Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Delivery Time! Cards from Blog Reader SC

Although my blog has been overrun with Group Break packs lately, that isn't the only thing I've been working on.  I've also been able to complete a few trades, including the latest with blog reader SC.  In exchange for the 2010 Topps Black Parallel Josh Beckett that I pulled out of a jumbo box, I got the following cards from my want list:

2009 Topps Updates & Highlights:
UH76.  Scott Rolen
UH98.  Hanley Ramirez
UH215.  Felix Hernandez
UH229.  Kevin Millar
UH252.  Justin Verlander

UH265.  Justin Morneau
UH325.  Nate McLouth

2010 Topps:

Legendary Lineage:
LL14.  Warren Spahn & Tommy Hanson

LL20.  Frank Thomas & Prince Fielder

History of the Game:
HOTG20.  Frank Robinson

Probably one of the worst miscut cards I've seen in years!  It's inexcusable Topps!

Peak Performers:
PP-2.  Tim Lincecum
PP-7.  Grady Sizemore
PP-8.  Justin Morneau
PP-10.  Christy Mathewson
PP-12.  Lou Gehrig
PP-38.  David Ortiz
PP-49.  Evan Longoria

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

"Sticky" Group Break: 1998 Collector's Choice Pack 10

Sticky

1998 UD Collector's Choice
Pack 10


38.  Mark Wohlers (Braves)
43.  Armando Benitez (Orioles)
49.  Jeff Frye (Red Sox)

The 1999 UD Collector's Choice set might have a bit more "polish", but the photography in the '98 set seems to be far superior to its '99 brother.  Take the Frye card as an example, horizontal, action packed shot - gorgeous!
82.  Jerry Dipoto (Rockies)
95.  Gary Sheffield (Marlins)
104.  Ken Cloude (Mariners)

115.  Mark Kotsay (Marlins)
126.  Brad Rigby (Athletics)
140.  Jose Offerman (Royals)
155.  Jeff D'amico (Brewers)
159.  Chuck Knoblauch (Twins)
179.  Chad Curtis (Yankees)
SQ1.  Nomar Garciaparra - StarQuest Special Delivery (Red Sox)

2 of 30.  Chipper Jones - Stick-Ums (Braves)

This is the second Braves Stick-Ums that I've pulled!

"Pinstripes" Group Break: 1999 Collector's Choice Pack 10

"Pinstripes"

1999 UD Collector's Choice
Pack 10

4.  Rickey Ledee (Yankees)
22.  Eric Chavez (Athletics)
33.  Derek Jeter (Yankees)

41.  Roger Clemens (Blue Jays)
68.  Mark Grace (Cubs)
75.  Dmitri Young (Reds)
80.  Kenny Lofton (Indians)
84.  Gabe Alvarez (Tigers)

102.  Jeff Cirillo (Brewers)
110.  Vladimir Guerrero (Expos)
134.  Greg Vaughn (Padres)
SQ5.  Troy Glaus - *StarQuest (Angels)

Not much to say about this pack, I think I need to switch it up as opening the 1999 Collector's Choice packs is getting a little stale, perhaps I should go back to the 1998 packs for a bit.  Too bad no one claimed the Angels, that's another insert that goes into my "trade box."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Double Inserts" Group Break: 1999 Collector's Choice Pack 09

Double Inserts

1999 Collector's Choice
Pack 09

2.  Jin Ho Cho (Red Sox)

Another Red Sox player of which I know nothing about. 
20.  Kevin Witt (Blue Jays)
42.  Chipper Jones (Braves)
48.  Chuck Finley (Angels)
58.  Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles)
It seems like I've scanned a Ripken Jr. card in every pack..so no scans for Cal this time around!
66.  Kerry Wood (Cubs)

Every time I see a card of Kerry Wood I think of Dusty Baker...and Aroldis Chapman...and I get nervous...
109.  Rondell White (Expos)
117.  David Wells (Yankees)
123.  Ben Grieve (Athletics)
138.  Bill Mueller (Giants)
SQ15.  Nomar Garciaparra - * StarQuest (Red Sox)

Y5.  Sammy Sosa - Yardwork (Cubs)

The Yardwork insert cards are seeded 1:13 packs, meaning you can expect 2 or 3 per box.  That's actually fairly rare, especially for a product designed for the younger demographic.  The front of the Yardwork cards feature a borderless picture with a gaudy gold foil sidebar featuring the player's name and team.  The back of the card features a date in which the player in question had something memorable happen.  In this case, 9-25-98, the day that Sammy Sosa briefly led Mark McGwire in the homerun race (which he held for all of 46 minutes)!  Very cool card, especially considering the unique information on the back.

