Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Barry Larkin Collection 645: 2001 Fleer Legacy - #76

Barry Larkin
Year:  2001
Brand:  Fleer Legacy
Card number:  76

The Fleer Legacy brand is yet another "look alike" set the Fleer produced at the turn of the century.  For the life of me, I can't keep all of Fleer's various sets from that era straight.  Despite their similar appearances though, I have to admit that the few boxes of turn of the century Fleer stuff that I've opened have been a lot of fun.

There isn't a lot to say about the card design but it should be noted that the front design almost looks like a Pacific design (which is meant to be a compliment of sorts I guess).  The back of the card, however, has a horrendous design with text going in two directions plus a mutated, chopped up Reds logo appearing in pieces in the background of the card (plus that white box with a logo and sideways card number).  It's like Photoshop threw up baseball card elements and Fleer just hit "print."

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2018 Allen & Ginter: Retail vs. Hobby Breakdown (I Have the Math!)

During last summer, I purchased a total of four hobby boxes and five retail blasters of 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter.  As a mathematically minded person, I'm interested to see which purchase ended up being the better deal.  Luckily, I kept the statistics of what I pulled from each box and blaster - so let's take a look, shall we?

Heading into this little experiment, I assumed that hobby boxes would be the way to go in terms of total value.  I ended up buying four hobby boxes in total, here are the results:

Let's look at the base set first.

As you can hopefully make out from the screenshots of my Excel file, three of the four hobby boxes has 189 total cards while the fourth had only 188 cards in it.  In all cases, I didn't count the box loader as a card. 

From a set collector's standpoint, I need to mention that box 2 was a "hot box" which meant that none of the base cards were the normal cards.  Instead, they were all a shiny foil card - certainly nice but not what I want for my own set.  Based on the numbers, it seems like maybe the hot box cards are all seeded roughly equal instead of the final 50 cards being short printed as in the regular base set.  I didn't do particularly well with any of the super rare minis - only a single no number mini showed up and nothing rarer than that!

Moving on to the full-sized inserts:

The four boxes had remarkable consistency here.  Safe to say that you know exactly what you'll get in terms of the full-sized inserts in 2018 Allen & Ginter.  Moving along to the mini inserts.

Now here we see quite a bit of differences between boxes!  Only the Indigenous Heroes were represented with at least one card in each hobby box.  The rest were a true crap shoot!  Note that the Exotic Sports are retail only and so they don't show up here.

Finally, the hits! 

This is where I figured hobby would get the edge.  I ended up with a pair of autographs, a pair of framed relics, and rip card out of my four boxes (plus seven of the more boring "regular" relics).  That was a pretty nice haul if you ask me!

Now, let's take a look at the five retail blasters!

Again, we start with the base set.

This time, you can see that the blasters had a little bit more variation in terms of the total number of base cards inside (though all had exactly four short print base cards).  The reasons for the two blasters with only 26 base cards will be seen soon enough. 

For the full sized inserts, the blasters were also quite consistent though not as perfectly consistent as the hobby boxes.
The World's Greatest Beaches and the Baseball Equipment of the Ages flipped a bit between blasters in terms of which I ended up with two of versus only one of.  Otherwise, pretty standard stuff (plus that one Home Run Challenge card).

For the minis, things got even more varied:

I was super sad to have a blaster without one of the retail only Exotic Sports cards.  But, on the bright side I did find 2.6 minis per blaster on average as opposed to 4.75 mini inserts on average in each hobby box.

Finally, let's take a look at the hits in the retail blasters.

Surprisingly, I found a hit in three out of the five blasters (including a framed autograph).  Truth be told, I think I beat the odds but still, that's pretty cool.

So which is actually a better deal?

If you are going after the mini insert sets, I'd say retail is the way to go.  I averaged 2.6 minis per retail blaster as opposed to 4.75 minis per hobby box.  When you consider you can basically get 5 retail blasters for the same cost as a single hobby box, it's clear that retail is the way to go for mini cards (not to mention the retail only Exotic Sports minis).

