Thursday, June 13, 2024

Stars and Stripes


Set filler needs and patriotic birds from the illustrious @nightowlcardz.bsky.social blog. 
 
I suppose I could have saved this post for a certain holiday that's coming up in a few weeks, but I received this package of cards from Night Owl way back in February, so it probably has sat around long enough. Even though I wouldn't consider myself the biggest flag-waving person around, I've always liked the Independence Day-themed parallel cards, especially the ones that Panini puts out under the Donruss branding. Part of this, I believe, is that the cards usually have more of a heavier "throwback" feel to them, using a different (and likely more expensive) card stock similar to what Topps did with their retail (Target) exclusives from 2009 through 2011.


These two Cardinals Indpendence Day pickups are great, but would you believe that I also have a secret stash of these parallels from players on other teams? I don't usually go out of my way to look for these, but I love it when I pull them from a pack or happen upon one for dirt cheap.


Night Owl sent some red birds on other flavors of cardboard, too, like this interesting insert from the 2022 Topps Gallery set. Arenado's been hitting well of late, but he left today's game after getting hit by a pitch. Injuries always seem to happen to the Cardinals just as soon as someone's bat starts to catch fire -- just look at Willson Contreras, for example. Sheesh.


Mosaic is probably my least favorite Panini brand. I'm not a fan of the way their parallels look at all, and they already have all of the chromium bases covered with Prizm, Optic, Select, and probably some other fringe products that I'm forgetting.


I wish these stamps cards from 2023 Topps Heritage were a super-common, one-per pack type of insert, because it would be really fun to peel these off and stick them on things. Like mail! These count as postage, right?


Among the big names to make their debuts last season with St. Louis, it's Masyn Winn and not Jordan Walker who really feels like the most essential young player in the organization right now. In fact, he already feels like the most important player on the entire team right now. I'm still pretty confident that Walker will put it together at some point, although the Cardinals have been rather dreadful at developing players, particularly outfielders, for quite some time now.


There's a blast from the past. I don't know how I don't have all of these blue Walmart-exclusive parallels yet, but I am sure that I am missing plenty.


Considering that this card (and versions of it like this one) is three years old, I am sure I've mentioned what a weird thing it is that they turned this photo into a horizontal card. Did Flaherty spill some spaghetti on his pants or something?


2022 was such a fun season. I just wish it hadn't ended so abruptly.


We're now onto the set-filler portion of the package. Up first is a pair of high number SPs from the low number portion of the set. Does that make sense? I hope so.


Here's a big block of Allen & Ginter minis. I'm guessing most of these were kicked out of Night Owl's mini binder at some point, although the James McDonald may well have been a Dodgers dupe. Many of these are the slightly rarer A&G back version.


Up next is a pair of cards from the very underrated 2003 Bowman Heritage set. Actually, I feel like Bowman Heritage as a whole is underrated. And no, I'm not talking about the recent Bowman Heritage revival that started with using the modern late '80s/early '90s design templates. These two cards show off three of the base card designs used in the set.


The third 2003 Bowman Heritage card in the package also shows off the third base card design. I believe these were a nod to some old test issues for Bowman that were never officially released. Duke Snider's card is joined by a 2004 Topps Heritage card of Andy Ashby, a name I haven't heard in quite a long time.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Thematically Connected?

 
Another stellar batch of goodies from a Canadian friend. 
 
Just as soon as yet another big package of stuff arrived from Sportscards From The Dollar Store, his turn for a mailing sent back in January was up to the front of the queue. As always, this is another fantastic collection of stuff from all four major sports. Yeah, even that sport.

 
It's a bit of a strange color clash to see the redbird team on a very green card like this one, which hails from the 2016 Topps Tribute set. I can't say I've seen many high end Topps cards manufactured in the last year or two. I wonder if Topps is still as committed to these products under Fanatics as they once were. I might just be a bit more disengaged with the hobby as a whole these days.
 
 
I really like the canvas feel from the 2008 Triple Threads set. This is a technique that I wish they would do more often, especially if they insist on making cards this chunky.


This is a really nice looking autograph of former Card Stephen Piscotty, who has spent the past couple of seasons in AAA.
(Side note: I'm trying to move from using Chrome primarily as a desktop browser to Firefox, and I'm having a really difficult time formatting these posts. Has anyone else experienced this?)

 
Unlike the Schoendienst card above, this later Triple Threads release just has a smooth card surface, which makes it less exciting to me.

 
This Big Mac card is actually made by Panini (look, no logos!), so it's a bit of an outlier here among its fancy Cardinals companions. It's hard to get excited about anything Panini does these days in the baseball realm, but I've always been a sucker for Chronicles for some weird reason.


