Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Almost December - Let's Trade!

I'm going to be making a few trips to the post office in the next week or two to send out some Christmas packages.  I might as well send out some trade packages as well.

If you are interested, I have a bunch of "for trade" lists on my blog, including (but not limited to):

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter
2012 Topps Archives
2011 Topps Heritage
2008 UD Timeline
2008 Topps Stadium Club

You can find all of my lists by using the menu system at the top of my blog.  You can also find my want list here - make me an offer!

Another Parallel - But It's One I Want!

It's time for the tenth pack of the 2000 Skybox Metal box - and the second pack of the day.  Enjoy.

Pack 11:
4.  Javy Lopez
7.  Richie Sexson
24.  Chipper Jones

60.  Carl Everett
110.  Corey Koskie
137.  Mike Lieberthal
142.  Charles Nagy
177.  J.D. Drew
186.  Roger Clemens
68.  Emerald Parallel:  Scott Williamson

It's not often I pull a Reds parallel so I was happy to land the Williamson!  I wish I could have pulled the Larkin Emerald card, but I suppose beggars shouldn't be choosers.  

Back When Teams Like the Pirates Got Insert Cards...

It's the final day of November, hard to believe isn't it?  As a professor, my November (and early December) always zoom by.  Since my entire life has revolved around school (first a student, then a teacher), I've often wondered whether people with non-academic jobs find this time of the year to go by as quickly as I do.  I suppose I should stop my yammering and get to the cards...time's a'wasting.

Pack 10:
32.  Micah Bowie
35.  Sean Casey

This is a nice pack for a Reds fan!
49.  Mike Lowell
67.  Pete Harnisch
Told ya, two Reds in the same pack!
96.  Brad Radke
132.  Mike Sirotka
139.  Henry Rodriguez
194.  Manny Ramirez
229.  Prospect:  Glen Barker

Another failed prospect, that's becoming a theme with the short printed prospect cards!

3 of 15 TS.  Talent Show:  Chad Hermansen

Remember when Hermansen was all the rage?  I don't think he ended up doing much in the talent show that is Major League Baseball...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Does a Cheerleader and a Scuba Diver Have to Do With Me?

Since becoming aware of the various series of Lego minifigures, I've become a bit obsessed with trying to collect them all.  In fact, I have even added Legos to my want list!  The current Lego series is Series 8 which you can find in various stores right now.  I happen to have a Wal*Mart in town so once in awhile I find a reason to make a stop at the big box store and purchase a package or two of the minifigures.  Each series has 16 figures in it - here's the full checklist for Series 8.

Each package has one figure inside for about $3.00.  You can't actually tell what figure you are going to get unless you open up the package (or do something akin to pack searching which I don't recommend).  Thanks to my recent purchases (plus a trade that I haven't written a post for yet), I now own 10 of the 16 figures.  Of course, the figure that I wanted the most when I first saw the checklist still eludes me (the lederhosen guy with the pretzel).  I also still would love to acquire the robot and the pirate captain.  My other missing figures from Series 8 are the business guy with the newspaper, the fairy, and the alien queen in the bottom corner of the checklist.

My two newest additions are the cheerleader and the scuba diver.

The cheerleader is nice enough I guess, but I wish the colors would have matched the football player (why is the cheerleader red while the football guy is blue).  I think it would have been better if there was a bit of synergy.

The scuba diver, on the other hand, is full of awesome.

I love the old fashioned helmet and the spear gun is a nice touch too.  Even better, you get two small grey bricks to go on the bottom of the diver's feet which makes it look like he has weighted boots on.  For such a small figure, there is a lot of detail (probably a big reason for the success of the minifigure program)!

What Kind of Talent Show Would Vernon Wells Win Anyhow?

It's time for the ninth pack out of the 2000 Skybox Metal box that I received for my birthday.  I should give a huge "thanks" to my sister-in-law who graciously purchased the box for me.  The gift meant a lot!

