Saturday, January 31, 2015

Barry Larkin Collection 335: 1994 Upper Deck SP - #159

Barry Larkin
Year:  1994
Brand:  Upper Deck SP
Card number:  159

The 1994 Upper Deck SP brand was one of the many brands that escaped my attention when I was a kid.  I think it's safe to say that my local CVS store (where I purchased most of my cards with my allowance) didn't carry anything as fancy as Upper Deck SP.  That's too bad (for me) since the set certainly appears to be quite nice based on this particular Larkin card!

To be fair, I don't actually like the front of the card all that much.  Foil board was never cool - and this particular card design is prone to fingerprints at a rate that I find unacceptable.  On the other hand (pun intended), the back of the card is really nice!  I love the casual batting practice shot a lot...and while I don't generally like not having full career statistics, I kind of like the "best season" line as a compromise when space doesn't allow for full stats.  The biggest change I'd make to the back is to get rid of the vertical text - I have no idea why card companies insist on using vertical text...NO ONE else does in any other walk of life (except maybe Dodge commercials).

Delivery Time! An EPIC Box from Alaska! (Part IV)

Welcome to the fourth post dedicated to a trade package that recently arrived for me courtesy of David up in Alaska.

For today's post, we begin with a pair of Topps Chipz.

I wasn't wild about the Chipz concept at first but now I have to admit that I kind of like them.  In fact, I could see a fun poker night with the buddies using the Chipz if only there were more border color variations.
I did get two different colors from David - the black chip is actually of Brandon Phillips but there is the Reds' sticker on top of Phillips' face.  I don't think I'll be peeling the sticker for now...but if I were to ever use these Chipz in a real poker game I'd be sure to remove all stickers!

Next, let's take a look at some super shiny Panini cards.  I'm not a huge fan of Panini (actually, I'm not a huge fan of Panini pretending to be a licensed company when they really aren't)...I say embrace the fact that you don't have the ability to show logos much like the old Post Cereal cards.  Why bother faking it, we all know...

Anyhow, I digress.

David sent me a pair of Panini Prizm base cards - or at least I am assuming these are base cards.

I think these win the award for the shiniest patriotic cards of the year 2014.  On the other hand, cutting off Holmberg's hat (in an effort to pretend that Panini could have shown the Reds' logo had they wanted to) only makes it look like the card designer couldn't center an image to save his or her life.  At least the Bruce card shows action without chopping off Bruce's noggin.

David also sent along a Brandon Phillips silver Prizm card.

Since I know nothing about Prizm (I didn't even know the set existed to be honest until David's package arrived), I can't tell you much about this card.  It's quite possible that the silver card is the base card and those patriotic cards above are some sort of parallel.  It's possible they are all parallels and that we are living in a parallel world.

I wonder how many blog hits I'll get now for mentioning parallel world?

The next card is a stark reality check...camouflaged cards.  There's not much more to remind us of the current affairs of the world than a military design.

Despite the war-like connotations, I actually like the look of the shiny camouflaged card a lot!  It's unique (at least in my collection) - and the border seems to add rather than subtract from the overall aesthetic of the card.  I may bash Panini a lot but I'll give them credit for this one...warlike thoughts or not.

While I definitely liked all of the above cards (especially the camo Phillips), it was the next card that is my favorite for this post:

Wow.  What a terrible scan.  Here, let me try taking a photo of the card instead.

Ah, yes.  Much better.  I had to use the Chipz to prop up the card on my least this way you also get to see what the back of a Chipz chip looks like!

This particular Barry Larkin card is brand new to my collection (yay!) and it's really nice (and shiny)!  The card is actually the same basic card as this one - but the card number is different.  I'm going to have to do some research into Panini 2012 before writing up a post about this particular Larkin.

David ended up sending me two different Barry Larkin cards for my collection - and both were brand new.  The first one is scanned (and photographed) in this post.

The second one?

Well, you are going to have to wait for at least one more post...  Stay tuned!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Trade Stack 64: The Stack Grows by One: Will You Claim It Now?

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

The Trade Stack:
Last update:  1/30/15

I finally have a huge chunk of my extra and/or unwanted cards arranged by team which will make coming up with cards to feed my ongoing Trade Stacks much easier.  That said, I probably will still be just as bad at updating this thing.  Although I haven't had a Trade Stack claimed in quite some time, today's addition will only be the fourth card on the pile.  It's hard to get someone to claim the stack if I never update the darn thing!

Anyhow, today's card is from one of the myriad of Fleer sets.  I don't know much about this one - and if my memory works correctly I think I actually acquired this card by some sort of group break once upon a time.  Oh well, it will be someone else's card if you want it, don't delay in claiming the stack!

Remember, you can have the entire Trade Stack in exchange for any one card off of my want list

2001 Fleer Futures:
204.  Dernell Stenson - Red Sox

1995 Flair:
180.  Tommy Greene - Phillies

2008 Upper Deck:
236.  David Ross - Reds

1993 Topps:
406.  Kirby Puckett (Twins) & Larry Walker (Expos)

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

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:  2 cards by Chunter
Stack 59:  9 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 60:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 61:  13 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 62:  9 cards by Nick
Stack 63:  9 cards by buckstorecards 
Stack 64:  ?? cards by ??

