Wednesday, August 24, 2022

A Midweek PWE Round-Up

Envelopes spanning many months including @brian_d_oneal and @nightowlcards swaps.
I've surpassed 70 trades on TCDB this summer (55 completed and 16 in progress so far), which has pushed blog catch-up time even further to the side for the time being. One of these envelopes has been sitting in a box since February, which is shameful! Let's quit wasting time and take a look at these.

First up is that oldest of envelopes from Brian of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary. Brian sent an eclectic group of Cardinals cards, including this Matt Adams "fish-fractor" from an older Topps Finest set. At last check, Matt Adams had caught on with an independent league team. Good for him.

1980's hero Tom Herr and his signature make an appearance on this 1987 Donruss Opening Day boxed set card. There was a kid who used to live up the street from me who got ahold of this set back when it was new, and I was pretty jealous. That fancy box with the clear plastic lid was the perfect thing for people who liked to show-off.

This one was certainly new to me. It's some sort of stamps insert from the 2014 Panini Golden Age set. I wish Panini focused more on these weird / historic items than the stuff they've been churning out lately.

It's always a thrill to pick up a vintage/throwback parallel card. This one is numbered to 99. It's unfortunate that Yadi has to share this card with the other guy, but I don't make the cards.

Next up is an envelope from All Cardinals All the Time, which featured some nice Chrome-style Bowman cards. One of my future projects is to get all of my Cardinals doubles properly logged in TCDB, so maybe I can start pulling off more Cardinals-for-Cardinals trades with fellow collectors of the Birds on the Bat. (The Herrera card on the right is a refractor!)

Here's a few Altuves for Erin's collection.

I wonder if the one-per-pack retail insert will return in future years. I was a big fan of the Turkey Red cards in 2020, but have been less excited about the rest.

I rarely say anything good about Bowman, so I will say this: it's really fun to look back on the Talent Pipeline inserts and see which players panned out and which didn't. All three of these guys have seen MLB time this year, and it's only been a year.

Here's a stray Heritage short print. Mike looks a little less than thrilled.

All that's missing here is the "Presented by Camping World" ad.

The last envelope of the day comes to us from the venerable Night Owl, who is once again pawning off his unwanted Dodgers on me. At least the Bazooka blue border parallels are a good "color match" for his team.

I'm doing a nice job, relative to most years, completing the latest Topps Heritage set. It does feel like I was granted an extension with the High Series getting pushed back repeatedly. Here's a few more for the big set build.

The Cardinals must have been playing a road game in Cincinnati or Philadelphia here, because Paul DeJong is wearing a navy blue helmet. Supposedly they were to wear navy blue against other similarly colored "red teams", but I think they only bring them out against those two teams for some reason.

Ah, it's another Dodger. The prospect portion of the old Bowman sets is a laundry list of who's not who, like Jamie Hoffmann, who did apparently see a few at-bats with the big league club in 2009 and 2011. They misspelled his name on the back, sadly.

Someone from Panini must have slipped this insert name in a suggestion box anonymous at Topps HQ, because this honestly makes no sense, like most of their ideas.

We end things with a black bordered parallel from the one-and-done (in baseball) O-Pee-Chee revival. This was the set with the Topps Total vibes and the wacky (and sometimes off-putting) photos that represented some of the last years when baseball cards were still mostly fun... you know, before that whole monopoly became a thing.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Panini Points, Redeemed

The much-maligned redemption system has its occasional perks. 
People who open a lot of Panini products like to complain about Panini Points. They like to complain a lot. The idea is that a "points" rewards card is inserted into a box in lieu of a "hit", which allows the company play fast and loose with the number of big cards a given box is expected to yield. (Remember, these companies liberally throw around the term "on average" to get around sounding like anything is guaranteed.

I've actually ended up with Panini Points twice in my collecting life, and both times ended up finding some worthwhile things to redeem them on, at least for my weird collecting needs. One of the biggest complaints is that Panini charges a significant amount of shipping to send these cards to you once you've made your selection, making it feel like you're just buying the cards instead of making a redemption. The main way to combat this is to find something in the store you might already buy (a box, perhaps?) That way, the shipping charge difference between buying the box itself and adding the Panini Points redemptions is negligible. At least, that's how I sell it to my brain. (If you're curious, I bought a Donruss baseball "mega box".)

