Monday, February 28, 2022

First Look at 2022 Cards

A brand new #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax features the new Topps flagship set. 
As I write this, MLB and MLBPA are entering their 17th (?) hour of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement in hopes to avoid cancelling regular season games for what would be the second time in three seasons. I had originally intended to write something about the new 2022 Topps set cards I'd received from Crackin' Wax earlier today, but the prospects of an indefinitely delayed baseball season were not exactly making me feel inspired to write about baseball cards.

In any case, here we are, where there is actually some hope considering the news trickling out of Cardinals training site Roger Dean Stadium, where Andrew Miller is playing a prominent role. Let's look at the (mostly) Cardinals cards from the new set. I haven't had a chance to buy any of this stuff for myself, but I did see that blasters were finally on sale as of today at both the Topps and Target websites.

We have, well, half of an Arenado here. I'm always curious about the decisions made into choosing photos for horizontal cards like this here. I feel like in the past, a card would only be created in landscape mode when the photo demanded it. Now, it seems like a certain number of cards are assigned this horizontal position, which is a strange (and lazy) choice.

We need more of this Alex Reyes and less of the one that threw too many pitches out of the strike zone. His 2021 season was encouraging enough at least that he didn't get injured. I think he can build on it.

I am so glad that Bader finally picked up a Gold Glove. It's dumb that offense ends up factoring in those awards, but then again, it was his offense that kept him in the lineup every day.

Topps definitely brought the star power to the Cardinals team card this time.

Jon Lester gets a sunset card, which should make a lot of people happy. Not all of them will like who he's in uniform with, though.

Adam Wainwright is not ready to sunset, at least not quite yet. One of the most irritating things about thinking of losing games this year is reducing the number of opportunities to see Waino and his famous batterymate play a few more.

I've made it this far without talking about the design, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. I feel like it's just rather... forgettable? It reminds me of the 2010 and 2013 designs, for whatever reason. At first I thought it was the font, but I'm not sure that's it.

Here's Yadi's 2013 card (featuring Waino, of course.)

And here is the 2010 card, where the name is really hard to read on certain scans... but it's the same font, isn't it? (Wow, the giant team logo/name was really a choice.)

Speaking of team logos, the thing that bothers me the most about these cards is the Cardinals logo itself. Why is it a hollowed-out white? It would have been one thing if it was like this for all teams, but apparently it is not. Who made this choice? I hope this outlined white interlocking "STL" isn't their official team logo for 2022.

In the hype buildup for the new set, someone (on Twitter, I'm sure) asked which card everyone was most excited for. For me -- sorry Wandermania people -- this was the one. I know there is always delayed gratification in the baseball card world whenever someone pops up on a major league field for the first time, especially with the supposed production delays everyone is facing these days, but it felt like a long wait for a Lars Nootbaar card... finally!

A Cardinals also returned to the annual Topps League Leaders cards for the first time in what feels like quite awhile. It's good to see it. It's too bad that Wainwright is flanked by a pair of Dodgers.

I ended up with the Royals as my random team in this particular break, which did net me this one card for my secret Ohtani collection. I know that he doesn't play for Kansas City, but one of these guys does.

As part of the Royals lot, this card made it to me as well. I'm very unimpressed with the fact that the Topps flagship set is doing 1987 inserts again for the third time in eleven years, but I don't make the rules. This one heads to the trade box.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Christmas in Februrary

Secret Santa stuff from @Fixxxer37 in the @CrackinWax holiday gift exchange. 
We've reached the point in the year where I start to wonder why I'm still talking about last year. One of the best things to wrap up 2021 was my participation in the annual Crackin' Wax gift exchange. I waited until Christmas Eve to open up my package as I was flying out of town the next day, and couldn't believe the motherload of cards that awaited me.

