Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Post-Timbers Match PWE Round-Up


Envelopes from @sanjosefuji and more: featuring no actual Portland Timbers.

There was a big Portland Timbers match tonight that made me realize I've only purchase one Timbers card since the pandemic started. (It was a Topps card commemorating their 2015 MLS Cup win.) That really has nothing to do with anything as I show off some cards from a few small white envelopes that I received back in January. Let's take a looksee.

First up are some Blazers and Cardinals cards from Fuji. This Robert Pack card has been something I've desired going all the way back to when I was a teen, which is pretty silly because it's probably never been worth more than a buck at any point in its life. These Rookie Standouts inserts from the first Upper Deck basketball release were "hot" back in the day, much like the first run of the Fleer Rookie Sensations cards. When you combine that with the rampant local interest of the Blazers (everything was overpriced around here), I just never felt like on my jobless teenaged budget I could afford to splurge on something like this. Pack wasn't on the Blazers for very long, but he was very exciting for a bit there on an elite team that didn't have much room for him.

It's fitting that Randolph Childress wore number 12 with the Blazers, because he was never much more than a 12th man. You still have to love the hologram cards, something that seems to have completely disappeared since last millennium.

Here's a trio of Blazers from the "Special Edition" Upper Deck in 1995-96. These foil-heavy cards usually don't scan all that well for me, but this looks fine.

Fuji also sent some Cardinals along, including six of these 1993 Upper Deck B.A.T. cards that are some sort of tri-fold concept. I only included three of them in the scan, but they're all very cool. I've never actually seen these folded before, so I'm not entirely sure what they're supposed to look like in full form. Based on the year, I assume this set was released when I was still collecting cards as a teenager, but I hadn't seen or heard of it until this blog thing happened.

The last of the bunch of cards from Fuji is this mini Jack. It's a quality card of a quality pitcher.

Recent contest runner-up Trevor of Bump and Run passed along a couple of needs from the odd 2017 Honus Bonus set. I came across an unopened box of these online recently for a decent price, but it's probably best that I didn't pull the trigger because I am pretty sure I have most of the base set and a few of the silver parallels squared away. It's still tempting, though, in a time when it can be tough to find cards to open without opening up several lines of credit.

I was wondering if the Final Boss had pitched his final pitch, but it looks like he's returned to pitch in the KBO again in 2021 at age 38. He also closed out games for his Samsung team last season, which makes me wish I had looked harder for him during those late night live ESPN KBO broadcasts a year ago when there was a dearth of live sports to watch. I wish they had continued those broadcasts this season. Like most things these days, the games were broadcasted remotely, so it's not like they could have been expensive to produce.

The last grouping of cards comes from gcrl / cards as i see them. The bulk of these were set filling needs, but the Dmitri Young parallel comes from the lone ranger 2005 Topps Rookie Cup set. The tricky thing here is that the card looks completely orange to me, yet it scans red. I don't even know anymore. It's numbered to 499 in case you're curious.

I don't miss much about 2020, but I miss the times when I would randomly get Turkey Red cards in the mail. I'm guessing that won't happen so much this year. I'm also referring to this year as a future thing when we're already about a third of the way through it (yikes!)

Oh hey, I know this guy.

This six pack of 2020 Ginter cards rounds out the last envelope, which also rounds out the post. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't scanned the Chapman card, but what's done is done. Feel free to vandalize your computer or phone screen when you see his card pop up.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Current Cards and Some Turkeys

A heap of fancy Cardinals and more additions to my Turkey Red collection. 
The last package I received in the mail that was postmarked with a 2020 date stamp was from Jeremy of Topps Cards That Never Were. This was another excellent bunch that included several numbered cards, the highlight of which was a 2017 Topps Heritage Minors parallel of early NL Rookie of the Year candidate Dylan Carlson. I'm not sure what kind of parallel this is (it's quite a bit paler than the base card), but it's numbered to just 25. I've been avoiding looking at the 2021 rookie card market of late, but I wonder if there's been any interest in Carlson, who won't turn 23 until after this season is over.

Tommy Edman has been the Cardinals leadoff guy all season, the first to start at that slot in the first 20 games or so since David Eckstein. Although he's locked in as the starter at second base, he's also played quite a bit of outfield in the early going due to some injuries out there.

In an interesting twist, Jack Flaherty has been getting tons of run support. He's off to a 3-0 start to the season, although pitching wins only really matter in fantasy baseball. I really like these "Carolina Blue" parallels from Donruss Optic, and would have a hard time staying away from the mega boxes they come in if I could actually find any.

