Monday, September 28, 2020

The Elephant in the Room

Cards from @SpiegelMichael and some thoughts on the 2020 "season". 
Now that's it's officially the end of September, I feel like I was mostly successful at avoiding talking about this season here as if it were a real baseball season. I've been watching the games (mostly), of course, because I just can't look away. I won't be doing my silly playoff prediction preview stuff this time around, however. Before we move on to look at the cards I got from Spiegel (via Twitter) recently, let's just take stock of what happened to this team this year.

Closer Jordan Hicks opted out of the season as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Reliever John Brebbia was lost for the entire season due to injury. Starting pitcher (and 2018 All-Star) Miles Mikolas was lost for the entire season due to injury. Starting pitcher (and 2-time All-Star) Carlos Martinez contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized several times before succumbing to a late season oblique injury that shut him down for the year. Starting pitcher Dakota Hudson became the latest to need Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2021 season. Key reliever John Gant had recurring groin issues and seems unlikely to participate in the playoffs. Brand new free agent signee (and starting pitcher) Kwang-hyun Kim came down with a kidney ailment but returned to the rotation, albeit under heavily medical watch. And of course, all told, more than a dozen players (including Junior Fernandez, pictured, and other more prominent names) and staff members contracted COVID-19 which saw their season shut down for 16 days.

I'm sure there were more maladies and players affected by things than I am even recalling right now. By my count, thirteen players made their MLB debuts in this super short season with the Cardinals. And they're a playoff team, which I suppose means something even in the incredibly watered down playoff field where most of their division sits around .500 and practically everyone gets a spot anyway (sorry, Pirates.) I'll keep watching, but like most things, I'm ready for 2021 now.

On to the cards...

This is a fun card from the days where interleague play was still a novel idea. Now we have a DH in both leagues, which they'll probably make permanent along with all of the other ridiculous changes that were rolled out for this "special" year. It's really sad.

Spiegel dug up a relatively common Ozzie Smith card that I didn't actually have. I'm impressed!

Here's a couple of Big League George Springer cards. His collection has been put on the backburner a bit for me, but I still made a few updates to it this year.

Here's a great looking trio of 2002 UD Authentics cards with the matching red borders. Was UD Authentics a step down from SP Authentic, or are they totally unrelated?

The best card of them all, however, is this green bordered '80s Cardinals tribute that has become one of my favorites of the year in all forms. This one is numbered to 299.

Thanks again to Spiegel, who I owe some Dodgers cards. If only I knew where to buy cards these days.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Another Treasure Trove

Another fantastic assortment of eclectic Cardinals cards (and a few Blazers!) 
I've been doing this thing, whatever you want to call it, for more than a dozen years now. It's getting tough to pick out new titles for posts and new superlatives to describe bundles of cards. I try to switch up the verbiage every so often. It's the least I can do, especially when you're getting hammered with "trade post" this and "trade post" that.

This latest batch of truly exceptional cards came to the Pacific Northwest (which is not entirely on fire at this point) from Bob of The Best Bubble. Bob really likes his fun oddball cards and bubble gum-related photos, and I encourage you to send some stuff his way if you have anything like that. I often struggle to find things for collectors who have collections that extend beyond the tradition team, player or set territory, but I will try to find what I can.

Most of the cards in the package were of the Redbird variety, but there were a few nice Trail Blazers cards as well. For some reason I like these weird Donruss starburst green and yellow parallels (not the official name, of course.) They do clash with the Blazers color scheme quite a bit, but that's okay.

Inserts and numbered cards from the '00s are almost always a success with me, and this Timeless Treasures Scott Rolen card certainly fits that caterogry. I just wish they could have dedicated a little more retail space for the photo here.

Wacha Wacha Wacha! I've... got nothin'.

Bob sent some interesting unlicensed Todd Zeile cards that I'd never seen before. The prospect hype was pretty big with Zeile at the time, though not in the same category as Todd Van Poppel or Ben McDonald. These days, graded Bowman Zeile cards would be tearing up the online auctions before he ever played a meaningful game. Back in 1990, we got what they used to call "Broders". They would usually cost something like a dollar a pop.

Also in the package was a healthy chunk of the 1989 Star St. Petersburg Cardinals team set. I decided to pick this guy to scan, because he's kind of goofy looking. I think I might have seen him at one of my dad's company picnics back in the day.

Soup's on, Suppan! This is from the short-lived (?) Upper Deck Epic set.

Back to the Blazers here with a die cut Scottie Pippen insert. I think Pippen's cards got a bit of a bump over the summer from the whole Jordan documentary thing, but I doubt that did anything to his non-Bulls cards. That's okay, though. You can give them all to me. Except the Rockets ones. Nobody wants those.

This set is always one of the best examples of where to pick up a signed card on a budget. It's also a great example of how well autographs work on matte finish cards.

