Friday, January 31, 2014

Do You Have Trouble Pulling Cards of Your Favorite Team?

In opening up the first 12 packs of the 1998 Fleer Tradition box, I've barely pulled any Reds.  In fact, I believe I have found exactly one Red.  This is noteworthy because each pack has 10 cards - and in 120 total cards I ended up with one Red.  On the other hand, I've probably pulled twenty Astros, Royals, and Marlins!

I'm curious as to whether anyone else feels that they don't pull cards of their team in relation to other teams.  In fact, for me I seem to have amazing luck pulling Dodgers and Giants, but lousy luck pulling Reds (and actually Yankees given how popular that team is).  I'm sure we all feel we don't get as many cards of our team as we'd like...and the mathematician in me knows that pulling cards of certain teams is basically pure luck (unless you are modern day Astros fan in which some sets have exactly zero Astros)...but still, it'd be nice to pull a few more Reds soon!

Pack 13:
367.  Moises Alou
387.  Damon Hollins
391.  Mike Piazza

That's an awful lot of grey happening with Piazza's uniform, chest protector, etc.
397.  Kent Mercker
420.  Chuck Knoblauch
429.  Javier Vazquez
470.  Gregg Jefferies
505.  Chris Gomez
573.  Checklist:  Mark McGwire
My how the mighty have fallen.  I can't say that I have any interest in McGwire's cards - and just because he was a 'roided up Cardinal for much of his career.
Vintage '63:  98.  Johnny Damon - Royals
Diamond Ink points (1 point):  Scott Rolen

Pack 13 didn't have much of interest - probably the first pack of the box without at least one neat photograph as well.

Pack 14:
360.  Bobby Abreu
444.  Wilson Alvarez
454.  Tyler Green
467.  Allen Watson
493.  Eddie Taubensee

In 14 packs, I believe I have no pulled exactly TWO Reds.  Sheesh, not good on that front.  Still, if you are only going to pull a couple cards of your favorite team, they might as well be awesome cards like this one.  I love cards of catchers in full gear - and it's even better when they are throwing out a Cardinal (or maybe a Cub) on the base paths!
514.  Dennis Eckersley
532.  LaTroy Hawkins
544.  Brian Meadows
560.  Mark Lewis
Vintage '63:  89.  Darryl Kile - Rockies
Diamond Ink points (5 points):  Jay Buhner

Cards Were Better Back in the Day (AKA "Get off my lawn 2014 Topps")

After this post, I'll officially be done opening one-third of the 1998 Fleer Tradition (Series 2) box.  Although the box isn't even halfway complete, I will say this with certainty.  From what I've seen on the blogs of 2014 Topps (as compared to the 1998 Fleer Tradition set), I'll take the Fleer Tradition set EVERY SINGLE TIME.

That's right Topps.  Your newest and supposedly greatest base set can't hold a candle to 1998 Fleer Tradition (Series 2 no less).  Quite honestly, the Fleer Tradition set is what a Topps' flagship should be.  Lots of cards in each pack, a low price tag, extremely limited inserts, and one parallel set.  No more over reliance on gimmicks, inserts, and parallels.  And seriously Topps, just how many parallels did you make of every 2014 base card anyhow?  Are there any colors left or are you now making up your own colors in order to have more parallels.

No, I think I'll sit out 2014 Topps.  Instead, I might try hunting down a box of 1998 Fleer Tradition Series 1 and spend my money that way.  Sorry Topps, you had a decade and half to design a set that could beat this box of Fleer and you failed.

Let that sink in for a moment.  I'll just be here happily opening packs of Fleer Tradition.

Pack 11:
362.  Glenallen Hill

This is a great looking photo!  Plus, bonus points for the spring water advertisement on the wall - it looks sort of like Glenallen is trying to jump into the picture of the forest!
383.  Derrek Lee
395.  Jimmy Haynes
404.  Tony Saunders
416.  Mike Kelly

Another nice photo.  This time it's a "player signing autographs" that you see a lot of in the Collector's Choice line (and something that I wish you saw more of on today's baseball cards)!
452.  Roberto Hernandez

Hernandez was caught in the act of hitting up the ladies (Grandmother edition)!
491.  Travis Fryman
564.  Andy Benes
588.  Unfortgettable Moments:  Chipper Jones

Chippa'!
Vintage '63:  115.  Kevin Young - Pirates
Diamond Ink Point (1 point):  Jose Cruz, Jr.

