Friday, April 30, 2010

Nachos Grande Group Break II: The Sign Ups! (Updated - Lots of Teams Still Available)

As promised, it's time for my second Group Break - and this one promises to better than the last!

Here's the deal:

$20.00 for 1  team
$15.00 for a second team and every team after that.

PayPal, Post Office money orders, (or cash at your own risk in the mail) accepted.
PayPal can be sent to fanofreds (dot) auctions (at) gmail (dot) com.

Your payment includes shipping in padded mailers and/or boxes (as necessary).

This particular group break promises lots of interesting stuff - and plenty of cards for everyone!  Here's what I'll be busting - FIVE different boxes!  There will be approximately 1,272 cards busted and distributed to Group Break participants!  The boxes promise a bunch of hits, plus plenty of other inserts, short prints, and other goodies.  In other words, there will be something for everyone.

Box 1:
1997 Collector's Choice
Series 1

I had a lot of fun busting the 1998 and 1999 Collector's Choice boxes for the first group break so I thought I'd try the 1997 box for this one.  By busting a box of Collector's Choice, there's automatic insurance that all the teams will get plenty of cards, including inserts and other interesting cards!  The box has 36 packs with 12 cards per pack...and there's stickers in the box too!

Box 2:
Topps Stadium Club
Series 1

The Stadium Club box looked so interesting that I had to pick it up for the group break.  Check out that fist full of bling - and the box promises "Topps Super Color".  You can't beat Super Color, it's like regular color only Super-y-er.  There is also ring leader phone cards inserted - back when phone cards were actually popular things.  I'm doubting they'll work now but hey, you can try.  There are 24 packs in the box with 14 cards per pack.

Box 3:
2004 UD Vintage

Of course, no group break is complete without at least one box that promises "hits."  In fact, this is the first of three boxes with promised hits.  The 2004 UD Vintage set is a really nice set - and each box promises a jersey hit per box along with two 3-D Slugger cards per box.  I have no idea what the 3-D Slugger cards are but they sound intriguing.  I can't wait to see 'em!  The UD Vintage box has 24 packs with 8 cards per pack.

Box 4:
2003 Upper Deck Honor Roll

The '03 UD Honor Roll is a set that I had never heard of before purchasing boxes for my next break.  However, the box promises one hit per box, plus one sequentially-numbered rookie card per box.  The UD Honor Roll box has 24 packs with 5 cards per pack.

And finally:

Box 5:
2005 Upper Deck All-Star Classics

Another set that I've never heard of before now - this particular box promises two memorabilia cards per box on average.  There are also a slew of possible parallels and some other inserts that fall at least one per box.  This box contains 24 packs with 8 cards per pack.

So there it is, my second group break - all ready to go!  All that I need is to fill the thing up.  Here's the deal, you may claim any number of teams (remember $20.00 for the first team, $15.00 for each team after that).  If sending payment via PayPal, please pay in one payment to reduce the fees that PayPal steals takes from each payment.

The teams:

Note:  A few people have already "claimed" teams from previous posts and/or emails.  If you are one of those but no longer wish to participate, please let me know so I can re-open that team.

The Teams:

"The Expansionists"  (Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos)  - Carl Crawford Cards (Paid)
Atlanta Braves - Flywheels (Paid)
Baltimore Orioles - Ryan (Paid)
Boston Red Sox - Card Splitter (Paid)
Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs
Cinncinnati Reds  - Nachos Grande (Paid)
Cleveland Indians  - Baseball Dad (Paid)
Detroit Tigers - RoofGod (Paid)
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers - Night Owl (Paid)
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets - BA Benny (Paid)
New York Yankees - LongLiveTheWho (Paid)
Oakland Athletics
Philadelphia Phillies - Dan (Paid)
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners - RGBCards (Paid)
St. Louis Cardinals - Ike's Cards (Paid)
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays

Please leave a comment below claiming your team and then send payment via PayPal (fanofreds (dot) auctions (at) gmail (dot) com) or email me to get my mailing address if you are mailing payment through snail mail.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Did Somebody Say Group Break?

That's right, fresh off completing the last group break I'm ready to do it again - only this time it'll be bigger and better!

