Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Spicy Break Stuff

Some Cardinals on cards from another batch of @Nachos_Grande breaks. 
I have yet another pile of cards to sort through courtesy of the Nachos Grande breakers club. If you haven't signed up yet and are a team collector, you should definitely check it out. There's always a good variety of cards available at reasonable prices. I thought I'd show off another ten or so cards from some of the breaks from last spring.

Jack Flaherty was well on his way to competing for a Cy Young Award this year when injuries repeatedly got in his way. He was removed from his most recent start after two innings with a shoulder injury, after recently displaying that he was all the way back from his previous oblique injury. Sports are dumb, etc.

Short prints from the Heritage sets are still a coveted thing. I'm always happy when I get one, especially when it's a Cardinal (because I'll inevitably find myself needing two.)

At first glimpse, this one would seem to be out of place. There's nothing indicating this Ron Gant card belongs in my binders on the front of the card.

On the back, however, there's a team designation and tiny logo to show that Gant was picked up in the offseason by St. Louis. Usually Topps would make more of a deal out of this on the front of the card (there were a lot of "transactions" type subsets in the '90s), but that's not the case with 1996 Topps Gallery. Of course, if I was a Reds collector, I would still hang on to this one.

Speaking of "transactions", here's one from a subset from the 2002 Fleer set showing Jason Isringhausen with his new team. If I'm not mistaken, the 2002 Fleer set just basically dropped the "Tradition" name after it had more or less served as its flagship set for awhile.

I don't remember if 2015 Topps Finest was actually one of the breaks or if this just ended up being an extra card, but I'm appreciative all the same.

This insert from the 2002 Fleer Focus Jersey Edition set is pretty nice looking. It has rounded corners, similar to a credit card.

This Playoff Portraits set makes the recent Topps Gallery sets look like absolute garbage.

Despite what year it says on the front of the card, it's 2021 and Topps is still cranking out Albert Pujols Cardinals cards. I'll never get them all, and that's okay.

Lastly, here's another nice looking insert from the '00s. This one is numbered to 1250. Scott would like you to have a baseball. It's on the house.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Affordable Cards

Another crop of @flywheels Affordable Group Break Cardinals cards. 
The Cardinals have been a very frustrating team to watch in 2021, but that doesn't mean I've enjoyed adding new Cards cards to my collection this year. This latest group come from some of last spring's group breaks hosted by Colbey of Cardboard Collections / Affordable Group Breaks. These breaks included a nice mix of new products and old-but-still-affordable stuff.

If next year is truly the last hurrah for Topps, and all indications so far is that it will be, I'm glad that they got to pay tribute the 1986 set. That set, which lacked a lot of star power and rookies to chase, still holds a special place for me as it was my first introduction to ripping open packs. I'm significantly less excited to see the inevitable 1987 tributes next year, because it feels like they've been down that road a few times already.

There was a brief period of time where 2021 Donruss cards were available at the local Target store. This must have been before various fights across the country shut down that avenue to buy cards. I never quite got used to this design and wonder if it might end up becoming a forgotten set in the future, especially with Panini also coming up on their final season to make (logo-less) baseball cards.

I don't usually go for a lot of the foil heavy '90s sets, but 1997 Select does have a pretty good selection of nice looking cards. Panini currently owns this brand name. The future still seems to be very up in the air for all of these legacy brands.

The 1999 Pacific Invincible set is a weird one. Given the number of base cards I've seen from the set, it seems like the inserts are much more common than anything else. However, this McGwire Flash Point card is one I hadn't seen before, so I may have beaten the odds here.