Group Break Leaderboard and 2005 UD Classics Pack 02

First, let's rip the second pack out of the 2005 UD Classics box:

2005 UD Classics
Pack 02


9.  Bob Feller (Indians)

16.  Buck Leonard (Homestead Greys)

Mr. Leonard will go into the Pirates stack since Homestead is right near the city of Pittsburgh.  The card uses the spelling "Greys" but most online resources seem to say the team name was spelled with an "a" as in Grays...
48.  Jim Bunning (Phillies) 
49.  Jim Palmer (Orioles)
52.  Casey Stengel (Yankees)

64.  Kirk Gibson (Tigers)
88.  Ted Kluszewski (Reds)

96.  Warren Spahn (Boston Braves)
Spahn will go into the Atlanta Braves pile since I belive the Boston Braves became (eventually) the Atlanta Braves.  I really should go back and review my old baseball history though so if I'm mistaken someone let me know in the comments!

Wow, that was a star-packed pack!  I love sets the feature lesser known players from baseball's history - so the UD Classics set is great since it features guys besides the typical Mantle, Ruth, Maris that Topps so often trots out in its sets. 

With that pack, let's take a look at the updated leaderboard!
Card Breakdown Leaderboard

Arizona Diamondbacks/Los Angeles Dodgers - BA Benny  - 10 base / 1 insert
Atlanta Braves - Flywheels  - 16 base / 2 insert
Baltimore Orioles - RyanMemorabilia  11 base / 2 inserts
Boston Red Sox - Cardsplitter  7 base / 0 inserts
Chicago Cubs - D. Cottilo  10 base / 1 inserts
White Sox / Athletics - RGBCards 15 base / 0 inserts
Cleveland Indians - Baseball Dad  12 base / 1 insert
Detroit Tigers - Grand Cards  9 base / 0 inserts
New York Mets - The Brooklyn Met 5 base / 1 insert
New York Yankees - NMCLax24  8 base / 1 insert
Philadelphia Phillies - Deal  7 base / 2 inserts
Pittsburgh Pirates - NY Hitman 23 4 base / 2 inserts
St. Louis Cardinals - Ike's Cards  9 base / 0 inserts
San Francisco Giants - dfwbuck2 6 base / 1 insert
Seattle Mariners - Dan 9 base / 1 insert

Summary:

19 packs in and most teams have been well-represented so far.  Only four teams are without at least one insert, while three teams already have two inserts.  The Mets (who were way behind in total cards) have crept up the leaderboard slightly and still have the best "pull" of any pack up to this point.  Judging by the numbers, the Braves are the big winners so far with 16 base cards, just ahead of the White Sox / Athletics pile which has 15 cards combined.  The insert race is too close to call, though as mentioned above, I'd put the Mets in first currently since they have the most unique of the inserts so far.

Still plenty of packs to go though - what else will we end up?  Only one to find out...  Just keep rippin'!

"AL West Bonanza!" Group Break: 1999 UD Collector's Choice Pack 08

"AL West Bonanza!"

1999 UD Collector's Choice
Pack 08

24.  Adrian Beltre (Dodgers)
26.  Jeremy Giambi (Royals)
29.  Kerry Wood (Cubs)
40.  Ben Grieve (Athletics)

63.  Troy O'Leary (Red Sox)
101.  Jeromy Burnitz (Brewers)
120.  A.J. Hinch (Athletics)

131.  Ray Lankford (Cardinals)
142.  Ken Griffey Jr. (Mariners)

What a gorgeous card of Ken Griffey Jr.!
150. Will Clark (Rangers)

151.  Mark McLemore (Rangers)

SQ3.  Alex Rodriguez (Mariners)
12 cards in a pack, 6 of them representing teams from the four-team AL West...and the Angels didn't even get any players!  I'll be posting an updated "leaderboard" shortly... then we can see which team has had the most cards and which has had the most inserts up 'til this point.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Approaching 700 Posts...

I've been busy busting packs (and scanning cards) all evening...and in the process, I realized that I'm probably going to hit the 700 post threshold sometime during the current Group Break (I'm at 682 written posts so far).  If I get time, I ought to come up with some type of celebration...but I probably won't have time - maybe for post #800, haha. 