Theme Week: Better Know a Blogger (William from Foul Bunt)

Welcome back to another Better Know a Blogger post.  The series is almost over - though there are still a few outstanding questionnaires that people owe me.  Today's blogger is William who completed the questionnaire back on January 14.  I believe that everyone that completed the questionnaire prior to January 14, 2015 has already had their Better Know a Blogger post published (check my archives).  In case I'm incorrect, please shoot me an email - it's always possible your email got caught in a spam filter or something.
Now, without any further delay, let's get to the newest entry in our series!

1. Your name (or alias):  William Regenthal
2. Your blog website:  Foul Bunt
3. What kind of collector do you consider yourself (team collector, player collector, set collector, etc.). Why do you collect that way?
I kind of try to do it all.  I build sets, mainly vintage.  I collect Orioles and I have PCs of Chris Davis, Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Virgil Trucks, Jimmie Foxx and many others.  I also collect memorabilia and am sitting on 108 baseballs signed by Hall of Famers.  I collect this way, because things tend to come in cycles for my collection.  I’ll go through phases throughout the year.  One month, I’ll get an itch to find HOF baseballs, so I’ll put my sets on the back burner.  Then other times, I’ll get an itch to knock numbers off of my set needs and I will spend some time working on those.  I feel like keeping the cycling of phases going, it keeps me from getting burnt out with certain parts of my collection.
4. In your opinion, what could the major card companies (Topps, Panini, etc.) do to make your style of collecting better for you?
I wish it were easier to be a player collector.  It’s kind of hypocritical for me to say, but I’d be alright with less parallels.  If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I have said on more than one occasion that I love color parallels. I do.  However, completing a true rainbow of a player is impossible.  You have to have the 1/1 platinum, the printing plate, the blank back (which is a joke in itself), the camo, the pink, the mauve, the razzmatazz… and so on and so forth.  Just slim the parallels down and put that technology to use elsewhere, like creating better auto/relic cards or something.
5. What is your favorite part of your collection?  This could be one specific item, or a binder of cards, etc.
My Hall of Fame baseballs.  I feel like that part of my collection has begun to define me.  I have people who aren’t even collectors who see my ball collection and are amazed.  I’ve also put a lot of work into it, so there’s that factor as well.
6. Most of us have a favorite song that we like for no good reason – heck, it might even be embarrassing.  Do you have a favorite baseball card that might fit that bill?  
Sounds like a guilty pleasure card.  Well, I still have the first relic card I ever pulled.  2005 Donruss Threads Junior Spivey.  Who all remembers that guy?  I’ll never forget him, because the card is a two-piece, three color patch card (so 6 colors in all) and every time I see it in my box, I have to pull it out, and look at it for a while.  It’s a great card from a pretty much forgotten set of a forgotten player.
7. If you were forced to part with your entire collection except for one card, which card would you keep?
My answer to this question popped in my head immediately when I read it.  I’m sure other folks had a tough time answering this, but the one card that popped in my head, ahead of my Clemente rookie, ahead of my Brooks Robinson cards was my 1948 Leaf Virgil Trucks rookie card.  Mr. Trucks meant a lot to me, and I never even met the guy.  The card is beautiful, red and blue.  The red really pops.  His photo on the card is blurry, but it’s still an amazing card from a beautiful set.
8. Many of the blogs (including my own at times) seem to decry Topps’ lack of vision and creativity.  Can you think of something creative that could be done for an upcoming card set?  
I might be one of the few bloggers that is usually optimistic about Topps products.  I usually am one who likes it when Topps shakes things up a bit.  I liked 2007 Topps, with the black borders.  I feel like I’m in the minority with that.  I also like 1990 and 1975, as well.  I get tired of the white borders.  The problem is, you can’t please everyone.  I loved the acetate cards that they played with this year, first as a parallel in Topps Flagship, and then Topps Hi Tek.  I think those would be nice as inserts again.  Let’s do away with the bland inserts and reduce the pack seeding of them, and make it fun to get an insert again.  Make them better quality and harder to find.  Folks might bust more packs that way.
9. What is your profession?  How did you end up there?  If you are in school, what do you plan to major in and/or what job do you hope to get after graduating?  
I’m a licensed geologist.  I’m licensed in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.  I work for an environmental consulting company; we collect soil and ground water samples in relation to leaking underground storage tanks.  It actually is interesting, if you can believe that.  I work for a great company and have good people around me, so that makes it a lot easier.  I am a graduate of UNC-Charlotte, class of 2004.  I started with my current company in 2007.  Before that, I was a customer service manager for a grocery store and had been there 10.5 years.
10. What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?  Why?  
Cooperstown!  I have been there twice.  The last trip I took there was 2013 with my son, my brother and my good friend, Drew (and his dad).  That was a great trip.  The memorabilia shops are a collector’s dream.  I love going up there and finding stuff that I can blog about.  I’d live there, if I could.
11. Many of us have favorite foods or customs that are somewhat local to where we live.  Do you have any such things that you particularly love?  A website link to specific products would be spectacular.  

I live in eastern NC.  BBQ is very popular out here, and I love it.  My boss cooks it for work once a year, and it’s better than any restaurant BBQ, in my opinion.
12. Do you have any other hobbies besides card collecting?  

