Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another Month Down...

It is time to say our final goodbyes to July.  Tomorrow marks the beginning of August, and with it, the overwhelming feeling that school is right around the corner.  In fact, I have meetings beginning in a few weeks...and plenty of lessons to write before then.  My break starts in May and somehow every year when the calendar turns to August I still feel like I haven't accomplished nearly what I hoped to.

Although that may sound a bit doom and gloom, it's not like I haven't been doing anything lately.  In fact, the past two days have been spent watching my dog and my brother's dog (he's currently heading across the country to Nebraska to begin graduate school - his dog will be joining him in a few weeks).

 My dog's the lighter of the two (the one on the left of the picture).

When I'm not watching the golden retrievers, I have been busy putting together LEGO sets from my childhood.  My mom recently cleaned out my parent's attic and found the boxes (and boxes) of LEGO pieces from my childhood - plus my two brothers' sets.  Unfortunately, virtually none of the sets were still together in the original form so it's been a number of days of searching through piles and piles of LEGO looking for the one correct piece.

I have to admit, seeing all those finished sets is worth it.  There are a lot of fond memories tied to those plastic pieces...and soon I'll be packing them back up (one set at a time) and setting them aside for when I have my own kids.  After all, I'm fairly certain my wife doesn't want me to leave all the sets built and lying all over the house...  Don't worry, for those that are interested I do hope to post reviews of each set on my LEGO blog over the next few days/weeks/months (or however long it takes me).  For now though, all the sets are still at my parent's house - soon I'll be packing them up and transporting them to my place!

Help Me Afford 2013 Allen & Ginter!

I made a preorder purchase of a case of 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter.  However, in order to afford such things, I need to conjure up some quick cash.  As such, I've listed a bunch of stuff on eBay, perhaps it will be of interest to you?

2012 Aroldis Chapman printing plate

I know, I know.  It's a Reds' printing plate that I pulled out of a pack with my very own hands...and yet, I can't say that I'm big on printing plates.  Plus, while Chapman is awesome (and I love the framed plates), I can't start adding 1 of 1s to my collection as I'll end up going insane.

Wally Joyner autograph

This one has surprised me so far.  I don't know of many Angels collectors out there - and I figured I'd be lucky to get 99 cents for the auto...however, this one has more watchers (as of the time of me writing this post) than any of my other auctions.  You never know!

Gypsy Queen Blue Parallels:  Adrian Beltre & Tommy Milone

Wishful thinking I guess in terms of selling these...

Gypsy Queen autos:  Kirk Nieuwenhuis & Mike Morse

As of the time I'm writing this post, both the above autos are going for a paltry 99 cents.  I guess that's what card collecting has become - even an on card autograph (that's beautiful to boot) isn't worth the ink used to sign it.

Gypsy Queen relics:  Trevor Cahill & Jason Motte

I'm a bit surprised the the relics are selling for the same price as the above autographs.  You may recall my Gypsy Queen box consisted of exactly four hits (the two autos and two relics listed).  Again, as of the time of this post I will have made just under $4 selling my four hits...from an $85 product.  Total rip-off I'd say!

Willie Mays Gold Parallel Relic (2013 Topps)

This was the big hit of the group break - but the Giants went unclaimed so I ended up acquiring this beauty.  However, it doesn't fit in my collection (even though Mays is awesome) so I'm listing on eBay with the other stuff.  This one is clearly the creme of the eBay crop (with the Chapman printing plate second).

All the above cards end within a few hours.  Here's the easiest link to see all my stuff at once.  Thanks for your support of my cardboard habit - without all of you as enablers, I would have had to move on a long time ago!

Seeing Double (2013 Topps Archives)

It is now time to turn our attention to the second half of my Topps Archives box.  Enjoy!

Pack 13:

I'm beginning to think this box was a dud in terms of helping me complete my set - to date I've received exactly two cards that I needed.  Unfortunately, I cannot add the Fred Lynn short print to that list as it's one that I already own.  That's been a recurring theme so far...

Pack 14:

Another Tall Boy (that I already own).  *sigh*  I'm getting nice cards, but they almost seem to be duplicates which is discouraging.  Oh well - at least opening each pack is still a fun process.

Pack 15:

Finally!  A card I needed (even if it is a stupid Yankee).  I hate having to beg for Yankee cards so this is a good pull simply because that's one less pinstriped player that I need to track down.  As for the card itself, it's an interesting photo - I kind of like it (which pains me to say)!

