Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year's Eve! (2 Packs for your Viewing Pleasure)

Tonight's the big night - the final night of 2013.  I hope your 2013 was a good one!  For my wife and I, we had a fairly uneventful 2013, though I would say it was the year of the wedding.  Between the two of us, we had five family members and friends tie the knot - which meant wayyyy too many trips where I had to wear a tie.

Luckily, there's no wedding for us to attend tonight - so it's party on!  While we still have a bit of time in the year, I figured I'd bust two more of the 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated packs.

Pack 13:
9.  Jay Bell
81.  Kenny Lofton
108.  Ivan Rodriguez
180.  Eddie Murray & Brett Butler

182.  Curt Schilling

Mini poster:
30.  Roger Clemens

That wasn't a great pack seeing as how I've already pulled both the Schilling and the Bell cards earlier in the box.  At least the mini poster was new (even if it was Clemens - yuck)!

Pack 14:
13.  Barry Bonds
70.  Brian Jordan
107.  Henry Rodriguez
123.  Larry Walker
186.  Francisco Cordova & Ricardo Rincon

Mini poster:
20.  Bernie Williams

The mini poster showcases another one of the rather strange photos that Fleer used in the set.  The Cordova/Rincon card celebrates the Pirates' ten-inning no-hitter over Houston.  Each card is cool in its own way I guess!  The downside to the pack is that I once again got a pair of duplicates (despite being nowhere near done with the base set).  This time, it's Henry Rodriguez and Larry Walker who make their second appearance in the box.

Happy New Year everyone!  Stay safe, have fun, and most importantly - stay safe (it bears repeating)!

A Look Back at my 2013 New Year's Resolutions!

It's New Year's Eve - which means I'm pretty much out of time to make any more progress on my resolutions for this year.  Before I make new goals for next year (of which I may or may not meet), I figured I ought to take a look at how I did on my 2013 Resolutions.

Resolution #1:  Complete at least five sets from the list I provided
How I did:  I actually did quite well here.  In fact, I did manage to complete exactly five of the sets on that list.

  • 1988 Pacific Legends:  64, 111
  • 1991 Score:  561, 812, 890
  • 2006 Fleer Greats of the Game:  Cardinals Greats:  BG
  • 2007 Topps Heritage:  New Age Performers:  8 (but I realized I'm missing #2 too)
  • 2012 Topps Archives base:  203

In addition, I managed to make some headway on a few of the others.  Out of the 15 sets on the list, there were only six sets that I didn't make any progress (or totally complete).  The elusive sets for 2013 were:

  • 1985 Topps:  181
  • 2008 Topps Heritage base:  464, 465, 480, 488, 495, 500
  • 2008 Topps Stadium Club:  15, 78, 108b, 117b
  • 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter:  Inventions of the Future:  5
  • 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter:  Extinct Creatures:  1
  • 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter:  Creatures of Legend, Myth, & Terror:  5, 7, 14, 15


Resolution #2:  Put up a LEGO Minifigure want list and post about LEGO figures
How I did:  Exceedingly well!  Not only did I get my full LEGO want list up (and I kept it updated as new sets came out in 2013), I actually started a brand new LEGO blog that is just now beginning to pick up steam.

Resolution #3:  Decide which sets to complete and which to give up on
How I did:  Alright.  I managed to purge my collection of a few sets that I have no plans to ever complete (1990 Donruss, I'm looking at you).  However, I have way, way more to do.  In fact, I have about five bookshelves full of binders - and with very little additional room to grow, I need to start clearing out some cards that I no longer need/want.

Resolution #4:  Get my online Barry Larkin Collection to at least 200 scanned/written cards
How I did:  Once again, this was a great success story.  I ended up getting a total of 233 Larkin cards scanned and written (in total - not all last year).  I also think I managed to spread them out enough so that people who aren't interested in my Larkin collection weren't too bored with my blog.

Resolution #5:  Continue working on my education blog
How I did:  I'm going to give myself an F on this one.  In fact, I've all but abandoned that blog - I've found it too difficult to write what I want to say without worrying about privacy and all that.  Rather than have to think about legal ramifications in terms of student work, attitude, etc., I found it easier simply to work on my baseball card and/or my LEGO blogs - two areas of writing where I don't need to worry about offending students, parents, the college, etc.

