Thursday, April 30, 2020

Classy Breaks

A couple more @CrackinWax breaks. The good stuff. #CrackinWaxMailDay 

My box break purchases are slowing down a bit, but I still found my way into some interesting stuff this past week over at Crackin' Wax. I never see Topps Gold Label cards just sitting around, because it's a hobby-only thing and it's just... not the type of thing you just see sitting around. I only ended up with a couple of needs, but they are classy cards. Literally!

I think the black parallels look even nicer than the regular cards, but that is probably what everyone thinks. I'll probably end up going after the commons that I need from this set at some point instead of signing up for more breaks, but it's always fun to at least see what might happen.

The marriage of Topps Heritage and minor league teams is much more my speed, so I was excited to jump on a break of 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League. I can only hope that there are more of these breaks in the future. Genesis Cabrera made it to the big club last season and was even on the playoff roster, even though he was more of a "break glass in case of emergency" option at that point. There's a lot of unknowns surrounding him, but everyone seems to like his potential.

I picked up two more cards of the Large Lad Luken (that is my personal nickname for him.)

Baker's autograph (I got a hit, guys!) is signed on a picture of him with one of the Cardinals other class A affiliates, which is pretty fun. I really wish the two Topps minor league sets were even larger in scope so they could get more teams involved, but that wasn't likely to happen even before the looming specter of minor league contraction takes its icy grip over the game. It's such a shame. I hope they can work something out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Down on the Farm: The 2005 Johnson City Cardinals

Even a Rookie League team gets some cards. 

I meant to continue "Down on the Farm" as a regular feature, but for some reason I had to reach all the way back to a post from last November to recall what I even decided to call this thing. The premise is that I've been slowly working on acquiring minor league team sets, when the price is right. Here is where I'll show off a few of the cards.

This wasn't a big time team for stars, which isn't all that surprising considering that it's minor league baseball at its lowest level. We do have my first card of the son of a former Cardinal star in A.J. Van Slyke. This is my first card of the younger Van Slyke, who did not reach the majors, unlike his brother Scott.

We also have a card of a lesser Pujols. The cousins of Albert Pujols is a very... interesting story. Cousin Wilfrido played baseball professionally (as we see here) and also had the misfortune of being a passenger in the car that cousin Wilfredo (note the 'e' in the spelling) was driving when it struck and killed a teenager in a hit-and-run back in 2008, which resulted in a murder conviction.

Early on in this blog's life, someone interviewed me via email and got me to answer a question about players I was excited about. I offered up the name of Daryl Jones because I had been reading too many other blogs, or something. He didn't make it.

Colby Rasmus is probably the biggest name in the set, and at one point in time would have probably driven the price of this set up well beyond what I would have found reasonable to pay for it. I wish we could get a glimpse of how young Rasmus looked at the time, but all we have here is a fairly anonymous looking player that could even be an advanced little leaguer.

Aside from Rasmus, there weren't a lot of future big league seasons to go around for this bunch. Donovan Solano, however, has carved out a handful of seasons for himself. He reappeared last season with the Giants and even has some projected stats on B-Ref right now for a fake 2020 season.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Jack from the Wood

Another @listia pickup reminds me that I should really be scooping up all of the Flaherty cards right now. 

I've never been one to understand card values, but I have always been tremendously baffled by how undervalued pitchers can be, compared to their position player counterparts. There are many pitchers -- Hall of Fame pitchers, even -- that have cards that can be purchased for pennies on the dollar compared to slugger types that have only been around for a few years.

I think Jack Flaherty is going to be something special, however. Despite how his chosen position will probably limit his potential future value when it comes to the card market, I feel like I still should be snagging his cards (particularly from 2018) whenever possible. This particular card was a Listia win. It's a "wood" parallel from the 2018 Topps Gallery set. I typically find these cards from the recent Walmart-exclusive Gallery revival to run anywhere from hilarious to hideous, but for some reason the Flaherty card doesn't look half bad. I'm not even sure I have the base version of this, but I suddenly want all of the versions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Weeks are Blending Together

A couple of weeks worth of #CrackinWaxMailday box breaks from @crackinwax -- the highlights!

What day is it today? There used to be a corny joke attached to that question, but right now it's something legitimate to ask yourself when you wake up in the morning. Crackin' Wax has been hosting near-daily group breaks for the past month(?) or so. I'm losing track of time. Speaking of time... well, in the interest of time at least, I just grabbed ten of the cards from breaks over the past couple of weeks to show here. Let's check them out.

I'm still at the point in the year where if it's Heritage, I'm all in for it. I've made decent progress on the set, but I still have quite a ways to go. I did buy a "mega box" of the stuff online today, so my purchases there could eventually be slowing down. This Dakota Hudson Chrome card doesn't help out my set at all, but it slides into my team collection quite nicely.