When I was at the grocery store, I collected coins because I was always finding them in the accounting office.  I collected coins before I collected cards (when I was 8), and I still have remnants of that here.  I collect old things that I find while working, mainly old soda bottles.  I’d never go out and buy any, but finding them is a lot of fun.  I also enjoy photography, on a very limited basis.  I also handle my familiy’s history and genealogy.  I just took delivery of three boxes of photos, newspaper clippings, letters and documents that were my grandfather’s.  I have to sort through them and put things together for the rest of the family.
13. Tell me something interesting about yourself (that we haven’t covered in the first twelve questions).
I’m one of 9 kids.  I always get funny looks when I tell people that, but it is something I have always enjoyed.  My boss even remarked one day (when I was complaining about all of the group text messages that my brothers and sisters involve me in) “Man, your family is close.”  Out of the 8 of us that are living, only one other collects cards.  My mom does, too, though, and she is the one who always encouraged me to have a hobby.  She would always surprise me with stuff and I feel like that is something I have carried over to how I do things.  I try to surprise people all of the time (especially kids) with care packages and things like that.  Going back to the large family thing, though, we are all very close, and all very similar, but we are all so very different as well.  They all ask me about my cards and blog, which makes it rewarding that they (seemingly) care.
As always, a big thank you to our latest Better Know a Blogger volunteer!  William had a lot of great answers but I think my favorite was his answer to the final question.  It's awesome that he's part of such a large family that is so close knit.  I'm the oldest of four kids in my family (which is less than 50% the size of William's family) but even I know the value of being close to your siblings.

In fact, my younger brother and I probably talk more about baseball cards (and LEGO) than pretty much anything else - it's a fun bond to have despite us living very different lives (and in different states).  My youngest brother also likes baseball cards though he rarely reads my blog as far as I know.  Then again, most people barely read my blog ;)

Thanks for participating William - and with that entry we are nearing the end of this long-running theme week.  I still have a few more entries to go before mine - and as I said, once I post my entry the theme will be officially closed.  If you still want in, you better email me in a hurry in order to get the questionnaire!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Final Call for my Group Break: Phillies, Rays, Marlins!

I'm down to needing to sell a mere three teams in my 2015 Topps Series 1 Jumbo box case group break (say that title three times fast).  The remaining teams?

  • Phillies
  • Marlins
  • Rays

I had already packaged the Marlins & Rays together for one low cost of $30.

However, I'd love to sell all three so it's a super discount on the final three teams:
$40 gets you the Phillies, Marlins, AND Rays (includes shipping to the continental US).

There's gotta be someone out there who once lived in Philly but moved to much sunnier Florida (because contrary to popular belief it actually isn't always sunny in Philadelphia).  I'm sure that person adopted the two FL teams to go with the Fightin' Phils.  Now all I need is that person (or anyone else) to claim the final batch of teams.

And go.

The Great Reorganization: Step 8: Team Sorting Complete - Now On to More Set Sorting!

Back in November of 2014, I posted an entry in my ongoing Great Reorganization series about how I was beginning to sort my extra and unwanted cards by team.  That process, I'm proud to say, is finally complete.

Well, at least for phase I.

I used the sorted team stacks to fill out the flat rate boxes that I used for my previous group break.  While I won't be doing flat rate boxes for my current group break (a jumbo case of cards should provide plenty of goodies for all team slots), I may do another flat rate mailer group break in the future.

For now though, I have boxes (and boxes) of cards that are completely sorted by team.

By organizing many of my extras in this manner, it is my hope that I'll have a ready-to-go supply of cards to round out future trade packages.  In addition, it helped to clear up a lot of shelf space that used to be stacks of random cards!

Now that phase I is officially over, I've moved into phase II.

Phase II is where things get trickier for me.  Phase I was all about purging cards from sets that I knew I would never try to collect.  It was easy to rule out most Bowman sets, 2007 Topps, and a slew of other stuff.

What's trickier is figuring out the remaining sets.

For instance, I know I have an unhealthy love for all things Pacific...but I can't possibly try to collect all Pacific sets.  Which ones to keep with the hopes of "maybe someday" and which to give up on?

Some of the decisions will be based primarily on how much I like the set.

Other times, the decision will be (at least partially) influenced by how expensive the set would be to collect.  Going back to the Pacific example, how easy is it to even find boxes of most Pacific sets?  In my experience, it's nearly impossible!

(if you know of a place where I can get some Pacific boxes unopened, please let me know)

So, I'm going to embark on the second Phase of my Great Reorganization.  As I do that, I'll be eliminating more sets...which means I'll need another round of sorting cards by team in the future.  That's ok - once this process is finally complete I'll have one of the best organized collections in all the land.

Just don't hold your breath for that day to come quite yet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Group Break: Only 5 Slots Remain: Possible Bonus at Stake (Join Now)!!

I only have five slots remaining in my 2015 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Case group break - and if I can sell all five remaining slots I'll be sure to include a few bonuses in the break!

To make the slots even more attractive, four of the remaining slots give you two teams for the price of one ($30 per team slot includes shipping to the continental US).  Help me fill the break - go here to sign up.

From here on out, we only have five remaining slots to sell...and they are:
  • Arizona Diamondbacks & Colorado Rockies 
  • Cleveland Indians & San Diego Padres 
  • Florida Marlins & Tampa Bay Rays 
  • Minnesota Twins & Oakland Athletics 
  • Philadelphia Phillies 
Can we fill this break up before I go to bed tonight?  That would be super so that I don't have to write yet another begging post tomorrow!!

Go here to sign up!

2015 Topps Series 1 Group Break: Some Combined Team Slots for the Same Price! Join Now!

You are all probably sick of reading my posts begging people to join...and I know I'm sick of begging.  However, I did buy the case already so I really must fill it up...or at least sell a few more slots.  I don't want to be stuck footing the bill for the remaining 11 teams!