Resolution #6:  Work towards making my collection self-sufficient in terms of budget
How I did:  Surprisingly, I did quite well here.  I had a $200 card that I sold get lost in the mail (in which eBay told me to take the complain to the United State Postal Service...and when I did the USPS never bothered to even acknowledge me.  Had I actually been able to pocket the $200 from that sale, I would have broken even this year - maybe even been slightly ahead.  Of course, I had great luck with my Ginter case (I pulled a Pele autograph as you may recall)...breaking even on baseball cards isn't easy!

Resolution #7:  Complete at least 120 trades
How I did:  A quick look at my trade counter for 2013 will show you that I came up quite a bit short in this area.  That said, I'll still give myself a B grade for this one since I was an active trader every month - I ended up selling more stuff on eBay (and Listia) than previous years in an effort to meet Resolution #6.

Resolution #8:  Grow my average blog readership
How I did:  F.  My blog readership appears to be down quite a bit.  Luckily, my LEGO blog is beginning to pick up readers so my net readership is probably about what it was last year.  If the trends continue, I'll actually have more readers at this time next year (even if the number of baseball blog readers continues to decline).

Resolution #9:  Be a more active blog participant
How I did:  Once again, I'll go with a B here.  I did participate some - and I did a bit better in terms of leaving comments.  I also was part of numerous contests (including hosting my own) and I did Crackin' Wax's Secret Santa for the first time.  I probably could be a bit more of a blog presence (especially since I read almost every post that you all write) but I'm not disappointed with how I did this year.

Resolution #10:  Avoid burnout and have fun
How I did:  I think I did quite well here.  I maintained my one-to-two posts every day for the entire year.  In fact, I'm fairly certain I had at least one post every single day once again.  I also had plenty of days with multiple posts - but I did better at not "forcing" posts, especially lately.  I think I barely avoided the burnout - mostly because I gave up on a lot of the newer stuff that wasn't interesting to me and started going back to some of the older sets that I liked as a kid.

All things considered, I'm extremely pleased at how my 2013 Resolution progress ended up.  Most of the goals were met completely with almost all the rest "satisfactory."  I did basically give up on the education blog but that's ok - think of that s my "go to the gym every day" resolution ;)

How did you do on your 2013 resolutions?  Care to share?  Leave a comment - or a link to your own post if you've written something similar lately!



Monday, December 30, 2013

Pulling a Serially Numbered Card Out of a 1998 Baseball Card Product

Remember when serially numbered cards were rare?  In 1998, it was a rare thing for me to ever pull such a card - so the part of me that remembers buying 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated cards was extremely giddy with one of the cards in the first of the next two packs out of the box.

Pack 11:
45.  Tom Glavine
63.  John Jaha
89.  Raul Mondesi
149.  Robert Machado
171.  Extra Edition:  Kevin Polcovich #240/250

Oh sure, the front is the same as a regular base card (other than the small stamp) but the numbering is on the back of the card...

...and what a beautiful sight that is!  I guess it would have been cooler if I pulled a Barry Larkin parallel, but I'm not complaining.  Hitting a "tough pull" is fun - even if it is of a lesser known guy.

Mini poster:
3.  Maddux & Smoltz

I think this image is a little bit strange - what exactly are those two doing?  I have no idea.

Pack 12:
12.  Craig Biggio
98.  Dean Palmer
100.  Andy Pettitte
192.  Larry Walker

195. Nomar Garciaparra

Mini poster:
4.  Cal Ripken Jr.

I don't have much to say about his poster - even the Ripken poster is a bit strange (I don't like his glasses).  

Taken together, the two packs gave me three more duplicates for the box already (Biggio, Palmer, and Machado).  Those, along with the Clemens double from earlier, mean I now have found 4 duplicates in only 12 packs.  Not great...  However, pulling the serially numbered card was enough excitement for the pair of packs - and it makes up for the duplicates I suppose!

A Bonds Card that Even Bonds Haters Will Have to Like!

I'm assuming most of you are heading back to work today even if you had much of the previous week off.  Thankfully, I still have one more week off (or at least almost a full week) before I have to start teaching classes for the spring semester.

