Sunday, December 29, 2019

My Secret Santa Brought Me Turkey

A heaping helping of one of my all-time favorite sets from @cardboardgreats plus some Redbird needs. 

I entered this year's Secret Santa pool, currently operated by Jon of A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts (I happened to draw The Lost Collector). My Santa was Henry of Cardboard Greats, who is a fan of those New England area teams. You know the ones.

Turkey Red is a favorite of mine, and something that tends to get buried in my want lists as the primary sets from their revival are now well over a decade old. As such, it was very exciting receive a stack of these cards, all from the 2005 edition.

Here's one of an active(ish) player, with CC set to hang it up after suffering an injury in the playoffs this past fall.

I really love the color parallels in these sets, which is what made the 2007 set (and subsequent smaller releases) a bit disappointing. Eric Hinske isn't a name we've heard in awhile!

Here's Johan Santana on another red parallel. This one is a variation as it has the Turkey Red ad back instead of the usual text. It's interesting that Santana stuck with #57 for his entire career, considering most guys switch to a lower number once they begin to get established. It must have had some sort of significance to him.

I had never seen one of these gold parallels before. This card of the Hall of Famer (and current Nugenix pitchman) Frank Thomas is numbered to just 50. I didn't even mention these on my wants at the time, but will gladly take any of these. They are so much nicer than the Chrome parallels from the 2007 set.

Henry, er... I mean, Santa also knew that I am a big Cardinals fan, and hit up my want lists accordingly. I can't help but post a scan of every Fleer Greats card that I acquire, including this Dizzy Dean from 2002.

There were several cards from the 2005 Bowman Heritage collection included. David Eckstein will represent the bunch.

Flashing forward to 2019, here's an insert from the current Panini Prizm set. Can someone grant Panini an exception to the Topps exclusivity thing and get some logos on these cards? There's a reason Prizm is so popular in other sports.

And for the grand finale, it's a Paul DeJong 2019 Topps Heritage autograph. There's not much more to say here except that I love it!

I'll have a couple more holiday-related things to show off this week, and then we'll head back to catching up on stuff from the fall.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Contest Update and a Thank You Gift

There's still time to win a prize. 

We're still early yet, but a few people in our group have already established themselves in the 99th percentile of all participants in the bowl pick 'em contest. Jafronius is the leader right now, with maxleemar and GLM1 following close behind. There's been a number of upsets already, which explains my dreadful position. At least, that's what I'm going to tell myself.

If you haven't made your Belk Bowl pick yet, head out to the original post and comment away. This is a simple one as you just have to pick the final score. Closest guess wins some shiny new Topps stuff. The game itself is on New Year's Eve, so you have until kickoff.

Finally, a kind TCDB denizen (and Blazers fan?!) named Steven sent along the badge you see at the top of the post as a thank you for performing some sort of task on the website. It's a souvenir from the first post-9/11 game at the Rose Garden Arena here in Portland. I had never seen one of these before. It's an interesting piece of history for sure.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Let the Kids Play and All of That

The final @CrackinWaxMailday of 2019 is all about the kids. 

There was one product left on the release calendar in the Bowman subscription I purchased from Crackin' Wax way back near the beginning of this year. It's the hobby-only Bowman Draft. I'm probably not as excited about this set as most, because it's strictly for the prospects. However, these cards are always fun to look at several years down the road, where you can play games like "Whatever Happened to That Guy?" and "Wow, That's What He Used to Look Like!"

While there wasn't a big hit to be found for my team, I did manage to get two full sets of Chrome refractors, which is pretty cool. Conner Capel is a guy I've been hearing more about lately. He was one of the players acquired in the much maligned Oscar Mercado deal. Only time will tell with these guys.

There's probably a good case to be made for not going after some of the big 3B names on the free agent and potential trade markets when you have Nolan Gorman waiting in the wings.

Luken Baker was also one of the prospects in the Bowman set at the beginning of the year.

I believe this is one of my first Mateo Gil cards. I have no idea who he is.

Now we're on to the "1st" Bowman guys, which guarantees that I won't know anything about them right now. Pallante is probably not actually wearing a Cardinals uniform here.

Fletcher looks like a little kid.

Hey, here's a guy. Cool.

I've actually heard of Zack Thompson, who was the Cards' top pick this year.

As a bonus, I also managed to snag a "sky blue" paper parallel numbered to 499 of Thompson.

And finally, the best card of the bunch is this green parallel of the team's Draft Progression insert, which is numbered to 99. I am not sure how Zach Kirtley ended up in this group as the representative from the 2017 draft, but it looks like that was probably the year the Cardinals were penalized for the guy who logged into an Astros guy's account and stole some draft and scouting information from the team (which is kind of funny to think about in light of more recent Astros developments). They didn't have a pick until round 3 (Scott Hurst?) and it kind of feels like Kirtley's name was drawn out of a hat.