I've got a bunch of boxes lined up - more group break details coming soon (hopefully later tonight or else tomorrow depending on how my final exam grading goes)!

Phlogging: Aroldis Chapman - Live!

 It wasn't the best evening for baseball (15 mph winds, low 50 degree temperatures) but I made the trek to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA (along with my father and youngest brother) to see Aroldis Chapman pitch for the AAA Reds affiliates (the Louisville bats). 

First, I must say that the SWB Yankees ballpark (PNC Park) is really nice and all the employees were quite friendly.  It was clear that the majority of the people at the stadium were Reds fans but all the employees made an effort to make everyone feel welcome.  Heck, one employee even reminisced about the Big Red Machine of the '70s with my father!

We had great seats for watching a ball game (right behind home plate as you can see from the above photo).  Unfortunately, the seats weren't so great for photo taking since the net was always in the way!

However, we didn't go to the game to see the stadium per se, no, we went to see Aroldis Chapman pitch - and here's the photographic evidence of it!

Chapman during his first warm up tosses before the first inning.  The buzz in the stadium was palpable at this point, even though there weren't all that many fans there due to the crappy weather!

And finally, a few more shots sans commentary:

Overall, Aroldis Chapman didn't have a great game (in fact, statistically it was his worst of his short professional career).  He gave a pair of home runs (both should have been solo home runs but the first was a two bomb thanks to an earlier error by the third baseman).  According to the stadium radar gun, Chapman never touched triple digits (though I didn't expect he would given the cold, miserable weather conditions of the evening).  He did strike out a few guys though, and when he doesn't throw hanging breaking balls at least, he looks like a big league ready pitcher!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Barry Larkin Collection 52: 2000 Upper Deck Ultimate Victory #87

Barry Larkin
Year:  2000
Brand:  Upper Deck Ultimate Victory
Card number:  87

The Victory brand for Upper Deck was (as I recall) a mostly kid-centric brand.  I believe the Victory line replaced the popular Collector's Choice line for youngsters.  Apparently, Upper Deck Ultimate Victory took the kid-centric set, added a heftier cardboard stock, a serious mount of gloss and shine, and marketed the "new" set to adults*.

*I have no idea if any of that is true, but that's how it appears.  I never saw a pack of Ultimate Victory for sale in any retail store near me in 2000...and I remember Victory being a cheap set.

Anyhow, this particular Larkin card is part of the super shiny Ultimate Victory set.  The front of the card features a bright blue border (which happens to clash terribly with the Reds red and black uniforms).  There is an action shot of Larkin on the right and a small, close-up shot of Larkin's face in the lower left corner.  The top left corner gives the player name, team, and position along with a foil version of the set name. 

The backs of the card look exactly like the Victory backs (I believe - I don't have a copy of Larkin's 2000 Victory card handy...heck, I don't even know if I own one)!  The back steals a page out of Topps' playbook and gives Larkin's career statistics along with a few vitals (height, weight, age, etc.). 

All told, this set seems to be everything that I don't like in a set.  Lazy design (much like my biggest beef with Topps Chrome) with extra shine does not equal an awesome set - at least not to me.  And, apparently, a lot of people agreed with me since Upper Deck has long since discontinued the Ultimate Victory line. 

Delivery Time! Trade with blog reader Noah!

I've been crazy busy with the group break posts and writing (and now grading) finals for the last week of college for my students!  However, that doesn't exactly excuse my lateness in posting this particular package since it was sent on March 16.

Blog reader Noah contacted me offering "some Reds" for "some Mets."  Sweet deal I thought, get rid of a team I don't like and a get cards from a team I do like.  Well, I sent Noah a few Mets and he sent me about 10 times more Reds!  In fact, he sent so many they arrived in two different small boxes!

Let's dig into the first box:

I'm always excited to get new cards - even more so when I get cards from a set that I've never seen before!  The first few cards are from such a set:

2005 Topps Rookie Cup
#66.  Chris Sabo  (#ed 296/399)

I'm not sure what the set is exactly (I guessed based on the logo in the background) but it appears to be a set devoted to players who had the Topps Rookie Cup on their baseball cards at one point. 