Pack 09:
25.  Pokey Reese

I don't think there are a lot of Reds in the set, so anytime I get one I'm happy.
45.  Paul Konerko
86.  Matt Stairs
A side note:  The 3s and 8s in this set are quite difficult to tell apart in terms of the card numbering.  It's annoying.
128.  Troy Glaus
133.  Brad Ausmus
146.  David Cone
152.  Jacque Jones
175.  Octavio Dotel
206.  Prospect:  Calvin Murray

Yet another dud prospect, or at least he's not anyone that I recall doing great things as a big leaguer.

8 of 15 TS.  Talent Show:  Vernon Wells

Again I have to ask, what type of Talent show would Wells win?  According to the back of the card, Wells was "cool and professional after being thrown into the fire as Toronto's starting center fielder."  Seriously, playing in Toronto is akin to being thrown in a fire?  Me thinks Skybox exaggerates.  This is my first Talent Show insert card (seeded 1:4 packs)...I expect quite a few more!

A Gary Sheffield Hot Pack!

For most people, this pack would be highlighted by the pair of Gary Sheffield cards.  I think you'll see why I'm not like most people when you see one of the other cards in the pack...

Pack 08:
22.  Alex Gonzalez
28.  Butch Huskey

There's something poetic about a guy named Huskey looking husky on the back of his baseball card.
38.  Mike Hampton
70.  Robin Ventura
85.  Gary Sheffield
This isn't the last of Sheffield in the pack...
90.  Scott Rolen
112.  Barry Larkin

156.  Reggie Sanders
162.  Tim Hudson
85.  Emerald Parallel:  Gary Sheffield

Two Sheffields - it could be worse.  However, the pack was really saved by the appearance of the Barry Larkin card.  That's another new one for my collection so you better believe I'm happy with the box - and I'm only 8 packs in so far!  Although you can't tell (easily) by the scan, you CAN see a difference between the two cards when you hold them in person.  The card on the right is the emerald parallel for the record.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Trade Stack 43: Welcome Back Old Friend

Here is how this works:
Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

The Trade Stack:
Last update:  11/28/12

This is the 201st post that uses the Trade Stack label.  It also marks the beginning of the 43rd trade stack here at my blog.  As far as I am concerned, both of those numbers are relatively staggering - especially when you consider the fact that I haven't done a Trade Stack post since July of this year!  For those of you who are new to my blog, the Trade Stack concept is a simple one.  I put a card (or multiple cards) in a stack and then post what card(s) I have added.  If no one claims the stack, then at some point in the future (could be hours, could be a day, could be a week), I add another card (or cards) to the stack.  We keep repeating the process until eventually someone claims the stack.  To claim the stack, all you need to do is offer me any ONE card (though you can trade more than one card of course) from my want list.  As you can see from the trade stack history (listed at the bottom of the post), many stacks are claimed after a single card, but occasionally the stack grows to double digits!

Today's stack starts with a parallel card from a mostly forgotten (but not nearly so terrible as some people seem to think) set - Topps National Chicle.  Remember, act fast if you want the stack - or else you risk me adding another card to the stack that someone else wants and then you lose the full stack!  

2010 Topps National Chicle:
National Chicle back parallel:
222.  Lou Brock - Cardinals

Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  You must leave a comment on the trade stack post in order to claim the card - no more claims via email!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!

