Sunday, February 26, 2023

An Old Pack of Cards: Repacked


Assorted cards, vintage? 
From the Clearing off the Desk Dept. comes this pack of cards I purchased at a card show last summer. There was a table with a box of these "Repacked Wax" cards along with some stacks of sample cards that were supposedly pulled. The samples produced better results than my packs did. I bought two packs, and you can find the other one that I posted here.

The first card out of the pack is decided not vintage. It's from the 2019 Topps GQ set.

Lonnie Smith, former Cardinals champion, makes an appearance on the familiar 1991 Upper Deck design.

I don't know that anyone would say that the 2023 Topps set draws a lot of inspiration from 1983, but it doesn't have the headshot in the lower left thing going on.

This is quite a lousy photo. I'm curious to know why Lamar Johnson is wearing a helmet and a jacket, or why it appears that he's standing in front of a huge fog on this 1980 Topps card. He did do a bit of DH'ing in his career, so maybe he was trying to keep warm in between at-bats but was also trying to stay mentally prepared with the helmet... or something? It's a bit of a reach, I know.

Ehh... 2020 Topps.

This is a 1974 Topps card, as you might have guessed. It's what the 2023 Heritage set will be based on. I'm not sure I'm all that excited about this. It's a quality design, don't get me wrong, but this might be the breaking point where I feel like Heritage has caught up with Archives and isn't anything special anymore.

Mike Armstrong brings the '80s glasses (and beard) to this 1984 Fleer card. Mid-'80s Fleer cards are my jam.

I don't remember this player, but the photo (from 1993 Topps) looks pretty familiar.

I liked the 1982 and 1983 (the one with the glove instead of the ball) Donruss sets quite a bit when I was younger as well. I think it's because their packs were, for a time at least, more affordable a lot of other older sets.

I'm sure I must have owned this card at one point, because I think I had an opened 1990 Fleer Update set for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, I don't remember this card or Wally Backman as a Pirate at all.

I remember there being a bit of hype locally about Erik Hanson, or at least this card. Maybe because it's an '89 Upper Deck card, or maybe it was just people propping up any young Mariner that displayed some level of competence on the field. He was no Griffey, of course.

We advance forward slightly to the 1992 Topps set. Nice shades.

Card companies in 1986 were seemingly afraid to use Utility (or UT) as a position on their cards. What else would an OF/IF type be, though?

The only set hyped as much (or more?) than 1989 Upper Deck when I was in my young collecting years was 1987 Fleer. And if you pulled a star player like Kirby Puckett in one of those Fleer packs? That was money.

Last one out of the pack is this Mets pitcher from 1985 Topps. I could never afford packs of this because of the McGwire card and other "key rookies", but a friend of mine happened to gift me the whole set... minus those key rookies, of course. Pouring through the bulk of the set made me never really that interested in buying the packs.

Each pack has a sticker or two at the end to take the bullet and keep the real cards wax-free.

I'm not sure I'll seek these out again considering how underwhelming my packs were, but it's not going to keep me completely off repacks.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Quick Hitter

Five Cardinals cards on a Friday. 
Here's a "quick hitter" trade post featuring cards from cards as i see them. This probably could have fit into a PWE (and thus, a PWE round-up post) were it not for the chunky style card at the end of this post.

If I recall, Nolan Arenado ended up skipping the All-Star festivities so he could rest or something, so his card is one of the few in the set where he's not in his (ugly) jersey. I remember Jose Altuve not participating as well, but his card has him holding up his jersey in front of the Houston home crowd on another day.

Joe Kelly has probably been one of the more meme-able players to come out of the league in the last decade. He's mostly been a pretty good reliever over the course of his career, although he's coming off of a rough 2022 campaign with the White Sox.

This tribute to 1989 Topps came in the form of a slightly smaller die cut card as an insert in the 2014 set. This is before they decided to roll with the 35th Anniversary celebration cards each year.

At last, we've arrived at the chunky card. I'm sure that in some households, Triple Threads cards are piled high to the ceiling, but here at Cards on Cards central these things get special treatment!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Night Owl Express

Another smooth @nightowlcards delivery. 
Hall of Fame blogger Night Owl Cards has sent me many, many envelopes of things over the years. The cards we're looking at today came over here back in November, as I slowly but surely catch up on a few stacks of cards that have been sitting around somewhat neglected.

The number of Topps Sapphire cards in my collection is very low, since I don't usually go after fancy versions of base cards that tend to cost more than a pack itself. I do seriously appreciate getting these in trades, though, since they're not something I'm typically going to find in a quarter box at a card show.

A whole Cardinals set with pink borders would be an interesting looking thing. The team would need to be decked out in red to really make it pop, of course.

This sure is vibrant! I am willing to bet that I have more Dylan Carlson cards with an RC logo on them than cards of many of the team's stars from the '80s. Of course, I still probably need hundreds more of them.

Noooooooooooooot! That is all.

There were a couple of cards of the retired Cardinals legend. I've always had a weird affinity towards the 2002 Victory set. I wouldn't mind opening a box someday, if that's even possible. It feels like most older unopened stuff either ended up some hoarder's basement or was opened during the pandemic.

The rainbow foil effect gives this All-Star flashback card from 2020 Topps Update a bit of a shine.

Night Owl also sent a pile of Allen & Ginter needs, as is customary. Here's a couple of non-baseball athletes on the mini black border design from way back in 2010.