I will, however, give you a few hints as to what's going to be posted on my blog in the upcoming days:

That's my post queue for the next three days...  More posts to come - and more group break packs are on their way!  (If you want, you can use the pack names to try and figure out some of the pack contents for the upcoming pack breaks!) 

"Cleveland Rocks" Group Break: 1999 UD Collector's Choice Pack 07

"Cleveland Rocks"

1999 UD Collector's Choice
Pack 07


6.  Alex Gonazalez (Marlins)
12.  Rob Fick (Tigers)
30.  David Wells (Yankees)

32.  Randy Johnson (Astros)
51.  Jay Bell (Diamondbacks)
60.  Rafael Palmeira (Orioles)
67.  Sammy Sosa (Cubs)
79.  Jim Thome (Indians)

100.  Mark Grudzielanek (Dodgers)

111.  Mike Piazza (Mets)
130.  Mark McGwire (Cardinals)
SQ26.  Kenny Lofton (Indians)

Griffey Jr junk card
Ad junk card

The '99 Collector's Choice packs are getting better and better - only two cards from this pack went unclaimed!  I believe this is the first Indian insert card I've pulled from any of the boxes, which means that well over half of the claimed teams now have at least one insert card each. 

"Typical" Group Break: 1999 UD Collector's Choice Pack 06

"Typical"

1999 UD Collector's Choice
Pack 06

8.  Michael Barrett (Expos)
22.  Eric Chavez (Athletics)

25.  George Lombard (Braves)
41.  Roger Clemens (Blue Jays)
48.  Chuck Finley (Angels)
76.  Manny Ramirez (Indians)

92.  Randy Johnson (Astros)
112.  Brian McRae (Mets)
117.  David Wells (Yankees)

141.  Rob Nen (Giants)
145.  Edgar Martinez (Mariners)
SQ9.  Juan Gonzalez - *StarQuest (Rangers)
More Rangers!  Someone really missed out by not claiming the Rangers I think...there seem to be a lot of them in the late 90s sets!

Pack 06 earns the moniker "Typical" since it was quite ordinary in every way.  Nothing spectacular, though plenty of good players.  No team dominated the pack, though many different claimed teams were represented.  In a nutshell, typical.

Delivery Time! Cards from Peter at Dropped Third Strike

A couple weeks ago, Peter from the Dropped Third Strike blog contacted me saying he had some 2010 Topps insert cards from my want list.  He wasn't kidding!

2010 Topps:

The Cards Your Mother Threw Out:
CMT-2.  Jackie Robinson
CMT-4.  Duke Snider

CMT-10.  Roger Maris
CMT-17.  Mickey Mantle
CMT-24.  Robin Yount
CMT-34.  Dwight Gooden
CMT-38.  Gary Sheffield
CMT-40.  Chipper Jones
CMT-42.  Derek Jeter
CMT-49.  Randy Johnson
CMT-58.  Evan Longoria

I know a lot of people seem to be down on this set, but I love it.  I think this is a great way to showcase a bunch of different (i.e. retired) players in a modern set - not to mention the whole thing will probably look pretty neat in a binder...the entire history of Topps' designs in just a few 9-pocket pages!

Tales of the Game:
TOG-8.  Roger Maris
TOG-10.  Jimmy Piersall
TOG-11.  New York Mets
TOG-21.  Curt Schilling

Another nice insert set, though it probably should have been combined with the History of the Game insert set...

History of the Game:
HOTG2.  First Professional Baseball Game Played
HOTG4.  American League Elevated to Major League Status
HOTG8.  Baseball Hits the Airwaves
HOTG19.  First MLB Draft

The First MLB Draft card bugs me a bit since it features a photo of Johnny Bench on the front...but it talks about Rick Monday on the back with no mention of Bench!

