Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Great Reorganization: Step 17: To Collect or Not (1997 Edition)

Over the past few weeks, I've taken a look at my stack of cards from the year 2000 and from the year 1994.  Today, I decided to tackle 1997 as part of my Great Reorganization.  For me, the year 1997 is a pretty easy one...the stack to sort is probably only twenty or so cards.  Of course, some years will be easier than others (1998 and 1999, for example, both have two stacks of cards with a total of probably 500 or more per year for me to sort still).

In the end, I have to do every year so there's no harm in taking an "easy" one this time around!  Let's go through the small stack and figure out which sets I'm going to chase after and which sets will simply be trade fodder!

1997 Bowman:

I probably don't even need to write a paragraph here for people who follow my blog.  It's a no brainer that I won't be chasing 1997 Bowman...in fact, I would say this is one of the worst Bowman designs of the 90s (and that's saying something).

1997 Fleer Sports Illustrated:

I love, love, LOVE the 1997 Fleer Sports Illustrated set - this one is an obvious collect it!  In fact, I've had my substantial set needs on my want list for quite some time.  Perhaps I should try to track down another box* of this stuff in order to put a bigger dent in my needs!

*I actually put a bid in on a couple of boxes of '97 Fleer Sports Illustrated moments after typing that sentence.  The joys of writing a post in "real time."

1997 Pinnacle:

If I had unlimited room to store cards...and an unlimited budget, I'd probably chase after the '97 Pinnacle set because it's not too bad.  However, I have neither an unlimited storage space nor unlimited funds and so I unfortunately have to say that I won't chase this set.

1997 Metal Universe:

Here's a tricky one.  On the one hand, I really do like the comic book effect used in the card design (and every card gets its own background, some are really quite cool)!  On the other hand, I only own about a single packs' worth of cards from this set (12 cards in total)...which would make tracking the entire set down a bit of a pain.

*sigh*

I'm definitely on the fence on this one...my brain is telling me to give up on the set, that's it is simply going to be too hard to track down all 250 cards from the set when I only own 12 at the moment.  My heart, on the other hand, is telling me that this is a truly unique set that hasn't really been rivaled by any other set before or since its release.  Plus the comic book inspired backgrounds just look cool.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and go with my heart rather than my brain and say collect it.  Of course, if you have any lying around it's almost assured that I need 'em!

1997 Topps:

The '97 Topps set was probably the base set that I bought the least of throughout the entirety of the 90s.  For whatever reason, the design never interested me - not to mention I was about to enter high school and so baseball cards simply weren't my number one (or even number two or three) priority at the time.  Therefore, this one's an easy choice:  don't chase.

1997 Leaf:

In general, I don't get the Leaf brand any respect.  For whatever reason, I was never drawn to Leaf as a kid...and without those memories, I still avoid the set.  Being objective, that Jeff Brantley card is actually quite nice...and yet, I can't help but think to myself "but it's Leaf."  Sorry Leaf, it's not you, it's me.  Don't collect.


1997 Pacific:

Too much gold foil and an ugly design?  Sorry Pacific, even my usual undying love for you won't save this monstrosity.  An easy choice to not collect this one.

1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:

The final set that I need to make a decision on is '97 Collector's Choice.  If you have taken a look at my want list by now, you'll already know my answer:  Collect it.  Actually, I have the base set done already - I'm simply working on some of the inserts!  I love me some Collector's Choice - and the '97 set is one of my favorites, of course I'll collect it!

That does it for 1997!  As I said in the beginning of this post, '97 was one of the easier years for me to make decisions - really the only tough one was Metal Universe which I decided to go for (we'll see how that goes I guess)!  As for the rest of the cards that I need to sort?  Well, I'll hopefully have more Great Reorganization posts throughout the summer...if I don't, then I'm meeting my own personal goals!

Monday, May 30, 2016

2000 Fleer Tradition Box: Pack 11 & 12 - In Which I Pull a Fresh Ink Autograph (1:144 packs!)

Happy Memorial Day everyone.  I hope you had a fun day filled with family (and perhaps some good grilled food as unofficially welcome in summer 2016)!