The bulk of the rest of the cards came from the 2021 Ginter set. I've relied heavily on others to put together this set as well as the 2022 set. For some reason, when it's not released in summer, my enthusiasm for opening A&G blasters really tends to wane. Will this be the year that the manufacturing delays finally start to subside?

Like most baseball fans, my first recollection of Edgar Renteria was his heroic performance in the Florida Marlins first championship season. He'd later, of course, become a key player for the Cardinals.

Thanks again to the Night Owl!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

A New Year of Baseball Cards

What I like and don't like about 2023 Topps.

I preordered a couple of blasters of the new Topps flagship set and they arrived late last week. Overall, it was a fun time, and I can see why we all tend to get excited about this release. It's a near year of cards! I wasn't sure how many things would change with the set as it's the first major release after Fanatics has apparently fully taken control over at Topps. While some uncomfortable changes have been made on the distribution side to apparently cut out a huge portion of box breakers and resellers, the overall product is pretty much the same as it ever was. That can be a good thing and a bad thing.

Like: The base design. Are you surprised? I'm very surprised! Like most people I was listening to, I didn't have a lot of good things to say when the design was first teased. There is a lot going on with these. But having these cards shows me that the design is at least memorable, and it brings in a second inset photo of the player, something we haven't seen on a flagship Topps card in what feels like forever. Some of this, especially the player name and placement, feels like something Panini would have done with one of its Donruss sets if it was handled by a design professional (sorry, Panini.) Overall, though, I will remember these cards, something I can't exactly say about a lot of their white bordered sets from recent years.

Don't like: These manufactured rubber puck patch things. Topps has been all over the place throughout the years with what they offer as their incentive to buy a blaster, but would anyone miss these if they were gone?

Like: This retro-inspired insert set features a large number of retired players. I am not a huge fan of the design per se, but the player selection is fun.

Don't like: These One-Two Punch inserts. These remind me too much of 2010's Legendary Lineage inserts, or even 2011's Dynamic Duos. I've always thought inserts are better suited to feature a single player.

Don't like: Topps gold parallels. Here's my annual complaint about the gold parallels that are numbered to match the year that they were released: they aren't gold anymore! I wish they would bring back the real gold look to these. Is it too expensive to produce these the old way? Did they forget how to do it? The only thing these are really useful for anymore is to give a way for math nuts to extrapolate an estimated print run for the whole series. (It's way, way higher this year than at any point in the past 25 years.)

Don't like: The RC logo. It just feels like it has nowhere to go. It really wants to be where that C position is, but it can't be there.

Like: Full stats for rookies. This is actually something they brought back last year, but I'm glad they're sticking with it. For many years, Topps treated rookie card backs differently in that they only showed the previous season's stat line (and until 2021, only minor league numbers.) When I first get my hands on a new rookie card, especially of a player I'm not familiar with, the first thing I want to is flip the card over and see what the dude is all about. Did he get any big league ABs last year? How long did he spend in the minors? Did he come up through the same organization he's with now? This stuff is all easier to digest when you can actually see the player's stats. Of course, there are great resources for this online, but baseball cards still exist in a world where all of the information is self-contained.

Like: These All Aces inserts. I absolutely love these. They feel like they come from a completely different era of cards. If I wasn't trying to focus my collecting interests on teams lately, I would have to think strongly about collecting all of these.

Don't like: These Stars of MLB inserts. I didn't like them last year and I don't like them this year. At one per pack, they feel as frivolous as those ToppsTown inserts from the early '10s. It also doesn't help that the design just doesn't work for me (what is that font?!) If anything, these work a little better in their Chrome versions.

Like: Farewell cards. Topps gave both Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina a proper sendoff this year. I wasn't surprised by this necessarily, but I wasn't completely sure until the checklist came out.

Like: Full stats! You love to see it. Yadi and Albert also got their card numbers assigned to their famous uniform numbers, which is the ultimate honor from Topps. I still need to track down that Yadi card.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

More Buried Treasure

I found some more cards! 
I uncovered another lost pile of cards that was hanging out beneath, well, other cards. This batch of baseball players came from big Orioles fan Ryan H. I believe I reached out to Ryan over the summer because the O's were among a handful of teams where I had a glut of extra cards, and he responded to my offer with some of my needs.

Topps sometimes makes poor choices when selecting photos to be featured on their horizontal cards, and I believe this is one of those times. This is a Prizm Chrome refractor, however, so it's a nice pick-up nonetheless.

Since the Stadium Club Chrome inserts are basically indistinguishable from the Stadium Club Chrome base cards (completely different set), I'm just going to go with this being one of those. If I flipped a coin over this, I might win?

After basing a set on T-206 in 2002, the following year saw Topps release this tribute to T-205. Instead of doing something similar the next year, they seem to have dropped this idea. Eventually, the Turkey Red and Allen & Ginter sets would launch, but these days they seem more focused on cannibalizing their own designs from the past.

It's that time of year once again where I declare my hope for big things out of Jack Flaherty this season. Please, just let this happen! 

Here's one of those old Topps designs that's been beaten into the ground over the years.

Ryan also sent over a bunch of set needs, including this apparently rare People on Bicycles insert from the 2013 Allen & Ginter set. I believe this is the first one of these in my collection, and judging by prices online it might have been a case hit.

I still haven't finished off the 2009 Turkey Red inserts run, but I'm slowly inching closer and closer.

Here's a pair of Hall of Fame sluggers batting from opposing sides of the plate.

This was one of my favorite Allen & Ginter insert sets in recent times, but I felt like they included too many newer players. It's more fun when you see the older players as rookies.