If you are going after the hits, hobby definitely has the more valuable hits (rip cards, booklets, etc.) but I ended up doing fairly well with hits in retail.  In fact, if you consider 5 blasters as basically the same cost as a hobby box, I did end up with three hits (including an autograph) in my 5 blasters.  That said, I do think I beat the odds somewhat there so I'd give the edge to hobby.

In the end, I do think that hobby is still the way to go BUT I also think you take a risk with Topps putting out the "hot boxes."  It actually hurt my set collecting goals to have a full box full of "useless" foil parallels.  Sure, it was neat to open but unless you want to be crazy and put together the foil set, those end up being dead cards to a collector (and I didn't even pull the Larkin foil card)!  On the other hand, I did pull a rip card which basically paid for an entire hobby box (which tilts the value equation firmly in the direction of hobby).  Of course, as always, your luck may vary!

How about you?  How do you prefer to buy your cards?  In big hobby boxes or smaller retail blasters? 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Barry Larkin Collection 644: 2001 Fleer Authority - #26

Barry Larkin
Year:  2001
Brand:  Fleer Authority
Card number:  26

The 2001 Fleer Authority set is most interesting to me because it features not one, but two different Larkin relic cards.  There is a jersey card (of which Fleer said they made 1000 cards) and a retail only base card (of which Fleer said they made only 250).  In addition to the two relics, there is the regular base card that I have for this post as well as a Prominence parallel (numbered out of only 125).

I don't own any of the other three Larkin cards from this set (at least not yet) but I can take a look at the regular old base card which I do own.  The front is very much a Fleer design from the turn of the century (that's not necessarily good or bad, it's just how so many different Fleer sets ended up looking).  I would like to get rid of the big foil stamp on the front, if nothing else.  The card back, however, is quite terrible.  A pitiful amount of statistics, an incredibly dinky team logo, and way too large font for the player vitals makes for an ugly, disjointed card back.  Heck, even the card number is kind of tough to read.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Another Look at Blogging Numbers (Following Night Owl's Lead)

Consider this "Night Owl Weekend" on my blog.  Yesterday, I showed off a recent trade I completed with the venerable nocturnal bird and now for today's post I'm following up on a post that Greg wrote about a week or so ago on his blog (read it here).

I think if you ask anyone who has read baseball blogs for a decent amount of time, Greg's Night Owl Cards will consistently be a Top 3 "best of" blog for any reader.  Greg clearly spends a lot of time and energy on his blog, and it shows with well-crafted, interesting posts on a near daily basis.  Greg (I believe) works for a newspaper by trade, so it's clear he has the writing (and editing) chops to make a great blog happen.  However, he also is full of good and interesting ideas which make for good and interesting blog posts - perhaps none so interested (to me at least) as his recent entry on blogging itself.

In a nutshell, Greg wanted to somehow answer the question of whether or not baseball card blogging is dying.  It's easy to see lots of reasons why it might be dying (old blogs that no longer exist, Twitter, boring baseball card sets, etc.) but Greg went out of his way to look for proof of blogging's death.

So what did he find?  Well, he found that on his blog blogging maybe has never been better.  Or, perhaps more accurately in my mind, his blogging has never been better.  He basically went through and counted up all the comments on his blog for each year of its existence (seriously go read all his data) and found that in 2018 he had his highest ever interaction numbers on his blog.

That post got me thinking quite a bit.  For one, as a mathematician, I love numbers.  Two, while I definitely don't hold my blog in the same category as Greg's, I too have been at this blogging thing for many, many years (I began Nachos Grande back in 2008)!  

Now, I don't have the time (or energy) right now to go back through and count up all the comments over all the years on my blog.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that I have nowhere near the interaction numbers that Night Owl gets.  That said, I was curious so I did go back and count up the comments for last year on my blog.

My total?  

666 comments, or about 1.42 comments per post.  As I said, that's nowhere near Greg's 2018 average of 11.75 comments per post but it's still a higher number than I was expecting.

So, the next question is what to make of my data.  