Thus concludes a fun year of breaks. I'm currently considering my card buying strategy for next year. Does anyone want to bust open some older stuff?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Even More Cards from Bob

A reader sent more cards in between the last post and the post before the last post. 

If these posts were Star Wars movies, this would be more of an Empire Strikes Back rather than a The Last Jedi. As mentioned previously, reader Bob sent a series of packages my way earlier in the fall, and I just so happened to get the order mixed up. Here's a few cards from the second one (which in Star Wars logic is actually the fifth, but whatever.)

Bob sent a healthy grouping of minor league cards, which is timely because I just got around to building a minor league want list this year. This twenty year old card features the late Chris Duncan in his early professional days.

Here's Jimmy Baseball on a Gold Label gold tiered parallel that is fitting for him, I suppose. Gold Label always looks cool, though.

Former Cardinals prospect Dan Haren put together a pretty nice career as a starter. He wasn't quite fully formed as a Cardinal, but he's fondly remembered nonetheless.

There should be more mini posters in card sets. Seriously.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Better Bump and Run to the Contest!

Trevor has signed up... have you? 

The contest of the year (at least until the next one) is back, and there's still a few more days left to sign up. Follow the link for the details and check it out!

Trevor of Bump and Run sent over a PWE awhile back, so I figured this was as good of a time as any to show off some of the cards. That is, after all, what I tend to do here.

Along with the green bordered Harrison Bader parallel from this year's Gypsy Queen, I also picked up one of those fancy blue Opening Day parallels of staff ace Jack Flaherty. Please continue sending me all your Flaherty cards, various denizens of the internet. I appreciate them!

For some reason I still haven't wrapped up the Topps Big League team set, but this base card of Cafecito put me one step closer.

Thanks again, and don't forget to sign up! If making all of those picks is too daunting, don't forget that there's a side quest which just involves predicting one thing. One thing! You can do it.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Birds of a Feather

They flock together. Just ask @forgotaboutblay -

Mega Michigan fan (and Detroit Tigers, don't forget!) Dennis of Too Many Manninghams/Verlanders may have outdone himself this time. In this latest (let's just pretend it's recent) package was a nearly constant parade of autographed cards, something I'm still trying to adjust to now that it's been a couple of months. There were quite a few Ducks alums in the batch, and these usually get held over for a future "Good Luck Ducks" post. Since we're getting closer to year-end, I thought I'd do a blowout on these and show off all the scans that I made so I can start fresh next season. (I did hold out one card from this stellar package for the Rose Bowl.)

Josh Huff was a great all-purpose player (i.e. he was really fast) in his time with the Ducks, and it was cool to see him suit up for my pro team of choice. He got into some legal trouble in recent years, but is still playing professionally... just not in the NFL any longer.

Jeremiah Johnson is always going to remind me of the late '00s college football video game franchises that sadly no longer exist. He played second fiddle to Jonathan Stewart for quite awhile, but he was really good in his way. Since people are actually seriously talking about opening up compensation for college athletes now, I suppose we could eventually see licensed college sports video games become a thing again... maybe?

LaMichael James! I just wish the 49ers didn't instinctively make me feel like throwing up my dinner.

I don't remember James wearing #17 at any point, especially considering that it's more of a wide receiver number. Is this some other guy?

This is a very intricately designed card. It's actually hollow in the middle, apparently. I should probably have more of these, even if (non-college) football isn't really my thing.

I don't really want to talk about what's happened with Mariota and his pro team at this point, so let's check out this really cool die cut insert that features him as a Duck. I was never a huge fan of the feathers on the helmet (uniforms are one of the only places where I turn into a traditionalist), but this card makes them look good. This is a sneaky candidate for my favorite card of the package, despite the fact that it's one of the few that isn't numbered, signed or embedded with some piece of a thing.

Rolls Royce! I wish there was an NFL Red Zone type channel that catered specifically to players from my college of choice, because I just don't care that much about the actual games. (I say this, and yet I'll probably watch my share of playoff games anyway.)

And with this Jack Clark Starting Lineup card, we are officially done with football (for this post, anyway.) Is everyone okay with that? Do you even think this is a baseball card blog anymore?

Here's one for the more-bang-for-the-buck Panini Leather & Lumber set. They sold blasters of this stuff which only contained something like 10 cards for the normal $19.99 price. For this reason, I am going to covet the base cards I need, like this one of Matt Carpenter.

I hadn't seen any gold minis from the 2016 Gypsy Queen set before, but there's always a first time for anything. With Marcell Ozuna's imminent departure, the Cards could certainly use a guy like Piscotty again.

Shiny Waino?! Is it really Christmas? (No, it --was-- October.) This is great, though.