Previously Claimed Trade Stacks:
Stack 01:  2 cards by dayf
Stack 02:  8 cards by Justin
Stack 03:  17 cards by Cam
Stack 04:  4 cards by Cam
Stack 05:  9 cards by Daily Dimwit
Stack 06:  4 cards by The Lost Collector
Stack 07:  1 card by Baseball Dad
Stack 08:  1 card by M. Spiegel
Stack 09:  6 cards by bwsmith25
Stack 10:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 11:  1 card by Patrick
Stack 12:  5 cards by Matt B.
Stack 13:  4 cards by Steve G.
Stack 14:  3 cards by ShaneK
Stack 15:  7 cards by Ryan G
Stack 16:  1 card by longlivethewho
Stack 17:  4 cards by hiflew
Stack 18:  4 cards by Potch
Stack 19:  2 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 20:  5 cards by by Play at the Plate
Stack 21:  5 cards by BA Benny
Stack 22:  1 card by IkesCards
Stack 23:  8 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 24:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 25:  2 cards by Jeff P.
Stack 26:  10 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 27:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 28:  7 cards by ThingsAreFunnerHere
Stack 29:  3 cards by TheBrooklynMet
Stack 30:  4 cards by Adam C.
Stack 31:  10 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 32:  8 cards by Josh D.
Stack 33:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 34:  1 card by Potch
Stack 35:  9 cards by Cool Breeze
Stack 36:  11 cards by Kev 
Stack 37:  6 cards by Tunguska
Stack 38:  12 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 39:  8 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 40:  1 card by Kyle4KC
Stack 41:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 42:  1 card by AdamE
Stack 43:  ?? by ??

Ripken Jr. Fusion!

The pack from the morning might have been sort of dull - this pack makes up for it.

Pack 07:

12.  Nomar Garciaparra

I'm just happy I finally learned how to spell his name!

44.  Pedro Martinez
50.  Randy Johnson
111.  Bernie Williams
121.  Tino Martinez
138.  Chris Carpenter
150.  Craig Biggio
183.  Fred McGriff
10 of 15 F.  Fusion:  Cal Ripken Jr. & Mike Mussina

Another Fusion card - this time of one of my favorite (non-Reds) player of all-time - Cal Ripken Jr.

210.  Emerald Parallel (Prospect):  Kevin Barker

The worst card in the pack is probably the emerald parallel of Kevin Barker - and even that is seeded at a relatively rare 1:8 packs.  Look at the star power in the pack, good stuff here for sure!

They Can't All Be Winners

This is the sixth pack out of the Skybox Metal box - and while the first five packs were all good in their own right, this one is fairly mundane.  Actually, check that.  This pack sucks.

Pack 06:
10.  Carlos Beltran
A Royal.  Who collects Royals?

57.  Moises Alou
Oh great, an Astro.  A team so bad it is moving to a new league this year.

98.  Bobby Higginson
The Tigers have been good lately, but that's because of Verlander.  Early 2000s Tiger teams weren't so good if I recall.

101.  Shannon Stewart
I would make the same crack about who collects Blue Jays except there are a few people out there who go after the lone Canadian baseball team.  

102.  Ryan Rupe
Who?  And it's not even a short printed prospect card.  

105.  Greg Maddux

Ok, ok.  Maddux is good - and the photo of him batting is kind of cool (the picture on the front shows Maddux in his follow through from throwing a pitch).

124.  Ron Gant
Gant was a decent player I guess, but decent doesn't make for an exciting pack.

161.  Orel Hershiser
Whenever I think of Orel now, I think of him announcing for the Little League World Series.  I doubt he'd appreciate that.

191.  Shawn Estes
I used to build Estes rockets when I was younger.  I wonder if there's a connection there?

202.  Prospect short print:  Norm Hutchins

Yep, I got a short print but it's of some guy who I never heard of who happens to play for the Angels, another team that seemingly has no collectors.  One of my goals for 2013 should be to make a list of all the collectors for each of the different MLB squads.  Then at least I'd know who I could pawn off such cards on - however, I won't be trying to trade this card (or any of the other cards) unless they wind up being duplicates for me since I'm currently planning on trying to complete the full set!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Plain Gray Swatch delivers the Goods!

It's been a bit over 2 weeks but I can finally update my want list again!  Sure, trading has slowed lately - probably partially because of the holiday but also undoubtedly because of my busy schedule of late.  Luckily, the semester is almost over - I only have four more lesson plans (plus a final exam) to write before my work is complete (except for grading of course).  Despite my relative inactivity on the blog, I am still pleased to be able to post a few trades...

One of my recent trades was with Roy over the newly named Plain Gray Swatch.  I sent Roy a bunch of Allen & Ginter cards he needed - and in return?  Well, he knocked three cards off my want list including this hard-to-find Celestial Stars card of Evan Longoria.