I always tend to get Triple Threads and Tribute (and Tier One, for that matter) confused, but this Tribute card from 2010 (blue parallel, I believe) is extra shiny and should stand out in any collection.


From baseball to football we go, with this die-cut Donruss Eagles from 2016.


Dakota Prukop's time at Oregon could be best explained like an answer to a trivia question. He transferred in from Montana State to win the starting job at Oregon, but was replaced after a few games by a freshman named Justin Herbert. I don't think he has many cards, so it was nice to end up with this one.


Jason Maas was best known as Akili Smith's backup at Oregon, but went onto a lengthy career in the CFL as a player and now head coach.

Another Duck (sensing a theme here?), and a very shiny one -- this Kenjon Barner rookie year card is numbered to just 10 copies. Barner can barely even fit on the card here, which is kind of amusing considering that he's not a huge guy.


Buckstorecards is always the best source for me in finding Ducks players who didn't get a lot of cards, with many landing in the CFL like Vernon Adams Jr. A transfer him, Adams was actually the starting quarterback that Prukop replaced and is still going strong in the CFL today, coming off of a career year in 2023.

Just one hoopster to show off today. It's a Bol Bol Revolution!


The Blues haven't quite captured my interest lately as they've not been very good, but it's always fun to get a nice card of a player from the Stanley Cup winning team. Those were good times.

Friday, May 17, 2024

... Paging "J.D. Drew" ...


An attempt to find one of the contest prize winners, plus a bonus collecting dilemma. 
 
I've had a lot better luck about people claiming their contest prizes this year, but I'm still looking for one more person to step up. If you submitted your March Radness bracket as "J.D. Drew", please get in touch with me soon as I owe you a third place prize.

---

Here's a one card wonder for today. This rainbow foil parallel Topps from last year wouldn't ordinarily fit in my collection, but I received it in a TCDB trade recently. As you can see, for all intents and purposes this is an Aaron Judge card. However, Matt Carpenter is also in the photo off to the right. Someone must have tagged Carpenter in order for it to be added to my want list, as I try to collect all of Carpenter's cards regardless of which team he's with.

You see, the thing is that I have never dared tread on the slippery slope that is what others often call a "cameo" card, as in a cameo/guest appearance on someone else's card. I suppose I could could cave in and finally do this -- and one compelling argument is that I'm not likely to acquire many other cards of Carpenter's stint with the Yankees. (I think his only real appearance on a card with them is one of those Topps Now things.) If it was just a base card, I might toss it back in the trade box and pretend this never happened, but I would feel a bit weird about ignoring this card.

How does everyone else feel about "cameo cards" when it comes to your PCs?

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Bootleggin' with Panini, Part 4


A Panini Instant basketball tribute to the 1988 Donruss set. 
 
Previously on Bootleggin': Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Towards the end of my last post on this topic, I remarked that there probably wouldn't be any more posts in this series in the foreseeable future, as the first (?) set of Panini Instant Retro Rookies based on old baseball designs carried a hefty price tag for the three single cards that I wanted.

Fast forward a couple of years and the prices have come down to the point where I was able to snag one of the cards. There's also an affordable Troy Brown Jr. for sale online, but I'm holding out for a cheap copy in better shape. As for Anfernee Simons, he's probably going to have to wait as long as he remains a starter in this league and continues to be one of the Blazers top scorers.


That leaves us with Gary Trent Jr., whose card prices exploded in 2020 following his performance during the NBA "bubble" tournament action. He was since shipped off to Toronto, where he's been a part-time starter and productive scorer, if not the type of guy you're going to invest a lot of money in his collectibles.

As far as the design of these goes, the player name font on the front is a little off. It seems like they just picked something randomly that would fit and went with it. The backs are, like the '19/'20 (1989) version, a bit sad. There's also no print run printed on these, unlike the later cards.

It looks like they did not make this set again after the 1991 tribute. It seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity, especially this season with Victor Wembanyama out there just waiting for more cards. I get the feeling that Panini Instant isn't very popular, especially in the NBA. In my searched, it did look like there was a similar concept out there for the NFL. I wonder if those cards were more popular.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Benefiting from a Purge

 

Rolling the dice on an unseen Blazers lot. 
 
A blogger who I've sent some basketball stuff to in the past, CaptKirk42, has been in the process of purging some of his collection. I happened upon his efforts to ditch a bunch of basketball cards earlier this year, and rolled the dice on a couple of team lots for just a bit of shipping fees.


Out of a lot of 70-ish Trail Blazers cards, I was able to find a home in my collection for 7 of them. Honestly, that was a bit better than I was expecting. Still, it was fun to dig through a random assortment of cards and get the extras listed up on TCDB.


