Thursday, May 26, 2016

2000 Fleer Tradition Box: Packs 5 & 6 - A Boy Named Cleatus.

It's been a day or so since I visited my box of 2000 Fleer Tradition.  I'm anxious to rip the full box and see how small I can make my want list for the set.  Of course, the only way for me to know for sure will be to rip the box.  Let's keep the fun going.

Pack 5:
3.  League Leaders (Ramirez, Palmeiro, Griffey Jr.)
55.  Royals prospects (Mark Quinn and Dermal Brown)
111.  Steve Avery
156.  Twins prospects (Cleatus Davidson and Cristian Guzman)

Cleatus is a pretty good name for a ballplayer.
196.  Vinny Castilla
216.  Jason Johnson
326.  Mickey Morandini
331.  Torii Hunter

One of the things that I love about this set is that for players with a relatively small major league career, you get a cartoon to go along with a small blurb about the player.  This is something I wish happened on all baseball cards!
353.  Cal Ripken Jr.
406.  Richie Sexson

Pack 6:
78.  Rays prospects (Steve Cox and Alex Sanchez)
132.  Jose Lima
145.  Justin Thompson
158.  Todd Dunwoody
269.  Fred McGriff

Sometimes I think I don't feature enough Rays on the blog.  Then I remember that I have yet to find someone who actually purposely collects Rays cards.
324.  Tony Womack
348.  Royce Clayton
389.  Diamondbacks prospects (Rob Ryan and Nick Bierbrodt)
433.  Mariners team
442.  Postseason recap (Indians/Red Sox)

Well, those two packs were both devoid of any inserts - but that's alright since I bought the box for the base cards (how often do you hear someone say that anymore)?!  In total, I landed another six cards for my base set.  Not bad I guess.  I'll have more from this box in the upcoming days (along with some non-Fleer Tradition posts as well)!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Great Reorganization: Step 16: To Collect or Not (1994 Edition)

I'm making some serious progress lately in terms of completely overhauling my collection.  Oh sure, this process started over two years ago (back before I moved) but it's entering the final stretch as I am now going year-by-year and deciding which sets to collect and which sets to ignore.  Of course, for every set that I decide to collect, I then need to make a binder, fill it with 9-pocket pages, and then after filling the binder as best I can, update my want list.  It's a long process, but ultimately one that I hope will be worth all the time I've spent!

For today's post, I am going to take a look at the year 1994 and decide which sets to keep/collect and which to ignore.  As it stands heading into today's post, I don't actually have a single set from 1994 on my want list at the moment.  That means I have a "fresh slate" so speak.  Let's see what happens.

The "No Way" Group:

This group contains nine cards from four different sets.  At this point in time, that's all I have from each of the sets so saying "no" to each of these is an easy choice.  A few of the above cards will still stay in my collection however - I plan to make a Reds' Frankenset and a few of the cards have a real good shot at making it in the binder!

The first cut is always the easiest.  Unfortunately for me, it only gets harder from here as I have to keep making cuts since A)  I can't afford every set in the world and B) even if I could afford it, I wouldn't have room to store them all!  Remember, I prefer to store my sets in binders so bookshelf space is at a premium in my house!

Actually, I sort of lied because the next round of cuts was almost as easy as the first group.

More "Nope" Sets:

The Scott Leius Twins' card sure looks more like a Reds' card to me given that you can clearly read (and see) Sanders' jersey in the card.  I like that Rijo a lot as well - but alas that's it for my '94 Upper Deck collection so that set is out.  I also had to give up on Stadium Club (again that's a nice Rijo) and '94 Donruss (which isn't a terrible design, at least for Donruss' standards).  The final easy cut was that of 1994 Fleer Ultra, one of my least favorite Ultra designs of all time.

Now that ends the easy portion of whittling down 1994 sets.  At this point, I have five sets remaining to go through, each of which I own at least a small stack of already.

First up:

1994 Pacific:

Now, I'm on record as saying that I love most things Pacific, especially the late 90s Pacific stuff.  Unfortunately, I don't have the same affection for early 90s Pacific - this set is a bit too gray for my tastes...and given how hard it is to find Pacific stuff anymore, I'm sadly going to have to say not going to collect.  I will, however, probably find room in my Reds' Frankenset for some of the '94 Pacific cards.

1994 Topps:

Here's the first truly difficult choice from 1994.  On the one hand, I have quite a few 1994 Topps cards in my collection already.  On the other hand, I never cared much for the '94 set...and it doesn't really evoke any strong memories from my childhood for me.  Given that I have little to no connection to a set that I deem a fairly poor design, this one gets a not going to collect rating.