The other two cards from my want list were both regular back minis from the 2012 Allen & Ginter set.

I'm slowly closing in on completing the entire mini set which is exciting!  In addition to the cards from my want list, Roy also sent me a healthy pile of Reds.  I won't scan every card, but I did pick out my four favorites.

Sean Casey - 2001 Topps Gold Label

I love the Gold Label brand, even if it is confusing some years.  I am actually still trying to complete the 2001 Gold Label set, but the only cards that I still need are all serially numbered out of 999.

Jay Bruce - 2011 Topps

I don't care that I've probably shown this card at least ten different times on the blog (or its various parallels).  The photo is iconic and to a Reds fan, it marks the beginning of a new era, one in which the Reds are actually competitive.  Now if only they could win a playoff game at home.

Dmitri Young - 2002 Fleer Ultra

I'm not sure I even knew there was a Fleer Ultra set in 2002.  I have always been a fan of the Ultra line though, so I'll have to look into the possibility of getting a box sometime down the road.  This card makes my "favorite" list strictly because of the photo.  I love the dirt and helmet flying!

And finally, a Homer Bailey rookie card from 2007 Topps Turkey Red.

Last season marked the first season where Bailey looked like a legitimate big league pitcher on a (mostly) consistent basis.  Of course, he still seems to do best against the Pirates (but then again, who doesn't do well against Pittsburgh)?

In addition to all the random Reds, Roy also sent over a nice selection of Barry Larkin cards for my Barry Larkin Collection.  I had some of the them already - but there were some new ones in the stack as well which was awesome for me!  I won't ruin the surprise of all the Larkins now though, you'll eventually see the Larkins as part of my ongoing series.  However, I will show one of the new cards for my collection.

Thanks for the trade Roy!  And, as always, if anyone else would like to trade, check out my want list and make an offer!

Another Emerald Card from Skybox Metal

I enjoy doing the slow reveal of boxes both for group breaks and for my own personal boxes for a couple of reasons.  For one, it means I don't have to spend an hour or more crafting a single blog post.  Second, and more importantly, it gives me a chance to spend more time with the cards in each pack.  For instance, I probably wouldn't have noticed the little E with a circle around it on the backs of the Emerald parallels if I had been in a rush to do this post!

Pack 05:
77.  Mike Piazza

I remember when it seemed like everyone loved (and collected) Piazza.  Now I don't know if anyone collects him, at least not as a New York Met.
93.  Roger Cedeno
97.  Andy Pettitte
119.  John Wetteland
122.  Phil Nevin

To this day, I enjoy getting cards of catchers in full gear.  I have no valid explanation as to why that is though.
130.  Jeromy Burnitz
158.  Roberto Hernandez
188.  Eric Milton
189.  Bobby Smith
17.  Emerald Parallel:  Mo Vaughn

As you can see from the scan of the card back, there is an E at the top of the card that signifies the parallel version.  That's a nice touch because when you are sorting the cards the backs of the parallels otherwise look exactly like the backs of the regular cards!

Braves and Dodgers Inserts!

I always find it interesting to see what player is assigned the first card in a set.  For the 2000 Skybox Metal set, that honor goes to Tony Gwynn.  How do I know that?  He was the first card in my next pack of cards...

Pack 04:
1.  Tony Gwynn

2.  Derek Jeter
5.  Preston Wilson
30.  Juan Encarnacion
46.  Damion Easley
54.  Mark Grace
187.  Al Martin
198.  Ivan Rodriguez
10 of 15 F.  Fusion:  Chipper Jones & Andruw Jones

I pulled a really nice Chipper insert card yesterday.  I guess it's "another day, another Chipper insert" here at Nachos Grande!
10 of 10 PP.  Platinum Portraits:  Shawn Green

Another insert card - and for the second time I opened a pack with both a Fusion insert (seeded 1:4 packs) and a Platinum Portraits card (seeded 1:8 packs).  If the odds are correct, I don't expect to see too many more packs like that!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back to the Polls!