Pack 12:
353.  Roberto Alomar

You see a lot of fielding shots on baseball cards - but how often do you see a card featuring a flipped ball and an almost-broken looking wrist?!
431.  Adam Butler
447.  Mel Rojas
453.  Todd Walker

Todd Walker looks more like Walker, Texas Ranger on the back of this card!  Love the attitude.
461.  B.J. Surhoff
465.  Joey Hamilton
481.  Bubba Trammell
507.  Al Martin
562.  Chuck Finley
Vintage '63:  106.  Rey Ordonez - Mets

Whatever happened to all the Mets collectors?  Where'd they all go?  Will they ever come back?
Diamond Ink Point (1 point):  Jose Cruz, Jr.

Now, that's how you do a pack (or two) of baseball cards.  Take notes Topps*.

*the only downside to the two packs is that I landed my first two duplicates of the box (Todd Walker & Jimmy Haynes).

Look what Fleer did:
1.  Plenty of interesting photographs (to go along with your typical photos).
2.  One parallel set of note (which is one per TEN card pack)
3.  Very few inserts (none in either pack)
4.  Good back of the cards to go along with the front.
5.  Did I mention I find opening these packs fun?

Maybe Topps will get it right in 2015.

*sigh*

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A New Griffey Jr. and an Angry Catcher!

With the next pack, I'll have the entire front right stack of packs ripped open in the 1998 Fleer Tradition box.  I know some people like to track that sort of thing so there you go.  Of course, I highly doubt anyone is interesting in tracking packs in boxes of 1998 Fleer Tradition...but I suppose the possibility exists.  The tenth pack will be the top pack of the front left stack if you care.

Pack 09:
365.  Marquis Grissom
412.  Mike Stanley
437.  Tim Raines
455.  Jorge Posada
472.  Chad Ogea
513.  Rich Butler
543.  Shawon Dunston
563.  Kerry Wood
584.  Unforgettable Moments:  Ken Griffey Jr.

Easy choice for card of the pack - a new Griffey for my collection!
Vintage '63:  117.  Kevin Brown - Padres
Diamond Ink Points (1 point):  Alex Rodriguez

The Griffey Jr. short print was a nice pull in the pack, but otherwise it was mostly "meh."  The Padres Vintage '63 card will probably reside in my collection forever unfortunately...after all, who the heck collects Kevin Brown as a Padre?!

Pack 10:
396.  Scott Servais

"Come at me, bro!"
419.  Al Leiter
446.  Todd Zeile
460.  Darren Dreifort
480.  John Halama
509.  Joe Girardi
518.  Phil Nevin
550.  Sean Runyan
565.  Freddy Garcia
Vintage '63:  126.  Randy Myers - Blue Jays
Another less than stellar parallel card.
Diamond Ink Points (1 point):  Jose Cruz, Jr.

Oh man, that was a pretty rough pair of packs.  Very little to get excited about - even most of the images were boring.  I do like the Griffey Jr. a lot - and the Servais base card was pretty cool.  I think it's the eyes that make that card great!

How About Some 1998 Fleer Tradition Pack War Action?

I have always enjoyed the Fleer Tradition line - but six packs into this box and I can see a pretty bad flaw in the 1998 Series 2 set.  Almost zero players who are worth collecting.  This is like Bowman except it's full of bench warmers and backup infielders...nary a star (or even a decent player) to be seen.

Will the next couple of packs change that or is Series 2 truly a wasteland full of guys with marginal talent?  Let's score each card accordingly and see which pack has better players.

Pack 07:
373.  Luis Gonzalez (+5 points, solid for a decent amount of time)
380.  Ron Gant (+2, never lived up to potential)
435.  Paul Sorrento (-1, just no)
454.  Tyler Green (-5, players like this are why I don't bother with Bowman, all hype, no true output)
473.  A.J. Hinch (+0)
497.  Jeff Blauser (+1 for longevity)
510.  Shayne Bennett (Why the "y" Bennett?  -2)
546.  Carlos Perez (-2 I guess)
Vintage '63:  Mickey Mantle - Yankees (I guess I'll give credit where credit is due:  +10)

13 of 15 IC:  In the Clutch:  Mike Piazza - Marlins (+10)

The In the Clutch cards are seeded 1:20 packs which means if I'm lucky I'll pull a second.  It's certainly shiny - and green!
Diamond Ink Point (1 point):  Jay Buhner  (I won't score these since they aren't real cards)

Pack total:  18 points
Pack #7 was saved by the two insert cards - the rest of the players were a rather pathetic bunch.  Can Pack #8 possibly top 18 points?  I know I'm not holding my breath...