I've seen a lot of surprising praise for the 2020 Donruss set. Is that some kind of crazy talk? I'll admit, the fun factor is high, and that's not because there are cards with emoji-ridden borders.

I've always liked the stat line parallels tied to a player's career or season performance numbers. I was surprised to get such a low numbered card of Jack Flaherty, though.

I first saw this card in a Topps digital app, so I was really excited when it was pulled in one of the box breaks. Heritage relics always look nice, and this year's Astros-style look is a good one.

I believe I bought into at least two more 2019 Prizm breaks, so a good chunk of the cards that I needed came from this set. CW apparently found a really good deal on boxes of the jumbo/rack packs, which carry the exclusive red, white and blue parallels in them.

Here's another one of those patriotic parallels, featuring a Spring Training shot of Paul Goldschmidt.

There are red, white and blue autographs as well. This one is numbered to just 50. Justin Williams is part of a way too deep Cardinals outfield picture, but I would say that his chances are still good that he'll see some action at some point, even if he's not expected to make the final roster at the start of the season.

This was a good couple of weeks for "hits", as another auto was pulled in cup-of-coffee guy Xavier Scruggs. These silver autographs from 2015 Topps Chrome have a really nice look to them.

I also had a little bit of box topper luck as I landed this Waino from the 2011 Allen & Ginter set. It's an N43 card, which is slightly longer on one side and shorter on the other from a regular card. I'll have to figure out how to store this, since it's probably only the second or third N43 in my entire collection.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Facebook Can Be Good for Something?

Some Blazers (and a bonus) from @bgmartin76 and a Facebook box break group. 

New basketball cards have become infuriatingly scarce lately, and very costly once actually located. Long before some weird Michael Jordan revival drummed up interest in thirty year old cards of which countless hundreds of thousands (if not millions) were printed, the Luka-frenzy and the Zion-mania started keeping cards out of the hands of the common people. Group breaks are a great thing to fall back on, however, especially with basketball cards where I have far fewer trade partners available to me.

I joined a Facebook group, Ben's Cards and Collectibles Box Breaks, awhile back (Colbey of Cardboard Collections is among its members) and immediately snagged some Blazers spots. The prices are really low, and you get to decide when the cards ship in order to keep costs down even further. Here's a few of the cards I received.

Here's a trio of Blazers from the 2017-18 Panini Revolution set. This particular box was a Chinese New Year box, and the first two cards are of the Chinese New Year variety. (CJ's card is a mere base card pattern, which can be difficult to tell with this set.)

Optic is something I never saw anywhere on the shelves this year, but at the last card show I attended, the dealers had plenty available. It's funny how that works. I've been chipping away at this team set through trades and breaks, but still could use plenty of help. There's a bunch of Dame inserts in this one, and I was fortunate enough to grab two of them.

I haven't bought many baseball slots as it seems that the Cardinals are often reserved already, but I did get to take my chances at last year's Finest. This is a pretty nice looking Yadi card.

From a (basketball) Chronicles break came this Zach Collins rookie card numbered to 150, as it's a blue parallel. I used Zach's name for one of my fantasy teams, and may have ended up cursing his whole season... if not the whole NBA season... if not... well, I'll stop there. Hopefully we'll all see him being a weird vampire dude on the courts again soon.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Let 'er Rip

An old card for a Saturday night. 

I've apparently acquired a taste for old cards in this long period of mostly great inactivity. This was another recent Listia acquisition, and I've got to say that I never knew that Rip Repulski's real name was... Eldon? Wow. Ol' Rip's face is marked for something sinister, perhaps, in the future.

The back got the worst of it from the pen, though. Can anyone identify what is being communicated here? Never Twist? Verzo T. Gloff? Feel free to leave a comment with your best guess.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Listia Pickups and New Stickers

Spending more money on cards from home. 

I picked up a couple of cards recently on Listia that I was pretty excited about. I don't focus a ton of my posts on things I've bought/won online, but occasionally something will stick out. This Harrison Bader bronze Donruss Optic autograph seems to have been on the sight for at least six months (possibly longer, because who can keep track of time anymore?) I finally pulled the plug on it in the past week or so, and wasn't disappointed at all.

I don't go seeking out Eagles cards all that often, if at all, but I really liked this card of Nick Foles that commemorates the Eagles thrilling and fulfilling Super Bowl win.

I also bought a brand new blaster of 2020 Topps Stickers from an eBay seller. This year's set once again carries over the full-sized sticker-plus-card back concept from 2019. This time, the card/sticker numbers are printed on both sides of the sticker/card, which makes it even more confusing to figure out which part is the card and which part is the sticker.

Yes, they are still making Albert Pujols Cardinals cards (stickers?) in 2020. No, I am not that upset about this.

I think this might be a stickercard back, because the copyright verbiage is featured below Kolten Won's name. The main base sticker design, which I didn't show off here because I didn't pull any Cardinals, can also be found as an insert (preview) in the 2020 Topps Opening Day set. I'm not sure if those are actually stickers or not.