Well, I'm now up to three total cards that I needed - out of 15 packs.  That's one card for every five packs...pretty sure that's terrible mathematically speaking!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Barry Larkin Collection 202: 1990 Donruss Baseball's Best (National League) - #52

Barry Larkin
Year:  1990
Brand:  Donruss Baseball's Best (National League)
Card number:  52

In 1990, Donruss released a pair of Baseball's Best sets - one consisting of American League players while the other consisted of only National League players.  Since Barry played for the Reds (who are a National League team) you could only find this card in the National League box set.

The design of the front of the card is a direct copy of the Donruss flagship effort from 1990 except the red border has been swapped for a blue border in the Baseball's Best set.  Unfortunately, while the red border of the flagship set worked for a Larkin card, the blue border looks hideous when framing a Cincinnati Reds player.

The back of the card is yellow (for reasons unknown to me).  The full career statistics are a nice change as compared to Donruss' usual five year statistical nonsense.  That said, there's still way too much white space on the back of the card.  As it stands, the set (and this card in particular) feel like a rushed product.  Perhaps Donruss should have spent more time designing one good set as opposed to cranking out multiple versions of the same old crap...

Golden Cano plus Harper-mania

By the time this post is over, I will have busted half of my 2013 Topps Archives box.  No reason to delay...

Pack 10:

Is there still such a thing as Harper-mania?  I think I may have a mild case of Harper-mania simply because this is the first card in ten packs that I needed for my set (actually, it's the second since I pulled a Gallery of Heroes card earlier as well).

Pack 11:

This pack had two inserts, one was a Kirk Gibson Tall Boy (which I already owned) while the other was this gorgeous Robinson Cano gold parallel (#120/199).  I don't actually want this card per se, but I would like to trade it for some of the gold parallel Reds' cards that I still need.

Pack 12:

Another short print...and another one that I already owned.  I'm not liking the trend of getting only duplicate short prints in this box.

Not a lot of inspiration in the previous three packs...but the second half of the box should provide some good writing prompts since I'm still looking for not one, but both the promised autographs!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Becoming a Frank White Super Collector (or Why Topps Hates the Astros)

I've now opened one-fourth of the 2013 Topps Archives box.  So far, I've managed to pull a Topps BK card AND a Gallery of Heroes.  Now it's on to looking for the autographs I suppose!

Pack 7:

Since I hosted a group break where I busted a bunch of Archives boxes (but didn't get to keep anything except the Reds), I often get confused whether a card I've seen before is one that I actually own or that I simply busted for others.  In the case of the Frank White Tall Boy, I actually have my own I have two.  Bummer!

Pack 8:

It's a Frank White hot box!  All I need is his autograph and I think I'll have all the White cards in the set.  Unfortunately, I already had this one - maybe I should become a Frank White super collector?

Pack 9:

I'm certainly not an Astros fan - though I do miss them in the NL Central because they were usually good for about 15 wins for my Reds.  Even so, I think it's deplorable that Topps only managed to put a single Astro in the 200 card base set.  If I were an Astros fan, I think I would swear off Topps until they changed their mode of operation.  I certainly remember the days when the Reds totally sucked - I'd be lucky if there were two or three players from my favorite team in a set (my memory blames Upper Deck usually for that).  Every team deserves at least a few base cards, we don't all want the Yankees or Red Sox!

Barry Larkin Collection 201: 1989 Donruss All-Stars #47

Barry Larkin
Year:  1989
Brand:  Donruss All-Stars
Card number:  47

In 1989, Donruss issued a number of different sets including a 60 card All-Stars set.  The design of the All-Stars set was similar to that of the regular '89 Donruss base set with the obvious exception of the stars on the back, the All-Star logo on the front, and the All-Star centric write-up.  Donruss did use a different photo of Barry for the two sets (which I appreciate).  I also prefer the colors of the All-Star set to the ugly purple and black of the regular set.  However, despite this card being a slight improvement over Donruss' 1989 flagship efforts, it's still one ugly card.  Upper Deck couldn't have picked a better year to enter the market based on most of the "other" companies offerings in '89...  It wouldn't take much to impress collectors at that point in time!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Topps Archives Packs Make Me Happy (Usually)

Here's another trio of packs out of a recent 2013 Topps Archives box that I busted.  I've decided to chase the majority of the inserts in the set - plus the entire base set (with short prints) so there are a lot of cards that I still need from the set!