I don't have any grilled hot dogs to share with you tonight, but I do have another couple of packs out of the 2000 Fleer Tradition box.  That's something, right?  It's the thought that counts.  Also, at the conclusion of today's post, I'll be one-third of the way through the box.  Hard to believe it!

Pack 11:
6.  League Leaders (Walker, Gonzalez, Abreu)
99.  Luis Gonzalez
115.  Kevin Brown
154.  Ivan Rodriguez
180.  Kevin Appier
245.  Kenny Lofton
322.  Twins team card


What do we think?  Should team cards exist in a set of baseball cards?  
394.  Tony Batista
432.  Homer Bush
Who to Watch:  10.  Randy Wolf

Not a bad pack, and it yielded another Who to Watch card that I didn't previously own.

Pack 12:
71.  Jim Edmonds
90.  Blue Jays team card
95.  Johnny Damon
127.  Indians team card
170.  Jay Buhner
175.  Todd Helton
212.  Warren Morris
213.  Padres team card
373.  Jose Offerman
Fresh Ink:  Ed Yarnall

Woah!  I was definitely NOT expecting to pull an autograph out of this box (Fresh Ink autos are seeded 1:144 packs)!  Now, I have to admit that Ed Yarnall is not exactly the ideal name to pull an autograph of (I had to look him up, he pitched for the Yankees for parts of two years).  Even so, it's always a thrill to pull a totally unexpected card like that.  

And yes, if you are interested Yarnall is up for trade.

Trade Stack 72: Who Likes the Grandy Man?

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:  5/30/16

In my humble opinion, this is one of the best Trade Stacks for its size...and I fully expect that it will be claimed soon!  For starters, there's an awesome Tulowitzki Luminous insert from Stadium Club, and the base cards are also solid including a sweet Buhner card with him sitting on his jeep.  Today's addition to the stack is really just the icing on the top of the cake - it's a 2008 Allen & Ginter's card of Curtis Granderson...and it just might be enough to cause someone to jump in and claim the entire stack!

Finally, remember that you get this card plus all the others in the Trade Stack in exchange for at least one card off of my want list.

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter's:
85.  Curtis Granderson

1994 Bowman's Best:
99.  Ruben Rivera - Yankees & Raul Mondesi - Dodgers

2000 Topps:
222.  Kevin Millwood - Braves


2000 Fleer Tradition:
434.  Athletics Team Prospects - Chad Harville & Luis Vizcaino

1998 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:
242.  Jay Buhner - Mariners


2014 Topps Stadium Club:
Triumvirate Insert:  Luminous
T5A.  Troy Tulowitzki - Rockies


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:  7 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 65:  2 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 66:  10 cards by Roger
Stack 67:  14 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 68:  5 cards cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 69:  17 cards by Steve D.
Stack 70:  2 cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 71:  8 cards by defgav
Stack 72:  ?? by ??

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Barry Larkin Collection 455: 1996 Upper Deck SP - #MM12 - Marquee Matchups Die-Cut Insert

Barry Larkin
Year:  1996
Brand:  Upper Deck SP
Insert set:  Marquee Matchups
Parallel:  Die-Cut
Card number:  MM12

In the 1996 Upper Deck SP set, there were two different versions of the Marquee Matchups insert cards.  There is a regular version (seeded 1:5 packs) and a much rarer die-cut version (seeded 1:61 packs).  I already showed off the regular version of the insert in a previous Barry Larkin Collection post.  Today, we take a look at the rarer die-cut version.

Since I've already given my thoughts on the regular version of the card, I think it's really only necessary to compare and contrast the die-cut version to the regular version.  For starters, the obvious difference is the new shape of the card.  I must admit, often die-cutting is nothing more than a gimmick but I think the shaping works well here.  The other big difference between the two cards is the color - you'll notice the original card has a blue border while the die-cut has a red border.  Presumably this is so that dishonest people couldn't produce their own die-cuts (since both cards share the same card number, bio write-up, and other markings).