Finally, we swing back to that same Panini Leather & Lumber set, with what Panini came up with as a suitable replacement for those old Upper Deck Sweet Swatch autographs that always used to fade into oblivion. Hopefully Panini got these guys to sign these chunks of baseballs with better pens... or maybe these aren't really baseball chunks at all. In any case, these look really cool (despite the lack of licensing and tiny photo) and I hope to track down more like this soon.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Black Friday Cards

Free cards, more or less. 

I don't usually go all out on Black Friday (or Wednesday, or whenever it is now.) I usually look around to see if there's anything I actually need in case there's a nice deal on it. In the past couple of years, when November finally hit, I actually bought a new TV and more recently a PS4. This isn't really the norm for me.

For 2019, I wasn't really in need of anything significant, but I did know I hadn't bought any cards in awhile. I decided to make a couple of smaller orders from Panini and Topps. It was only today that the first order (Panini) showed up. I'd been intrigued by their "free" Black Friday packs for awhile, but this was the first year I actually bit. You get a free pack for every qualifying purchase, and there were a few retail blasters that they were selling that would earn you a pack. Unfortunately, by the time I actually remembered to go place my order, the basketball stuff I was looking at was gone. I ended up going with a couple of Donruss Optic baseball blasters instead, which netted me two Black Friday packs.

Each pack contains two cards, and one of the packs was thin. The other was decidedly not thin. The thin pack led off with this "Rookies" Vlad Jr. card. I've been pulling Vlad Jr. cards left and right this year, which isn't the worst thing in the world, but I'm not entirely convinced he's going to be a world beater. Something about a guy that doesn't really have a defensive position is concerning (see also: Alvarez, Yordan.) I should probably try to sell off the stuff I've pulled of his, or at least find a suitable trading partner.

The other card in the thin pack was a /25 card of the soccer legend Ronaldo. Even Homer Simpson knows who he is. I should also mention at this point that the packs you could choose from were something like "football" and "non-football". Of course, I chose non-football.

So how did I end up with this? I guess the "non-football" packs really meant "multi-sport", which includes college football. Barkley is the would-be star running back with the New York Giants now, but is pictured here in his college uniform. This was also what gave the fat pack its fatness, with a ridiculously huge (probably totally real) jersey swatch. It's numbered to 50.

Card two from the second pack is a parallel (/99) of the base set. Yes, there's actually a 40 card base set, but your chances of actually pulling a base card seem to not be so great. I wish I had scanned this a little better. I also wish I had pulled a Damian Lillard instead of a Kings player. Such is life when you are dealing with two card packs.

There's more to this story, however! Over the summer, I ended up with some "Panini Points", which apparently is some sort of thing they slip into boxes from time to time. Mine was in one of those Leather & Lumber blasters where you only really get a few cards. I had seen complaints online about this rewards system, mostly due to having to pay shipping on some cards that may not be worth much more than the cost of shipping. Well, the way to beat the system is to have these thrown in with an order you're already making. I picked up this pretty stellar on-card autograph of former Blazers star Cliff(ord) Robinson from a set that came out about 5 years ago for basically nothing.

I also picked up this /99 rookie jersey card of one Meyers Leonard. Meyers was formerly tied with Damian Lillard as the longest tenured Blazer, but that tenure ran out after last season as he was dealt to Miami. Even though it's not my style to start snatching up cards of Blazers who have recently moved on elsewhere, I realized that I'm always going to have a soft spot for the players on the recent team that went to the Western Conference Finals this past spring. I might not be as sentimental about them as I am with those players of the Finals teams back in the early '90s, but it was a fun season nonetheless.

And what of those Donruss Optic blasters, you say? Well, aside from a 150th Anniversary Mookie Betts parallel that will certainly find a home somewhere else, there wasn't much to talk about there.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Reader Bob Strikes Again

More intriguing Redbirds stuff from over the years. 

A few weeks back I wrote about a package of stuff from a first-time trade partner who stumbled across this blog once upon a time. On the heels of receiving that package was another one with some more great Cardinals cards to add to my collection.

Steve Carlton's early days with St. Louis were long before my time, so I appreciate it when I come across a card of Lefty that I don't have where he's wearing the Birds on the Bat.

Here's J.D. Drew on a numbered card from back in 2003, which was in turning flashing back to his days as a rookie in the late '90s. Now that it's some sixteen years later, the whole flashback thing seems a bit silly.

In a better example of a flashback, here's one from one of those Fleer Greats sets that I love. This is the one from 2004 that has a raised frame border. The cards look great, even if most of the ones I've seen have some chipping on the edges.

I mostly ignored this Sportflics release from 1986 (Decade Greats) because it was the first year I was collecting, and I was also still in grade school. The last thing I wanted to care about was a bunch of old ghosts in black & white shots. Now, of course, I find the history fascinating and want these all (well, just Cardinals) in my collection.

Thanks again for the great stuff from Bob!