Paul goes Purple Parallel on this Chrome refractor numbered to 299. Unfortunately, Goldschmidt seems to be off to his now typical slow start to the season. Hopefully warmer weather brings a warmer bat. He still is excellent in the field, as the infield defense has actually taken a step forward with Edman fully replacing Gold Glover Kolten Wong and fellow Gold Glover Nolan Arenado replacing glove owner Matt Carpenter.

I really expected Junior Fernandez to make the opening day roster considering how the team had been using him since he first was called up. He didn't, but maybe he'll get a shot later on down the road. This die cut parallel from one of Panini's prospect offerings is numbered to just 99.

Even in a pitching rotation with a couple of my favorites (Wainwright, Flaherty) in it, I'm always excited to see KK pitch. He looked really good in his second outing of the season and is a rare lefty Cardinals pitching threat.

Along with some killer Cardinals, Jeremy also sent over a huge pile of Turkey Red needs from the various 2020 Topps sets. Click or tap to view them in their full glory. If anyone has any extras of these, I still need a bunch-- mostly from Series 2.

Thursday, April 22, 2021


Cards and coins from @flywheels affordable breaks. 
There's a lot of money in the hobby lately. Let's look at some of that cash, courtesy of Cardboard Collections Affordable Group Breaks.

I only collect the best young baller QBs like NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert. I couldn't even find a recent eBay listing for this red parallel. I am going to be rich!

Okay, fine, showing off some random dude from 1993 Bowman probably isn't going to make you think I go to sleep at night on stacks of cash. I'd much rather collect Eagles from this era than the current era, though.

Look at that shine! Should I send this to a grading company?!?

I was actually super thrilled to get into a break full of NBA stickers, because hoops stuff is impossible to come by these days unless you have three platinum credit cards. I mean, I hope no one is going into credit debt for buying up a bunch of random base cards.

I hope it's with Portland, but I have a feeling Nassir Little is going to be a star one day.

Last year's sticker set came with a full sized (non-sticker) card in each pack, which was a fun addition. I wish I had more of these.

They're no superfractors, but x-fractors are pretty blingy, right? Oh, I suppose no one uses the word blingy anymore (or ever.)

Pack Wars?! People are practically starting real wars over... cards.

You never know what you're going to find in one of Colbey's breaks. Stickers, cards, games... you name it.

I hadn't seen much of this old Topps HD set, so I was happy to get a couple of the base cards plus this Big Mac insert.

Real cash money! I should see if I can score some Panini Prizm packs for these.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Online Shopping

A batch of Cardinals from @batcavelv breaks. 
With the limited focus of my collection, I often don't pay a lot of attention to the smaller Topps online offerings. After you factor in shipping, the cost really starts to add up, and makes little sense for someone who just wants cards of players on one specific team. Thanks to card breakers like Tracy's Box Breaks, however, I occasionally stumble into some online exclusives without breaking the bank.

I had no idea Topps brought back the Attax brand to baseball, but I'm guessing not many people are actually playing the game. Along with Attax, another year of Topps Total came and went last season.

The 2020 Topps Total design is pretty faithful to the original idea. I just wish they had included stats on the back, but that's never been the M.O. of their online offerings. I'm surprised this KK card doesn't have an RC logo on it, though. Topps does like to slap that thing on as many cards as they can get away with.

Here's the 2019 Topps Total design. 900 card set? Yay! Doled out in increments overtime and restricted to a limited number of online exclusive purchases? Not so yay.

After being stashed in the minors in 2019 and just getting a handful of at-bats last year, it's good to see Justin Williams finally getting playing time. It remains to be seen how much time he'll lose when Tyler O'Neill returns from the injured list on Friday, but hopefully he's impressed his manager enough to continue to get some playing time.

Here's a few from the I Can't Believe It's Junk Wax That I Didn't Own Department.

Speaking of online exclusives, here's another one from a game that was meant to be played. The Kenny Mayne 52-card game came in its own box and I believe has some booster packs out there as well. We have one of these games at home for playing, but have yet to play it.

I've seen plenty of Conlon cards, but I've seen very little of the later years where the cards were presumably tougher to find. This one is from 1995 and has a fancy gold frame around it.

The last card up is a fun one in the mold of the old Boyhood Photos of the Stars cards.

It looks like there still may be slots available in Tracy's next break if you hurry.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Crackin' More Heritage

A recent #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax with another look at Topps Heritage. 
While I'm not thrilled about this year's Heritage set, especially when compared to previous years, I'm still going to end up collecting as much of it as time (and money) allows. I also have a team set to put together, and I made a serious dent in that effort with some Crackin' Wax breaks. Along with a pile of Cardinals came a road uniform swatch from former Cardinal Kolten Wong. Wong was with the team for seven seasons, starting most of the games at second base. Rarely has their ever been such stability at the keystone position in the team's franchise history. As luck would have it, Wong was there to lead off against the Cards for the home opener at Busch and understandably got a huge ovation. (Well, that's to say as huge of an ovation as a crowd of 10,000 or so can provide.)