Given a choice between the two, I'd say the rarer die-cut version is far superior.  On the other hand, I definitely think having a parallel of an insert set is still one of the dumbest things out there in terms of baseball card trends.  While I'm happy to have both Barry Larkin versions for my collection, I shudder to think that I'm somehow, even in a very small way, contributing to such idiotic ideas perpetuating throughout the years (after all, this is a set from 1996 - twenty years ago)!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

2000 Fleer Tradition Box: Pack 9 & 10 - Another Cal Ripken Box Hit!

I hope everyone had a great Saturday.  I aim to make my day end on a high note with another pair of Fleer Tradition packs from the year 2K.

Pack 9:
124.  Edwards Guzman
164.  Chipper Jones

I wasn't ever a big Chipper fan since I hated the Braves in the 90s...but now that he's retired I can respect his game.
182.  Tom Davey
189.  Doug Mientkiewicz
192.  Tom Glavine
228. Rafael Palmeiro
286.  Jason Varitek
287.  Harold Baines
343.  Vladimir Guerrero
Cal Ripken Collection  6.  Cal Ripken Jr.

The design for this card is from the 1981 Fleer MLB set - a set that I do know (as opposed to the previous Ripken card that I pulled that was based on an old NBA set design).  This is the second card from the Ripken Collection from the box (and since they are seeded 1:30 packs, I wouldn't expect another)!

Pack 10:
40.  Matt Williams
43.  Denny Neagle
66.  Stan Spencer
107.  Mike Liberthal
129.  Frank Thomas
277.  Sean Casey
368.  David Segui
423.  Scott Rolen
450.  Postseason recap:  Braves and Yankees (World Series Game 4)
Who to Watch:  14.  Vernon Wells

I kind of like the die-cut Who to Watch cards.  It's interesting to look back and see which players panned out and which did not.

I'm curious, what are your thoughts on the 2000 Fleer Tradition set?  It's a set that I don't see mentioned on the blogs much (ever?).  For me, I like it a lot, even if it is a rip-off of old Topps' sets!

Trade Stack 72: A Memorial Day Weekend Addition to the 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:  5/15/16

Since this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, I figured I ought to find a nice red, white, and blue card to add to the current Trade Stack.  For better or worse, I'm not sure there are two teams that scream America more than the Yankees and the Dodgers - combine each of them with some red and blue and you've got a perfect holiday addition to the Trade Stack.  Will this be the card that causes someone to claim the stack?  For what it is worth, I've added quite a few new sets to my want list lately, so you might be able to find something that I want a bit more easily!  

Finally, remember that you get this card plus all the others in the Trade Stack in exchange for at least one card off of my want list.

1994 Bowman's Best:
99.  Ruben Rivera - Yankees & Raul Mondesi - Dodgers

2000 Topps:
222.  Kevin Millwood - Braves


2000 Fleer Tradition:
434.  Athletics Team Prospects - Chad Harville & Luis Vizcaino

1998 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:
242.  Jay Buhner - Mariners


2014 Topps Stadium Club:
Triumvirate Insert:  Luminous
T5A.  Troy Tulowitzki - Rockies


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:  7 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 65:  2 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 66:  10 cards by Roger
Stack 67:  14 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 68:  5 cards cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 69:  17 cards by Steve D.
Stack 70:  2 cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 71:  8 cards by defgav
Stack 72:  ?? by ??

Friday, May 27, 2016

2000 Fleer Tradition Box: Pack 7 & 8 - A Card for Night Owl?

Happy weekend, everyone!  There's not a much better way to celebrate the end of the week than by opening up some packs of baseball cards, am I right?  I'm getting the weekend started on a good note with some more 2000 Fleer Tradition packs.