I stared at this one for a bit and thought that there had to be something different about it. I finally remembered that 2018 was the year that Allen & Ginter had put some glow-in-the-dark minis into the set (some sort of monsters theme?) If you look closely, there's a slight pattern in the background of the card that becomes more noticeable if you turn off the lights, as one would expect from a glowing thing. I had never seen one of these before, so it was cool to see.

I decided it was time to give on the scanner at this point. I tried scanning this card awhile back (for TCDB) but wasn't happy with the way it looked. I don't think I have the type of scanner that can accurately scan anything with some depth to it.

I've been a fan of the Archives Signature Series cards for awhile, but as I'm always at odds with myself over whether or not collecting autographs makes sense, I've never pulled the plug on buying any of them for myself. (The plug, it seems, has been pulled for me.)

Here's a few more "hit" cards. Walmart exclusives are always welcome because I don't really Walmart, and I've always loved Topps Heritage signed cards.

A large, large chunk of the holiday package was dedicated to my Topps Heritage want lists, and not the low-hanging fruit. These are stacks of inserts and short prints, those thorny thorns stuck in the side of everyone who collects these sets.

This was a very considerate lot of cards for my collection. I hope everyone else got something fun for Christmas -- assuming you can still remember what happened two months ago.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Pitchers and Catchers are Standing By

More cards from @marcbrubaker to help get through this stupidly long offseason. 
The Super Bowl is over. We should be talking about Spring Training right now. I read somewhere that pitchers and catchers were supposed to report today. It's too painful to read about baseball right now, but we have cards to fill in the spaces. (At least until that big market crash comes...)

Late in the fall, I received another nice bunch of cards from Marc Brubaker (aka Remember the Astrodome.) Let's check 'em out.

After a stellar, but brief (as all things were) 2020 season, it looked like the KK deal was a huge one for the Cardinals. For whatever reason, he fell out of the starting rotation in 2021 and was reportedly unhappy about it. I had thought they had signed him to a three year deal, but it looks like they made him a free agent back in November, leaving him free to sign with another team or return to the KBO.

Bru sent me two KK cards shot from the same angle but in different lighting. It looks like Panini didn't quite remove all of the logo from his cap on this one.

One of the things I've learned about collecting baseball cards over time is a player's popularity does not necessarily correlate to his collectability, nor his accomplishments or perceived status in the game. People are still crazy about Mark McGwire cards, a player who even without the steroid stink on him would have a tough time meeting certain Hall of Fame credentials. Meanwhile, legendary pitchers continue to get no love. (There has to be some big pitcher collectors out there, just for sheer affordability, right?)

I always love a good framed Allen & Ginter card. This one comes with a piece of McGwire's road gray jersey. We assume it's a Cardinals jersey, but there's no way of knowing. (Hey, with Fanatics owning Topps now, they don't even have to go to a third party to buy replica jerseys to put into cards anymore.)

Bowman Platinum always seems to be the product for out-of-left field card designs. This one is an insert (Precious Elements), but the whole product is always kind of weird looking.

I put the 2020 Turkey Red inserts to bed awhile back, but I still need a number of these Chrome variants for my team collection.

Speaking of variants (and variants of variants), here are a couple of Artist's Proof parallels that will fit in my binders quite nicely. In some years these are called "Artist Proof" and in others they are "Artists Proof". You never know what you're going to get.

Bru also included a solid stack of 2020 Allen & Ginter cards. I chose a few of these famous (?) monuments to capitalism to represent the bunch. They're all conveniently pictured in front of a blue sky background with some nice fluffy clouds. I wonder how Topps pulled that off?

Friday, February 11, 2022

Free Stuff Friday: Super Bowl Edition

[updated 02/13/22 12:30 AM PST]

It's been awhile, but I thought I'd throw up some free football cards for the super big game on Sunday. The same rules as usual apply. Don't be a jerk, and, if we haven't traded in awhile, I would love to get a card or two from you in the mail. Mostly, though, this is supposed to be free and fun. Let's give the USPS some business. Click on each image to make it bigger.