As someone who likes to study trends and data, I came up with the following possibilities for my numbers:
  1. I have many, many posts that don't really require (or even encourage) comments from others.  Most notably, my ongoing Barry Larkin Collection series.  I've posted nearly 650 Larkin cards over the lifetime of this blog but I'd wager less than 10% of those ever get even a single comment on them.  I am aware that those aren't overly popular posts - but I'm also aware that there is a small group of people out there who like them!  That said, those posts are as much for me as they are for my readers - I like being able to see my entire collection (or at least a good chunk of it since I still have many, many more Larkin cards to scan and write about)!
  2. I post too often.  I try to post at least once per day (in 2018 I had a total of 468 posts and that was with missing a big chunk of days when my son was born)!  I do think having a consistent stream of posts contributes to some of the more interesting pieces getting pushed aside in the queue too quickly.
  3. I don't often make an effort to ask the audience questions nor do I generally take a hard-line, controversial stance to generate views/comments.  Some of my most commented on posts in 2018 were posts where I did ask the audience a question (such as my Is Blogging on Life Support post or my post asking about Surprise Mailings versus Agreed Upon Trades).
  4. I don't open a ton of new product.  Some of my "biggest" posts of 2018 (whether you judge that by comments or post views) are posts about the latest and greatest products (such as my post where I pulled a red ink auto out of a blaster of Topps Heritage).
In the end, I think each and every blogger needs to be comfortable with what they are doing for themselves.  By that, I mean that you can't compare your numbers to somebody else's numbers and then get upset about why your numbers aren't the same.  You also need to be true to who you are.  In my case, I'm a black-and-white numbers guy who is trying his best to write blog posts.  I can't be expected to reach the same writing heights that professional writers (or budding literary-minded college students) may reach.  On the other hand, if you want something analyzed and figured out mathematically, I'm your guy!

Finally, I thought it'd be a good idea to share how I rate my own success in terms of my blog.  Quite honestly, I had never considered the "daily comment average" idea prior to Night Owl's post.  For me, I judge success on blog trading.  Sending (and receiving) cards (and LEGO) in the mail is the lifeblood of my blog.  Without that, I'd quickly run out of things to say or things to keep my interest.  As a set completionist at heart, blogging has been instrumental in actually helping me finish sets that otherwise I'd never complete.  I get a happy heart when I slide that final card into its appropriate spot in the binder page - it's why posts like this one where I acquired my second-to-last original 1889 Allen & Ginter fish card are special to me (even if it didn't garner a ton of comments from my audience at large).

In summary:  

Be happy and do your own thing.  Support the bloggers you love.  But above all, only do what makes you happy.  The moment you turn blogging into a competition or into a job, it will cease to be fun.  Once the fun is gone, the blog will almost assuredly die within a short time period.  Instead, focus on what you enjoy and go with it.  It might mean fewer readers (or fewer comments) but if you makes you happy it's still worth it.  That's why you won't see me give up on my Barry Larkin Collection posts any time soon!  Heck, if you stick with blogging long enough you'll reach crazy numbers too - like in my case Nachos Grande has 1.3 million visitors and counting.  That's insane to me - a literal million plus visits to a blog written by a math nerd.  I appreciate each and every one of you, whether you comment, trade, or simply lurk here!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Trade Bait Blowout: Volume 02: The Returns Are Coming In - Night Owl Cards

If all goes well, you'll be seeing quite a few posts such as this one over the span of the next month or so.  That's because today I get to look at the second trade package to arrive as part of my Trade Bait Blowout that I held over my winter break.

Today's trade is courtesy of Greg over at the always wonderful Night Owl Cards.  Greg (not surprisingly) requested a bunch of my Dodger hits plus a Club 3000 card of Steve Carlton from turn of the century Fleer.

In return, Greg helped me inch closer to completing a few different sets including 2018 Allen & Ginter.  Believe it or not, despite buying four boxes (plus a number of blasters), I never did manage to even complete the full 350 card base set of A&G last year.  