In fact, to make some of the teams more palatable, I'm combining some of the "lesser" teams into slots that will be two teams for the price of one ($30 shipped to the continental US).

From here on out, we only have seven remaining slots to sell...and they are:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks & Colorado Rockies 
  • Atlanta Braves  
  • Cleveland Indians & San Diego Padres 
  • Florida Marlins & Tampa Bay Rays 
  • Los Angeles Angels
  • Minnesota Twins & Oakland Athletics 
  • Philadelphia Phillies 

Maybe now I can convince some of you to take a flier on your favorite team know that you'll have two teams' worth of cards, inserts, parallels, and hits to claim!

I'm also shocked the Angels, Braves, and Phillies have gone this long unclaimed.  I know the Braves had a somewhat rough offseason (losing Heyward) but c'mon...Atlanta used to be one of the first teams claimed every single time.  I have no idea where the Angel collectors are - we know Topps loves Mike Trout!

Go here to sign up!

Delivery Time! An EPIC Box from Alaska! (Part III)

I've been enjoying my time going through a huge box of cards courtesy of David up in Alaska.  By my count, I have two more posts to write after this one...that's how great the box of cards was!  For today though, let's focus on some of the assorted Reds that David sent my way.

First up, a pair of Christmas-themed Reds' cards.  

I think I prefer the green border over the red...which is weird since typically red borders look good with Cincinnati Reds cards.  Maybe it is just that I don't have nearly as many of the green bordered cards as I do the red...the relative scarcity makes it seem cooler I guess.

From red and green to blue and gold - some more Reds' parallels but this time they are serially numbered.

The thing about blue and gold is that it reminds me of school.  My high school that I graduated from had blue and gold as its colors...and so did my undergraduate college.  Needless to say, I owned a lot of blue and gold shirts back in the day (heck, I still have some of them)!

I don't normally scan Bowman cards but this purple refractor numbered out of 199 was simply too pretty to ignore...even if I know nothing about the player featured.

I like getting cards like this in the mail - it reaffirms my decision to not actually ever buy any Bowman for myself...I'll just wait for random trades to complete my sets!

Speaking of Bowman, how about this one?

I think that middle chunk is begging for a relic or autograph, but otherwise this is a pretty cool card.  I'm still a sucker for a good die-cut - and this one is pretty good.  It's also shiny which I like!

Finally, we end with three decidedly non-shiny cards.

The first is an old Topps scratch-off card from 1981.  

I have never seen these before - but they are kind of cool.  I definitely would have scratched all mine when I was a kid!

Next up, another Johnny Bench.

I believe this is a legends variation card...and it must have been taken during the 1972 World Series (which the Reds wound up losing unfortunately).  I especially love the crown in the background - everyone looks so formal!

We end today's post with a Panini card that caught my's some sort of wood-esque card.

I imagine this is what the Allen & Ginter's wood minis are like (but in all my years of buying Ginter, I've never actually pulled, nor held, a Ginter wood mini)!  There's no picture on the card (boo) but I do love the feel of the wood (that's what she said).  

Thanks for the great assorted Reds David!  Next up, we'll take a look at the single largest stack of the trade box...and then it will be time for my favorite card of the box!  Stay much more great stuff yet to come!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Case Group Break: Braves, Indians, Phillies, Angels, + 7 more teams still available!!

My 2015 Topps Series 1 case full of jumbo boxes has been ordered and should arrive on the day the cards are officially released (I live close enough to Dave & Adams that cards usually arrive right away)!  However, since I have ordered the case (in an effort to lock down the price), I really need to sell the remaining group break slots.

As of the time of me writing this post, there are still 11 slots remaining:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks 
  • Atlanta Braves  
  • Cleveland Indians 
  • Colorado Rockies 
  • Florida Marlins 
  • Los Angeles Angels 
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Oakland Athletics 
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • San Diego Padres  
  • Tampa Bay Rays

That's a bunch of good teams - including teams that usually get snapped up quickly (Braves, Indians, and Phillies I'm looking at you)!

Each team slot is only $30 which gets you all the cards of the team of your choice from the entire jumbo case.  That's 18 hits to be split tons of parallels, inserts, and rather neat looking base cards!  Go here to sign up - I'd appreciate it!

Delivery Time! An EPIC Box from Alaska! (Part II)

Yesterday, I showed off the first part of a huge mail day package from David up in Alaska.  Today, it's time to continue our trek though the package as the snow falls down* outside.

*I'm writing this post on Sunday night so I don't actually know if there will be snow on Tuesday or not quite yet.  If I am to believe the weather folks there certainly will be plenty of the white stuff.  If it ends up as bad as some people say, I might be out shoveling when this post goes "live" on my blog.

David and I have traded a bunch of times - and most of those trades have involved some sort of LEGO figures!  This particular box, despite it's large size, probably had one of the lowest amounts of LEGO pieces in any of our trades...

That's a police chief minifigure which was some sort of exclusive (?) figure with a book if I remember correctly.  The figure didn't come with any sort of tools, nor any alternate face (or, for that matter, any back printing).  However, it's still pretty cool - and I can always use new LEGO figures for my City layout that I am determined to make at some point in the near future!

I certainly love acquiring new LEGO figures!  Thanks for that one David.

Now, returning to baseball cards that David sent me...

I am now the proud owner of a Joey Votto Xfractor chrome card.