I pretty much never buy football cards, but an unopened hanger box of 2021 Panini Prestige was the only thing interesting on the store shelves the other day. I'm offering up all of the cards, minus the Eagles and Ducks cards that I pulled and a Mac Jones Astral parallel that I listed over at Crackin' Wax. (If you're interested in trading for that, let's talk.)

This sheet features the starting QB of one of the Super Bowl teams. Nice.
CLAIMED: Stafford, Garrett

Here's the fun stuff. Parallels and inserts galore. The "Heroes" card looks similar to some of the case hit comic book style cards in other Panini products, but I am pretty sure it's a common insert. I don't think you can get case hits at the local Walgreen's.
CLAIMED: Bush II, Biletnikoff, Taylor(?), Rodgers, Largent, Jackson

Some rookies and non-rookies.
CLAIMED: Fitzgerald, Schwartz, Owusu-Koramoah, Robinson II

Finally, a Bengal!
CLAIMED: White, Donald, Hooper

I really should have defaced that card in the bottom center position.
CLAIMED: Kittle, Rodgers

Current Rams are well-represented in this lot. As a bonus, to fill out the page, I added some cards from a pack I posted recently at APTNL.
CLAIMED: Okudah, Davis, Taylor(?), Edwards-Helaire (Omega), Beckham Jr.

Claim away in the comments now. If you aren't able to comment for some reason, feel free to contact me through Twitter or email and I'll check the timestamps.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Team Collectors on the Same Side

A boatload of cards from helps push my Cardinals collection north of 21,000. 
Team collectors accumulate a lot of dupes. It's easy for some people to just want to dump all of their extras from your favorite team on you. Maybe you bought into a group break and ended up with eleven of the same card of some rookie reliever than has an ERA of 45.00. Even after jettisoning at least five priority mail boxes of Cardinals dupes last summer on people, I would still estimate that 20% of the unwanted baseball cards in my possession are Cardinals cards. This percentage would be a lot higher if I wasn't able to occasionally swap dupes with like-minded Cardinals collectors like Patrick, who sent a huge box of non-dupes back in my direction.

Due to time and space constraints, I just picked out a handful of cards I either thought were interesting or were things I'd never seen before. I have seen Topps Micro cards before and I received a whole slew of them. I was at my peak of my teenage collecting years when these came out, but I think I was concerned I'd just lose these tiny cards if I ever tried to collect them. Fortunately, I now have a million binders to lose them in.

You love to see this. This was just one of several cards from the 1968 Topps set.

I believe I ended up with the whole Cardinals team set from this special 1998 Score Cardinals team set edition. I don't have many Mike DiFelice cards in my collection. (Does anyone?)

Trading with someone who is more local to the St. Louis area than I am often means greater access to regional issues like the Kansas City Life "police" team sets. I've picked up a ton of these over the past couple of years, and Patrick added to this with another huge stack.

I know I expressed my disinterest in modern buyback cards recently, but I'll always make an exception when it comes to my own team collection.

Conlon Collection cards are firmly in junk wax territory, but how many of these gold foil-laden cards from the 1995 set have you seen? I have not seen many.

Speaking of gold foil, I am now the proud owner of just my second 1991 Topps Desert Shield card. It may be awhile yet before I pull the trigger on an Ozzie Smith or another notable player from this set, but I'm making progress!

I have a special appreciation for round cards. It doesn't hurt that they're usually food issue cards.

Fleer Pro-Vision cards are a classic staple of the early '90s, but I feel like they may have crossed a line by this point in 1994.

Weird oddball card alert! I had to actually look this one up. I believe this is the only card that features all three of these legendary players at the same time. It appears to be from a 1980 TCMA set, though the design somehow resembles both the 1960's and 1991 Fleer.

[EDIT: I originally linked the wrong Patrick to this trade. I actually made this trade with Patrick via the Affordable Group Breaks Facebook group. Cards on Cards regrets this error.]