Pack 08:
355.  Albert Belle (Good start even if Belle is a sack of poo according to most accounts:  +3 points)
398.  Jeff Kent (+4 for the Survivor - a show I'd love to be on!)

409.  Sean Casey (+5 for the Mayor - heck of a start by Pack 08.  Also my first Red of the box)

413.  Tom Gordon (+2)
459.  Walt Weiss (+0)
466.  Brian Jordan (-1, so much potential, so little in the way of results)
487.  Cliff Floyd (+1 I guess)
522.  Terry Steinbach (+0)
545.  Pat Meares (-1)
Vintage '63:  120.  Jeff Kent - Giants (Kent returns as a parallel, +8 I guess)

Diamond Ink card (1 point):  Jose Cruz, Jr.

Pack total:  21 points

After the two good inserts in Pack 7, I didn't think Pack 8 had a snowball's chance in you know where.  However, a Red plus a couple of Jeff Kent cards helped Pack 8 edge out Pack 7.

I enjoy doing mini pack wars like this - it helps to keep the box break interesting.  Perhaps I'll do another one before the box is complete!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Night Owl's Best Blogs List Got Me Thinking (And I Need to Thank You)

A few days ago, Night Owl posted his list of his favorite blogs.  When your average blogger posts such a list, it can safely be ignored - but when the Twenty-Five (roughly speaking) Time reigning Blogger of the Year speaks, the masses listen.

Before getting to my thoughts on his post, I need to give my own ego a slight boost by saying that Night Owl reads my stuff (I made his "best of those not good enough to be written specifically about" list).  Actually, he had a bunch of great blogs listed in that list and I'm only jesting - but my ego did like seeing my blog listed!  

Anyhow, my blog's place on that list isn't the point.  My point is a bit greater - taking a look at what a guy like Greg (aka Night Owl) likes can be an interesting experiment into what probably makes for a good blog.  After all, Greg works in the newspaper business - he knows his stuff, and he knows words.

He also probably cringes with my abominable comma usage and over reliance on dashes and ellipses.  Sorry about that, Greg.

Greg's list struck a chord with me because of how he chose his favorite blogs.  All of the blogs he chose were active, but only a few post on a daily basis.  This was interesting to me for a couple of reasons.  One, I guess taking a bit more time to craft a blog post can be worthwhile - and it can make for an all-around stronger blog if done consistently.  Two, posting fewer times a week probably leads to a higher density of interesting posts and original thoughts.  The first observation isn't terribly earth shattering, but the second helped to solidify something that I've long feared in my own writing.

Namely, I post too much.

Or, more accurately, my quality post density level is much, much too low.

I'm someone who likes to write, though I don't consider myself terribly good at it.  Writing this blog has helped me maintain some level of written practice which has proved to be valuable for me at work (especially considering how few mathematicians are willing to write much of anything).  Furthermore, I find writing my blog helps me continually craft logical arguments which has direct ties to my own career.  That said, if that was all this blog did for me, there are a million other ways where I could gain such an experience (personal journal, spray painting highway underpasses, etc.).

No, this blog is for me.

I take a bit of pleasure in writing posts.  But I get a ton of pleasure in interacting with my readers.  I get a ton of pleasure completing trades.  And, especially recently, I get many tons of pleasure in both giving and receiving surprise packages and PWEs.

This blog is for me and I have no plans to ever change.

Yes, that means you won't see this blog listed as a Blog of the Year.  You won't see articles on a daily basis that make you sit up and say "woah."  You won't see awesome customs made by me, you won't see the latest hot thing, and you certainly won't see much in the way of big money items.

Instead, you get me.

I'm simple.  I like baseball cards.  I like collecting.  I especially enjoy collecting baseball cards.

I'm also a completionist.

When playing a video game, I have to get all the hidden collectibles and unlockables.  When buying baseball cards, if it's a set I like it almost always ends up on my want list.  I need things complete.

But I like the chase.  You won't catch me buying a complete set of baseball cards all that often.

Even if it is more cost effective.  