Legendary Lineage:
LL1.  Willie McCovey & Ryan Howard
LL2.  Mickey Mantle & Chipper Jones
LL4.  Lou Gehrig & Mark Teixeira
LL7.  George Sisler & Ichiro
LL12.  Ozzie Smith & Jose Reyes
LL20.  Frank Thomas & Prince Fielder

And finally, Peter sent me a couple more Peak Performers Insert cards:

PP-26.  Joe Mauer
PP-34.  Ichiro

Thanks a ton Peter!  And, as always, if anyone else would like to work out a trade, check out my want list and make an offer!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"O Texas" Group Break: 1999 UD Collector's Choice - Pack 05

"O Texas"

1999 UD Collector's Choice
Pack 05:

2.  Jin Ho Cho  (Red Sox)
20.  Kevin Witt (Blue Jays)
36.  Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles)

This is the fourth different Ripken Jr. card pulled so far...and the group break has really only just begun!
42.  Chipper Jones (Braves)
61.  B.J. Surhoff (Orioles)
Yet another Oriole! 
72.  Frank Thomas (White Sox)

I love the photo on the Thomas card.  Everything about it scream summertime!  Between the bright sun, the shadow of the bat and Thomas' swing, the catcher looking skyward, the white chalk lines, the brown dirt, the green grass...the entire photo is a masterpiece.
83.  Vinny Castilla (Rockies)
106.  David Ortiz (Twins)
148.  Quinton McCracken (Devil Rays)
149.  Ivan Rodriguez (Rangers)
152.  Juan Gonzalez (Rangers)
SQ29.  Curt Schilling - *StarQuest (Phillies)

If you had the Orioles or Rangers, this was a nice pack for you.  Unfortunately, no one claimed the Rangers...so only Ryan gets to really enjoy this pack since he claimed the Orioles.

Since I've had some inquiries, if you wish to claim a currently unclaimed team for the group break, let me know ASAP and we can work something out.  As soon as I pull the first true hit out of any box, I won't allow anyone else to claim a team to keep things fair.

2005 Upper Deck Classics - Group Break - Pack 01

Now that I've gotten a decent chunk of both the 1998 and 1999 UD Collector's Choice boxes busted, it's time to start busting packs from the third box as well - 2005 Upper Deck Classics.

Before this box break, I had never bought a single pack of this set (though, it turns out, I have acquired a bunch of these cards in previous trades without realizing it)! 

Each pack promises 8 cards and proclaims "look for numbered insert cards and cut signature cards."

According to the stated odds on the pack wrapper, there are:
1:4  Retro Star Rookies
1:14 Numbered insert and parallel cards
1:14  Game-Used cards
1:224 Signature cards
1:72,000  Classic Cuts

Judging from the odds, I wouldn't expect any signatures (and certainly no cut signatures)...but who knows?  Only one way to find out!

Note:  As with the first pack out of the 1998 UD Choice and the 1999 UD Choice boxes, I've scanned each and every card (including a card back) to really show off the set.  After this pack is finished, I'll go back to the typical two or three scans in order to get this group break wrapped up in a decent amount of time!

2005 Upper Deck Classics
Pack 01:

6.  Bill Russell (Dodgers)

According to the card back, Bill Russell played in more career games than any other player in Dodger's history. 
8.  Billy Williams (Cubs)

Billy Williams hit 426 homeruns in his career - which is impressive considering he started his 18-year career in 1961!
15.  Brooks Robinson (Orioles)

Did you know?  Brooks Robinson managed to win the MVP award for the American League, the All-Star Game, and the World Series in his career!
24.  Dave McNally (Orioles)

The backs of the Upper Deck Classics cards are quite clean.  They feature the player "vitals" at the top, a full-color team logo in the upper right-hand corner and a single "lifetime" statistical line.  Each card back also features a photo (a cropped version of the front photo) of the player and a brief write-up of what makes that player a "classic."  All together, a nice, clean card back!
42.  Harmon Killebrew (Twins)

Although many of the cards seem to feature color photos, the occassional black and white photo really adds to the "classics" feel of the set.  This particular card is a great example of that.
75.  Pee Wee Reese (Brooklyn) 

I suppose this card should go into the Dodgers pile!  That should make BABenny happy since he claimed the Dodgers.  The back of the card features the old Brooklyn Dodgers logo - which as a baseball history buff, I really appreciate!
76.  Phil Niekro (Braves)

The uniform that Niekro is wearing is classic enough that he doesn't need any other reason to be in this set!  Of course, his knuckleball is probably the real reason he was included...
91.  Tommie Agee (Mets)

A member of the Miracle Mets, Agee ended his career with a tantalizing 999 career hits!
Dummy card

And there you have it, the first pack out of the third box.  At this point, everyone should have a good feel for the three different sets.  I'm hoping to crank out at least 15-20 more packs before the end of the week...maybe more if I don't get too swamped with grading for work!