trail Blazers were to be had, included a whole stack of Panini Prizm Mosaic cards. I guess I can't fully blame Panini for the rainbow parallel madness that has affected some of their products because they probably learned it by watching Bowman.

The cards all have this diamond shaped design to them, and were made available as a completely separate set from the regular Prizm product. Necessary? Probably not. But they look good.

The base (?) card scanned the best. Biggie Swanigan looks good here. It'll be interesting to see if Swanigan can get more playing time this season with Ed Davis (sigh...) out of the picture.

Boom! From the present to the (not so distant past) with a low numbered Nic Batum card. Batum was one of my favorites in his time with Portland, though I usually find it easy to root for most Blazers. This one is numbered 24/25.

Back to the present we go with Big Zach Collins, or Big Zach as I like to call him. Or just Zach. I don't really talk about him much, actually.

Whenever new baseball prospect sets come out, I am always scratching my head over the player names. I don't know any of these guys! I ended up with a few of these Panini Elite Extra Edition cards, including this Aspirations parallel of a guy named Johan Oviedo. He's young.

Football! AHH! Football (college, anyway) is starting up this week, and I am super not ready for it. Jay Ajayi proved to be the final piece of the puzzle for the Eagles, who shocked the league and won the Super Bowl after, well, shocking the league by being the best team in the regular season.

Ducks... game... in... less than 3 days! I need to work on my breathing routines.

Finally, here's a cool shiny serial numbered Donovan McNabb card for my Eagles collection. When I think of McNabb these days, I mostly think of playing NFL2K, which was pretty great until someone ruined my fun and took their license away.

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Golden Deal

Glittery gold goodies from the @acrackedbat world. 

Back in May, which may as well be forever ago, Tigers fan Julie of A Cracked Bat sent me some cards of my own team, the one that sat in the opposing dugout in the 2006 World Series. While there weren't many Cardinals cards from that particular team in the package (they've probably all been destroyed by now), there were plenty of oldies and new guys (newies?) to be had.

There were a lot of great cards in the package, and I'm probably not doing it great justice by only showing off as many as would fit in my scanner in one pass. This Allen Craig mini from 2013 is numbered to 99.

Jim Edmonds looks like he's waiting for something to land here. He's been part of the rotation of analysts calling games for the Cardinals regional sports network once again this season, and there was a discussion about all of the various nicknames people have given him over the years. It sounds like he's not super comfortable with any of them... even Jimmy!

I am a little bit more comfortable that John Gast is out of baseball now, as there's absolutely no way I wouldn't constantly get him confused with John Gant. Gant (not Gast, and certainly not Ron) occupies a rotation slot on this year's version of the Cardinals, you see.

John Goodman, striking a pose. This is so good. It's not Jon Hamm, but it'll do.

Next time, Panini needs to snap some photos of various Hall of Famers going through the drive-thru line on their way to the annual induction event.

Topps Tribute is always so delectable, so excessive... if Hedonismbot from Futurama collected baseball cards, this is what he'd be into for sure.

This is more of my jam. A "retail relic" card that most assuredly came as a "bonus" in a blaster somewhere. Wait, does that say pants?

Finally, here's Xavier Scruggs, who played a little bit in 2015 after a September call-up the season before. If you suit up at the right time, Topps might end up including you in their products for a full calendar year, and Scruggs is proof of that. This is actually a parallel from the online-only Topps Mini set. I'd never seen the even-lower numbered black parallels before, only the golds (which I think are number to 50?)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Everything Zeile

Another @flywheels Affordable Group Break takes us back to the mid-'90s. 

I feel like I keep needing to hit the refresh button on Cardboard Collections these days, what with all of the group breaks that have been launched out of that blog. Back in May, 1994 Select and 1995 Score were on the agenda, two sets where I was woefully short of completing my Get All The Cardinals task.

Not every card was a Todd Zeile card, of course, but when I sense a theme it's best to stick with it. Zeile came up through the system as a highly touted prospect at the catcher position, but it wasn't long before he was moved to the hot corner. Zeile ended up playing a lot of positions for a lot of teams throughout his career, and I was surprised to learn recently that he never made an All-Star team.

Gold Zeile! I need more '90s parallels. There are a lot of interesting bits of trivia about Todd Zeile over at his Wikipedia page. You should check them out.

Much to my surprise, there was a bonus white envelope sent my way by Colbey on the same day as the group break package. This is a really cool on-card (c'mon, it was 2000) autograph of Rick Ankiel from his pitching days. It's die cut! It's Pacific! I like everything about this.

I even really like the card back, which provides a different photo of Ankiel on the so-called other side of the baseball. Again, this is really cool. Rick has made some headlines in recent days in his efforts to make a comeback as a pitcher again. I honestly think he just wants to come out of the bullpen for a big league team one of these days just to throw one more time, and I have no problem with this. His book, The Phenomenon, was a surprisingly good read for an athlete book and I highly recommend it. If you happen to read it, you will likely be rooting for him, too, in whatever his future endeavors may be.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Dog Days of the Topps Summer

Topps: The Archiviest! 

I'm not sure why card companies seem to compress their release schedules together so much during this time of year, but another week brings us another new release -- whether we're ready for it or not. This time, it's Topps Archives, which means we've officially reached the point in the summer where it's too hot every day and we're ready for a change (even though we secretly never want summer to end.) I managed to snag the last blaster on the shelf at the downtown Target last Friday, and I've scanned some cards just to prove it.

This year's set pays tribute to releases from 1959, 1977 and 1981. I was having a hard time explaining to someone the other day what this set was all about ("it's, uh, the other set that is just all old designs"). And yet, it's far more interesting than a lot of other stuff that Topps does. It's just, well, not that necessary.