This blog is mine.  And with it, so is my journey.

For now, and hopefully far into the future, you will all continue to come back and enjoy that journey with me.  Sure, you might not care much for 1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice (something I spent a solid pair of weeks talking about on my blog recently), and you almost certainly don't care about the Reds (my teams has been incredibly frustrating lately)...but hopefully my writing makes you care about what I care about at least once in a while.

And if I post twice a day?

Well, then I am able to increase my post density of what you might care about too.

Because what you and you (the you reading in a different state) might like are different.

One you might love LEGO related posts, another you only cares about Allen & Ginter.  The third you, maybe Barry Larkin.  The fourth you might like to read about my trading adventures, the fifth you might be a Cardinals fan reveling in how my Reds are inept, etc.  Whatever it is, I appreciate each and every one of you (even the Cardinals fans).

And I'm honored to be appreciated in return.

So thanks, Greg.  You probably threw together your list without too much effort (or else you took a ton of time and made it look effortless as with your other posts), but it means a lot to me.  It means that while I'm not the best writer, nor will I ever be, I can still produce something that's interesting to more people than just me.

I can interest a guy who makes his living reading and editing quality writing.  I can also interest another 80 - 190 of you (depending on the day) who also visit my blog.  I can interesting around of 100 or so of you each year to trade with me.  I interest a bunch of you enough to add me to your blog rolls.

I can be me.

And, sometimes at least, you like it.


More Fleer Tradition - More Trade Bait.

Another day in (freezing cold) paradise.  While the weather is once again too cold for my liking, at least I have a bunch of unopened packs to warm me.

Pack 05:
374.  Jeff Conine
408.  Vic Darensbourg
458.  Bobby Bonilla
471.  Scott Brosius
474.  Bobby Smith
477.  Kevin Young
498.  Jason Wood
572.  Checklist:  Ken Griffey Jr.

It's sort of sad when a checklist is the best card in a pack.  For this pack, it wasn't even close.
579.  Unforgettable Moments:  Roger Clemens

I kind of like the melted clock thing happening in the background of the Unforgettable Moments short print set.
Vintage '63:  87.  Travis Fryman - Indians

Diamond Ink Points (Five!) - Tony Womack
Wooo.  I hit the jackpot with this point card didn't I?  In all of my pack buying back in 1998 (which wasn't all that much), I never saw a Diamond Ink card worth more than one point.  Now I have five points towards a Womack auto in one swoop.  Sweet.  (so much sarcasm in that paragraph)

Pack 06:
356.  Matt Williams
406.  Armando Benitez
426.  Scott Karl
436.  Bobby Ayala
486.  Aaron Sele
523.  Steve Trachsel
547.  Desi Relaford
548.  Antonio Osuna
568.  Miguel Cairo

I have no idea what Cairo is doing here!
Vintage '63:  76.  Roberto Alomar - Orioles

This is a pretty nice card.
Diamond Ink (1 point) - Jay Buhner

Both of the Vintage '63 parallels are available for trade.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What Makes for a Good Pack of Baseball Cards?

Sometimes you open up a pack of cards and it seems the entire pack is awesome.  Other times, you open up a pack and every card seemingly is worse than the last.  Most of the time, however, you hope to find one or two gems within the pack and you call it good.

It is that attitude that I carry with me when opening up 1998 Fleer Tradition Series 2.  It has already become painfully obvious that Series 2 is mostly devoid of stars (save for the checklist cards and the unforgettable moments subset).  Thus, when you know you won't be pulling stars you hope for the next best thing which is a card (or more) that is wowing in some other way.  Luckily, at least for the next pack, I found such a card!

Pack 04:
351.  Mo Vaughn

This is a fun little card - and it could be a "best of the pack" contender in most packs.  After all, how often do you see a big guy laying on the ground (on a towel) surrounded by dirt and sunflower seeds?
369.  Rey Ordonez
397.  Kent Mercker
401.  Jose Vizcaino
424.  Jermaine Allensworth

Oh sure, Allensworth may be a mostly no-name guy who didn't ever become a superstar.  However, he has at least one awesome baseball card to his name - and an easy choice for "best in the pack"!  The facial expression, the comic book, the sitting in the grass like a little kid, it's all there - and it's all perfect.  Love it, love it, love it!
434.  Sterling Hitchcock
500.  Johnny Damon
508.  Brian Edmondson
551.  Mickey Morandini

Award for most peaceful plate collision on a baseball card?
Vintage '63:  90. Mike Lansing - Rockies

As with most of my Vintage '63 insert cards, this is available for trade.
Diamond Ink Points (one):  Roberto Hernandez
Imagine actually collecting the necessary 500 points but having them all be of Roberto Hernandez.  Ouch.