2005 Topps Rookie Cup
#66.  Chris Sabo (Reprint)

The second card #66 from the set, this one is a reprint of Sabo's 1989 Topps "rookie cup" card.  From the small sample size, it seems like the reprints are more common than the rookie cup cards since the reprints are serially-numbered! 

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated
#62.  Sam McDowell

McDowell may be an Indian and not a Red (the logo on his hat is confusing) but this is still one of my favorite cards from the box because I love the Sports Illustrated set from '99.  In fact, if I ever found a box of this stuff online, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat! 

2005 Upper Deck Reflections
#98.  Austin Kearns

I have no idea what this set is - UD Reflections is my best guess.   That said, it sure is a shiny set!  I guess it's proof that if you make a photo shiny enough even a boring shot can become an interesting card.  I don't know that I'll ever buy a box of the stuff but I'll gladly accept any Reds from the set.

2004 Donruss Studio
#57.  Austin Kearns

Another Kearns card, this time a Donruss.  After the early 90s, I basically avoided Donruss like they were some sort of "lesser" card brand.  I'd much rather have a box of Pacific or Fleer over Donruss...and while I still feel that way, I have to admit that I like this card.  Sure it's busy...and the background looks more like Pittsburgh than Cincinnati, but I don't care - it's still a cool card.

2007 Topps Turkey Red
#16.  Ken Griffey Jr - Checklist

Checklists aren't overly exciting but I like the Turkey Red version with an "action photo" on the front.  The whole thing simply looks good - which is all you can really ask for in a baseball card!

2005 UD Classics
Post Season Performers
PP-ED.  Eric Davis

Wow, I just busted an entire box of 2005 UD Classics and I don't recall any cards that looked quite like this one!  It's numbered 282/299 (which is probably arbitrary since the serially-numbered cards in the box I busted all appeared to be arbitrary).  It's a pretty cool card though - and a reminder of the last time the Reds were actually any good (1990...*sigh*).

And finally:

2005 Topps Fan Favorites
111.  Rob Dibble

I LOVE the Topps Fan Favorite line - and I wish they would bring it back (somehow tweaking the rules about sets with only retired players I guess).  If I ever find a box of this stuff that's somewhat affordable, I'd probably pull the proverbial trigger and buy a couple of boxes!

Thanks a lot Noah!  (And remember, there's a second box full of cards that will be posted sometime in the future)!  Finally, as always, if anyone else would like to work out a trade - check out my want list and make an offer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trade Bait: Chrome Refractors

Here's the deal - I've got a bunch of cards for trade - and a bunch of cards I want.  Offer me some cards I want for cards I offer and we'll make a deal!

The cards for trade in this round are:

2009 Topps Heritage
Chrome Refractors (all #ed out of 560)

C3.  Miguel Tejada
C21.  Mat Gamel
C94.  Ryan Zimmerman
C95.  Carlos Quentin
C97.  Max Scherzer
CHR109.  Melky Cabrera
CHR135.  Jason Kubel
CHR193.  Cliff Lee

As I mentioned on my blog before, I've decided to whittle down some of the many sets that I've been trying to collect.  One such casualty is the 2009 Topps Heritage chrome and chrome refractor sets.  I've got to say though, those refractors sure do scan nicely (and look even better in person)!  If there's no interest (or nothing that strikes me as a good trade), I'll be listing these on eBay.

Exciting News!

First, a quick update.  I've mailed out all the Group Break cards from my first ever group break (except a couple of people who still need to send me their address). 

Second, I've decided to do a second Group Break - and this one promises to be even better than the first.  I'm in the process of securing boxes, but it looks like I'll have at least 3 different boxes, possibly as many as 5 different boxes, all from mid-90s to mid-00s! 

The cost is going to be a bit higher this time (I took a bit of a beating on shipping + supplies that I didn't quite anticipate), but I'm hoping to have more exciting packs with better possible hits.  I'll have full details on my blog in due time - once the boxes are in hand!  Stay tuned though - and start saving those PayPal bucks because you won't want to miss this!