I can only hope that Votto returns to being one of the best hitters in the league this year.  If he doesn't, I fear the Reds will be battling the Brewers for last place in the NL Central.  This is a disappointing end to a Reds' team that was supposed to be good for a number of years.

The two refractors that David sent me are indicative of the Reds' chances this year as well:

The first is Mat Latos who the Reds shipped off to Miami very unceremoniously.  I think Latos deserved better...and I think the Reds' rotation will definitely be much worse off without him.  The other refractor was of Jay Bruce who had, for lack of a better word, a horrid 2014 season.  He couldn't hit for average.  He couldn't hit for power.  Even his fielding seemed off.  All he could do (it seemed) was strikeout.  For the Reds to have any shot, Bruce will also have to be much, much better this year.

While thinking about the Reds' chances in 2015 makes me a bit sad...getting a whole bunch of 2014 Chrome base cards makes me quite happy!

David sent me what certainly appears to be the full Reds' team set (not pictured:  David Holmberg).  The Billy Hamilton card is the best, though I like the Phillips' expression of intensity as well.

I didn't buy any 2014 Topps Chrome - and now I can safely say I won't ever need to thanks to David hooking me up with all the Reds.

All things considered, the 2014 baseball card year was actually pretty solid.  I enjoyed the Heritage set, the flagship was alright (though I didn't buy it), Chrome was nice (see above), and then there were two great sets:  Topps High Tek and Topps Stadium Club.  From my recent group breaks, I can tell you that I enjoyed both of those sets A LOT (though for different reasons).  There will be a lot more in terms of one of those sets in a future post from this very trade package...but for now, let's turn our attention to an unlicensed set from 2014:  Panini Donruss.

I bought exactly 0 packs of the Panini take on the Donruss name but after seeing some of the cards David sent me I sort of wish I had given the set a shot.  For starters, the regular base cards are quite nice (though it is hard to get past all the Photoshopped hats, jerseys, etc).

There was also a Rated Rookie card in the mix - something that I used to love with the old Donruss brand name.

I don't know that Holmberg will ever be a great pitcher...but it's even more clear that he probably won't be a great fielder.  Still, it's an easy way to avoid team logos I guess if you photograph guys wearing their warm-up gear.

In an interesting twist, David also included a second Holmberg card for me which appears to use a photo taken right around the same time as the base card image.

However, it is a different image which makes me happy - Topps could do wonders with all their color parallels if each card simply showed a different frame from the same play (sort of like this one).

David also threw in a Studio card of Joey Votto.

I admit knowing virtually nothing about the Donruss set but I think this was some sort of insert.  Whatever it is, it's actually quite nice - and a solid throwback to the old Studio cards of yore (without the hideous border colors)!

Oh yeah, one more thing from the pile of Donruss that David sent me.

I've been Bipped Billied!

Thanks for the awesome trade package David...and I should mention that not only have I not gotten through the entire box yet, I haven't even shown off my favorite card from the trade yet!

So much more good stuff to come - stay tuned!

2015 Topps Series 1 Jumbo CASE BREAK: Indians, Braves, Angels, Phillies, Cardinals, ++ Sign up Now! 12 Slots Remain!

I ordered the case of 2015 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Boxes last night which means I really need to get the group break filled up.  Right now, there are a bunch of great teams won't you check out the original sign-up page and maybe grab a team (or more)?

As of the time of this post, the following teams are available:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks 
  • Atlanta Braves  
  • Cleveland Indians 
  • Colorado Rockies 
  • Florida Marlins 
  • Los Angeles Angels 
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Oakland Athletics 
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • San Diego Padres 
  • St. Louis Cardinals 
  • Tampa Bay Rays 

Go here to sign up!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Come Join in my 2015 Topps Series I Jumbo Case Group Break! (Indians, Braves, Rockies, Phillies, Cardinals, Nationals +more!!)

I would love it if you'd join in my 2015 Topps Series I Jumbo Case Group Break.  As the long-winded title suggests, I'll be busting a full case of 2015 Topps Series 1!!  $30 gets you all the cards of the team of your choice (price includes shipping to the continental US).  There are a bunch of great teams join now!!

Help me fill the break!  I just ordered the case with the hopes that I'll be able to sell the remaining slots.  Topps Series 1 should be a good break for pretty much all teams as Topps does a good job of "spreading the love" around all teams in their flagship set.

Delivery Time! An EPIC Box from Alaska! (Part I)

 A few days ago, a medium sized flat rate mailer showed up on my doorstep.  After looking at the label, I saw it was from David up in Alaska.  David and I have swapped cards (and LEGO figures) a number of times in the past, but I must say, this package blew all of those prior trades out of the water!

In fact, this box was so full of goodness that there is no way I can fit it all into a single post.  So, for now, let's take a look at part I of the box!

Here's how good the box is...I'm starting with a pair of super hard-to-find 2014 Heritage short prints as the warm-up to the rest of the package!

The 2014 Topps Heritage set has been a total nightmare for me in terms of collecting the darn thing.  I have the base set (cards 1 - 425) done but the short prints have proven to be way more elusive than I was hoping.  David's two short prints have convinced me that there is still hope for me in terms of collecting the set...but I don't think I'll be holding out hope of finishing the set in 2015!

David gave me a bit of help with 2014 Heritage...but he knocked a crap ton of stuff off of another 2014 set that I'm working on:  Topps Allen & Ginter's!