This one is even better looking than the plain white/grey look of that previous Leaf set. I think they may have even instructed the players to sign in a certain place on the card. What do you think? I am pretty certain this is my first signed card of Ray Lankford, one of the Cardinals biggest stars of the '90s. It was a nice little shock to see this one.

I always appreciate the vintage cards that come my way, no matter what the condition may be. I love how you can still see remants of his original Cincinnati cap behind the weird airbrushing there. Even weirder is the fact that Grammas didn't play in the majors with the Redlegs until after he was traded back to Cincinnati the year this card was issued. I'm not sure if this is some weird scouting photo or what, but he had already completed two seasons with St. Louis at this point. (Feel free to let me know if I'm missing something here.)

Before the Memphis Redbirds were the long term Cardinals AAA affiliate, there was the Louisville Redbirds. Unsurprisingly, the uniform is pretty similar to their then-parent club.

Here's another one of those numbered cards from that Epic set, this time featuring an even more familiar face in the former Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter.

Note to self: Chrome cards from this set do not scan all that well.

We finish things up with a couple of signed cards from Signature Rookies. I wonder how many signed cards Brian Barber himself owns.

The last one is another signed card. It's the lesser known Benes brother. If I had to sign 2100 cards, I would lose my mind. I don't know how these guys do it. (Of course, some of them don't... do it.) Was Brian Barber's playing career shortened because he signed nearly ten thousand cards and his hand nearly fell off?

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Finally, a RAK Pack!


A #CrackinWaxMailDay (x2) finally lands me a coveted @CrackinWax RAK Pack! 
I've entered a bunch of box breaks this year, as mentioned in this space quite a few times. There just hasn't been a whole lot on the shelves for me to buy, and card shows have not been an option. One of my goals for pretty much this entire year was to get my hands on a RAK Pack (Random Act of Kindness? Random Assortment of Kards?) from Crackin' Wax. I wanted this for me because I thought it would be... fun, I guess? You see, you can't just go and buy one of these. You actually have to be a (lucky?) loser if you want to get your hands on one. These are distributed to people who end up with a cardless spot in a break, a fate that's really wished upon no one. The types of breaks that end up with zero cards for your team slot (including random team(s) depending on the break) are not generally the type of breaks that I jump into with both feet. There's another, less humiliating way to get one of these, however. If you don't get a "hit" with your break slot, assuming the break has expected/guaranteed hits, you get entered into a random drawing where one person wins a prize from a prize wheel. The prize wheel contains a few different options, including store credit and a couple of rare prizes that remain mysterious (at least to me.) It was through this method that the gods not only shined on me, but also saw fit to steer the prize wheel towards the RAK Pack.

What did I get in my coveted pack? Let's take a look.

Has Baseball Card Vandals taken a stab at this yet?

Walker Buehler is excited about something! Or mad? I'm not sure.

If I went around wearing a sleeveless shirt that was a constant reminder of how to do my job, I'm not sure what kind of life I would have.

The Klubot seems fully functional here.

Well, this was a surprise! Of course, when you look at the pack wrapper and realize the pack is "just for you", you're never quite sure what that is going to mean. I had never seen one of these 2020 Topps Heritage tattoos before, and with good reason. Apparently there's only a 200 print run on these. Both Goldschmidt and Christian Yelich have an uncorrected error where it says Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on the back with his actual card number, but that's just fine with me. (More on Vlad Jr. later.)

Does Ultra Pro make pages for these Gypsy Queen Fortune Teller cards? It seems like they have a size for everything these days.

Finishing off the trio of Cardinals is Edmundo Sosa, who looked all of 12 in 2015.

I believe I mentioned recently that I'm amassing quite a collection of custom cards of bloggers, breakers and other card people. I even have a few autos, like this one!

These are healthy sized packs, unlike some of the stuff Topps puts out these days.

Kyle Seager may not be Kyle Lewis, but that's okay. This is a random assortment of cards, you guys.

Speaking of random, I have no recollection of this particular player.

Even Upper Deck gets invited to the RAK Pack party!

The final card is this K-Rod Allen & Ginter insert from way back in 2009.

I did enter a few breaks over the past couple of weeks, but due to some things with timing and interest (and luck!), there wasn't a whole lot to post about.

The third wave (series) of 2020 Topps 206 is finally out. This whole set is a minor league affair, and there's only one Cardinals-affiliated player in the set. There are a slew of parallels to be found, but I ended up with just two of the base Nolan Gorman cards.

I also entered a 2019 Topps Gold Label break, as Gold Label is always going to tempt with its relative affordability and very slick looking cards. I think (?) the Blue Jays may have been held pack from purchase so they could be assigned as a random team, in which case I was the lucky beholder of the Jays spot.