Speaking of the spring semester, I'll be teaching four courses (but no labs) so I'm looking forward to my schedule.  I've also got a section of PreCalculus this year which is a course that I haven't taught in a few years so that should be a nice change of pace.  It also means I have quite a bit of course prep to do this week...especially for that class!

However, work can wait a bit longer - you came here to see baseball cards and I hate to disappoint my readers!  Here's two more packs out of my Sports Illustrated Christmas box.

Pack 9:
3.  Sandy Alomar Jr.

55.  Tony Gwynn
78.  Chuck Knoblauch
115.  Sammy Sosa
178.  Eric Davis

Mini poster:
14.  Kevin Appier

Seeing as how there are 24 packs in the box, I won't be scanning each and every poster - especially if the image and team is boring to me (like Appier and the Royals for instance).  The best card is this mostly dull pack was the Sandy Alomar card by far.

Pack 10:
11.  Dante Bichette
134.  Charles Johnson (Best Defensive Catcher)
135.  J.T. Snow (Best 1st Base Scoop)

What an interesting category for a card!  I don't think I know of any other "Best 1st Base Scoop" cards in existence!
136.  Ken Caminiti (Best Infield Arm)
170.  Dennis Reyes

Mini poster:
26.  Barry Bonds

What a great shot of Barry Bonds - he's not scowling!  In fact, this is a precious image that even Bonds-haters have to like.  Good work by Fleer since that's not an easy thing to do!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Trade Stack 57: Beginning Anew with Something Gold and Shiny!

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 serve...so 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:  12/29/13

Now that the Christmas holiday mailing rush is over, I can safely return to the Trade Stack idea.  This is the start of the next stack - number 57 in the series!  When I began the Trade Stack idea, I was hopeful it would work but I wasn't sure.  I certainly didn't imagine that I'd still be doing this after 56 completed Trade Stack swaps...but here I am and here it is!  

Without wasting any more time, let's get to today's trade stack.  I'm going to class the Trade Stack up just a bit today - you get a Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion parallel to begin the newest stack.

Remember, you get the entire stack for any one (or more) cards from my want list!  

1999 Fleer Ultra:
Gold Medallion parallel:
63G.  Devon White - Diamondbacks

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:  1 card by madding
Stack 44:  10 cards by Commishbob
Stack 45:  1 (almost complete) puzzle by Baseball Dad
Stack 46:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 47:  5 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 48:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 49:  9 cards by Swing and a Pop-Up
Stack 50:  9 cards by Commishbob
Stack 51:  3 cards by Need More Cardboard
Stack 52:  1 card by Play at the Plate
Stack 53:  12 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 54:  4 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 55:  9 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 56:  2 cards cards by Joe Frecker
Stack 57:  ?? by ??

A Pair of Griffey Hot Packs!

While I do promise that my blog won't be all pack rips over the next few weeks, I do plan to do quite a bit of pack ripping thanks to my awesome Christmas haul.  Right now, I'm in the midst of busting my 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated box - so let's keep the fun rolling!

Pack 7:
38.  Chuck Finley
67.  Andruw Jones
68.  Bobby Jones
133.  Craig Biggio (Best Baserunning)
191.  Ken Griffey Jr.

That's a sweet looking Griffey card - I really, really like the calendar effect.

Mini poster:
25.  Tony Gwynn

That was a solid pack - I like the Griffey card and the Gwynn poster quite a bit.  I still wish these cards didn't stink of cigarette smoke though...

Pack 8:
101.  Mike Piazza
102.  Brad Radke
164.  Anthone Williamson
166.  Ricky Ledee
193.  Roger Clemens

Mini poster:
27.  Ken Griffey Jr.

Well, that Griffey mini poster sure saved the pack.  In fact, after Larkin it was Griffey that was on my "most wanted" poster list so I'm quite happy!  Unfortunately, the rest of the cards in the pack don't do much for me - but since I want to collect the full set, I'm still happy to have 'em!  That said, I'm not so happy to have the Clemens since that's the second such card in eight packs...  I don't want this to be a box full of duplicates - that will hurt my chances of getting the full set!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Some More 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated Packs!

I'm back with another pair of packs out of the 1998 Sports Illustrated box.  So far, I pulled the Larkin mini poster which was one of my "must haves" from the box.  What other goodies await?  Let's find out!