Much like 2014 Heritage, 2014 Ginter has also been a slow go in terms of collecting.  I'm not exactly sure why - maybe people simply bought less cards from both sets last year?  Maybe the constant increases in postal rates make people gun shy to trade?  Maybe I'm too much of a cheapskate to simply order the cards off eBay, CheckOutMyCards, or some other site?

Well, I can only say for sure that the last hypothesis is correct.

Luckily for poor saps like me, there are still people out there with some Ginter to trade - and that definitely includes David.  David ended up sending me ELEVEN different mini insert cards.  If you know how much I love Ginter, you know that makes me ecstatic!

Since I love the minis so much, I've scanned 'em all for you.

We begin with the Into the Unknown set.

John Cabot was an Italian explorer who is credited with being the first European to land in North America since the 11th-century Norse Vikings.  Cabot managed to find North America in 1497 though he thought it was Asia that he was claiming for King Henry VII.  Fremont, on the other hand, wasn't quite so adventurous as he made his name by exploring the American west.  According to his card back, it was Freemont's description of the west that contributed to the Mormons' decision to settle in Utah's Salt Lake Valley.

David sent me a single card from the Larger than Life insert set.

John Henry was a strong dude.  Unfortunately, he wasn't quite strong enough to beat a steam-powered hammer as he died following a race against the machine.  Seems unfair to me.

One of the quirkier mini sets from 2014 Ginter was the Outlaws, Bandits, and All-Around Ne-er Do Wells.

Juro Janosik was essentially a Slovakian Robin Hood.  His card back states that he was eventually caught and then tortured to death.  Not a good way to go.

I'm not much of an artist but I still like the Where Nature Ends set.  David helped me here with five different artist cards.

Of the five, my easy favorite is the Leonardo Da Vinci.  I had actually never heard of Gilbert Stuart...which is a bit embarrassing since he is "widely viewed as one of America's preeminent portratists."  While that doesn't really mean much to me, here's what struck me about Stuart:  It's his image of George Washington that is used on our $1 bills!  Cool stuff!

The final pair of minis were from the World's Deadliest Predators set.

The Saltwater Crocodile is the largest living reptile clocking in around 1,000 pounds.  The Jellyfish, on the other hand, kills by venom that is among the deadliest known to man.  I think I'll take my chances with the crocodile!

Thanks a bunch for helping me whittle down my want list David!  Of course, I mentioned earlier that today's post is but a small sample of the goodies that David sent my way - I'll have more from this box later this week!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Topps Series I JUMBO CASE: Group Break - Sign Up Now!!

That's right.  As the post title states, I am hosting a group break for a FULL case of 2015 Topps Series I Jumbo boxes.  That's six jumbo boxes with 3 hits per box...18 hits plus a TON of cards.  Pretty much all teams are well represented in Topps' flagship offering so this is a great chance to nab your team (and a bunch of cards)!

Go here to see what teams remain to be claimed!


Update:  I have combined some of the teams into a single slot in order to expedite the process of filling up the break.  Please take a look below - any slot with two teams will still only cost the same $30 shipped to the continental US.  Thanks!


I am pleased to report that I finally got all of the group break packages from my last group break in the mail as of yesterday (well, all but one the one that I'm waiting on payment for).  With that project complete, it's time to start up a new group break!

This one should be a lot of fun as it's all new stuff:

A CASE of 2015 Topps Series I Jumbo Boxes

I asked everyone for their input a few days ago and the case break of jumbo boxes won convincingly.  According to Topps, each jumbo box contains 1 autograph and 2 relics - and case contains 6 boxes.  Thus, we should be looking at 18 different hits for this break!

What you get:

For the low cost of only $30 (price includes shipping to the continental US) you get ALL the cards of your team from the case of jumbo boxes.  For instances where more than one team is featured on a card, I will randomize the winner of that card at the end of the break.  If you want to claim more than one team, there is a discount of $4 per extra team selected.

This break should provide plenty of hits, but also plenty of cool inserts, parallels, and yes, base cards!  The new 2015 Topps base design is quite different from recent years so I know that I'm looking forward to the set!

How to claim:
1.  Leave a comment below with the team(s) you wish to claim.
2.  Send your PayPal payment to fanofreds.auctions at gmail (dot) com.  Please mark your payment as a GIFT and do not leave any comments or other information via PayPal.  Also please note that my email address has an "s" at the end of both fanofreds and auctions.
3.  Send me an email (to the same address as above) with:
  A.  Your user name used to claim the team(s)
  B.  The email address you used to pay for your slot(s)
  C.  Your full mailing address

That's it.  Now get claiming!

Team Slots (note some team slots are two teams for the price of one):

Arizona Diamondbacks & Oakland Athletics - Raz (PAID)
Atlanta Braves  - Matthew Scott (PAID)
Baltimore Orioles - Play at the Plate (PAID)
Boston Red Sox  - Metalattorney (PAID)
Chicago White Sox - JediJeff (PAID)
Chicago Cubs - Tim B. (PAID)
Cincinnati Reds - Nachos Grande (PAID)
Cleveland Indians & San Diego Padres - Play at the Plate (PAID)
Colorado Rockies & Minnesota Twins - Play at the Plate (PAID)
Detroit Tigers - Chris Guinther (PAID)
Florida Marlins & Tampa Bay Rays - defgav (PAID)
Houston Astros - Bru (PAID)
Kansas City Royals - Jason Koenig (PAID)
Los Angeles Angels - Matthew Scott (PAID)
Los Angeles Dodgers - Night Owl (PAID)
Milwaukee Brewers - Tony L. (PAID)
New York Mets - buckstorecards (PAID)
New York Yankees - Tim B. (PAID)
Philadelphia Phillies - defgav (PAID)
Pittsburgh Pirates - Matthew Scott (PAID)
San Francisco Giants - arpsmith (PAID)
Seattle Mariners - Junior Junkie (PAID)
St. Louis Cardinals - Brady (PAID)
Texas Rangers - Play at the Plate (PAID)
Toronto Blue Jays - Kevin Papoy (PAID)
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos - Cardboard Hogs (PAID)

The People Have Spoken!