Third, I'm going to be posting a few cards for trade on my blog - I'd really like to knock some more cards off my want list and this is often a great way to do so.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Delivery Time! Contest Prize from The Collective Troll!

Last week may have been awful (and this week isn't much better quite yet), but there were a couple of bright spots.  First, I might have gotten a grant for some summer work through NASA.  Second, I won a contest over at The Collective Troll.

My prize?  Only a super sweet Al Kaline autograph! 

I've got a soft spot in my heart for the Tigers, especially Tigers from before my time since my uncle was a big Detroit fan.  My dad's side of the family is full of baseball fans - and almost everyone likes a different team.  Amongst the members of the family are four Reds fans, a Cubs fan, a Cardinals fan, three Brewers fans, a Phillies fan, a Yankes fan, a couple Red Sox fans, and the aforementioned Tigers fan.  It makes for lively family reunions, that's for sure! 

The Troll also included a 1973 Topps card of Hal McRae which is appreciated since I don't own many '73 cards!

Thanks a lot Marck, and as always, if anyone else would like to work out a trade - check out my want list and make an offer!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Group Break Participants: Last Call!

Group break participants - I'm in the process of packing up the cards from my first every group break.  If you don't want the duplicates, please let me know immediately.

For everyone else:  I'm looking into a second group break before too long.  I'm thinking it will be something similar, but different boxes, maybe something with a couple more (affordable) hits.  More details as I learn them.

Final Pack (and a Hit)! Group Break: 2005 UD Classics

It's finally here, the last of the group break pack breaks!

It's been a long process - approximately 1,200 cards ripped and written about (including many scanned)...but it's been fun.  Fun enough, in fact, that I plan to do it again before too long with a new selection of boxes.  Stay tuned for further details as I learn them!

Onto the final pack!  And, in true spirit of the group break, I've scanned every card out of the last pack.  My scanner can now take a deserved break.

2005 UD Classics:

1.  Al Kaline  (Tigers)

7.  Billy Herman (Cubs)

13.  Boog Powell (Orioles)

44.  Howard Johnson (Mets)

68.  Luis Aparicio (White Sox)

78.  Ralph Kiner (Pirates)

85.  Ron Cey (Dodgers)

89.  Ted Lyons (White Sox)

MA-CA.  Jose Canseco - Classic Materials Relic (Athletics)

Phew!  That's it.  A nice relic to end the break on - and a whole bunch of stars in the pack that all go to somebody since all the above teams were claimed.  Please remember, if you don't want the duplicates to let me know.  I'm planing on mailing ALL the group break packages out on Monday morning!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

And Then There Were Two... Group Break - Last Pack of 1998 Collector's Choice

It's been a long journey to get to the end of this group break...and I'm pleased to say that plans are in motion to have another (similar) group break in the somewhat near future!  For now though, it's time to finish off this particular box of 1998 Collector's Choice.

Final pack!
1998 Collector's Choice

59.  Mark Grace (Cubs)
60.  Frank Thomas (White Sox)

63.  Chris Clemons (White Sox)
74.  Bartolo Colon (Indians)

85.  Vinny Castilla (Rockies)
108.  Orlando Cabrera (Expos)
132.  Shane Reynolds (Astros)
136.  Jose Rosado (Royals)
137.  Yamil Benitez (Royals)
168.  Ugueth Urbina (Expos)
210.  Kevin Young (Pirates)
259.  Top of the Charts - ERA - Clemens (Blue Jays) & Martinez (Expos)
SQ20.  Paul Konerko - StarQuest Special Delivery (Dodgers)

ER10.  Evolution Revolution - Detroit Tigers (Travis Fryman)

Sweetness - another Evolution Revolution card.  This particular box had three of the Evolution Revolution fold out cards - Mets, Reds, and now Tigers.  Since I had the Reds in the break, I will be mailing out an Evolution Revolution card (from my own personal collection) to one lucky group break participant.

And now, there's only one pack left - 2005 UD Classics.  Stay tuned for the last hurrah of Nachos Grande First Group Break! 

*Note:  If you DON'T want all the duplicates from your claimed team(s), please let me know!  I'm in the process of packaging cards up and I think I've severely underestimated shipping costs - any savings on my end is appreciated!