My Points this time came from a failed redemption that I submitted more than two years ago. It was supposed to be some sort of Milwaukee Brewers autograph of a lesser known player, if I recall. It was pulled for me in a box break. I knew I'd much rather have a card or two for my personal collection than the random Brewers player, and while it took a bit of work to get there, I ended up with two cards I'm happy to own. I'm always looking to add new Wesley Matthews cards to my collection, and the Josh Huff rookie autograph checks both the Oregon Ducks and Philadelphia Eagles boxes for me.

You can see what I ended up with during my last trip to Panini Points Lane (scroll to the end). I think I went one for two on that trip, with a signed card by a late Blazers great and jersey card of a guy who once said some regrettable stuff.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Farewell, Edmundo Sosa

A trade envelope featuring a couple of autographs and an embedded coin. 
The Cardinals bid farewell to Edmundo Sosa last month before the trade deadline, a backup shortstop who had been in the organization since he signed as a sixteen year old more than a decade ago. Sosa finally found regular playing time with the Cardinals for the first time in 2021 and even won the starting shortstop job over a faltering Paul DeJong down the stretch. He couldn't repeat his success this year and was having a hard time even finding at-bats when he was dealt to make room for, you guessed it, Paul DeJong.

Cards as I See Them (gcrl) sent me the Sosa autograph and some other Cardinals goodies in an envelope last May, and I'm just getting around to them now. Let's check out a few more.

Last year's Donruss Diamond Kings design (not to be confused with the Diamond Kings set) featured Jack Flaherty making a weird face.

In 2020, the manufactured relic item of choice for Topps flagship sets was an embedded coin. These ended up being a lot heavier than what they've put into the blaster boxes of the past couple of years.

Here's another pesky '90s parallel down. There are many to go.

You can tell that this photo isn't from the current season, because Yadi has been sporting some seriously glowy yellow pads on his arms lately.

Jon Jay retired back in April, so the timing on this really fancy Topps Tribute signature card was pretty exquisite. I really need to figure out which players from the 2011 team I am still lacking autographs from.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Yadi is Back!

Celebrating the return of a franchise icon with some excellent baseball cards.

Reader Oren got in touch with me last spring about a potential card swap. Oren has an expansive list of player collections, and I was happy to go digging through boxes to try to find stuff to send out. In exchange, I was rewarded with a heaping helping of cards.

The most significant chunk of Cardinals cards in the package featured #4. Yadi is finally back and catching Adam Wainwright every fifth day in pursuit of their quest to log the most games as a battery in league history. This jumbo-sized card is a box topper from the most recent Topps Heritage set. (Incidentally, I just saw that Topps Heritage High Numbers was pushed back until well into the fall this year. I guess that gives me extra time to work on the regular set.)

The blue parallel version of Yadi's "silver pack" card from last year looks a little strange. I'm not sure that it does the '86 design many favors. There are only 150 copies of this out there, though.

This is, of course, an example of this year's "silver pack" set on the all too familiar 1987 design.

It wasn't all Molinas, however. Oren sent some truly interesting non-Yadi Cardinals cards as well. This is one of those manufactured "patch" cards inserted into the 2017 Topps set. I can't quite place the cap design that Matt Carpenter is wearing, but it's familiar for some reason.

No guesswork is needed on this 2011 Topps Update gold parallel. Matt Holliday is at the 2011 Home Run Derby, which was hosted by Arizona.

This one is another All-Star Game (2015) card, and it even features a jersey swatch. Well, it's a workout jersey, apparently. This one was hosted by Cincinnati.

Oren tossed in some football cards as well, including this 2012 Topps insert of an Oregon Ducks all-time great.

That an Eagle shows up on one of these Color Rush cards is kind of silly, because I feel like the Eagles tend to wear the least amount of "color" in the game. I'm really glad I haven't seen them roll out chartreuse jerseys or anything like that.

I also received a huge stack of Allen & Ginter minis for my A&G binders. I had to include this tape measure for scale, although I'm not entirely sure why there's a tape measure on my desk right now.

This is a Chrome X-Fractor encased rookie card of the one and only John Santor. He was a 35th round pick of the Cardinals in 2000 and unfortunately didn't make it above A-ball. Give him a break, though! They don't even have 35 rounds of the draft these days.

This is probably my favorite card of the whole bunch, however. I'm not the biggest autograph hound out there, but signatures on Allen & Ginter cards always look good to me. There's just so much canvas to deal with, especially on the older designs. I love it.