A couple of days ago I asked my loyal readers if there was interest in a new group break featuring 2015 Topps Jumbo boxes.

The answer was overwhelmingly "yes"!

With that in mind, I will be posting sign-ups for a NEW group break tonight (Sunday) at 6:00 PM EST.  Make sure to arrive early in order to claim your team!  I will only accept sign-ups on the official post that is going up later today.  Sorry for being so strict - but it keeps it fair for everyone that way!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Theme Week: Better Know a Blogger (Nick from Baseball Dime Box)

Is it really fair to keep calling this a theme week when we are over a month into posts with the same theme?  I doubt it, but it's too late to change the title now.  I hope you enjoy the latest feature - only a couple more to go before the entire Better Know a Blogger series will be complete!

1. Your name (or alias):  Nick P.
2. Your blog website:  Baseball Dime Boxes
3. What kind of collector do you consider yourself (team collector, player collector, set collector, etc.). Why do you collect that way?
I call myself a “little of everything” collector. I like sampling as many cards as I can as much as I can. Between my mini-collections, hundreds of different player collections, and even my non-sports collection, there really isn't an easy way of describing my life as a collector. I don't usually like to latch on to one concrete way of doing things, which might explain why I collect in such a way.
4. In your opinion, what could the major card companies (Topps, Panini, etc.) do to make your style of collecting better for you?
First off, MLB could start by giving a license to someone other than Topps. Panini should get one, and I'd love to see Upper Deck make a return to baseball cards as well. As far as Topps goes, though, they need to stop recycling so many photos. It's boring and basically like a middle finger to the card community. And, although it'll never happen, my hope is to see the return of Topps Total one day.
5. What is your favorite part of your collection?  This could be one specific item, or a binder of cards, etc.
It's tough to pick one, but I'd probably say my Hoyt Wilhelm collection. I've been working on it ever since I first broke back into baseball cards in 2005. His 1952 Topps rookie is (and has always been) my white whale.
6. Most of us have a favorite song that we like for no good reason – heck, it might even be embarrassing.  Do you have a favorite baseball card that might fit that bill?  
I was a bit hesitant to profess my love for 1995 Fleer at first, but I've found that there are a few '95 Fleer-ites out there that join me in my appreciation of the “LSD set.” As far as specific cards go, one that comes to mind is the umpire-less 2008 Stadium Club Manny Ramirez. I love that card way more than I probably should.
7. If you were forced to part with your entire collection except for one card, which card would you keep?
That's a tough one, but I'd have to go with my 1973 Topps Roberto Clemente.
8. Many of the blogs (including my own at times) seem to decry Topps’ lack of vision and creativity.  Can you think of something creative that could be done for an upcoming card set?  
This is going to sound very Total-esque, but Topps should make a set of all base cards without any inserts or parallels (because Lord knows we get enough of those in other Topps sets). Make the checklist big, and market packs from anywhere from 49 to 99 cents a pop. 
9. What is your profession?  How did you end up there?  If you are in school, what do you plan to major in and/or what job do you hope to get after graduating?  
I am currently an English major at Northeastern Illinois University. I really don't have a specific job in mind as of right now, and I'm basically hoping for any decent gig I can get once I graduate at the end of 2015.
10. What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?  Why?  
Memphis, Tennessee. My family and I took a trip there when I was about ten. I was a little young to appreciate it at the time, but we saw Sun Studio, Graceland, Beale Street, and a whole lot of other music history. The food there was second-to-none as well.
11. Many of us have favorite foods or customs that are somewhat local to where we live.  Do you have any such things that you particularly love?  A website link to specific products would be spectacular.  
There's a local joint called Gene and Jude's that has the absolute best hot dogs I have ever tasted, bar none. I'm not too big of a hot dog guy, but I usually try and make a trip to Gene and Jude's at least once a month. The fresh cut fries are magnificent as well. Oh, and if you go there, don't ask for ketchup. They don't have any.
12. Do you have any other hobbies besides card collecting?  
I (try) to play both the guitar and bass and occassionally try my hand at songwriting. Music has always been one of my biggest passions in life, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if I began record collecting at some point down the road. (If the day comes where I could ever afford more than one hobby.)
13. Tell me something interesting about yourself (that we haven’t covered in the first twelve questions).
Thanks in large part to my time in the blogosphere, I began to try my hand at writing this past year. I'm currently working on a novel and recently had a short story published by my school's literary journal. Oh, and I can cook a mean Ramen Noodle as well. (I'm not exactly the next Iron Chef.)
As always, a big thank you to our latest volunteer in my Better Know a Blogger series!  I think most people are probably familiar with Nick's blog since he has a great writing style (and a seemingly endless amount of stories to tell involving baseball cards).  However, it was great to get to know some other sides of Nick!

I had to look up Gene and Jude's hot dog place since I've never heard of it...and man, now I really want a hot dog.