Marcus Kennedy actually never played in the NBA, but he was a Blazers draft pick as mentioned on the back of the card. I don't usually go seeking out college cards for my pro team collection, but I will include them in my binders if one that fits happens to fall into my lap. It does help if my favorite team is mentioned somewhere on the card, as it does on the back of this one (barely.)


Several of the cards I kept were from various international versions of Collector's Choice cards from the '90s. Unlike the other big North American pro sports, basketball has a massive following in many other countries, so the idea of making Italian, Spanish, and French sets (to name a few) back in the day was pretty smart.


PJ's Party? Sounds awesome. This is referring to the team's head coach at the time, P.J. Carlesimo.


Those SkyBox Emotion cards were a bit over the top.


Here's the fourth Uncle Cliffy card of the lot. It's an Electric Court parallel from the 1993-94 Upper Deck SE set.

I also snagged the Raptors for a certain blog trading pal, and I believe the ratio of keepers-to-traders there was much more successful.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Birds and Such


It's another group break round-up. 
 
It's been pointed out a number of times that I seem to collect a lot of bird teams. Both pro bird teams were heavily represented in the latest round of group breaks I opted in to from Colbey's Affordable Group Breaks. These mostly represent, well, let's call it Q4 of 2023.


I don't buy a lot of football, so most of my Eagles acquisitions are random base cards that I feel like adding to my want list over at TCDB. It's always nice to get some newer stuff, especially since I'm not such a hardcore Eagles fan that I always remember a ton of players.


I certainly don't remember these guys, but I love a clear acetate sports card. This is from some sort of 1996 Collector's Edge set.


There weren't many exciting photos to choose from in my haul from the 1996 Upper Deck Silver Collection, so I ended up just choosing my favorite player of the bunch.


The smaller, redder birds were well-represented as well. The 2002 Topps Super Teams set comes from an era where sets featuring exclusively retired legends could actually exist. I knocked off a bunch of cards from my want list here, including a pair of serial-numbered foil parallels.


Speaking of foil parallels, the 2003 Bowman Heritage break was also fruitful for me. It mostly looks like Haren's regular "knothole" style card, but there is a rainbow foil finish to it.


And speaking of parallels in general, I landed a thick black Pujols parallel, complete with facsimile signature. Not bad!


Last, but certainly not least, is this Albert card from the 2007 Bowman Heritage set. It's a card that I swear I've seen several dozen times over the years, and yet didn't manage to own a single copy of until recently. I own most of this set, so it's a bit strange that Pujols has eluded me so long.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Big Time


A look at the new Topps Big League set. 
 
In the current production schedule, there aren't a lot of new baseball cards to look at this early in the season. For this reason, I'm grateful for the arrival of the now annual Big League set, even if it's never really going to be my thing.


As a replacement for Opening Day, this isn't a bad idea. The design is fairly eye-catching, though the cards are printed on the same somewhat cheap feeling card stock of years past.


It's that tiered rarity system for the base yet that Topps revived for last year's set. I'm quite confident that nobody likes this. The rare set collector probably won't even bother with this product, and the team collectors (like myself) get mad about having to track down rare cards whenever their team lands on that portion of the checklist. These are two foil cards from the most common short printed tier. The cards in the higher tiers will probably stay on my want list for years, just like last year.


Here are some more Cardinals. We get Large Lad Luken, currently back with Memphis for the third straight season, plus a few more well known guys from the active big league roster.


The card backs look similar to the flagship set. It's not a bad template.


Of course, there is the usual crop of inserts to be had. Good Vibrations would probably make more sense in a Heritage or Archives type set instead of something modern like this. I think Ozzie is the only retired player on the checklist, but I'm certainly not complaining about another card of the Wizard in 2024.


Topps Big Leaguers is the most redundant insert set name of the year. These Big League Big Leaguers come in a few different design that look like something out of an '80s children's magazine. (Highlights, anyone?)


Topps did port over their Mascots inserts from the defunct Opening Day set to this one. These are definitely for the kids, and kids at heart.


Orange parallels can only be found in blasters now. Previously, you would find blue parallels in blasters and orange elsewhere. They're still called "electric orange" despite just having a bit of plain orange on the borders. The more common foil cards also come in this orange variety, only, you know... foil.


No one openings Big League packs expecting hits, but I actually landed two autographed cards in the same one blaster that I opened. It feels like the Orioles have had a plethora of prospects run through their system of late.


Both autographs are headed for the trade box. I haven't been able to add this one to TCDB yet, as someone needs to upload a checklist first. (That someone could be me, I suppose.)