I'm not sure if there's anything special about this Hank Aaron card or not, but it stood out because it uses the "Turn Back the Clock" design from 1977. It's not a reprint, though.

There were a lot of Cardinals in the box. Is now the time for me to rip into what they did to the 1959 design? No? I only just learned about the abominations that are the photo variations in this set where they actually capitalize the player's name (h/t: @nightowlcards and others), so my complaints about how badly centered all of the names look on this set don't seem like the worst problems to address right now. Seriously, though, the old reprints in early '90s Baseball Cards Magazine did a better job in some aspects.

Topps did the best job with the '81s, and that includes this insert concept that pays tribute to assorted team rookies. Flaherty and Bader have been key performers for the 2018 team, while Mejia has been in the minors.

Obligatory Unnecessary Parallel Alert!

Topps reprinted some of their famous rookie cards, and put a ton of gloss on them for some reason. Did they think we would miss the gloss on the more modern cards like Mike Trout? We would not. For some reason, I never really focused on how extremely weird this photo of high school Frank Thomas is, but it's... really... weird. It sort of looks like a fuzzy 3D model of what baseball might look like in the future, sponsored by absolutely no one.

I'm really trying not to look at how much space is between the J and the border, and compare it to how much space there is between the S and the border. But I can't. It's awful.

Not even Ohtani can save us.

The '77s don't bug me as much, but (again) Night Owl has a good write-up of what bugs him about these. A lot of people have written about this set already, but I just haven't had much time lately to catch up on my reading.

I've been pulling Pham cards like crazy, now that he's not with the team anymore.

Again, I'm not sure if there's anything special about this, but it's a take on the old familiar subset from the '59 set.

I'm a fan of this one, of course. It's probably a little weird for Sutter fans to see him in a Cardinals uniform on what was his rookie card year design, though.

I also pulled the requisite Sandlot insert, plus a Sandlot coin and a Kris Bryant coin. The Sandlot stuff has already been promised away at this point. I've never seen The Sandlot. I am also tremendously disappointed that, for the second straight year, there are no Cardinals coins. I blame The Sandlot.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Thick as a Brick

A brick of 2018 Topps Heritage cards -- courtesy of @cardboardhabit -- makes want lists smaller. 

Back in April, I received a ton of 2018 Topps Heritage cards from fellow Heritage collector My Cardboard Habit. Do you think I'm exaggerating?

Take a look at these cards! (I fanned them out for effect.) I just scanned a few of these, as is my usual procedure.

Not even the great sage Ichiro escaped the awkward close-up 2018-by-way-of-1969 Heritage photo treatment. It would have been cool to see him with the Mariners on what could conceivably be his last Heritage card, but no one had any idea what Ichiro was going to do by late last year when this set was coming together.

Full stats! Do you see that, Topps Flagship? Do you feel small now? You should.

The insert sets inspired by old insert sets and weird oddballs are my favorite thing about the Topps Heritage product, and the Deckle Edge cards are the cream of the crop, at least to me. Ozzie Albies has had a fantastic rookie season, which makes this a fun card to revisit at this stage.

Here's the now former Oriole on one of those funky "inspired by the period" designs. I think Topps has mostly done a decent job when they are left to their own devices with these designs.

And here's a now former Cardinal, putting on a huge smile for the camera. Or... he hates this stuff.

Read / Fedde would make a great buddy cop duo. Feel free to suggest some names for this new, wacky TV series.

I'm always pleased to see when key events in the history of civil rights are spotlighted in these sets.

Man, even the checklists are cool, even if this one features Mike "Be More Exciting" Trout.

As always, thanks for reading and indulging me. If you have any extras from this set (and extra time), please check out my want list. I'm still missing a few dozen of the base cards, plus numerous short prints (of course) and inserts. It would be nice to get this closer to a stage of completeness before the inevitable "high numbers" set comes out.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Shiny Style

The weekend in card purchases. 

I didn't go to The National. I didn't make it out to National Baseball Card Day. Hell, I didn't even make it to the monthly card show on Saturday. (I should never write this event on my personal calendar.) What I did end up doing is buying some new cards at Target to enjoy when I got off work on Friday. The centerpiece(s) of this purchase were a blaster and "value pack" of 2018 Topps Chrome. Yes, this is the bougie stuff I used to mock on this very blog until I acquired a taste for it.

You know the drill. Basically, everything here is going to be up for grabs unless it's a Cardinal card. I don't know much about Amed Rosario, but I can assume that his season must not be going well if Jose Reyes is still on the teams. Then again, nothing is really going well for the Mets.

Ugh, gross.

Gimme all your Harrison Bader cards. Thanks!

This was my only Superstar Sensations insert, featuring last season's prodigy Cody Bellinger.

Adrian Beltre in a refractor style.

Shiny Greg Bird.

Paulie D! Paulie D Parallel!

The blasters come with four "sepia" refractors, but these look way too dark and weird to look like old sepia-tone photos.

Topps should ditch these.

I think they did some version of these Future Stars inserts last year, and maybe even the year before?

The fourth sepia refractor is Michael Fulmer, who didn't get traded.

This would have been worth roughly four hundred million dollars if it came out last summer.

Some Cubs guy.

Pink refractors are the bonus from the value packs. If you shop at Target like me, you probably already knew that.

Late career Miggy refractor.

This is a "prism" refractor, which we've seen in other recent Topps Chrome sets. More on this guy later.

This is also a shiny one. I do have base cards that I don't need, of course. (No Ohtani, but I did get an Acuna.)

Prism. Not Ohtani.

Ahhh, this is just scary!

Three cards down for my Cardinals base set, which is pretty good for a set with so few cards per pack.

If you're still reading this, I also managed to pull a Whit Merrifield auto from a value pack from that other Topps set. You know, the one I'm "slow collecting"? This is up for grabs as well.