*Editor's note:  I wrote this post on Thursday evening and my wife had a random craving for KFC.  I had to take a break and drive down there.  On the plus side, we both figured any cravings for KFC will definitely be gone for at least six months.  Ew to most of that.  I would have preferred a Gene and Jude's hot dog!

Looking at some of Nick's baseball card related answers, I was intrigued most by his idea of a no-frills, cheap set.  I wonder if something like that would be marketable - and enough of a money maker for Topps to do it.  I'm guessing that the royalties for the players, licensing, etc. must make it hard to charge a low would seem like Topps would have tried something like that at least once in the past decade or so otherwise.  Then again, maybe I'm giving Topps too much credit.

Thanks again, Nick!  For everyone else, stay tuned to the blog for a couple more entries in my Better Know a Blogger series!  Once my own entry hits, you can be sure the series is over.  Before then though, if you want in (and haven't provided me your answers as of now), feel free to email me for the questionnaire to fill out!

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Group Break Update! (Plus a New Group Break? - Let me know what you think)

As you have perhaps seen from reading other people's blogs, many of my group break packages have (finally) been mailed out.  I have to admit that it is taking me a LONG time to pack up small flat rate boxes full of cards (and, in some cases, other goodies too).  However, I do hope that the wait is worthwhile for everyone involved.

As of today, I have mailed out the following team's worth of cards to their group break owner:

Red Sox
White Sox
Blue Jays

If your team isn't listed above, that means it hasn't yet been mailed out.  For some teams, the boxes are complete and waiting on my desk.  For a few others, I still need to pack 'em up (hopefully to be finished this weekend).  Finally, I'm still waiting on payment for three of the teams so I'm not really as far behind as it might seem.

As always, I appreciate everyone's support of my group breaks!

Speaking of group breaks, I am thinking about doing a group break for 2015 Topps Series 1.

Looking at Dave & Adam's webpage, there are a couple of possible options that I see.  I would love your feedback.

Option 1:
1 case of 2015 Topps Series I Jumbo boxes
(6 jumbo boxes, 1 auto and 2 relics per box)
1 team slot:  $30.00

Option 2:
2 boxes 2015 Topps Series I Jumbo boxes
(2 boxes, 1 auto and 2 relics per box)
2 team slot (1 your choice, 1 random):  $16

Option 3:
1 case of 2015 Topps Series 1 Hobby boxes
(12 boxes, 1 auto or relic per box)
1 team slot:  $35

Option 4:
2 boxes of 2015 Topps Series 1 Hobby boxes
(2 boxes, 1 auto or relic per box)
2 team slot (1 your choice, 1 random):  $11

I would also be willing to listen to other configurations but I think the above four options offer the best value.  Which, if any, of the options would you be interested in?  As usual, I would try to throw in a few extra cards for any teams that don't do so well in the break - but Topps' flagship offering usually has a decent number of cards for all 30 teams.

Let me know in the comments below!  If this break is to happen, I'll need to preorder boxes soon!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Barry Larkin Collection 334: 1994 Upper Deck - #385

Barry Larkin
Year:  1994
Brand:  Upper Deck
Card number:  385

I loved the 1991 Upper Deck set.  I liked the 1992 Upper Deck.  I didn't buy enough of the 1993 Upper Deck set as a kid to appreciate it much (and I hated the cursive font), but now I love that set too.  In fact, of the three sets, 1993 is the only set that I've completed.  That leads us to 1994.

The 1994 Upper Deck set is ugly.  There, I said it.  Sure, the photography is typical top notch work from Upper Deck, but the card design is hideous.  Instead of an understated design like 91-93, Upper Deck hog wild and threw multiple photos (included squished pictures), text going multiple directions, even a sideways team logo on the back for no reason.  No, this is not a good design at all.

And that's a shame because the photography is still great.  I especially like the shot on the back of the card of Larkin turning a double play.  Good stuff...but the crazy fonts and sideways statistics draw my eye even more and, in the process, make me angry.  I have no love for 1994 Upper Deck, though I am glad to have the Larkin.  I think one example from the base set is more than enough for my collection.

More 1889 Original Allen & Ginter Cards for my Collection!

Back in mid-December, I stumbled across an eBay seller who had a bunch of the 1889 Allen & Ginter Fish from American Waters cards listed.  As you may recall, I've been slowly working on completing my own set of this was a great opportunity to add to my collection!

Unfortunately, most of the cards went for more money that I was willing to spend...and truth be told, I spent more on most of these six cards than I had on any of the other 27 original Allen & Ginter fish cards that I had previously acquired.

That said, you do generally get what you pay for...and as you'll see, for cards made over 125 years ago these are in awfully good shape!  Even better, I was able to nab some of the "big name" fish from the seller.

One thing that I learned since starting my collecting odyssey of old Ginter stuff is that for sets of non-people subjects, the most widely known subjects often hold the highest value.

For the fish set, it means creatures like the Swordfish, Lobster, and Shark generally go for more than Moonfish, Porgy, or Carp.

Today's haul was much more heavily tilted towards the "popular fish" side of things...and so my collection get a huge boon!

At this point, I now own 33 out of the 50 fish from the set.  Quite honestly, I didn't think I'd ever complete the full set of cards seeing as how the set is so old...but here I am closing in on three-fourths of the set!

I can also report that I have a second haul of fish to show off in a future post which will get me even closer to my final goal of a complete set from the 1800s!!