I'm writing this post and making my decisions in real time, so I apologize if the "flow" of the post isn't great...after each paragraph, I have to spend a rather lengthy amount of time sorting through the cards of the given set!

Anyhow, after sorting through the '94 Topps cards (I'm pulling out cards for my Reds' Frankenset and my non-Reds' Frankenset - both projects that I want to start once I'm done with my Great Reorganization)!  The rest of the '94 Topps cards got placed in my "for trade" box...and since it's 1994 Topps we are talking about, they'll probably be used as packing material for future trades!

1994 Bowman's Best:

In general, I have no problem ruling out a Bowman set.  And, if I'm being honest, the 1994 Bowman's Best set really doesn't come anywhere near living up to the title of "best."  So why the tough decision?

Easy.  These cards mostly came from a box of cards that was a wedding present for me (and my wife).  It was the one present that we got that was specifically for me rather than all of the other presents which were basically for my wife.

Ultimately, while the cards in the stack do have some emotional connection for me, the set itself doesn't.  I think I'll pick out a bunch to fit into my Frankenset (both Reds and non-Reds) and put the rest in the 'ol trade box.  Therefore, this gets a not going to collect decision.

1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:

The Collector's Choice line is a long favorite of mine (as opposed to the Bowman line which I generally despise).  However, I don't have all that much of the '94 set...and the design isn't really all that good either...and so I see no option but to not bother collecting this set either.  There are a number of good or interesting cards however that will probably make their way into one of my two Frankensets.

As I said earlier, I'm writing this blog in "real time" as I go through my cards.  Frankly, I'm as surprised as anyone that I have yet to say "yes" to a single set from 1994...and at this point there is only one option left to consider.

1994 Fleer:

Out of the five major sets that I had to make a decision on, the 1994 Fleer set is probably the set I owned the least of.  However, it's also probably my favorite of the five sets - the design is truly top notch...and the set as a whole is severely underrated.

Speaking of the whole set, 1994 Fleer weighs in with a whopping 720 cards - and I own about 65 or so right now (a mere 9% of the entire set).  All that said, I think I'm going to surprise some people (myself included) when I say this is a set that I will collect despite me currently needing so many cards from it!

That finishes off my look at 1994.  I'm not really picking the years to sort through in any particular pattern...mostly based on how much time/energy I have and how big/small the stack of unsorted cards is for that year.  No matter, I need to get every year done eventually...and thankfully I've been making solid progress thus far!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More 2000 Fleer Tradition Including a Cal Ripken Jr. Box Hit

Another day, another round of meetings, and now another couple of packs from 2000 Fleer Tradition.  Seems like deja vu all over again, doesn't it?

Pack 3:
76.  Bobby Higginson
110.  Ryan Klesko
149.  Octavio Dotel
187.  Bruce Aven
271.  Atlanta Braves team card
276.  Travis Lee
327.  Pokey Reese

First Red of the box!
373.  Jose Offerman
438.  Award winner:  Randy Johnson
Cal Ripken Collection:  3.  Cal Ripken Jr.

According to the card back, the design of this particular card is taken from the 1961-62 Fleer NBA set.  I like that Fleer "cited" the card design, especially since I know basically zero about basketball cards (from any era).  It should also be noted that the Cal Ripken Collection cards are seeded 1:30 packs, meaning this is a pretty much a box hit (36 packs in a box leaves the possibility of pulling a second Ripken card I suppose).

Pack 4:
3.  League Leaders (Ramirez, Palmeiro, Griffey Jr.)

I like the look of the League Leaders cards in this set.
33.  Bo Porter
48.  Orlando Hernandez
110.  Ryan Klesko
Weird, he was in Pack #3 as well.  I don't like pulling duplicates this early in the box!!
115.  Kevin Brown
209.  Matt Lawton
316.  Ed Sprague
330.  Darren Dreifort
376.  Masao Kida
Who to Watch:  2.  Matt Riley

Overall, I needed 7 of the cards from the two packs shown in this post (including one of the Ryan Klesko cards).  Will I be able to finish off the entire base set thanks to this box?  I honestly have no idea...but I'd like to think I will!

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Box of 2000 Fleer Tradition!

Although I don't have to teach in the summer, I'm still required to occasionally make my way in to work for a meeting or two.  Unfortunately for me, this week I had meetings all day today and I have to go back tomorrow for more follow-up meetings.  I'm hopeful after this week that the issues are settled and then my summer can begin in earnest.

...and before you get all jealous of my summer "off," let me tell you that "off" actually means I'll be spending my time creating lessons, homework exercises, etc. for two different courses that I've never taught before - Calculus III and The History of Mathematics.  I assure you that this won't feel like a summer off to me...but at least I can work from home most of the time rather than 104 miles that I have to drive to get to and from work during the school year.