I'm not sure about any of this, really.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

This Week in Breaks

Another week, another batch of @crackinwax #CrackinWaxMailDay group breaks. 

Crackin' Wax has increased its amount of daily group breaks of late, so I've been trying to be more judicious in how I pick my spots. Here are just a few highlights of some of last week's breaks, which included 2018 Topps Fire, 2018 Donruss Optic and 2017 Panini Chronicles.

Panini drives me crazy with their sort of vaguely colored parallels, but this one is unmistakably bronze. Honestly, the worst thing for me is trying to figure out pink vs. purple vs. blue, but I have been told that I'm a bit colorblind, even though I don't really understand it.

Panini Chronicles is a strange product with a very small base set. Still, I needed this Yadi card from its debut offering. I'm wishing I had bought more of the 2019 stuff before it disappeared. There again wasn't a ton to offer the Cardinals fan, but it seemed like there was a Vlad Jr. and/or a Pete Alonso in every pack.

My hits o' the week were both from my randomly assigned Brewers slot in the Chronicles break. Here's a really nice looking sparkly jersey auto of Lewis Brinson, numbered to 99. He's spent the past couple of seasons with the Marlins and hasn't quite figured out how to hit, which seems to be a pretty crucial element of being a professional baseball player at the highest level.


The other pull was an expired redemption of another offensively challenged Brewers player. At least he's a current starter with the team. I submitted this to Panini and am kind of hoping they send me a different card, although I'll try and make sure it finds its way to a Brewers fan if I actually get this one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Trading Turkeys

I've got dupes, and maybe you've got needs? 

I'm working on the 2020 Topps Turkey Red insert set pretty aggressively at the moment. After a lot of success with a blaster I picked up on Tuesday (went 7 for 7 on needs), I thought I'd shine a light on this area of my want list.

I've completed just over half of the 100 card set (for Series 1).

Here are the dupes that I have accumulated so far: 3, 7, 10, 25, 29, 50, 69, 77, 85

Of course, I have plenty of other non-Turkey Red cards to send your way, especially (but not exclusively) if you're a fan of teams like the A's, Marlins and Phillies... just to name a few!

I still am hoping to wrap this up before another set of 100 of these drops, although at this case I am not sure of the status of Series 2 at at all. I guess that remains to be seen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

My First Two '52s

Glorious vintage. 

After a recent card exchange, P-Town Tom contacted me to let me know that he had a cousin (we'll call him Mark, because that seems to be his name) who had a few old cards that he wanted to find a new home for. Color me intrigued at this point. Inside of the mystery envelope that came to my mailbox later were a couple of 1952 Topps Cardinals cards! These aren't technically the first '52s to ever reach my home, as Erin has a signed Cliff Mapes card that her grandfather gave her. These are the first cards from the famed Topps first proper set that are for my own collection, which is simply awesome.

This is another terrific looking cad. Eddie Stanky became the Cardinals player-manager in 1952 and is a familiar name to me, even if I can't claim to be the perfect Cardinals historian.

Of course, Cloyd Boyer is a familiar name as well, as one of the three Boyer brothers who were MLB players.

Stanky's card is a black back version. Someone evidently wanted to write something on this, only to later decide to scribble it out. I would love to know the story behind this.

Thanks again to Mark (and P-Town Tom!) You may have made my year, in cards at least!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A PWE, In Order

A few cards from a longtime fellow blogger to pass the time. 

I've been trying to increase the flow of envelopes, small as they can be, full of cards to keep myself and hopefully others occupied with hobby-related things. It was nice, of course, to recently receive some cards in the popular PWE format from The Angels, In Order. There were a few Cardinals needs and a few set needs. Let's take a look.

I don't know how I missed out on this card when this set was first released, but it apparently wasn't the only base card I needed. I now just need card #217 from the 2018 Donruss set, which was one that Yadier Molina shared with Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. I also need countless numbers of parallels, of course, because Panini.

Despite not being heavily respected across the league and even internally, Dakota Hudson made it into the official record as a bona fide NL pitching leader. Cool!

Ah, those pesky retail exclusives. I nabbed another one! This is the black set from 2013 Heritage.

In the department of set needs were the first couple of 2007 Bowman Heritage acquisitions for me in quite awhile. I have no idea who Chuck Lofgren is. It sounds like the name of some sort of not-quite-famous actor.

The Mick! We don't see him in Topps products anymore, but I guess we were probably overexposed in the late '00s.

We end things with a sketch card of the newly crowned champ Ryan Zimmerman. I hated the way the NLCS went down as it reminded me an awful lot of the 2004 World Series, with the Cardinals suddenly completely punchless and useless after being anything but previously. It was cool to see the veteran Zimmerman get to win a ring, I suppose.