Well, that pack had a few hidden gems in it - and it's further proof that you don't have to have a pack chock full of superstars in order to have a good pack!

Because of my own work that needs to be finished (mostly grading and lesson plans), I think I'll only open up one pack tonight.  I'll be sure to have more posts in the near future though - so stay tuned!

Posing with Elephants

Yesterday, I began opening my newest box of cards (no, not 2014 Topps but rather 1998 Fleer Tradition - Series 2).  Today, I want to continue my own pack busting - so here are a couple more packs!

Pack 02:
352.  Andres Galarraga
358.  Kenny Lofton
423.  Ken Hill
445.  Mike Blowers

Not often you see a baseball player posing with a mascot in the dugout.
484.  Jamey Wright
526.  Mark McLemore
534.  Michael Tucker
574.  Checklist - Cal Ripken Jr.

I still enjoy getting new Cal Ripken Jr. cards - even if it is a checklist.
598.  Unforgettable Moments - Jim Thome

Scanned for the Thome collectors out there.  Unfortunately for you, unless I get a second copy in the box, this one isn't leaving my house!
Vintage '63:  116.  Ron Gant - Cardinals

Here's a card that I'm perfectly fine with having exit my house...Cardinals, yuck!
1 Diamond Ink Point:  Nomar Garciaparra
Only 498 more points needed to get the autographed baseball.

Pack 03:
357.  Darryl Kile
405.  Karim Garcia
414.  Hal Morris
453.  Todd Walker
456.  Geronimo Berroa
485.  Mike Sweeney
525.  Darryl Hamilton
527.  Kevin Stocker
552.  Dave Martinez
Vintage '63:  99.  Eric Karros - Dodgers

Finally, at least one decent card.  Looking at the names in this pack, it seems like Fleer must have loaded Series 1 with all the stars and left the scrubs and has-beens for Series 2.  
Diamond Ink:  Alex Rodriguez (1 point)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Busting Open the 1998 Fleer Tradition Box (while you all open 2014 Topps, Pssssh!)

Earlier this morning, I mentioned that I was ready to begin opening the next box from my wonderful Christmas haul.  Oh sure, most of the blogs are all about the newest and greatest Topps flagship...but not here.  Nope, we are rockin' 1998 Fleer Tradition (Series 2) right now.  Consider it a well-deserved break from all that new Topps nonsense (you know, a set that everyone will be sick of in about three weeks).

Here's the first pack out of a box that has already withstood the test of time - you know I won't be getting sick of this stuff!

Pack 01:

375.  Eseban Loaiza

The first card of the first pack - and you can already see how Fleer uses a lot of the same type of photographs as Upper Deck did in the 1995 Collector's Choice set.  It's easy to see what type of sets interest me - those with interesting photos!  Nothing says interesting like a guy staring at his ball.  Wait, that didn't come out right.
395.  Jimmy Haynes
403.  David Segui

Another nice shot - and proof that not all cards will have the vertical orientation.  You have to love the meta photos where it's a card of a guy signing a card.  Bonus points if you can figure out which card David just signed.
433.  Yamil Benitez
469.  Heathcliff Slocumb
476.  DaRond Stovall
501.  Jose Mercedes

Each card features a nice back as well.  You get the team logo in the background along with career statistics and small write-up.  Very nice - plus the second image is appreciated!
506.  Jesus Sanchez
553.  Jeff Fassero
Vintage '63:  107.  Chili Davis - Yankees

The Vintage '63 parallel cards are seeded 1 per pack and are printed on "old time" cardboard stock rather than the glossy stock used for the base cards.  I don't have any plans to collect the entire set - but I have to admit that I do like the card design quite a bit.

Diamond Ink:  Nomar Garciaparra (1 point)

If you could somehow manage to collect 500 Diamond Ink points of a single player, you could mail them all in and receive a "genuine autograph from the player on a Rawlings baseball."  Woo!  Only 499 more points to go (plus one time machine).