Pack 5:
4.  Moises Alou
9.  Jay Bell

I like how the backs of the cards have various images - I'll have to wait and see if I get the full set and then compare the backs.  Do they repeat in a set pattern or are they "random"?  I'm not sure yet.

48.  Willie Greene
54.  Juan Guzman
57.  Rickey Henderson

I like this one - a different take on Rickey being Rickey.

Mini poster:
15.  Mike Piazza

Pack 6:
107.  Henry Rodriguez
118.  Frank Thomas
144.  Ken Griffey Jr.

Best overall player seems fitting for Griffey.

153.  Brian Rose
172.  Jacob Cruz

Mini poster:
1.  Tim Salmon

Not a bad pair of packs - the Griffey base card is nice (as is the Henderson from the previous pack).  I'm happy so far!

A Mini Poster Most Wanted - FOUND!

This week has been a great week full of fun and festivities.  It also turned out to be a great week for acquiring baseball cards!  Besides my Christmas haul, I have also received a bunch of packages in the mail over the past week.  While I plan to show all of them in due time, for now let's return to the 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated box that I began opening yesterday and crack open the next couple of packs.

Pack 3:
12.  Craig Biggio
35.  Shawn Estes

151.  Randall Simon
171.  Kevin Polcovich
182.  Curt Schilling

Mini poster:
17.  Paul Molitor

I have to be honest, that wasn't a real exciting pack now was it?  When the best card is a card of a pitcher bunting during batting practice, you know you've hit a dud pack.

Pack 4:
123.  Larry Walker
138.  Jim Edmonds

"Best Circus Catches" sounds about right for Mr. Edmonds.
155.  Magglio Ordonez
162.  Paul Konerko
4 of 10 C.  Covers:  Cal Ripken Jr.  

This is one of the Covers insert cards that are seeded 1:9 packs.  There are ten cards in the set which means I should end up with 20-30% of the set when the box is complete (24 packs in the box should yield two or three Covers cards).  I imagine that the Ripken Jr. cover is one of the better ones in the set so I'm happy with this pull!

Mini poster:
8.  Barry Larkin

Woooo!  This pack certainly made up for the previous pack didn't it?  This was the one poster that I was most interested in getting - and now it's mine, mine, mine!  Good stuff!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The First of the Christmas Boxes to be Opened!

As you may have seen in yesterday's blog post, I had one heckuva card haul for Christmas.  In fact, I ended up with five unopened boxes of cards (plus a few assorted packs).  This is awesome for a couple of reasons.  One, I love opening up cards (and all the boxes were sets that I'm interested in)!  Two, I now have plenty of blog fodder for the remainder of December (and most likely January into February).  This is great since this time of year is typically pretty darn slow on the card front.

So, what box did I decide to crack open first?  It actually was an easy choice - I took the box that I had the most cards from already - 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated Baseball.

When I was a kid, I loved this set.  I loved the thicker card stock and the photos.  I loved the various subsets (it kept the base set interesting).  Heck, I even loved the one-per-pack mini posters that you got.  The only thing I didn't love was the fact that each pack only contained five cards (plus a poster)...and the price per pack.  I don't remember anymore what it cost me per pack back in 1998, but I do know that it was a lot - a lot more than I could afford (especially with the ultra cheap Upper Deck Collector's Choice box sitting right next door to the Sports Illustrated box).

This particular box (as I found out when I opened up the first pack) was originally a Target box of packs (you can see in Target packs were $2.15 each).  I didn't have a Target near me growing up - in fact, I bought most of my cards from a CVS Drugstore (and, as you might know, everything costs twice as much in a CVS as compared to other stores)!

Happily, I can now have the joy of opening up a bunch of packs from the set - and who knows, maybe I'll even be able to complete the set by the time I'm done!  We'll see...

For now, let's crack open a pair of packs!

Pack 1:
76.  Jeff King

This is what the base cards look like.  I like the simple name plate at the bottom (with the team logo).  I also like the fact that a guy named "King" played for the Royals.  That seems fitting.

149.  Robert Machado

Fleer loved to have subsets - and in this set there are three subsets.  There's the "Baseball's Best" subset, the "Ones to Watch" subset, and the "'97 Year in Review" subset.  Obviously, the Machado belongs to the second of the three subsets.  I will say that the Ones to Watch are a bit too trippy for me (and easily my least favorite cards of the base set though this Machado is pretty bad *ss).