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

A Sticky Situation

A look at the new set of Panini NBA Stickers and some (ex-)Blazers. 
Well, this post is certainly going to be a bit sadder than I had originally planned it on being. Since purchasing a box of brand new Panini basketball stickers over the weekend, the Trail Blazers have proceeded to go into rebuild mode, following up last week's dumping of two starters (Norman Powell and Robert Covington) with today's sell-off centered on CJ McCollum. As a fan, it's a lot to process and I'm still somewhat in shock, even though I had been an advocate of trading CJ for years (for the right price, though!) I feel that he's an excellent player, but a lot of his skills and tendencies were duplicated by Damian Lillard and I wasn't much of a fan of their smaller guard lineup.

In any case, we're here to talk stickers. After never seeing last year's set in a store anywhere, the basketball card market has come plummeting back to Earth. I could have just snagged a few packets, but I went all in on a box of 50. None of these stickers are for trade, but I do have a sizable stack of stickers and cards from this box that didn't fit my collection if anyone is looking for anything.

Players who were dealt in the offseason mostly appear in this form, which always resembles the old O-Pee-Chee "Now With..." cards from the '80s. I had to add a couple more of these ex-Blazers to my want list, including Carmelo Anthony.

I pretty much stopped watching the All-Star Game after they started the current format where the top vote getters get to draft their own teams, so I don't remember these uniforms at all. Since going back to using special All-Star uniforms in the game, instead of each player wearing their normal jersey, they've mostly looked hideous. It's cool that Dame got the nod, though.

I really hate "big head" photos for some reason. At least this is sort of a cartoon drawing, however. The "big head" variations that Topps created in their baseball set out of real photos were rage-inducing. At least there was no real chance of me ending up with one.

Because there's never any information on the backs of these stickers other than the sticker number itself and maybe an ad, I have no idea what this is supposed to be highlighting. If I owned the sticker album, I'd probably know.

It's a real shame that this season played out the way it did. Normal Powell was brought in as a legitimate third scorer with championship experience and even re-signed a long term contract in the offseason. He played well enough, but usually out of position and will now play out the peak of his career for a dumb team in southern California.

Without the breakout of Anfernee Simons this year, I wonder how differently all of these moves would have played out. If you had asked me a year ago if the Blazers were keeping the right guy from the 2018 draft (Simons vs. Gary Trent Jr.), I would have disagreed vehemently, even with Simons proving he was a legit distance shooter. Trent certainly is flourishing in Toronto, though, but Simons is due a big pay increase and for now remains in the Blazers future plans.

Of course, Simons can do a bit more than shoot the three. He is the reigning Slam Dunk champion, after all.

Zach Collins finally returned to the court last week after nearly two years off. You'll notice that there's a different team logo next to his name, however. Speaking of wishing things had played out differently...

As with the past two years, each sticker packet comes with a full-sized card exclusive to this set. This time, it's the same basic design as the stickers themselves, with a Panini logo slapped on. I pulled a number of foil parallels in the box of these cards, including a couple of numbered ones (Zach LaVine and Ja Morant.) Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to find these in perfect shape given the way they are packed into the familiar sticker packets.

I'll show off the rest of the (non-Blazers) stuff that is staying in my collection. Troy Brown is currently a bench piece on a very good Bulls team this year.

One of the low points in a season full of lows for the Blazers was having Oregon high school and college star Payton Pritchard clowning on them during garbage time in his first NBA game in Portland.

Another big head card for another Oregon Ducks alum.

Here's Regular Head Dillon going for a lay-up.

Bol Bol's weird season season has including getting traded to the worst team in the league (Pistons) only to have them reject his physical, then a trade to the Celtics and some NY Post slander. I hope his injury issues right themselves and some team figures out how to use him. If not, this could the last new Bol Bol Panini item we see for awhile.

Let me know if there's any basketball stickers or cards that you're looking for.