Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Another Old Pack of Cards

Here's another old pack of cards that has been sitting on my desk for years. This was the final proper O-Pee-Chee release that was based on the current Topps offering. 1992 was the first year that Topps went with the full color card backs, which are represented here as expected.

408 - Bob Milacki - From what I recall, Topps tried to ride the success of the 1991 set, which was largely based on improved photography (and likely a lot of classic photos that were purchased from outside sources.) The horizontal cards continued, with mixed results.

709 - Chris James - The bat covers the frame. That's edgy!

644 - Terry Leach - Leach was a sidearmer that pitched for the Twins championship team.

702 - Lee Stevens - Stevens was a promising young power hitter at the time, but he didn't find regular success (or playing time) until he was with the Rangers in the late '90s.

245 - John Smoltz - The first (and only?) Hall of Famer in the pack.

155 - Scott Bankhead - Pitching for the Mariners in the '80s wasn't the most glamorous job in the league.

182 - Jeff Reardon - Reardon was one of the top closers of his day. He also had a pitcher beard that would just look like, well, a beard today.

353 - Braulio Castillo - I'm not sure I've ever heard of Castillo. I know my card buying took a deep drop in 1992.

192 - Dave Fleming - Here's a look at the full color card back, complete with bilingual text.

25 - Ron Gant - Gant won't join his teammate Smoltz in the Hall, but he had an excellent career.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Clearing the Deck

Recapping a few weeks' worth of #CrackinWaxMailDay breaks from @CrackinWax 
I took a vacation week at the beginning of the month and have another one coming up next week, so the cards have been piling up. (Literally, in fact, because I have a lot of piles of cards to mail out still.) I'll run quickly through some stuff I got from Crackin' Wax recently, which covers a few weeks of box breaks.

Panini Select is back for another year, and it pretty much looks the same as ever. I'm not sure how many years of life this has in it, but the cards do like nice for an unlicensed set. Don't let the scans fool you.

This is my first proper card of Johan Oviedo, who been in the rotation more often than not since about midway through last (abbreviated) season. Unfortunately, he has yet to really put together a single notable start, but the staff must see something in him because he keeps getting opportunities. Let's hope for the best tonight!

The big highlight of this one was a low numbered (to 35) "Carolina Blue" parallel of Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy has been a slow starter since arriving in St. Louis, but now that we're in the second half of the season his bat has been heating up.

I don't have a lot to say about this year's Stadium Club set and its minimalistic design. It's fine. I am glad to finally own a non-Photoshopped Nolan Arenado Cardinals card, however. (Yes, I checked. It's from a February 28th spring game against the Nationals.)

Ditto 2021 Topps Heritage, which managed to survive the COVID-and-capitalism fueled price gouging relatively unscathed. Although I had to resort to mostly online purchases, I was able to buy up all I really cared for without breaking the bank. Here's a couple of new short print additions to my set, with the Cards/Cubs rivalry coincidentally in progress right now.

Contenders is one of the least exciting products Panini has to offer, with its base set pretty much being a throwaway. I did manage to get the Blazers base team set out of the deal, but that was it.

Every year, the set design uses the same ticket motif, with just a few minor variances from year to year. I like tickets and I like sporting events, but it just does not make an attractive looking card.

CW also included a nice bonus pack of 1991 Leaf Series 1 baseball in one of the mailers, which I'll be saving for a rainy day (or may end up paying forward to someone else.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

An Old Pack of Cards

Cleaning up my desktop. 
To distract myself a bit from the mountain of work I created for myself ("Spring" Cleaning?), I decided to clear up a few things that have been sitting on my desk for years. I have a few more packs like this to go through if I get some time. I have no idea if I actually paid 75 cents for this or not. Let's check out these 7 cards, gum removed.

It's an '80s staple and part of The Simpsons all-star team. I guess I was trying to dig up some more Dodgers cards for people, but this isn't exactly what I meant.

The best thing about O-Pee-Chee cards are the variations, especially when it comes to changing teams. These are all excellently documented in this OPC blog.

You don't really see those kind of glasses anymore, do you?

You could certainly do worse than getting a Frank Viola card out of an '80s pack. He hadn't quite reached his peak at this point in his career, though.

Pettis was one of the biggest threats to Rickey Henderson and his various stolen base crowns in the '80s, which is to say he wasn't much of one.

This card is a bit off-center, but not as much as this poorly cropped image shows. The Yankees were not very good in the '80s, but I felt like Rasmussen was decent for a bit.

In any pack containing gum, someone is going to take the brunt of the abuse. That falls to Dick Schofield here. Poor Dick. He's going to get thrown out.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Nachos and an Update

Group break stuff from @Nachos_Grande and a Spring Cleaning update. 
When I announced the Spring Cleaning event in May, I knew that it was probably going to be a bit of a misnomer with summer around the corner. Now that summer is definitely here and I am staring at piles and piles of cards instead of sealed up packages, I know that I ended up missing the mark. The update is that I hope to resume sorting and packaging and actually start mailing things out in the first week of July. A few things happened to delay the progress, some foreseen and some unforeseen. If you have any additional requests (or haven't signed up yet?!), now is definitely the time. I am still planning on prioritizing anyone that specifically sent me stuff for this, but in any case I am going to get the packages moving out after the holiday weekend has passed.

In the meantime, let's check out some more cards. Everything seen here was acquired in a series of box breaks from the Nachos Grande Breaker's Club. 1998 Pacific Online was a pretty perplexing set. I still needed a bunch of base cards from it, and also needed (and gained) quite a few of these "web" parallels. The foil is gold instead of silver, and there's some sort of online code printed on the back of these.