Pack 7:
86.  Ryan Rupe

When I read the back of this card, I thought it was really sad that 8 wins was the second highest wins total for a pitcher on the 1999 Rays team.  Then I remembered my Reds' team this year and I thought I'd probably be happy with a 9 game winner.  Oof.
99.  Luis Gonzalez
129.  Frank Thomas
130.  Neifi Perez
289.  Chuck Finley
358.  Jim Thome
362.  Marty Cordova
369.  Yankees team card
396.  Braves prospects (Randall Simon and Dave Cortes)
448.  Postseason Recap:  Yankees and Braves (World Series Game 2)

I suppose this card should go off to Night Owl if he doesn't yet own it...it sure looks like a night card to me.  Let me know, N.O.!

Pack 8:
129.  Frank Thomas

A nice card...thought not quite so nice since I pulled the same card in the previous pack.
139.  Jason Phillips
142.  Charles Johnson
205.  Henry Rodriguez
226.  Rolando Arrojo
239.  Garret Anderson
254.  Eli Marrero
306.  Roberto Alomar
429.  Russ Davis
Dividends:  8.  Sammy Sosa

It had been awhile since I pulled an insert card!  It's actually kind of refreshing to have a set where inserts actually feel special, rather than most modern sets where it seems the inserts sometimes outnumber the base cards (Topps flagship, I'm looking at you).

I'll have plenty more from this box in upcoming days, that's for sure.  I'm also working on sorting through yet another year's worth of cards - I'm hopeful that will be done soon as well (and you'll see the results here on my blog).

Thursday, May 26, 2016

2000 Fleer Tradition Box: Packs 5 & 6 - A Boy Named Cleatus.

It's been a day or so since I visited my box of 2000 Fleer Tradition.  I'm anxious to rip the full box and see how small I can make my want list for the set.  Of course, the only way for me to know for sure will be to rip the box.  Let's keep the fun going.

Pack 5:
3.  League Leaders (Ramirez, Palmeiro, Griffey Jr.)
55.  Royals prospects (Mark Quinn and Dermal Brown)
111.  Steve Avery
156.  Twins prospects (Cleatus Davidson and Cristian Guzman)

Cleatus is a pretty good name for a ballplayer.
196.  Vinny Castilla
216.  Jason Johnson
326.  Mickey Morandini
331.  Torii Hunter

One of the things that I love about this set is that for players with a relatively small major league career, you get a cartoon to go along with a small blurb about the player.  This is something I wish happened on all baseball cards!
353.  Cal Ripken Jr.
406.  Richie Sexson

Pack 6:
78.  Rays prospects (Steve Cox and Alex Sanchez)
132.  Jose Lima
145.  Justin Thompson
158.  Todd Dunwoody
269.  Fred McGriff

Sometimes I think I don't feature enough Rays on the blog.  Then I remember that I have yet to find someone who actually purposely collects Rays cards.
324.  Tony Womack
348.  Royce Clayton
389.  Diamondbacks prospects (Rob Ryan and Nick Bierbrodt)
433.  Mariners team
442.  Postseason recap (Indians/Red Sox)

Well, those two packs were both devoid of any inserts - but that's alright since I bought the box for the base cards (how often do you hear someone say that anymore)?!  In total, I landed another six cards for my base set.  Not bad I guess.  I'll have more from this box in the upcoming days (along with some non-Fleer Tradition posts as well)!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Great Reorganization: Step 16: To Collect or Not (1994 Edition)

I'm making some serious progress lately in terms of completely overhauling my collection.  Oh sure, this process started over two years ago (back before I moved) but it's entering the final stretch as I am now going year-by-year and deciding which sets to collect and which sets to ignore.  Of course, for every set that I decide to collect, I then need to make a binder, fill it with 9-pocket pages, and then after filling the binder as best I can, update my want list.  It's a long process, but ultimately one that I hope will be worth all the time I've spent!

For today's post, I am going to take a look at the year 1994 and decide which sets to keep/collect and which to ignore.  As it stands heading into today's post, I don't actually have a single set from 1994 on my want list at the moment.  That means I have a "fresh slate" so speak.  Let's see what happens.

The "No Way" Group:

This group contains nine cards from four different sets.  At this point in time, that's all I have from each of the sets so saying "no" to each of these is an easy choice.  A few of the above cards will still stay in my collection however - I plan to make a Reds' Frankenset and a few of the cards have a real good shot at making it in the binder!