Last up is an early Albert Pujols insert card. With Yadier Molina extending his contract for one final season, talk of maybe sort of bringing Albert back to St. Louis has reached more than a murmur. The storybook ending of seeing Yadi, Pujols and Waino all retire together in the Cardinals uniform certainly sounds nice, but would it mean sticking it out through yet another super frustrating season? I suppose the introduction of the DH to the National League (BOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!) would make an offer to Pujols seem much more attractive.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Allen & Ginter is Alright

A #CrackinWaxMailDay look at the 2021 Allen & Ginter set from a @CrackinWax case break. 
I was feeling a bit underwhelmed when it came to last year's Allen & Ginter set. For whatever reason, I wasn't a big fan of the design, and it came out during a time last year when I was just beginning to accept that buying cards on the retail market wasn't going to be a viable option for me anymore. One year later, things have only gotten worse in terms of retail availability, but the latest Ginter offering at least brings something familiar to the table. It's comforting, I suppose. I do feel like the design is a bit of an improvement over last year's as well.

I bought into a case break over at Crackin' Wax, one of a number of Ginter-related happenings at the long time break-focused website. The big dance, of course, is CW's annual charity event where a lucky donor can win a prize pack that includes a bunch of cards, supplies and unopened wax. They're still taking donations through Monday (8/30) and it's for a good cause, so I highly encourage you to check it out.

As I said, the design is... not bad. This is the 16th edition of the set that originally paid tribute to an old line of tobacco cards. This means a lot of gold lettering this time around, but again... I feel like it works.

This Bob Gibson mini probably ended up being my best "pull" of the case as it's an unnumbered mini with a print run of just 50. How does everyone else feel about unnumbered low print run cards (versus serial number stamped cards or hand numbered cards?)

I think I ended up scanning more of the mini cards than the full sized base for this post, because they just end up filling out the card design a bit better. Both of the Cardinals Hall of Famers that passed on last year are represented on the Cardinals team checklist, along with Mark McGwire and some active players.

This one scanned a little darker as it's one of the silver foil "hot box" parallels. I believe there's usually one "hot box" allotted per case, but I believe this case actually had two. Because of this, I'm only two silver parallels short of the team set, which means an eBay visit isn't out of the question.

I love that they're still making David Freese cards in 2021. This is one of the more common inserts from the set. We've seen very similar insert concepts in the Topps flagship set before, so this doesn't seem like anything novel. Still, it's a 2021 Freese card!

The black border mini design looks as bougie as ever.

Full-sized relic cards in Allen & Ginter are kind of a bore, but at least this KK jersey swatch is powder blue to spice things up a bit.

Big Mac shows up on the insert checklist as well, with a card commemorating that fateful HR chase. One of the interesting things about that chase for me was seeing an out-of-playoff-contention Cardinals team show up on national TV almost every night for awhile. FOX even put some of the games on its main network in prime time. Joe Buck was there! You guys like Joe Buck, don't you?!

Since I'm never going to end up owning even 50% of all of the Ozzie Smith cards ever made, I can always give a thumbs up to more cards of the Wizard. This was from the time where folks were implored to "go crazy" by Joe Buck's dad.

Might this be some sort of alternate Allen & Ginter design? This is one of the box toppers, which uses the same portrait photo as the base cards. These are pretty nice looking even if they likely have nothing to do with the original tobacco card concept.

This is what the same photo looks like in color, of course.

I will be collecting this set... well, more like slowly accumulating it. I managed to buy a couple of blasters from Target's website and, assuming availability, I could see me picking up a couple more at some point.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Mostly Football

Cards from the other sport from @forgotaboutblay as the new season looms. 
The annual uptick in football talk seems to go hand in hand with back to school commercials and other reminders that summer's time is numbered. None of these things are my favorite things. I do end up getting pretty excited when my favorite teams from the other sport finally take the field, even though it interferes with the stretch run of the baseball season. Long time trading pal Dennis from the Too Many blogs sent over a batch of mostly football stuff back in the spring, and I'm finally getting around to sharing it here.

The bulk of the package was Eagles and (pro) Ducks cards. Wrighster was one of a series of talented pass catching tight ends to come through during the Mike Bellotti era, something the current squad could certainly use more of. These days Wrighster is being a sports analyst and opinion-haver on various platforms.

Haloti Ngata was an absolute legend at UO and had a stellar pro career as well. It's great to pick up one of his rookie cards here.