I posted the previous round of voting for my Barry Larkin Card Experiment (where the goal is to determine the best Larkin card out of the first 100 cards in my collection).  Unfortunately, Blogger had a bunch of issues with the polls so it took me quite awhile to get things sorted out.  Luckily, all is well that ends well - and the previous round of voting is finally over.  It's time to take a quick look at the victors who will be moving on to the next round and then look at the next batch of cards to vote for.

The previous poll results:

Now, on to the next round of voting!

2003 Donruss vs. 1993 Score Select

The Donruss card has the #29 seed while the Select card is seeded #36.  Given the number of cards in the pool, this is about as even as you can expect in terms of a match-up.  I'm rather curious about which card will prevail!

1991 Upper Deck Silver Slugger vs. 1990 Score Dream Team

Unlike the previous vote, this match-up is a tale of David vs. Goliath, at least on paper.  The Silver Slugger card is seeded #13 while the Dream Team card is seeded #52.  Frankly, I think 52 might be too high for the Score card but we'll see what happens!

2004 Leaf Certified Relic vs. 1993 Upper Deck

Our final pairing for this particular post includes a relic squaring off against a base card from a beloved set.  Will the "mojo" of the hit (seeded #20) knock out the base card (seeded #45)?  Only time will tell!

The polls are on the sidebar - go vote!

Back When Inserts Were Cool...

One of the best things about opening boxes from the late 90s/early 00s is that the insert cards are usually awesome.  Oh sure, there's plenty of hideous cards and ideas, but you had to hand it to the card companies for trying things.  You won't find three years of "Diamond Duos" with a simple rename, let's just say that.  My next pack out of the 2000 Skybox Metal box features an awesome insert card - behold!

Pack 03:
78.  Jorge Posada
84.  Brian Giles

I'll scan the Giles since the Pirates don't often get a lot of love on the blogs.
87.   Bret Boone
94.  Kevin Brown
136.  Jason Giambi
149.  Jose Canseco
182.  Joe McEwing
195.  Jim Edmonds
11.  Emerald parallel:  Chris Singleton

The emerald parallels are seeded 1:4 packs - the prospect parallels are seeded 1:8 packs for comparison.  I wonder if anyone ever made completed the full emerald set?  It must be said that there's nothing special or different about the parallels except for the strip of green at the top of the card.
10 of 10 H.  Hit Machines:  Chipper Jones

This is the awesome insert card I was referring to earlier.  It's die-cut, but in a way that makes sense.  It has a bit of shiny but it isn't over-powering.  And yes, the machine motif fits well with the metal line.  Kudos to Skybox for the insert set - and shame on modern companies like Topps for not doing more things like this.  I don't even like Chipper but I think it'd be really quite difficult for me to trade this one away!  Unfortunately, the Hit Machines cards are seeded 1:20 packs so I doubt I'll get a second one in the box.

I have to ask:  What are your favorite insert sets of all time?  Maybe I could devote a future post to showing off everyone's favorites - leave yours in the comments below!

Metal in the Morning!

Although today is Monday (a day I usually despise), this particular Monday isn't nearly so bad.  For starters, I have exactly two weeks of classes left to teach this semester (and then I give three final exams).  After that, it will be my Christmas winter break!  Today is made a bit sweeter by the fact that my wife and I recently returned from a trip to Vermont (which included me knocking off about half of my Christmas shopping list)!  Finally, today's a good day because I have plenty of packs of cards to open.  Here's the next pack from my 2000 Skybox Metal box.

Pack 02:
13.  Carlos Feebles
31.  A.J. Burnett
41.  Jim Thome

Some of the cards have a "thumb print" background while others like Thome have a spiral background.  
81.  Andruw Jones
99.  Eric Chavez
108.  Troy O'Leary

The O'Leary card has more of a sunburst effect than a spiral or thumb print.
125.  Jeff Kent
153.  John Halama
157.  Steve Finley
233.  Buddy Carlyle

Cards numbered 201 - 250 were seeded 1:2 packs are thus short prints (boo!).  The cards are all prospects though if the Carlyle card is any indication I don't expect to see any spectacular prospects...