The first cut is always the easiest.  Unfortunately for me, it only gets harder from here as I have to keep making cuts since A)  I can't afford every set in the world and B) even if I could afford it, I wouldn't have room to store them all!  Remember, I prefer to store my sets in binders so bookshelf space is at a premium in my house!

Actually, I sort of lied because the next round of cuts was almost as easy as the first group.

More "Nope" Sets:

The Scott Leius Twins' card sure looks more like a Reds' card to me given that you can clearly read (and see) Sanders' jersey in the card.  I like that Rijo a lot as well - but alas that's it for my '94 Upper Deck collection so that set is out.  I also had to give up on Stadium Club (again that's a nice Rijo) and '94 Donruss (which isn't a terrible design, at least for Donruss' standards).  The final easy cut was that of 1994 Fleer Ultra, one of my least favorite Ultra designs of all time.

Now that ends the easy portion of whittling down 1994 sets.  At this point, I have five sets remaining to go through, each of which I own at least a small stack of already.

First up:

1994 Pacific:

Now, I'm on record as saying that I love most things Pacific, especially the late 90s Pacific stuff.  Unfortunately, I don't have the same affection for early 90s Pacific - this set is a bit too gray for my tastes...and given how hard it is to find Pacific stuff anymore, I'm sadly going to have to say not going to collect.  I will, however, probably find room in my Reds' Frankenset for some of the '94 Pacific cards.

1994 Topps:

Here's the first truly difficult choice from 1994.  On the one hand, I have quite a few 1994 Topps cards in my collection already.  On the other hand, I never cared much for the '94 set...and it doesn't really evoke any strong memories from my childhood for me.  Given that I have little to no connection to a set that I deem a fairly poor design, this one gets a not going to collect rating.

I'm writing this post and making my decisions in real time, so I apologize if the "flow" of the post isn't great...after each paragraph, I have to spend a rather lengthy amount of time sorting through the cards of the given set!

Anyhow, after sorting through the '94 Topps cards (I'm pulling out cards for my Reds' Frankenset and my non-Reds' Frankenset - both projects that I want to start once I'm done with my Great Reorganization)!  The rest of the '94 Topps cards got placed in my "for trade" box...and since it's 1994 Topps we are talking about, they'll probably be used as packing material for future trades!

1994 Bowman's Best:

In general, I have no problem ruling out a Bowman set.  And, if I'm being honest, the 1994 Bowman's Best set really doesn't come anywhere near living up to the title of "best."  So why the tough decision?

Easy.  These cards mostly came from a box of cards that was a wedding present for me (and my wife).  It was the one present that we got that was specifically for me rather than all of the other presents which were basically for my wife.

Ultimately, while the cards in the stack do have some emotional connection for me, the set itself doesn't.  I think I'll pick out a bunch to fit into my Frankenset (both Reds and non-Reds) and put the rest in the 'ol trade box.  Therefore, this gets a not going to collect decision.

1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:

The Collector's Choice line is a long favorite of mine (as opposed to the Bowman line which I generally despise).  However, I don't have all that much of the '94 set...and the design isn't really all that good either...and so I see no option but to not bother collecting this set either.  There are a number of good or interesting cards however that will probably make their way into one of my two Frankensets.

As I said earlier, I'm writing this blog in "real time" as I go through my cards.  Frankly, I'm as surprised as anyone that I have yet to say "yes" to a single set from 1994...and at this point there is only one option left to consider.

1994 Fleer:

Out of the five major sets that I had to make a decision on, the 1994 Fleer set is probably the set I owned the least of.  However, it's also probably my favorite of the five sets - the design is truly top notch...and the set as a whole is severely underrated.

Speaking of the whole set, 1994 Fleer weighs in with a whopping 720 cards - and I own about 65 or so right now (a mere 9% of the entire set).  All that said, I think I'm going to surprise some people (myself included) when I say this is a set that I will collect despite me currently needing so many cards from it!

