Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Mini Mania

The @nightowlcards delivers a large amount of small cards. 

Top tier blogger and Beckett contributor of late Night Owl Cards sent along another excellent package of stuff to me back in November. This one was largely comprised of minis from the most recent Allen & Ginter set. Interestingly enough, I actually bought a couple of loose A&G packs tonight during a grocery run and ended up with a mini of that blasted egg card.

These minis were much more exciting than the dreaded egg. This one is an insert from Topps' tribute to acrophobia, apparently.

Topps has done various plants and flowers in Allen & Ginter sets, sometimes even including seeds inside. This one is of the seedless variety.

Here are even more minis! I considered making a mini pyramid (of minis), but this ended up looking more like the reverse funnel system.

Night Owl also sent some full-sized cards, including this much needed short print from the 2018 Heritage set. I only need 80 more of those, probably.

There were Cardinals, too, including this not-as-ordinary-as-you'd-think card of the White Rat. There was a special on MLB Network tonight about the '80s Cardinals that I'm sure I will enjoy watching later.

See? It's not ordinary, it's a Tiffany!

And speaking of not ordinary, here's Yadi, who plans to retire a Cardinal... if he ever retires at all.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Stats: Advanced Edition

Are you ready for these numbers?

Here's my most recent Listia pickup, and it's super ordinary looking on the face of it. I completely missed it, but in 2019 (at least) Topps extended their idea of card back variations containing advanced stats for players throughout the entire set.

Rather than choosing a handful of cards to create variations for, we get a serial numbered card with different stat categories for each card in the set. Well... maybe. I don't see how this would work for team cards, checklists, or even rookie cards unless they actually have these same stat categories for minor league numbers or did something totally different than usual with the backs. After a brief check of available card images on TCDB, I wasn't able to find any images for RC cards or other non-single player cards with typical backs.

All of this makes me wonder what the print runs were for the earlier stat back variations. I think I only have a couple of those.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Shiny and Gold

Another fresh batch of Cardinals from a fellow Cardinals fan. 

As a team collector, it rarely beats the feeling of dumping cards from a rival team on someone and getting some stuff from your team in return. For me, it's kind of like swapping a bowl of slimy mushroom and beet salad for a fresh brick oven pizza. (To be fair, I actually really like salad, but not so much those particular veggies.)

However, sometimes it's even better to swap items with someone who is into the same team as you. I end up with a crateload full of Cardinals doubles by the very nature of being a team collector, and I imagine Ray from All Cardinals All The Time is in a similar boat. 2019 was a very productive year for Cardinals-for-Cardinals trades, at least on my side, so I'm hopeful that I was able to add as much of the good stuff to his collection as he did to mine. He's a few highlights from an envelope received back in November.

There's an incredible amount of Bowman parallels, many with their own "flair" added to the color scheme. I'm just going to call this "blue wave" for now, even though it might not be.

I know that I figured out where the Kaminsky and Tilson cards belonged in the TCDB database back when I first opened this stuff, but again I'm just going to stick with "blue wave" for tonight. See, it's kinda wavy? I don't tend to open a ton of Bowman, and when I do it's pretty much always retail, so I only usually see the basic refractors.

Here's a nice trio of gold Bowman parallels, something that Topps has done away with in recent years. I don't necessarily love the gold look on these, but I feel that they have somehow made the Bowman product much more boring lately. I feel like I had a lot more fun with this pack break from 2007, for example.

Here's one last shiny parallel in the form of a Matt Adams "prism" refractor. These seemed destined to replace the "X-Fractor" at some point, but I see that they're still making those as recently as 2019.

Thanks again to Ray. I think I have at least another one of these packages from him to recap in the near future.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Ineffective Phil

Chronicling the famous knuckleballer's brief time with the Blue Jays. 

There was a nice batch of oddballs in my most recent Goodwill find, including a bunch of Classic game cards from 1987 and 1988 that I hadn't seen much. This Phil Niekro card stood out the most, as I had no recollection of Niekro ever wearing a Blue Jays uniform in baseball card form or otherwise.

As it turns out, it wasn't such a great time for Phil! Can you imagine Niekro ever signing the back of this card? I will cherish it forever.

I believe there are three Niekro cards in this set, most likely representing each of the three teams he played for in his final season. I wonder if the stats were just too gruesome to look at.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Out of the Woodwork

@jedijeff13 is back in the blogging game, and back to sending me cards. 

Everyone's favorite White Sox fan dusted off the ol' blog recently after a little bit of a layoff, which is always nice to see. Another nice thing to see was a bunch of cards in the mail from said blogger, which showed up in the ol' mailbox back in November. Among the bunch were a bunch of Cardinals cards that I needed, because that's the fuel I need to survive the cold winter months. (I mean, not literally. I don't burn cards anymore.)