I've now busted exactly two packs and already found two inserts plus a short print.  It's a good start to the box for sure.

I can also add that I spent quite a bit of time on Sunday crafting blog posts!  There will be at least three posts per day for the entire week, something that my readers grew accustomed to during the summer! As a few hints as to what to expect, I can tell you that there will be plenty of posts showing Skybox Metal packs, but there will also be some other things including Legos, trade posts, some voting, and the return of one of my most popular features that hasn't seen the light of day on my blog in about 5 months or so.  Keep readin'!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Barry Larkin Collection 148: 1995 Topps Stadium Club - #498 - Extreme Corps (Version 1)

Barry Larkin
Year:  1995
Brand:  Topps Stadium Club
Subset:  Extreme Corps
Card number:  498

The 1995 Stadium Club set has a number of different Barry Larkin cards in it - probably part of the reason why I like the set so much.  However, as much as I like the set, even I have a hard time looking past the "90s Power" that emanates out of every pore of this card.  The ransom letter font on the front.  The overabundance of pink and purple on the back.  The block design combined with random circles.  The rainbow effect everywhere.  Even worse, there are a bunch of different versions of this card in existence (with the only change the foil color pattern).

Oh yes, the 90s were in full swing when this card was designed.  The one thing that I do like about the card is the information on the back - it gives both Larkin's individual 1994 stats and the team rank for each of the ten highlighted categories.  As you can see, Larkin was definitely one of the Reds' best players despite hitting only 9 home runs in the previous year!

The First of the Birthday Boxes!

Yesterday, I mentioned the fact that I received a pair of boxes of baseball cards for my birthday.  I don't care how old you get (I just turned 30 for those that care), you gotta love getting cards...sure beats stuff for work!  Anyhow, I busted through the entire box in quick fashion - but now it's time to take a bit slower and really look at each card.  I'm guessing I'll end up with a fair bit of trade bait from the set when all is said and done as keep your eyes peeled for that as we go.  And yes, don't fret - I will have other (non-Metal) posts over the next few days as well.

2000 Skybox Metal

The 2000 Skybox Metal box contains 28 packs with 10 cards per pack.  The box has a satisfying weight to it - you actually feel like you are about to open a package of cards worthy of being called a box!  I bought a few packs of this set back when it was first released, but for the most part I'm expecting the majority of the cards to be new to me.  I'll try to keep a running commentary throughout the packs so that you all have something to read while you look at my pretty scans.

Pack 01:
8.  Vinny Castilla
26.  Todd Helton

A pair of Rockies to start off the box, that doesn't happen all that often.  I should also note that not every card has the same background pattern.  As I open up more packs, I'm sure you'll see the differences in some of the base cards.
42.  Jermaine Dye
73.  Ron Coomer
113.  Kevin Appeir
131.  Aaron Sele
135.  Mariano Rivera

The backs of the base cards are quite simple.  Only a single year's worth of statistics (plus career stats) and the usual player vitals like height and weight.
199.  Doug Glanville
5 of 10 PP.  Platinum Portraits:  Sean Casey

Woo!  Right out of the gates I score a nice Reds' insert card.  I usually have terrible luck pulling Reds so you better believe I'm excited about this, especially considering that the Platinum Portraits are seeded 1:8 packs.   On the other hand, this card scanned terribly (perhaps a scanner cleaning is in order)...  
14 of 15 F.  Fusion:  Rafael Palmeiro & Ivan Rodriguez

If there is an insert set that futures either Palmeiro or Rodriguez, I can be sure I'll get it...that means I'm double certain to pull an insert card featuring both players.  I think Palmeiro and Pudge are two of the four or five players that I seem to pull the most often in late 90s/early 00s card packs.  I can't complain though since I pulled two inserts in the same pack.  For the record, the Fusion cards are seeded 1:4 packs.