That's a fun start to the box - no Reds but I did a couple of interesting cards.  I'm hoping I end up with the full second series by the time the box is done - but any duplicates will be available for trade (as will many of the inserts/parallels) so keep stopping by!

You may now return to gawking at 2014 Topps stuff on other people's blogs.  Enjoy.

New Box Bust Here at Nachos Grande (Plus Outgoing Packages)!

It's now the final week of January and I'm just now getting ready to start ripping into my third (of five) Christmas boxes.  Quite honestly, I'm impressed that I've managed to display such patience - usually I'd just rip through all the boxes in one sitting!  I guess it helps that work has kept me crazy busy...and I'm getting back into the swing of trading too (you can see my trade counter suggests I'm on pace for over 100 trades in 2014)!

Speaking of trades, if you live in one of the following zip codes - you might be a lucky recipient of a package from me at some point this week (mailing will most likely occur on either Tuesday or Thursday for most of these):
  • 13601
  • 83651
  • 92688
  • N2H5M5

And now, something for everyone to enjoy (vicariously through me I guess):

My next box break - 1998 Fleer Tradition (Series 2)!

As a kid, I loved the Fleer Tradition line.  The box contains 36 packs with 10 cards in each pack - so this is another huge box bust!  I'm hoping it's as much fun as the Collector's Choice box was...and I have no doubts it will be since Fleer is usually good for fun and interesting inserts (in addition to nice photography in the Fleer Tradition line).  If all goes well, I should start the box busting after work tonight - so stay tuned!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Delivery Time! The Raz Razes My 2013 Topps Archives Want List!

Chris from the wonderful Raz Card Blog recently sent me a surprise envelope full of 2013 Topps Archives cards that I desperately wanted!  Chris included a note saying he had recently busted a little bit of 2013 Archives and had a few for me...but the stack of fifteen cards (all of which I needed) counts as more than "a few" in my book!

Let's take a look at what cards Chris sent my way.

First up, three base short prints (Tim Salmon, Otis Nixon, and Paul Blair).

It's amazing how difficult it has been to track down the short prints from the set.  Heck, I even opened up two boxes myself - plus participated in at least one group break and I'm still missing 14 (out of 45).  However, before Chris' package arrived I was missing 17 so I guess there is still hope I might end up tracking down the rest of the short prints!

In terms of the three short print cards, the Otis Nixon was my clear favorite - mostly based on the card design (1992 v. 1993 and 1974 for the other two players) but also in terms of the image used.  Nothing like a good helmet toss on a baseball card.

In keeping with the spirit of three cards, Chris also mailed me three of the All-Star inserts that I needed.

I chose to scan the Darryl Strawberry card because it looks like Strawberry is cheesing for a 1980s TV show or something.  What a goofy image (I like it)!

The final group of three that Chris sent my way was three of the 1969 Sticker cards.  Thanks to Chris' generosity, I'm now only missing one more sticker card (the one with Ruth, Gehrig, Berra, and Jackson on it).  Of the three stickers sent my way this time, the best one was the Spahn, Koufax, Carlton, and Kershaw card by far!

I wonder what guys like Spahn or Koufax would be paid if they played today...

The final six cards in the trade package were all Tall Boys inserts - another set that has been tough sledding to track down (mostly because there are so many of them to collect)!  Chris really helped me out though by whittling my Tall Boys want list almost in half!

The only one I didn't scan was the Bryce Harper - but I doubt anyone cares because most people seem to be tired of Harper (and the Nationals for that matter).

For the record, here is my (much smaller) want list in terms of what I still need in order to complete the 2013 Topps Archives set:
2013 Topps Archives:
Base:  201, 204, 213, 214, 217, 218, 223, 225, 233, 235, 236, 237, 240, 242
Tall Boys:  DC, DE, FL, FM, MS, RC, RCL
Gallery of Heroes:  AP, BR, CR, DJ, MC, MR, MT, RC, SK, TW, WM, YB
All-Star:  CR, GB, GC
Stickers:  
69S-RGBJ Babe Ruth - Lou Gehrig - Yogi Berra - Reggie Jackson
1972 Basketball Design:  JB (Johnny Bench)
Dual Fan Favorites:  DFF-DC

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

What's the Best Way to Sell Your Cards?