This shiny Chrome'd up Matt Carpenter card from 2018 Topps Heritage is not very flammable, even if I did get some crazy ideas. Since Topps dropped the print run of these awhile back, it's definitely a pretty rare occasion for me to pull them.

I'm not really familiar with Panini's Golden Age sets at all, which made this card doubly unfamiliar to me. It appears to be some sort of insert tribute to 1913. Pretty cool, honestly.

Topps apparently ditched the Spring Fever hobby promo awhile back in favor of yet another incarnation of printing new cards on old designs. It would be nice if Topps actually had to come up with a new card design from time to time, although my biggest complaint with these were that they really had no connection to Spring Training itself. I would love to see a Spring Training themed set, but I can't see that happening.

As much as I loathe the return of the Topps Gallery (thanks, Walmart) sets, this insert is really nice looking. The artwork on the base cards is just... not for me. I'll leave it at that.

Jeff sent over a bunch of set needs, including a rare Hit Parade of Champions insert from the old 2008 Goudey set. You know, that one I started about a year into this blog? The one I never finished? That one! These Hit Parade cards are actually smaller than the regular base cards, but I have a hard time talking myself into shrinking down Bill Russell.

Here's David Dahl on one of those retail-exclusive inserts from the 2017 Topps Heritage set. I still need a bunch of these, I believe. I really should have found a way to make it to this month's card show as I recall there's a regular table that usually has lots of recent-ish Heritage inserts.

The golden ticket of the bunch was also from a Panini Golden Age set. This one is a game-used bat chunk from Lou Brock. It's another outstanding card (and package) from an outstanding blogger!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Twitter Trade

@LundoCalrossian sends a bunch of primo Cardinals goodies. 

My few card dealings with people I primarily know through Twitter have been a bit of a mixed bag, but I've had a couple of really nice trades. This batch I got back in the fall from Ross (@LundoCalrossian) was definitely in this category. I ended up adding a bunch of newer Cardinals to my collection, including the red Lou Brock Optic insert parallel that's numbered to just 99. Let's take a look at a few more.

I finally broke down and opened some Topps Fire this year after sort of ignoring it since it came to life on the dangerous shelves of your local Target (and for some reason, my local Fred Meyer) stores. I hadn't really gone back to look at the previous year's releases much, so it was cool to snag a gold parallel of the mercurial Cardinals hurler Carlos Martinez. It looks like he's going to be swallowed up here.

Look ma, no nameplate!

I dabbled in the Bowman Mega Box thing back in 2018, so it was a little bit surprising that I didn't already own this Bader insert card from that configuration. I'm not sure that I saw a single Mega Box this year, which is probably fine because it theoretically means I have more money. I'll always have that Bader orange autograph that I pulled, though. That was fun!

Panini Prizm looks great, but like all Panini products, it suffers from the sort of Nutrasweet effect (or whatever the artificial sweetner is these days... Stevia?) I get what it's doing but I wish it was something else... like sugar.

Still, I want all of the Prizm Cardinals cards, even all of the crazy rainbow parallels. I will be hunting these down for all of eternity, I am sure.

We're back to that 2017 Topps Fire set here with a blue (flame?) Edgar Renteria parallel. For some reason, Renteria actually looks like he's starting to emerge from the flames (?) rather than be engulfed by them.

Ross also sent over a couple of sticker/cards from the latest Topps Sticker album set. I wonder if they are sticking with this concept for 2020.

I couldn't actually find this one in the TCDB database, but I'm quite confident that I don't have it. I think there's already a 2015 Springfield Cardinals set in the database, but this must either be from a different stadium giveaway version or some sort of update set. I really wish there was better documentation on modern minor league sets.

Here's another Alex Reyes card. This one a very cool autographed version from the 2017 Gypsy Queen set. Reyes seems to be on his last, LAST chance with the organization at this point, but I suppose it's possible he could surprise a lot of people and follow through on the talent he'd shown when he wasn't dealing with injuries (both self-inflicted and otherwise) and suspension.

Finally, this is a rarely seen short print of Big Mac from the 2019 Gypsy Queen set. This was new to me and finally finished off my team set, excluding variations and inserts, of course.

Thanks again to Ross!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

No Bubbles, Just Cards

Round and rectangular. Both kinds. 

Have you heard, guys? There's some sort of huge scandal going on in baseball. Someone is impersonating Cardinals legend Omar Olivares and using his good name to try to sell bogus baseball memorabilia. Have you ever heard of such a thing?!