189.  Tony Gwynn

And just like that, here's another subset card - this time from the '97 Year in Review subset.  I like the how Fleer incorporated the calendar into the design of the card.
193.  Roger Clemens
200.  Livan Hernandez

Mini poster:
23.  Tony Womack

The mini posters were always my favorite as a kid - I liked the fact that there was for each team (and the Reds' poster features Barry Larkin).  I also liked seeing the schedule for each team (this was back before smart phones and MLB.com apps of course)!

Checklist

You also get a checklist with each pack (plus some Target promotional garbage that I won't bother scanning).  I wish all packs of cards had checklists like this - and notice it's all numbers rather than letters for the card numbers.  Take notes Topps!

Pack 2:
90.  Jamie Moyer
97.  Rey Ordonez
98.  Dean Palmer
145.  Mike Piazza

Here's the third of the subsets - Baseball's Best.  How's this for a great card?  Best hair...and the award goes to Piazza's mullet.  Classic!

147.  Coors Field (Best Hitter's Park)

What a great looking card!

Mini poster:
10.  Larry Walker

That was certainly a fun little romp - and I'm looking forward to busting the rest of the box!  The only bad thing so far is that this box stinks like cigarettes...I don't think I can open more than a couple of packs at a time without feeling a bit queasy.  Yuck!

Barry Larkin Collection 233: 1993 Donruss - #426

Barry Larkin
Year:  1993
Brand:  Donruss
Card number:  426

The 1993 Donruss base card design isn't the worst that I've ever seen...in fact, it's quite possibly one of the best designs that Donruss ever had.  Unfortunately, this particular Larkin card suffers from a poor image choice on the front - you can't even see most of Barry's face due to the shadows generated by his cap.  I do like the team logo in the diamond at the bottom - it makes for easy sorting by team (something I used to do as a kid all the time).  I also like the fact that the card number is easy to read on the back of the card.  I don't, however, like the fact that Donruss went with the previous five years of statistics rather than Larkin's entire career.  The five years of stats choice was a poor design choice by Donruss in my eyes.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's a Baseball Card Christmas!

I had a great Christmas this year - and I hope that all of you did as well.  In fact, my Christmas celebrating isn't over as I'll be traveling out of town for the day to visit some of my wife's family.  With that said, time is short (I'm writing this before we leave) - and so I'll leave you with a single picture of my Christmas haul...

I won't be short of blog material now for quite some time!  I'm super excited to start ripping - but I'll be slowly parsing out the cards so that I can enjoy them throughout the winter months!  Even better, I have a few new packs for my pack stash as well.  Good times for sure - and easily the best baseball card Christmas that I've ever had!

Barry Larkin Collection 232: 1991 Classic Series II - #T33

Barry Larkin
Year:  1991
Brand:  Classic Series II
Card number:  T33

In 1991, Classic released a couple of different sets (you can find another Classic Larkin card from 1991 here).  This particular card is probably one of Classic's better designs (at least for a team like the Reds) since the red border doesn't clash with Cincinnati's uniforms.  On the other hand, Classic still used the '91 "Dorito chip" logo in the upper corner which looks terribly dated!

There's not much else to say, this isn't the most exciting card.  I do wonder, however, if anyone ever tried to get players to sign Classic cards in the little rectangle on the back marked "autograph"...that could be an amusing set!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Like many of you, I'm spending today away from the blogs - lots of Christmas celebrating to do at my house, my parent's house, and my in-law's house!  I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy, healthy 2014!

See you all tomorrow...

PS:  A little birdie informed me that I'll be getting at least a couple of boxes of cards for Christmas today - so look for more information on that in an upcoming post!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Hard to Believe...



It's hard to believe that this is the sixth year of this blog's existence...and with it, the sixth Christmas Eve celebration since I've become a blogger here at Blogger!  In fact, my blog started back in June of 2008 which means I'll be celebrating my 7th Flag Day next year!

I don't know what made me think to look back at how old Nachos Grande is...maybe it was because I clicked on my Merry Christmas tag and realized how many different posts were tagged as such.  Don't worry, I won't link to any of the old posts because they are mostly terrible (three of them use the same awful poem that I wrote).