Pack 4:

This pack began strong - three Reds in three cards but the real prize is this "box hit" card of Prince Fielder.  Much like the Tall Boys, the BK inserts have been growing on me as time goes on.  I don't think I'll be chasing the set though - too rare (one per box).  Even so, this is a nice lookin' card that I certainly wouldn't mind keeping.

Pack 5:

For some reason, the 1991 reprint cards in this set feel all sorts of wrong.  I think it's the fonts at the bottom of the card - or maybe the white card stock...  I guess I don't know for sure what it is but for whatever reason this card simply screams "wrong, wrong, wrong."  I don't like it.

Pack 6:

Unlike the '91 Topps reprints, the 1990 reprints are quite nice.  In fact, the Uggla is nothing more than your run-of-the-mill base card, and yet, it's awesome.  Dirty uniform, throwback jersey, plus some old school Phillies powder blues in the background.  That's all sorts of good!

Barry Larkin Collection 200: 2012 Topps - #GWSP-BL Gold World Series Pin Manufactured Relic

Barry Larkin
Year:  2012
Brand:  Topps
Insert set:  Gold World Series Pins (Manufactured Relics)
Card number:  GWSP-BL

The Gold World Series Pins insert set consisted of twenty different players and included a manufactured pin that commemorates a World Series that the player played in.  The card itself is one of the thickest cards that I own - and while it's certainly contrived, it's still kind of cool (and I hate admitting that about a manufactured relic)!  The front of the card is a solid design (especially when you consider how much space the pin takes up).  The back isn't overly exciting, but it does at least have the player's name plus what the pin is celebrating.  All things told, it's a fun, unique addition to my Barry Larkin Collection though I have no desire for Topps to do any more pins any time soon.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Finding Inspiration...

I've been blogging for approximately ten years (not all here at Nachos Grande though) so if there is one thing that I've learned it is that you have to find inspiration all over.  Unfortunately, I'm not terribly creative so my best inspiration seems to come from opening up packs of cards (after all, what better thing to write about for a baseball card blog)?  What better way to open packs than to buy a full box?

See, I do this for you, my dear reader.

Here's another Topps Archives box - a set that I like way more than I ought to.  Of course, everyone's seen more of the Archives set than they want to so I won't be showing every card - only those that somehow lend a me a bit of inspiration!

Pack 1:

It's not hard to be inspired by this card - this is how Topps should do all their gold parallels.  I hate the gold parallels in the flagship set (though I still find myself tracking down the Reds)...but if the gold parallels looked like this?  Man, I'd be all over that!  What a great looking card - and it's nice it's numbered out of 199 though obviously the flagship can't be numbered that low.  Actually, I suppose it could but then I'd never have one to hold in my hand!

Pack 2:

When I first saw the Tall Boy inserts, I hated them.  Over time, however, the set has grown on me - mostly because it looks quite nice in a binder page.  The different colors in the background are make the set for me - plus it's nice to have an insert set that highlights players other than the usual suspects!  In fact, when was the last set that had Eric Davis as part of an insert?  Exactly.  Good stuff Topps!

Pack 3:

Ooooooooooh!  My favorite insert set of the year, bar none so far.  I'd love to acquire the full set - though I have a feeling most people won't be parting with this wondrous cards.  I don't even care that it's a Yankee featured - I love the card.  Instant keeper for me!

Speaking of keepers - if you have any 2013 Archives available for trade, please check out my want list and see if we can maybe work out a deal!

Barry Larkin Collection 199: 1989 Classic - Light Blue - #70

Barry Larkin
Year: 1989
Brand:  Classic - Light Blue
Card number:  70

Classic released two different Barry Larkin cards in 1989.  One was the light blue card seen above, the other was a purple card released in the travel edition of the Classic game.  Despite being a rather "cheap" looking (and feeling) card, Classic did manage to use two different images of Barry - something that modern card companies often fail to do!  Other than that, there's not much to say about the card.  The front is ugly - though I like the photo.  The back is even worse, though I like having Johnny Bench as an answer to a trivia question on Larkin's card.  The spot for an autograph at the bottom of the card is hilarious - I wonder if a MLB player was ever asked to sign a classic card in that little box?  I highly doubt it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

LEGO Theme Week: The Conclusion is Decidedly British!

Welcome back - and for the final time - welcome to another LEGO Theme Week post!  This is the last one - so you'll have to get your future LEGO fix at my LEGO blog.