Friday, April 23, 2010

eBay Score! 2009 Allen & Ginter Creature

It's been a long, long time since I've been able to knock any of the insert cards off my 2009 Allen & Ginter want list.  It seems like everyone who was willing to trade their cards already has...and no one is buying new packs/blasters/boxes of the set so the supply has all but vanished.  As such, I've had to turn to eBay and prowl around looking for the cards I need being sold for prices I can afford (which isn't much unfortunately). 

For a grand total of $5.00 - $4.46 in eBay bucks, I was able to nab one more card from the Creatures of Legend, Myth, and Terror subset...

2009 Allen & Ginter
Creatures of Legend, Myth, and Terror
LMT16.  Cerberus

I'm now only missing a few cards from the complete mini set of Allen & Ginter.  If, by chance, you happen to have any of the cards I'm missing - please let me know so we can work something out!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Barry Larkin Collection 51: 1994 Topps #250

Barry Larkin
Year:  1994
Brand:  Topps
Card number:  250

The 1994 Topps set doesn't seem to have a lot of fans (with good reason).  The photography isn't overly exciting, the design is uninspired, and the player names (and teams) are difficult to read!  Unfortunately, this particular Larkin card illustrates all of the above complaints...

The front of the card features Larkin, complete with goofy mid-90s sunglasses going after what I can only surmise to be a routine popup on a sunny day.  The back of the card features Larkin flashing a sign language "F" for some reason.  Finally, the back of the card features (as is Topps' base set custom) Larkin's full career statistics. 

Overall, this particular Barry Larkin card is no where near my top 10 - or even my top 50 if you consider a bunch of cards that I haven't yet scanned and written about as part of my ongoing Barry Larkin Collection series.  That said, it's still a Larkin card which makes it better than just about any other card in the 1994 Topps set!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Group Break - Final Pack of 1999 Collector's Choice

There's three packs left in the break - this is the worst of the three in my opinion (but it's still pretty sweet, especially for a 1999 pack).  As you look over the players in this pack, realize that Mark Grudzielanek is arguably the second worst player in the pack...  Check out the stars represented (and remember, put your rose-colored, steriod-free 1999 glasses on first):  Ripken Jr, Chipper, Sosa, Thome, Piazza, Tino, McGwire, Walker, and Griffey Jr.  I don't know if you could hand pick a much better pack of late 90s Superstars!  And the best part - the second insert in the pack is my favorite insert from the entire box!

1999 Collector's Choice:

20.  Kevin Witt (Blue Jays)
36.  Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles)

42.  Chipper Jones (Braves)
67.  Sammy Sosa (Cubs)

79.  Jim Thome (Indians)
100.  Mark Grudzielanek (Dodgers)
111.  Mike Piazza (Mets)

119.  Tino Martinez (Yankees)
130.  Mark McGwire (Cardinals)

154.  Carlos Delgado (Blue Jays)
SQ28.  Larry Walker - *StarQuest (Rockies)
27 of 30.  Ken Griffey Jr - Bobbin' Head (Mariners)

As I mentioned at the top of the post, I think this is easily my favorite card from the 1999 Collector's Choice box.  I'm actually sad to part with it!  The group break has been fun (and a lot of scanning) but it's nearing the end now.  Only two packs left - what else is hiding?  Stay tuned.

Group Break - Busting the Rest of the 1999 Collector's Choice Packs

The group break is almost over - though I'm pleased to announce that there is a decent chance I'll be doing another group break in the somewhat near future.  I'll get more details out there when I know them but I'm trying to secure another three or four boxes.  Preliminary interest from anybody?  I'm planning on different boxes this time around of course!

Now, on to the last of the "boring packs" from 1999 Collector's Choice.  A few of you have already emailed me saying you don't want the doubles (which I appreciate since I probably underestimated the shipping costs)!  If you don't want the duplicates, let me know.  Of course, if I don't hear from you I'll be mailing you all the cards of your time.

Enough of that - onward to the packs!












Red Sox:


White Sox:


Only three more packs to go - one from each box.  I can guarantee a hit - plus a few other cool goodies.  Stay tuned!