That finishes off my look at 1994.  I'm not really picking the years to sort through in any particular pattern...mostly based on how much time/energy I have and how big/small the stack of unsorted cards is for that year.  No matter, I need to get every year done eventually...and thankfully I've been making solid progress thus far!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More 2000 Fleer Tradition Including a Cal Ripken Jr. Box Hit

Another day, another round of meetings, and now another couple of packs from 2000 Fleer Tradition.  Seems like deja vu all over again, doesn't it?

Pack 3:
76.  Bobby Higginson
110.  Ryan Klesko
149.  Octavio Dotel
187.  Bruce Aven
271.  Atlanta Braves team card
276.  Travis Lee
327.  Pokey Reese

First Red of the box!
373.  Jose Offerman
438.  Award winner:  Randy Johnson
Cal Ripken Collection:  3.  Cal Ripken Jr.

According to the card back, the design of this particular card is taken from the 1961-62 Fleer NBA set.  I like that Fleer "cited" the card design, especially since I know basically zero about basketball cards (from any era).  It should also be noted that the Cal Ripken Collection cards are seeded 1:30 packs, meaning this is a pretty much a box hit (36 packs in a box leaves the possibility of pulling a second Ripken card I suppose).

Pack 4:
3.  League Leaders (Ramirez, Palmeiro, Griffey Jr.)

I like the look of the League Leaders cards in this set.
33.  Bo Porter
48.  Orlando Hernandez
110.  Ryan Klesko
Weird, he was in Pack #3 as well.  I don't like pulling duplicates this early in the box!!
115.  Kevin Brown
209.  Matt Lawton
316.  Ed Sprague
330.  Darren Dreifort
376.  Masao Kida
Who to Watch:  2.  Matt Riley

Overall, I needed 7 of the cards from the two packs shown in this post (including one of the Ryan Klesko cards).  Will I be able to finish off the entire base set thanks to this box?  I honestly have no idea...but I'd like to think I will!

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Box of 2000 Fleer Tradition!

Although I don't have to teach in the summer, I'm still required to occasionally make my way in to work for a meeting or two.  Unfortunately for me, this week I had meetings all day today and I have to go back tomorrow for more follow-up meetings.  I'm hopeful after this week that the issues are settled and then my summer can begin in earnest.

...and before you get all jealous of my summer "off," let me tell you that "off" actually means I'll be spending my time creating lessons, homework exercises, etc. for two different courses that I've never taught before - Calculus III and The History of Mathematics.  I assure you that this won't feel like a summer off to me...but at least I can work from home most of the time rather than 104 miles that I have to drive to get to and from work during the school year.

And that time saved by me not having to spend it in my car?  Well, I can use that time for my many hobbies (and mowing the lawn of course).  Since I mowed the lawn this past weekend, tonight is free to open up some baseball cards...and I've had this box of 2000 Fleer Tradition staring at me for a few days now, so let's get ripping.

Before I open the box, here's what we can expect to find in the 450 card, single series set.  There are 358 player cards, 10 league leaders, 10 postseason recaps, 6 award winners, 30 team cards, 30 prospects, and 6 checklists in the base set.  Luckily for me (since I'm trying to collect the entire set), there are exactly zero short prints!

Now, I'm interested in the base cards from this box, but there are a variety of inserts as well:
  • 15 Who to Watch (1:3 packs)
  • 15 Dividends (1:6 packs)
  • 10 Ten-4 (1:18 packs)
  • 15 Hall's Well (1:30 packs)
  • 15 Grasskickers (1:30 packs)
  • 10 The Ripken Collection (1:30 packs)
  • Fresh Ink autos (1:144 packs)
  • Club 3000 (1:36 packs)
  • Club 3000 relics (numbered, no pack odds given)
That's a fairly diverse line up of inserts, so this should be a fun rip.  The hobby box contains 36 packs with 10 cards per pack...here's hoping I can make a serious dent in my want list!

Without any further delay, let's rip a couple of packs tonight, shall we?