As usual, I'll begin with the cards portion of the post and then move on to the final LEGO minifigure.  See if you can resist the urge to scroll down immediately.

Again, all of the cards and LEGO figures from the various posts throughout today were all thanks to Jeff who happens to live in England.  Why does the England part matter?  Well - it means I get to add some more unique items to my collections.

To begin, a trio of Americans (and probably the only time LeBron James will make an appearance on my blog).  Each of the cards are actually stickers which I assume are meant to be stuck in some sort of album given how Panini rolls.

Next up, a couple of stickers highlighting the various Olympic venues used in the London Olympics last year.  The sticker of the two runners is particularly striking I think.

Then, things get a little stranger - here's three stickers that I have no idea why Panini included them (ok, maybe the one with the medals makes sense but the other two - not so much).

And then, my favorite of the regular stickers:

You can't beat that one - though I guess you can if you like shiny stickers (two of which Jeff sent my way).  I'm guessing that Usain Bolt is one of the more sought after stickers in the entire set.
These actually are really shiny even though the scan doesn't show it...

A fun way to conclude the card portion of the trade (and a total surprise throw-in from Jeff).  As for the LEGO minifigure, well, that's also British!

In fact, it's an olympic athlete from Team Great Britain (complete with a unique base plate for the figure to stand on).  The Team Great Britain set consists of a total of nine figures - Jeff sent me the Judo fighter (number 4 on the checklist).  Speaking of the checklist:

As you can see, each figure comes with a gold medal plus many have some sort of accessory that goes with their individual sport.  Personally, I think the archer is my favorite but they are all really cool!

Thanks for the awesome trade Jeff - it was great to be able to add some many new cards and LEGO figures to my collection, and the British flair at the end was a perfect ending to the swap.

Many thanks - and as usual, if anyone else would like to trade check out my want list and make an offer!

And with that:  Farewell to LEGO theme week.  I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing the posts.

LEGO Theme Week: Tall Boys and Tall Warriors

The weekend is coming - in fact, for those of you on the east coast (like me), it's 5:00!  This is the second-to-last LEGO theme week post - and it is the second-to-last post detailing the massive trade that I started discussing early this morning.

The next portion of the baseball card part of the trade consists of five Tall Boys inserts from the 2013 Topps Archives set.

My 2013 Archives set is coming along, though the trade winds have (seemingly) evaporated, I guess everyone has moved on to the next "greatest" thing...  If you happen to still have some lying around, here's what I still need:
2013 Topps Archives Needs:Base:  201, 204, 206, 210, 212, 213, 214, 217, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 228, 232, 233, 235, 236, 237, 240, 242
Tall Boys:  BH, DBU, DC, DE, DF, DM, DS, EB, FL, FM, GG, MG, MS MT, ON, RC RCL, WC, YC
Gallery of Heroes:  AP, BP, BR, CR, DJ, JR, LG, MC, MR, MT, RC, SK, TW, WM, YB
All-Star:  AM, BP, CR, DE, DS, DW, GB, GC, JB, NR, PM, RS, SS, TG
Stickers:  69S-MCWP Willie McCovey - Will Clark - Matt Williams - Buster Posey
69S-OPJR Paul O'Neill - Andy Pettitte - Derek Jeter - Mariano Rivera
69S-PDCP Buster Posey - R.A. Dickey - Miguel Cabrera - David Price
69S-RGBJ Babe Ruth - Lou Gehrig - Yogi Berra - Reggie Jackson
69S-SKCK Warren Spahn - Sandy Koufax - Steve Carlton - Clayton Kershaw
69S-WRYC Ted Williams - Frank Robinson - Carl Yastrzemski - Miguel Cabrera
1972 Basketball Design:  JB (Johnny Bench)
Dual Fan Favorites:  DFF-DC, DFF-DP
Speaking of things that I need, here's the next LEGO figure that I get to add to my collection.  This one is from Series 10 and is simply called "Tomahawk Warrior."

How'd he get his name I wonder?  I have to say, the mohawk piece is pretty cool.

Another great trade - and the Tomahawk Warrior happens to be the final LEGO Collectible Minifigure that I received in the trade...but it's NOT the final figure.  What's the last figure?  You'll have to come back one more time today to find out - see you in about two hours.

LEGO Theme Week: Fashionable Ladies!

Welcome back to LEGO week here at Nachos Grande!  This particular post is light on baseball cards (only one) but a bit heavier on LEGO figures (two of 'em).  Enjoy!