I ended up with two different (Class 1 and Class 2) Vlad Jr. cards from the break. I've had quite a bit of luck pulling his cards since last year, while I've only ended up with a couple of Fernando Tatis Jr. cards from the same year. If I could time travel to last year, I would swap most of my Vlad Jr. cards for comparable Tatis Jr. cards, but if that were actually possible I should be thinking about more important issues. Also, I still need cards of both dudes from the Heritage high number set. In fact, those are the only two cards I need from that set. That's just not good luck.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Affordable Break Things


Box break stuff from @flywheels even includes some FOOTBALL. 
Colbey from Cardboard Collections is still going strong with his Affordable Group Breaks, which has its own Facebook group these days. Groups, incidentally, are the only reason why I haven't deleted my Facebook account as the rest of the platform is pretty much a cesspool. I requested a package from him back in early July, which contained stuff from several breaks and even some bonus cards, I believe.

From the then-new Big League set came this autograph of the talented Cardinals starting pitcher. Autographs are not usually the main draw of a cheaper set like this, so it was cool and unexpected to end up with a card this nice.

Each pack contains an orange parallel, and my good Big League fortune continued with this Tommy Edman card.

I believe this gold parallel Mike Leake card was from the bonus stash. I like the honeycomb pattern on these, but I still miss the old gold cards.

One of the breaks was for the 2002 Donruss Super Estrellas set. One of the few hobby boxes I've opened came from this set, but I still needed a few things from it, including this Pujols insert.

I even joined a football break, which isn't terribly common for me. The reason my Eagles fandom is pretty subdued has a lot to do with my issues with the NFL as whole, but a lot of it has to do with how the Eagles just don't look like this anymore. I miss these uniforms! Sure, I followed the team through the McNabb years, but... look at this green! (Plus, it pales in comparison to college football as far as the excitement factor goes.)

Here's a few more. With the number of doubles I ended up with, I'm guessing that I ended up with the bulk of the 1995 Stadium Club team set here. Ricky Watters kind of ruins my color appreciation as he shows up in practice attire looking more Dolphin-like than Eagle-like, but we'll forgive him for that.

Monday, September 14, 2020

A Smoky Monday Night PWE Roundup

It's time another round of plain white envelopes from a certain Collector, a big time Cards fan and @pennysleeves himself. 
It's Monday night, so it must be time to check out a few envelopes received here at Cards on Cards Central. I've been cooped up at home as the entire west coast is a toxic post-apocalyptic wasteland these days, but that doesn't mean that I can't make time for the cards. First up is a fat envelope from Chris - The Collector.

Chris sent along a bunch of Cardinals needs from wide range of years. I don't see a lot of circa 2000 Chrome cards unless I find a lucky box at a card show (remember those?)

Stickers! Panini Stickers, in fact. You might wonder why the larger sticker is not a Cardinal. I actually started on the 1990 album a long time ago, and it was quickly forgotten until it got a mention on the blog this summer. I've had a few more stickers trickle in since then. Will I complete the album? I probably need to find the album first.

Matt Holliday is showing off the then-new Cardinals home Saturday jerseys, which are throwback-ish. It's not a real throwback, though. Let's call it throwback inspired?

One of the last sets that I still have way too many needs from that touches the edges of the junk wax era is 1994 Fleer for some reason. I still have a few more to go if I recall.

Two down, one more to go! (Plus four more Update set cards.)

Chris also included a couple of Blazers cards, including Gary Trent the elder. Trent's son followed up his pre-COVID shutdown success with a nice run in the bubble. It was cool to snag a rookie card of the original Gary, though.

The last one from The Collector is this dazzling 2014-15 Panini Prizm Red White & Blue CJ McCollum parallel. Prizm is serious stuff these days, and it's very tough to find stuff any of the older sets now. This was probably my favorite of the bunch to be perfectly honest.

All Cardinals All The Time is the next up to bat. Ray is primarily a Cardinals collector, and his son collects Jose Altuve, making him almost a perfect blog mirror image of me. (Erin collects Altuve, of course, but she's uh, not my son.) His contributions to the cause were all from newer sets this time.

Dylan Carlson is the team's promising young rookie/prospect. His defense is definitely major league ready, but it looks like his bat isn't quite there yet.

It's always great to pick up another Jack card that I needed, especially one from 2018.

The last two cards are from last year's Bowman Platinum set and feature Nolan Gorman.

I haven't heard anything about a 2020 Bowman Platinum set. Is it happening? I have never really been a fan of any of their designs, though this one isn't terrible or anything. It's possible that I just have a thing against Walmart exclusives.

Envelope number three comes to me from Jon of A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts. I claimed this Chick Hafey card that I'd never seen in my life before from one of his giveaway posts, so it was expected.

The unexpected traveler that hitched a ride with Chick was Jerry Adams of the Omaha Racers. It's a CBA card! I'm not even sure I've ever seen a CBA card. I also didn't know that ProCards was ever involved in anything other than minor league baseball. Adams is an Oregon Ducks alum, not that I would have been able to tell you that off the top of my head until I received this card. One of the really fun things about being a Ducks collector is that I've gotten to see some cards from other leagues and countries that I never would have noticed before.