One of my stated 2014 New Year's Resolutions this year is to make my baseball card collecting self-sufficient.  That means in order to buy cards, I have to start selling cards.  I need to somehow corral my "gotta have 'em all" attitude and really try to only focus on the Reds and sets I deem worthy of attempting to complete.  Everything else must eventually go or I'll have no room for what belongs in my collection.  

As such, I have to ask - how should I go about trying to sell my cards?  
Cards like this new a new home.  And  I need cash!

Now, I know that some sites are better for certain types of cards, so let me rundown a bit of what I'd like to sell sooner rather than later.
  • I have quite a few Allen & Ginter mini cards from various years.
  • I have somewhere in the vicinity of 40-60 Allen & Ginter relics from various years.
  • I have a lot of assorted inserts from various new sets (i.e. sets from the last five or six years).
  • I have quite a few Sports Clix baseball figurines.
  • I have a few extra complete sets I'd like to sell.
As you can see, there's quite a bit of variety there in terms of stuff I should be parting ways with.  Therefore, I humbly ask you for your help and advice on how to begin the process of saving up for new card spending!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Barry Larkin Collection 239: 1993 O-Pee-Chee - #147

Barry Larkin
Year:  1993
Brand:  O-Pee-Chee
Card number:  147

Growing up, I always thought O-Pee-Chee was nothing more than Canadian Topps.  In the case of 1993 O-Pee-Chee, that thought is most definitely incorrect.  In fact, I would say that the O-Pee-Chee base set is much, much nicer than Topps' standard issue that year.  After doing a bit of internet sleuthing, I can now report that 1993 was the first year where the flagship Topps and the flagship O-Pee-Chee  sets differed completely in terms of design and most player selections.  Luckily for Barry Larkin collectors, 'ol #11 was included in the Blue Jays & Expos heavy O-Pee-Chee set despite many other players from "Canada's Mexico" not making the cut in the bilingual set.

In terms of card design, I like it.  The front is simple, but everything is easy to read.  The back includes a brief bio (written in both English and French) plus full career statistics (with a team logo in the background which I always like).  Good stuff for sure - and great addition from the end of the famous "junk wax" era of baseball cards!

Trade Stack 58: How About a Silver Signature to Start a New Trade Stack?!

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:  1/25/14

Anyone who has stopped by my blog over the last week or two has probably seen a few posts talking about 1995 Collector's Choice.  Luckily for my readers, I did pull a few cards that I won't be keeping - and today's start of a new stack is the perfect opportunity to offer up a silver signature parallel card!

If you want the stack, remember - all you need to do is offer up any one card from my want list.

1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:
Silver Signature Parallel
379.  Jeff King

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:  4 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 58:  ?? by ??

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lessons Learned in Opening a Box of 1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice

If you've visited my blog at all in the past two weeks, chances are you have seen at least one or two of my 1995 Upper Deck pack opening posts.  Now that I've finally finished off the 36 pack box, I'm able to figure out exactly what I still need in terms of completing the set (you can see my full want list here for all the cards I'm looking for).

As I sorted the cards, I found something quite interesting in terms of how the cards were distributed in my box.

Here's what I didn't get in terms of base cards from the set (i.e. the cards I still need):
6, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 377, 378, 379, 380, 381, 382, 383, 384, 385, 386, 387, 388, 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 488, 489, 490, 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 496, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 510, 511, 512, 513, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518, 519, 520, 521, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526, 527, 528

While that list might simply look like a bunch of card numbers, if you take a closer look you'll notice some strange things.

For instance:
I didn't get card #6, but I did get every other card in the first 34 cards in the set.  Then there's a huge chunk of missing cards - then a huge chunk of cards I got - then another chunk of missing cards - and this pattern repeats.  In fact, my want list could be a lot more succinct if I wrote it like this:
Needs:  6, 35-59, 91-147, 184-205, 242-223, 271-421, 488-528

That's six large chunks of missing cards (plus the one early card missing which seems like maybe it was a packing error on Upper Deck's part (maybe one of my packs was short a card)?  This weird distribution is made even more unfortunate by the fact that Upper Deck sorted their base set by team.  That means there's entire teams that I didn't get a single regular base card for in the box!  This did allow for one fun fact - this is the first box that I think I've ever opened where I didn't pull a Yankees regular base card!!  (The Yankees slot in the final chunk of cards that was missing.)  I also lucked out in the sense that I did pull the Reds in the set (which made this a spectacular gift box for me!