As always, there's a ton of short prints in the set. I did land this short printed card of Harrison Bader, who began the season on the injured list. Unlike previous years, I feel that a good chunk of the 100 card short printed portion of the set is dedicated to regular everyday guys like Bader instead of stars and rookies. That's often been a complaint in the past. There's also been grumblings about certain starts being held out of the checklist this time, most likely for inclusion in the High Numbers set. At least from Topps' perspective, that strategy makes sense. The High Numbers checklist is usually full of relievers, players who changed teams in the offseason and were DFA'd by May, and maybe one or two top rookies.

Speaking of top rookies, I ended up with a pair of Dylan Carlson cards. The prices for his cards have been kind of all over the place, with collectors investors not entirely sure whether to give him the star rookie treatment or not.

Dylan Carlson played a lot last year even though he still enjoys his rookie status. That means his "In Action" card is pretty legit.

One of the boxes must have been a hot one, as I also ended up with this purple Chrome Jack Flaherty card.

Kodi Whitley was on the taxi squad last year and it looks like that will be his role this year, at least until minor league action is underway. People close to the ballclub seem to be excited about him. Roel Ramirez, on the other hand, is more of a "minor league depth" guy who was entirely out of his element last season when the Cards were down a ton of players due to a certain coronavirus as he made one appearance, allowing 6 runs while recording only 2 outs. Rough stuff.

If this is Yadi's last season, he seems determined to go out on top. He's been one of the team's best hitters coming out of the gate.

We'll end with a quad pack of Cards cards from photo day at Roger Dean Stadium.

Should we do some spring cleaning soon? Does anyone still like cards?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

It's Fine, I Guess

A first (for me) look at 2021 Topps Heritage. 
I have to admit that I'm not very excited about this year's Topps Heritage set. I may have mentioned this before, but I think it's my least favorite of the annual Topps brand since the 2013 set which used typical Allen & Ginter card stock to apparently emulate the lighter backs of the original 1964 set. Now that we're a few years into the 1970's, I'm just not that excited about this. It's starting to feel more like the more recent Topps Archives efforts than a true Topps Heritage set.

It also doesn't help that of all of the Topps designs from before my time, so to speak, the 1972 set stands out to me as one of the worst ones. It's just not for me. I'm sure this set evokes nostalgia for people of a certain age, but it does nothing for me. In any case, I still leapt at the chance to buy some blasters (online, because this is 2021.) I bought three blasters in total, saving one for my recent contest winner. I am sure I bought these from a "flipper", but by my calculations, after the cost of shipping is included, the seller only made a total of 41 cents on this transaction. Great job?

I'm not sure that the Boyhood Photos of the Stars treatment works very well when a significant portion of these are dedicated to rookies and younger players. This picture was probably taken on a digital camera in 2005 and not from some sort of ancient time when black and white photos were the only affordable option.

Roberto Clemente gets his own dedicated insert set in this one, which makes the Pirates a somewhat more valuable commodity in group breaks.

The New Age Performers inserts look decent enough, or at least they're appropriate for the set as a whole. They've become even more scarce of a pull in this set, going from a 1:11 ratio to a 1:25.

There were a number of dupes across both blasters, but I was lucky enough to pull a New Age Performers card in each box. Ke'Bryan Hayes is probably underrated as a rookie as far as getting attention goes these days, most likely because he's on a team that has been stripped bare.

It definitely looks like Matt Kemp's team name is Rookies. I have no recollection of him playing for Colorado. It seems like there's a lot of these weird 2020 oddities on the 2021 checklist, as Topps continues to lag far behind reality in terms of producing their sets.

Normally, Topps Heritage is the first set of the year that has players in their new uniforms -- Photoshopped or otherwise. Tyler Naquin should be with the Reds here, but again, this still feels like a 2020 set as much as most of the sets released last year felt like 2019 sets.

Albert Pujols inaction.

Mike Trout is up to something, it seems.

I know that it's surprising that we got this far without a Cardinals card, so here we go. Like most of his teammates, Waino is posing at the Cardinals shared spring training site Roger Dean Stadium, home of the Marlins as well as the Redbirds.

My favorite card of the two boxes I opened ended up being this one. Of course, there's a lot of uncertainty with Tatis right now, but it was nice to pull another 1:25 insert card that actually fits into my team collection here. If you're wondering about print runs (I definitely am), it looks like the serial numbered (to 999) Chrome cards jumped from a 1:60 pull in 2020 to a 1:92 pull this year, which suggests that the print run for this set increased by more than 50% this time around. That seems like a lot (and it is), but it's far less than the jump the flagship set made. Just sayin' is all.