To distract ourselves from all of the Twitter madness, let's check out some cards from Bob of The Best Bubble. Bob is an enthusiast of bubble gum blowing on cards and other sorts of oddball things. I believe this is already the third package sent by him that's been documented here, all full of interesting Cardinals goodies.

I have to admit that I'm not sure what I was thinking when I scanned this card, however. Those silver foil background cards from a couple of decades ago never scan well. It's 2020 now, so I should always be thinking about future technology I guess, which should probably include better options for displaying cards on my blog. Maybe.

Bob likes sending me minor league cards, which is awesome. I feel like this card is a pretty good demonstration of the differences between Ozzie and his more famous twin Jose. Ozzie is clearly a huge dude himself, but there's something a little bit more awkward about him as you look at him trying not to be fooled by a Triple-A curveball.

I really liked these mini Bowman inserts from 2015, which featured the top 5 prospects from each team's system in a flashy refractory style. It's weird to see Stephen Piscotty wearing #11 here, though. It's a number usually associated with Jose Oquendo and (sometimes) Paul DeJong.

I am usually not one for... let's call them CGI backgrounds. Part of the beauty of the game of baseball is the big green field, right? That said, for whatever reason, I absolutely love this 2004 SPx set. It's probably a good thing I wasn't paying attention to baseball cards in 2004, or I might have spent a bunch of cash on this stuff.

From the flash of mid-00's Upper Deck to the present day Panini art canvas we go with this Yadier Molina insert from the 2018 Diamond Kings set. It's a good looking card, but once again the lack of logos makes me miss the MLB license pre-exclusivity days.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Contest Results!

And the winner is... Targeting Confirmed! 

The contest is over, and we have some winners to announce! The first place prize is awarded to GLM1 (Targeting Confirmed), who led the group with 698 points. I don't know how well that stacks up against previous years, but it sounds to me like a really good number.

In second place, and still up for a fancy prize is leiber88. And in third place is C_hawkfan. Both were very close and will get prizes mailed out as soon as I can get to them.

Finally, the walk of shame will be performed by longtime blogger Nachos Grande. Feel free to head on over to his blog to give him your sympathies/taunts.

And... in case you missed it, this year's Belk Bowl winner was The Bucs Stop Here. This might be the final Belk Bowl contest, in fact, if the Twitter rumors are true and this post isn't just the workings of a bored intern.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Ghosts from the Past

Minor League cards from a dormant Portland team from @padrographs -- plus new Topps Total and Stadium Club Cards!

If I was a better Portland baseball fan, I would do regular features on the old Portland minor league teams here. I'd probably even promote the Portland Diamond Project, even though there hasn't been a whole lot of news of late. I started going to Portland Beavers game as a small child early in the '80s, a tradition that continued through my high school years and resumed in the '00s before the team was forced out once again.

I do have a Portland Beavers collection, which increased dramatically thanks to a large donation from Rod from Padrographs. There were tons of fun cards and memories in this bunch, including early '90s fan favorite Jarvis Brown, with interesting Civic Stadium outfield wall ads from Hamm's and Reser's on display.

My collecting habits started to wane in 1992, so I didn't have any of these '92 "Pre-Rookie" SkyBox cards. Danny Sheaffer would end up being a (future) Cardinal at some point.

The first and (for a long time) only Portland Beavers team set I owned was purchased at the stadium in 1988, but it was missing this Eric Bullock card. More than thirty years later, it is finally complete!

Rod also sent along a complete team set of the short-lived Portland Rockies which I still need to scan to add to the TCDB site. I'm saving that one for a rainy day, so you may see a bonus post about this package at some point.

As teased above, Rod also sent some choice cards from the big league team I root for. Continuing on with the online-exclusive Topps Total set is a reliever that originally came up in the St. Louis system but was a shell of his former self by the time he got to pitch wearing the Birds on the Bat.

I'm hoping Miles Mikolas will be an anchor for the 2020 rotation. His 2019 season wasn't exactly great, but he stayed healthy and didn't do anything to lose his position.

Among the bunch of cards from Rod were some slick 2019 Stadium Club parallels, like this sepia Johnny Mize version.

This is a wild high five. I should try to figure out what game this was from. Ozuna's name is emblazoned in red foil here.

Here's a black foil parallel of the Ozzie Smith card we previously established was of the Wizard doing his thing in front of the Hall of Fame. Nice!

I have been a huge fan of the quirky, period-specific inserts that have ended up in the Topps Heritage sets in recent years. These "Candy Lids" things are no exception. This is actually the second one of Goldschmidt that I've acquired, which means this will be headed to my set binder.

Thanks again to Padrographs!