I don't have anything earth shattering to share here other than "Beware" if you plan on buying a box of this stuff for yourself.  You might end up with the full team set of your favorite team...or you might get shut out completely.  It seems Upper Deck didn't employ any sort of randomization withing the packs - though that didn't stop them for including 25 different base duplicates...

Anyhow, the set is now officially added to my want list - and I still have quite a few silver signature parallels available for trade.  I hope to mail out the ones that were claimed throughout the pack opening process - I have at least one parallel waiting for the Daily Dimwit, Arpsmith, and Night Owl.  If I missed anyone else - or if you'd like a parallel that hasn't been claimed yet, let me know!  Only the Reds cards are staying with me!

Barry Larkin Collection 238: 1993 Topps - #110 - Topps Gold Parallel

Barry Larkin
Year:  1993
Brand:  Topps
Parallel set:  Topps Gold
Card number:  110

Beginning in 1992, Topps began inserting Topps Gold parallels into their flagship set.  In 1993, the Topps Gold parallel set mimicked the regular Topps' set with only a gold foil name plate at the bottom and a ToppsGold label at the top serving to distinguish the two sets.  While the Topps Gold cards were fairly rare in 1993, the parallels haven't held up well over time.  In fact, in today's age of over-foilization (my word), Topps Gold parallels from 1993 look pathetically tame.  In addition, like most cards that are heavy on foil, the Topps Gold set is tough to read - making this particular parallel clearly worse than the original card (and I don't particularly like the original card either).  I guess you could say that 1993 was a bad year for the Topps' flagship set.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Trade Stack 57: Are You Trying to Complete Allen & Ginter Sets?

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:  1/23/14

I thought there was a chance someone might jump in and claim the stack after I added a card of Willie Green in serious pain.  Looking back, I suppose it's a good thing that a card of a guy in pain wasn't enough to convince anyone to claim the stack.  However, I can't have the stack sitting here collecting dust - so let's add a fourth card to the pile and see if that spurs anyone to offer up a trade!

I know a lot of people like the Allen & Ginter line (especially some of the earlier sets).  For my money, the 2008 set is one of the best in the entire history of the brand...and today's card is from that particular set - perhaps it's one you need (or maybe it can be the first out of 350 that you need)!

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

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter's:
267.  Andrew Miller - Marlins


1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated:
48.  Willie Greene - Reds


2012 Upper Deck Avengers Assemble:
128.  Thor


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 ??

The End is Nigh! (The Final Two Packs of 1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice)

I hope all of you have enjoyed my long, slightly overdrawn out process of opening the second of my Christmas boxes.  This particular box has left me with a large stack of cards (though I'm still missing giant chunks of the set) and quite a bit of trade bait (some of which has already been set aside for inquiring parties).  Now, it's time to finish off the box by opening the final two packs!

Pack 35:
19.  Orlando Miller
79.  Raul Mondesi
167.  John Smoltz
225.  Billy Ashley

For some reason, I like photographs showing the batting cage...  I can't explain why but it adds a bit more character to a card - especially one that is ostensibly of a guy just standing in the sun with a dumb look on his face.
339.  Ben McDonald
355.  Trevor Hoffman
439.  Roberto Mejia
468.  Mike Henneman
Silver Sig:  21.  John Mabry - Cardinals
Silver Sig:  45.  Reid Ryan - Rangers

Good news with the parallels...I believe there are enough fans of both teams that lurk around my blog and might want to take them off my hands.

Pack 36:
20.  Paul Wilson
78.  Bob Hamelin
166.  Jose Oliva
224.  Henry Rodriguez
338.  Harold Baines
354.  Ken Caminiti
438.  Dave Nied
469.  Mike Moore
Silver Sig:  131.  Geronimo Berroa - Athletics

This is my favorite card of the pack.  The dugout shot is another under utilized image on baseball cards...and another trick to instantly add some interesting elements to a card that is ostensibly about a guy sitting on his rear end.
Silver Sig:  392.  David Hulse - Rangers

And with that, the box is complete!  At first, I thought I got "cheated" out of my promised 1 per 35 pack gold signature parallel.  However, upon closer inspection of the cards that I opened previously, I see that the signature of Doug Linton (Mets) was actually a gold signature rather than the silver that I mistakenly thought it was.  Admittedly it's only a change in foil color but it still feels good to have found the "box hit"!