Did anyone actually "get online" with these cards? I wonder how that would have worked. I definitely had dial-up internet back in 1998.

These Home Run History cards are very similar to the QVC box set that also included a bunch of Sammy Sosa cards. They're actually inserts from the 1999 Pacific Private Stock set, however. They're a bit thicker and have a holo foil overlay at the bottom.

Topps Tek was pretty much an anti-set. No right-minded set collector would ever dip a toe in here. On an individual level, the cards look really nice.

These are a good time for player collectors, as long as one of your players is actually on the checklist. 

My feelings on the Walmart Topps Gallery sets of late are pretty well documented here. They're not... good feelings. I also don't have good feelings about Marcell Ozuna, considering what he was recently arrested for. Barring something completely unexpected, this is probably the last you'll hear of him around this place.

On to much better things... it's mini So Taguchi! What a palate cleanser!

We'll end things with this Lou Brock card from the land of serial-numbered insert cards. There's a conspicuous space where you might expect Lou's signature to appear, and considering that these are actually called Prime Signatures, well... something feels like it's missing! This is just how things were done in the 00's, it seems.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

2021 Topps: The Sequel

They're never better than the original, are they? A @CrackinWax #CrackinWaxMailDay case break review.
Instead of buying expensive boxes online, I decided to just buy in to a case break at Crackin' Wax to get my Series 2 fix and allotment of Cardinals cards. This isn't nearly as easy as opening up the packs myself, of course, but at least at the end of the day I'm not stuck with piles of things I don't need. (I do have a small pile of Cardinals base cards I don't need, though.)

Series 2 features the same Rookie Cup logo placement issues that plagued Series 1 and Opening Day. With the way Topps crops their photos so closely these days, it must be hard to find a spot for the poor cup. But that lower right corner is wide open there, guys.

Ah, happier times. Here's one of the first and hopefully last appearances of protective face masks on a Cardinals card. We'll see if Mike Maddux lasts the season.

One thing that is new about Series 2 is the debut of the new Players Association logo in its flagship product. Series 1 still had the old logo. I'm not really a fan of this new logo.

Insert time! The 70th Anniversary train rolls on with a non-rookie RC logo-adorned Dylan Carlson card that uses the 2004 design where Yadier Molina's actual rookie card made it's appearance.

I'm not sure why 35 is such a big number for Topps, but it keeps these tributes firmly set in the '80s for now. I ended up with both of the Cardinals cards from the Silver Pack Chrome inserts.

I also ended up with one of the 12 guaranteed hits in the break, a jersey swatch from that same Carlson guy again. (There's that superfluous RC logo again, too.)

The DH role is nothing to be celebrated, especially when it leeched its way into National League play last season. This might be my least favorite insert set of all-time, even if it leaves me with an odd Brad Miller card to track down. As the back of the card explains, Goldy already had logged 31 regular season plate appearances at the (non-)position prior to last season (interleague play! ever heard of it?)

I do have a soft spot for the 1986 set as a whole, considering that it was among the first packs I ever bought. It's weird seeing someone who played decades before the '80s show up on this design, though.

Hey, it's my first Nolan Arenado Cardinals card! Well... sort of. It looks like we'll have to wait until Update to get the real deal.

What do you think Topps does with the extra bits of cards that they don't use after making these die cuts?

Serious question, though: Has anyone looked into the environment impact Topps has made from a manufacturing standpoint? (Or Panini?) Think about all of those chemicals involved. Do they recycle anything? When Topps goes public, I suppose they might have to answer to some of this.

Does anyone who collects cards recycle anything, other than mailing supplies and card protectors?

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Two Dodgers Fans and a Rockies Fan Walk into a Bar

It's not a joke, it's a PWE round-up from @nightowlcards and more! 
It's time to look at the contents of a few more stamped small envelopes sent my way this spring. First up is a few cards from Rockies fan hiflew of Cards from the Quarry. There's been a near-weekly feature at Cards from the Quarry where a serial numbered card from each team is offered up for trade. I've claimed a few of these this year and was able to jettison some extra Rockies cards in the process.

Say what you will about Panini's Donruss sets, but they've definitely improved since the first offering back in 2014. This is one of the stat line parallels, which does have an interesting foil effect on it at least. The design is pretty rough, though, with the only really welcome element being the throwback baseball pattern on the sides.

The last card from hiflew is this Luke Weaver Prizm Draft card numbered to just 35. 

Next up is some cards from Dodgers fan Night Owl Cards, who has sent me a lot of cards over the years to put it lightly.

Night Owl keeps hitting my set wants, which is always appreciated. As a Cards fan, I'm bummed that Kris Bryant is a thing again. Sometimes that walk year will do that to a guy.

Luke Gregerson was a former Cardinals draft pick that was traded before he hit the majors, but finished his career in a Cardinals uniform. I try to forget his time in that uniform, honestly.


Night Owl also found a couple of Cardinals cards that I needed. This one was chunky enough to warrant its own envelope. I haven't looked at the Series 2 checklist all that carefully yet, but I'm guessing there's another one or two of these manupatch cards that I need to track down.

Series 2 is also carrying on the 70 Years of Topps theme with star players (old and new) on designs of the past. We'll hopefully check out a few of those next week. It sometimes produces weird results, because I swear I've seen a card just like this before.

Last up is another 70 Years card, sent from Dodgers fan gcrl of cards as i see them. I think I end a lot of my posts with a Yadi card, but I think it's always a good way to go out.

Feel free to actually write my joke in the comments, if you're so inclined.