Pack 1:
26.  Juan Gonzalez

The first card out of the first packs is....a duplicate.  That's a bummer!
32.  Nomar Garciaparra
48.  Orlando Hernandez
132.  Jose Lima
178.  Eric Milton
257.  Darin Erstad
272.  Red Sox Prospects (Wilton Veras and Tomokazu Ohka)
289.  Chuck Finley
415.  Jermaine Dye
Who to Watch:  15.  Adam Kennedy

I have a few of the Who to Watch cards already, but I don't expect that I'll end up chasing the full set.  Once I open the entire box and sort all the cards, I'll probably create a list of trade bait just in case anyone else is still interested in this set.

And with that, Pack #1 is in the books.  Out of the 10 cards in that pack, I only needed 3...but at least I did get a bit closer to the full base set.  So long as I make progress each pack, I'll be satisfied!

Pack 2:
98.  Mark Kotsay
148.  Armando Benitez
173.  Bobby Howry
174.  Chris Singleton
223.  John Halama
357.  Pirates team card
390.  Rickey Henderson

403.  Blue Jays Prospects (Casey Blake and Vernon Wells)
435.  Award Winner:  Carlos Beltran
Dividends:  6.  Frank Thomas

I won't ever complain about getting a nice insert of "The Big Hurt."  In fact, I always liked Frank Thomas when I was a kid.  In terms of base cards, this pack yielded another three cards for my set as well.

Through two packs, I've nabbed six new cards for my set plus a pair of inserts.  Not a bad start - and certainly not bad for a Monday!  Tomorrow it's another day of meetings for me...and hopefully another evening of opening up more packs out of this box of 2000 Fleer Tradition!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I Got a New Box of Cards Off of eBay...and then Another!

About a week and a half ago, I completed another major milestone in my quest to get my entire baseball card collection reorganized - I fully sorted my cards from the year 2000, deciding what to keep and what to no longer collect.  One of the decisions that came out of that post was that I would try to collect the entire 2000 Fleer Tradition set despite the fact that I only owned about half of the 450 cards in the set.  I mentioned then that I would try to track down a box on eBay.

It took me this long to do so because the first time I tried to buy a box, the seller sent me a box of 2001 Fleer Tradition instead.  Now, a less honest person would have simply kept the 2001 box since it's worth probably two or three times as much as a 2000 box, but I wasn't trying to be dishonest...nor was planning to collect the 2001 Fleer Tradition set ever.  And so, I contacted the seller, shipped the box back to him, and then he shipped the correct box to me.  I didn't lose anything in the deal (the seller reimbursed me for shipping the box back to him) but it took time...and it was an inconvenience on my end for sure.

However, all's well that ends well - and now I'm pleased to say that I have this box in possession.

A brand new box of 2000 Fleer Tradition!

I'm hoping that this box gets me the full set (or at least close to it).  Once I have the entire box busted and organized, I'll be updating my want list with whatever cards still remain missing from my set.

My hope is that over the next week or so, I'll be able to start ripping and tearing some old school wax (if you consider 2000 old school of course...which I don't).  I'm excited to open the box since I haven't done much opening of card packs lately...stay tuned to see what I get (and I'm sure I'll end up with a healthy stack of trade bait as well)!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Barry Larkin Collection 454: 1996 Upper Deck - #DD15 - Diamond Destiny Bronze Insert

Barry Larkin
Year:  1996
Brand:  Upper Deck
Insert set:  Diamond Destiny (Bronze)
Card number:  DD15

Generally speaking, I am a big fan of cards that use the clear acetate in interesting ways (think Topps Tek).  In this card, the small window holding the head shot of Barry is actually a clear plastic - and I think the overall effect works well.

For as much as I like the design of this card, one thing I don't like it is how you had to acquire such a wonderful piece of "cardboard" back in 1996.  The Diamond Destiny cards were only available in Series 2 "Hi-Tech" packs sold at Wal*Mart.  This is a 40 card set (and the Bronze versions were seeded 1 per pack).  There is also a silver version (1:35 packs) and a very rare gold version (1:143 packs).  As of the time of writing this post, I do not own either of the other two versions which is too bad because I like this card a lot!