I might not change a lot about the blog, but we can all agree that I shouldn't be doing poetry!

Merry Christmas (Eve) everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Barry Larkin Experiment: The Results of the Latest Vote are In!

The Barry Larkin Experiment seems to have stalled out.

In case you don't know, I devised a bracket challenge for the first 100 Barry Larkin cards that I featured in my ongoing Barry Larkin Collection.  From there, it's been a single elimination contest - with all winners/losers decided by my loyal readers.

Unfortunately, readership seems to be down across the entire blog-o-sphere...and even more so when I post stuff about Larkin.  Apparently you all aren't nearly as interested in Larkin cards as I am.  Who knew?

As you can see from the above poll, a mere 8 votes were cast...this is down from the double digit number of votes cast for most of the first round.  I've decided to put the bracket on hold for a little bit, maybe I'll resume it after the New Year celebrations are over.

In the mean time, if you want to check out the bracket so far (only 4 more votes remain in the first round), you can find the entire bracket here.

Tales of Listia: A (Drawn Out) Success Story!

I've talked about Listia a number of times on my blog.  Sometimes it's a good story - you know, you find a great deal for a paltry number of credits and the seller ships things quickly.  Other times, it's a bad story - the seller never ships or things are damaged...  Once in awhile though, you get all the makings of a bad story that ends up good.

So goeth today's tale.

I won the auction that you are about to see on November 30.  Unlike most Listia auctions, this one had a shipping fee (which stunk but what do you do?).  After waiting a couple of days for the seller to provide his/her PayPal address, I emailed the seller.  Three days later I get a response.

At this point, it's been six days since the auction closed.  The seller claims that after a week of no payment, he/she has the right to keep the item.

Unfortunately for me, I never received the email from Listia stating that the seller had finally provided their PayPal email address and so I didn't check the site until Sunday, December 8th.  This was the weekend following the final week of teaching for the semester so things were hectic (not to mention I had to prepare finals and grade term papers).

A few hours after sending payment, the seller responded with:
You do realize the auction ended Nov. 30th with shipping payment due with seven days from that date? You messaged on Dec. 8th that payment was sent and I have no payment showing from you via PayPal. 
Obviously, I wasn't happy...especially since it took SIX days for the seller to get his/her email address to me (there's nothing automatic about that with Listia).  It seems like you need to give your buyer seven days from the time you provide the necessary information...otherwise why not wait until 11:59 PM on the sixth day of the deadline before emailing the address and then unless that person can pay you within a minute, you get to keep your item and the credits.

After a bit of back and forth between the seller and I, I finally get this:
You will receive notification when this items ships, Thanks
*Phew!*  Except the potential drama didn't end there.  The email with the previous message was sent on December 8.  I didn't hear anything from the seller for another six days...then I get this:
Your auction item had to be forwarded, please update your Listia Verified address. Not having your current address verified has caused a delay in delivery, I am not responsible for this. Thank You
Oh man.  I'll be honest, at this point I thought the seller was trying to screw me over...especially since I've only ever had one mailing address since I started using Listia (and that portion of Listia IS automatically generated for the seller).  Even worse, I've received plenty of items from Listia this year - all by using the provided mailing address.

I was convinced that the seller was trying to pull a fast one on my in an effort to keep the credits and shipping fees.  Luckily (since I mostly try to avoid confrontation at all costs), I kept my own cool and calmly replied saying that maybe the post office made a mistake since I was sure my address was correct.  And then I waited.

Two days later I get a message from the seller saying "Merry Christmas."  There was no other information in the message - nothing about the item that was supposedly stuck in Harrisburg being "rerouted" for eternity.  At this point I did have the tracking number for the (supposed) item but it was clear it hadn't left the Harrisburg, PA facility.

Later on, the same day as the Merry Christmas message (which I replied to saying thanks and back at ya - and by the way the item still isn't here), I get:
I hate this! I don't want it lost! :/
So now the seller has completely reversed her stand (I also now know the seller is female) and has become incredibly nice.  I become cautiously optimistic that maybe the seller really did send the item...and maybe the post office really did screw up...and maybe, just maybe I'll get the item eventually.