Duce Staley was one of my Donovan McNabb/Andy Reid era favorites for the Philly team.

This guy was an Olympic skier as well as a football player. The Eagles took a flyer on him, but it didn't work out.

Baskett was one of a long line of Eagles receivers that were heavily scrutinized during his time in Philadelphia. Outside of the short Terrell Owens experiment, Donovan McNabb never really had anyone to throw to in his time there, so it's spoken. These days if you Google Baskett's name, football is very far down the list of things mentioned about him.

Dennis included three (!) Ducks "hits" so to speak, but I'm just going to show off the basketball one since I'll want to save something for the football season. Cook led a 31-win Ducks team to the Elite Eight and has played professionally ever since, mostly in various European leagues.

This lot was not completely devoid of baseball cards, as I also found this signed Todd Worrell card from one of the old drug/variety store Fleer box sets of the '80s. It's super cool to have this and all of the cards in this package.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

A Thursday PWE Round-Up

Cards from @marcbrubaker and more! 
As the weekend approaches, let's check out some baseball cards sent to me this year before things get chaotic again.

First up is a batch of things from Jeremy of Topps Cards That Never Were. I've sent Jeremy a number of Rays and Tigers cards in the past, and it was cool to see some cards from the team I collect headed in my direction.

This retro parallel of the Cardinals current closer is numbered to just 99. I wish the print run on these wasn't so small, as they are vastly superior to your garden variety base card.

Jeremy included some customs (see that blog name!) in the envelope as well. Given the state of the Cardinals these days, I'm not sure what the future holds for Mike Schildt. A lot of fans are starting to feel like it's time to clean house again, from the coaching levels to the front office. 

Craig Anderson logged 4 seasons in the majors, but only got two official Topps cards. One of these was shared with a bunch of other rookie floating heads. None of these were Cardinals cards.

Astros fan Marc Brubaker passed along another envelope full of Cardinals. This is also a numbered parallel from the 2020 flagship Topps set, but I prefer the retro stock cards. I think this is my first parallel of whatever this is supposed to be, though.

Donruss goofed around with their past card designs in this 2002 "Originals" set. They didn't quite nail all of the design elements, but it's at least a bit more fun than what Panini has done with their own tributes to the '80s Donruss past.

The Matt Morris card is actually a "sample", as seen here with the stamp on the back. Samples and promo cards have nearly gone extinct with the increased dependency on the internet to disseminate information on new or forthcoming releases. Now we just get sell sheets and mock-ups to look at on our phones and computers.

Speaking of mock-ups, Topps apparently canceled their sticker set this year. Here's a Carlos Martinez card from last year's set.

In 2018, Topps was still putting out the smaller Panini-style album stickers, like this Dexter Fowler example.

Next up, we have a trio of Big Mac cards from 2020. This is from the Chrome Update set that no one actually saw at Target unless you were a big cheater.

This is another Target exclusive. I kind of like that they brought back the "Target Red" parallels as well as the "Walmart Blue" parallels (see Jack Flaherty at the top of the post), even if they're a lot more difficult to find these days.

This McGwire is another in a long line of cheesy Stadium Club inserts. Is the Power Zone supposed to be inside the vaguely Earth-shaped glowing orb? Or does that represent an eyeball? Is the true Power Zone in your eyes?

Lastly from Marc is a pair of well-loved minor leaguers from 1989.

The third envelope for today is actually a pair of envelopes, stuffed full of 2020 Allen & Ginter cards from Elliptical Man. I did such a good job in not collecting this set that people continue to find cards from it that I need. Imagine that! I recently went to the Oregon Zoo, but sadly did not see any leopards.

All of these minis are headed to my meager set build, except for the black bordered Gibby. That one is a nice addition to the Cardinals collection.

Big-sized cards here. (Also known as regular-sized.) Here we have four baseball guys, a pig and a guy whose last name looks like cannabis.

This lot is all ballplayers. If you asked me on most days if Thurman Munson was in the Hall of Fame, I would have wrongly answered "yes" without thinking about it. That should be enough to get him in, don't you think?