And that time saved by me not having to spend it in my car?  Well, I can use that time for my many hobbies (and mowing the lawn of course).  Since I mowed the lawn this past weekend, tonight is free to open up some baseball cards...and I've had this box of 2000 Fleer Tradition staring at me for a few days now, so let's get ripping.

Before I open the box, here's what we can expect to find in the 450 card, single series set.  There are 358 player cards, 10 league leaders, 10 postseason recaps, 6 award winners, 30 team cards, 30 prospects, and 6 checklists in the base set.  Luckily for me (since I'm trying to collect the entire set), there are exactly zero short prints!

Now, I'm interested in the base cards from this box, but there are a variety of inserts as well:
  • 15 Who to Watch (1:3 packs)
  • 15 Dividends (1:6 packs)
  • 10 Ten-4 (1:18 packs)
  • 15 Hall's Well (1:30 packs)
  • 15 Grasskickers (1:30 packs)
  • 10 The Ripken Collection (1:30 packs)
  • Fresh Ink autos (1:144 packs)
  • Club 3000 (1:36 packs)
  • Club 3000 relics (numbered, no pack odds given)
That's a fairly diverse line up of inserts, so this should be a fun rip.  The hobby box contains 36 packs with 10 cards per's hoping I can make a serious dent in my want list!

Without any further delay, let's rip a couple of packs tonight, shall we?

Pack 1:
26.  Juan Gonzalez

The first card out of the first packs is....a duplicate.  That's a bummer!
32.  Nomar Garciaparra
48.  Orlando Hernandez
132.  Jose Lima
178.  Eric Milton
257.  Darin Erstad
272.  Red Sox Prospects (Wilton Veras and Tomokazu Ohka)
289.  Chuck Finley
415.  Jermaine Dye
Who to Watch:  15.  Adam Kennedy

I have a few of the Who to Watch cards already, but I don't expect that I'll end up chasing the full set.  Once I open the entire box and sort all the cards, I'll probably create a list of trade bait just in case anyone else is still interested in this set.

And with that, Pack #1 is in the books.  Out of the 10 cards in that pack, I only needed 3...but at least I did get a bit closer to the full base set.  So long as I make progress each pack, I'll be satisfied!

Pack 2:
98.  Mark Kotsay
148.  Armando Benitez
173.  Bobby Howry
174.  Chris Singleton
223.  John Halama
357.  Pirates team card
390.  Rickey Henderson

403.  Blue Jays Prospects (Casey Blake and Vernon Wells)
435.  Award Winner:  Carlos Beltran
Dividends:  6.  Frank Thomas

I won't ever complain about getting a nice insert of "The Big Hurt."  In fact, I always liked Frank Thomas when I was a kid.  In terms of base cards, this pack yielded another three cards for my set as well.

Through two packs, I've nabbed six new cards for my set plus a pair of inserts.  Not a bad start - and certainly not bad for a Monday!  Tomorrow it's another day of meetings for me...and hopefully another evening of opening up more packs out of this box of 2000 Fleer Tradition!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I Got a New Box of Cards Off of eBay...and then Another!

About a week and a half ago, I completed another major milestone in my quest to get my entire baseball card collection reorganized - I fully sorted my cards from the year 2000, deciding what to keep and what to no longer collect.  One of the decisions that came out of that post was that I would try to collect the entire 2000 Fleer Tradition set despite the fact that I only owned about half of the 450 cards in the set.  I mentioned then that I would try to track down a box on eBay.

It took me this long to do so because the first time I tried to buy a box, the seller sent me a box of 2001 Fleer Tradition instead.  Now, a less honest person would have simply kept the 2001 box since it's worth probably two or three times as much as a 2000 box, but I wasn't trying to be dishonest...nor was planning to collect the 2001 Fleer Tradition set ever.  And so, I contacted the seller, shipped the box back to him, and then he shipped the correct box to me.  I didn't lose anything in the deal (the seller reimbursed me for shipping the box back to him) but it took time...and it was an inconvenience on my end for sure.

However, all's well that ends well - and now I'm pleased to say that I have this box in possession.

A brand new box of 2000 Fleer Tradition!

I'm hoping that this box gets me the full set (or at least close to it).  Once I have the entire box busted and organized, I'll be updating my want list with whatever cards still remain missing from my set.

My hope is that over the next week or so, I'll be able to start ripping and tearing some old school wax (if you consider 2000 old school of course...which I don't).  I'm excited to open the box since I haven't done much opening of card packs lately...stay tuned to see what I get (and I'm sure I'll end up with a healthy stack of trade bait as well)!