So I continued to wait.  Another couple of days rolled by with no change to the tracking information (and no correspondence from the seller).

And then what happens?

A Christmas miracle.

The item arrives in my mailbox.

The tracking was never updated (and my mailing address on the envelope from the seller was 100% correct).

Why did it happen?  How did it happen?  I have no idea.  I've had the worst luck with the post office this year (I'm still out that $200 card that I sold on eBay - neither eBay nor the post office will refund me).

However, at least this story has a happy ending.  And so, you may be wondering, what was worth all this heartache and pain?

Well...I don't know if "worth" is the right word - but here she is in all her plastic-y glory.

That's the Alien Villainess from Series 8 of the LEGO Collectible Minifigure line.  This particular figure is only important to me in the sense that it was the final figure that I needed from Series 8.

I know have Series 5, 7, and 8 complete (with a few of the other sets close to complete).

I guess all's well that ends well, at least when it comes to Listia and the post office!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Trade Stack 56: Move Along, Nothing to See Here (Don't Say You Weren't Warned)

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 serve...so 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:  12/18/13

I'm back with another update to my trade stack.  A few days ago we had to start a new trade stack - now let's double the size of the stack! 

I will admit, I'm NOT expecting today's card to entice anyone into claiming the stack.  In fact, I don't mind if the stack remains unclaimed until after Christmas - the post office is nuts right around this time of year!  That said, I did want some sort of Christmas-y card...so I picked a 1991 green bordered Donruss card...of a Red.  That's right, red & green for the holidays.

I should mention that the card isn't even in that good of shape (in fact, it's probably better served as packing material quite honestly).  What can I say?  I told you I didn't want to go to the post office tomorrow!

Remember, you get the entire stack for any one (or more) cards from my want list!  

1991 Donruss:
695.  Herm Winningham - Reds


1988 Topps Big:
74.  Barry Larkin - Reds

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:  1 card by madding
Stack 44:  10 cards by Commishbob
Stack 45:  1 (almost complete) puzzle by Baseball Dad
Stack 46:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 47:  5 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 48:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 49:  9 cards by Swing and a Pop-Up
Stack 50:  9 cards by Commishbob
Stack 51:  3 cards by Need More Cardboard
Stack 52:  1 card by Play at the Plate
Stack 53:  12 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 54:  4 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 55:  9 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 56:  ?? cards by ??

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Delivery Time! Cards from Across the Pacific!

With the Christmas holiday right around the corner, blog fodder has been tough to come by.  In fact, a couple of days ago I posted my final trade package that had been sitting around and then yesterday I dove into my meager pack stash.  So what happens today?

Thanksfully, a trade package arrived from Ryan (from the wonderful This Card is Cool blog) over in Japan!

Just in the nick of time for me to have something to blog about!

Ryan sent me the Reds team set of 2013 SEGA Card-Gen cards - or at least I think* it's the full team set.  It might not be since there is no Joey Votto card which seems awfully odd to me - but there are 14 other Reds in the set.

Let's take a look at some of the Reds in the set.

Ryan Hanigan

This will probably be one of the last cards of Ryan Hanigan that I'll get depicting him as a Red.  He's now with the Rays who will definitely benefit from his leadership (but not his bat).  I always liked Hanigan so I'll miss him...and I have a fear that Homer Bailey will miss him too since Hanigan was always Bailey's personal catcher.

Brandon Phillips

By most accounts, Phillips will be a Red again next year despite Cincinnati's best attempts at shopping their All Star second baseman.  Unfortunately, Phillips more or less wore out his welcome in Cincinnati last year when he called his gigantic contract a "slap in the face" when compared to the even more gigantic amount of money that Joey Votto got.  Phillips alienated what few fans he had remaining a bit later in the season when he called one of the Reds' reporters a slew of unseemly names that aren't fit for print in my blog.

Mat Latos

Latos is probably the Reds' best pitcher - and possibly the Reds' best player right now.  You wouldn't know that by the little star ratings on the card though (and notice "star players" like Phillips get the black border treatment on their card).

In additon to the Reds' (almost) team set, Ryan also threw in a couple more goodies.

First up, a small pile of Japanese baseball cards.

I have no idea what this set is about...but judging by the ages of some of the players, I'm thinking a beer league softball game?