As usual, we begin with the baseball card (this is a baseball card blog after all, my LEGO blog resides here).  This particular baseball card doesn't show a baseball player at all - in fact, it shows a lady in a fancy hat.  It is, however, from a baseball set - namely, the 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter set.

I've been slowly working on the Fashionable Ladies set (and the sister (brother?) set:  Men in Hats) for awhile - and I've made a bit of progress...
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Wants:
N43- 11, 14
Guys in Hats:  GH- 4, 5, 6, 7, 9
Fashionable Ladies:  2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10
Reg. back minis:  2, 11, 29, 34, 39, 42, 45, 91, 96, 97, 108, 127, 131, 135, 145, 156, 171, 181, 182, 189, 195, 197, 199, 203, 220, 221, 245, 262, 288, 289, 294, 295, 299 326, 336
Ad back minis:  206, 236
Black border minis:  13, 70, 74, 173, 325
Gold border minis:  12, 64, 70, 173, 206, 325
Murder in Willow Cove:  Trudy Givens
However, as usual if you have anything from my want list I'd love to work out a trade!

Moving on to the LEGO figures, we have TWO fashionable ladies (of sorts) to show off today.  The first is the Flamenco Dancer from Series 6.

The Dancer is rocking a long dress and holding her fan.  She even sports a fashionable red polka dotted dress - she's obviously dressed to impress.

The second fashionable lady is probably only fashionable if you are a big fan of NASA (or live on the moon or something).  It's the Intergalactic Girl (also from Series 6).  The space lady comes complete with a ray gun, a pink helmet, and a hair piece.

I think she's designed to be displayed with her hair piece on while holding her helmet (which she can't quite grasp perfectly unless you remove her visor).  However, she also looks pretty fashionable with her helmet on, the all pink getup is becoming on her.

That concludes the fashionable ladies portion of the trade, though it does not conclude the trade in its entirety.  In fact, stay tuned because there should be more goodies later on today!

LEGO Theme Week: Sleepy Stickers

Welcome back to the final day of LEGO theme week.  This particular post continues the trade that I've been (slowly) opening, scanning, and building throughout today!

I've already shown off some cool cards that were regular sized.  For this particular post, we move to minis...

Yep, mini sticker cards.  I haven't ever purchased a single pack of Topps stickers which means I certainly appreciate getting the Reds in various trades.  I'm now the proud owner of six more.  Four of the stickers are from the 2011 set (Bruce, Stubbs, Chapman, and Votto).

The other two are from the 2012 set (Bench and Rolen).

I like that fact that Topps changed the design a bit, but not so much as to make the sets look completely different.  Continuity can be a good thing!

Of course, some of you aren't here for Reds' stickers.  Instead, you'd rather see a new LEGO figure - well, I wouldn't want to disappoint my fans now would I?

Today's addition to the minifigure collection is none other than the sleepy head guy.

He's rockin' his striped pajamas and holding a teddy bear.  His hair is all ruffled up and his eyes are still closed.  Isn't he adorable?

Actually, I kind of like the "strange" characters like the sleepy head - it's a figure that really wouldn't have a home in any typical LEGO set but it's still a fun one to acquire.  If you go back in today's archives, you can also find a mechanic and a judge if you'd rather see more "exciting" figures!

LEGO Theme Week: Morgan and the Mechanics.

Welcome back to the final day of LEGO Theme Week here at Nachos Grande.  As I mentioned earlier this morning, you can expect quite a few posts today - all thanks to Jeff from England.

The next baseball card out of the trade box is this gorgeous Joe Morgan card.

I'm not overly excited by the 1972 Basketball design (in fact, I've decided to only chase the Reds from the set), but I have to admit this is a nice looking card!  The yellow background goes well with the black border and red text!

As you can see from my 2013 Topps Archives want list, I've made some fairly good progress in terms of set completion.  However, should you have any short prints and/or inserts from the set available, I'd love to work out a trade!

Since this is LEGO week, I figured I better show off another one of the LEGO figures that Jeff sent me.  In this case, it's a mechanic from series 6.

The Mechanic comes with a wrench (in light grey) and a tool box (that doesn't not open).  You can't easily see it in the photo, but the mechanic's uniform has oil splats on it (both the shirt and pants) along with his face, a nice touch!  He also sports a hair piece that could be used for a LEGO Elvis should one ever decide to make something like that...

The good stuff keeps on comin' - stay tuned for even more LEGO goodies (and some other baseball goodies) as the day progresses!