Finally, this little gem:

That's a Ken Griffey Jr. Japanese Topps card from 2003.  Very, very cool if you ask me!

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

*I actually decided to do some research and I found out that Votto is included in the set - so I'm missing him but that's it.  Maybe someone has a spare Votto from the set lying around that they could send my way?

Barry Larkin Collection 231: 1991 Line Drive Collect-a-Books - #31

Barry Larkin
Year:  1991
Brand:  Line Drive Collect-a-Books
Card number:  31

In the early '90, I remember seeing (or rather hearing) about the Collect-a-Books line.  A few of my buddies had some from the football release but I don't recall ever seeing a baseball Collect-a-Book "card."  In fact, there's a good reason for that as the Collect-a-Books line for baseball lasted exactly two seasons (with 1991 being the final season).  The set consists of 36 players, some current (for the time) and a bunch of retired stars (including Billy Williams, Yogi Berra, and Thurman Munson).  If you are interested, you can find the full checklist for the set here.

Although the Collect-a-Books line never really caught on, I think they are kind of cool.  At the very least, they are different which is appreciated (especially now given how we only have Topps producing the same stuff year in and year out).  I wouldn't mind seeing something like Collect-a-Books return - maybe with an autographed parallel version for the "mojo hounds" out there.

As far as I'm concerned, the best part of the book is the comic drawing - though the entire thing is pretty neat.  I should mention that the card really is a book - I had to make multiple scans (one per "page") which I then turned into a single image for the post (don't worry, I didn't slice up my only copy of Larkin's Collect-a-Book)!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Raiding the Pack Stash!

This morning, I asked all of you if you had your very own pack stash for days where there's not much to talk about on the blogs (or for when you absolutely, positively want to open a pack of cards).  Well, tonight seems like a perfect time to raid my own pack stash since I a) have nothing else to talk about and b) said I would open a pack up this morning!

Before I get to today's pack, I will mention that since I wrote this morning's post I found one more unopened pack for my stash - a rack pack of 1987 Topps.  (Don't worry, I won't be opening that set today!)

Here's today's pack to be opened:

That's right - 1991 Fleer Ultra - one of the two packs in my stash that I'm excited to open up!  This pack contains 14 cards and 1 sticker - remember the days when packs contained a decent number of cards?  Oh the glory days.

Here we go - in the order I pull the cards.

37.  Tony Pena

The design of the 1991 Fleer Ultra set isn't great (too drab for my tastes) - at least on the front of the card.  I also wouldn't have liked these as a kid since there are no team logos on the front.

18.  Dave Johnson

The backs of the cards are much, much nicer than the fronts.  You get some color plus team logos - not to mention three (!) images of the player in question.

381.  Pat Kelly

What a funny prospect card.  This is great - and it might end up showing up in a Blogger Bracket Challenge as a writing prompt...it seems perfect for such a venture.

367.  John Olerud
218.  Dwight Gooden

The first player of note in the pack.

248.  Rickey Henderson

The back of the card seems to summarize Rickey up in three simple photos.  Easily the best card so far (and most likely the best card of the pack).

334.  Alvin Davis
208.  Spike Owen
354.  Jeff Russell
261.  Jose DeJesus
295.  Lee Smith

I have Lee Smith's signature on a Reds hat that I got at a game one time (back when he pitched for the Reds).  Unfortunately, the signature was done with a ball point pen so you can hardly read it anymore.

275.  Barry Bonds

Woah - we hit the superstar jackpot with the Henderson and Bonds in this pack!  Not bad at all (plus this was pre-douchey Bonds).

235.  Roberto Kelly
200.  Delino DeShields
Astros Sicker

I used to love Fleer because they always had team logo stickers in their packs.  I stuck those things all over the place when I was a kid - and I still have a soft spot in my heart for team logo stickers.  I should also say that the old Astros' logo was awesome.

All things told, this pack stash raid really hit the spot - it soothed the pack ripping itch and I found some legitimately cool cards for my collection...not to mention a possible writing prompt card for my next Blogger Bracket Challenge (something that I think I'll be moving to mid-winter 2014 instead of November 2014).  The only downside to this pack was that I didn't get a single Cincinnati Red (though that's not surprising as I usually have terrible luck pulling cards of my own team).