I am at least one card closer to realizing that goal with the acquisition of this Jen-Ho Tseng rookie card.  It's always nice to get the first and last card of a set because I like to store my sets in 9-pocket pages in binders.  Having that "start" and "stop" card for a given set really does help to sort of frame the entire thing for me.  Now, I simply need to track down the remaining seven short prints that I'm still missing from the set (301, 306, 311, 316, 317, 320, 335).

Greg wasn't done there helping with my A&G wants - he also threw in a bunch of the Baseball Equipment inserts that I needed along with one more Fantasy Goldmine card that I was missing.  

Somehow, I'm still missing way too many of the full-sized inserts to even consider myself close to completing the sets...but it does feel good to at least inch a bit closer.  For those that are wondering, here's what I am still missing:
Baseball Equipment of the Ages:  BEA- 4, 9, 16, 26, 28, 30
Fantasy Goldmine:  FG- 1, 8, 14, 17, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 32, 36, 38, 43, 44
World Talent:  WT- 8, 15, 19, 20, 21, 29, 31, 33, 34, 40, 42, 43, 47
One of my blogging resolutions for 2019 is to whittle my entire want list down from the 134 sets on it currently to a number closer to 100 by the end of the year.  I have no idea if that's actually going to be doable (I have a feeling it will require me to give up collecting a number of sets) but honestly, trying to make over 100 sets is foolish so maybe it'll be for the better!  Of course, the best way for me to get to my goal is for me to get needed cards in the mail. *hint hint*

Moving on to the remaining cards from 2018 A&G - the minis!  Greg sent along a veritable hodgepodge of minis, all of which I needed for various sets that I'm working on.

Unfortunately for me, I'm also not even all that close to completing most of the mini sets from last year's A&G set.  However, this trade with Greg did give me some hope that I still have a chance to complete some of the mini sets yet.

I plan to give all the mini sets the love that they deserve in the future on the blog - perhaps each one will get its chance to shine when I am able to track down the final card that I need for each respective set.  

In addition to all the A&G goodies, Greg also went back in time to 2017 and sent me a few of the Wal-Mart only Topps Gallery cards.

For some reason, I really liked the Gallery set when it was released, despite the obvious stupid gimmick of it only being available at one retail store.  Like pretty much every other set featured in this post today, I'm still a ways away from finishing this one off as well (I still need 4, 5, 27, 33, 34, 50, 64, 66, 107, 115, 116, 118, 133, 135).  That said, the want list is only 14 cards now so there's a real chance I can finish this set before the end of the year.

Finally, one last set that Greg helped me out with - 2018 Panini Donruss.

I know that most people seemed to dislike this year's edition of Donruss (which I understand) but I have to admit that ripping a box of this stuff was simply fun.  It seemed like each pack had a neat insert or serially numbered card - plus there was a chance of pulling some pretty good names in both the relic and the autograph list.  

I want to give Greg one more "thank you" for all the great cards he sent my way.  And, as always, if anyone else would like to trade be sure to check out my want list and make me an offer!

PS:  I am still waiting on packages from six other people who claimed card(s) as part of my Trade Bait Blowout.  Once I receive my end of the deal, I'll mail out your cards (Greg's cards went out yesterday for example).  I also still have quite a bit of trade bait leftover - and I'm still willing to deal it since I haven't sorted it all back out yet (go here to see what I still have available).

Friday, January 11, 2019

Barry Larkin Collection 643: 2001 Donruss Signature Series - #43

Barry Larkin
Year:  2001
Brand:  Donruss Signature Series
Card number:  43

The 2001 Donruss Signature Series is yet another set that totally passed me by back when it was released.  The essence of the set is that it was a hobby only release where each pack was sure to yield an autograph.  While the set does have some big names in the autograph list, from what I can tell the vast majority of the signed cards are from the crop of so-called rookies (not all true rookies) that Donruss incuded in the set.

Luckily (?) for me, there is a Barry Larkin autograph on the master checklist.  He signed 15 copies of a "Award Winning Signatures Master Series" card that you could only get if you attended the 2002 Hawaii Trade Show.  He also signed a mere 5 copies of a Team Trademarks card, also only available at the Hawaii show. 

Besides the autographs, there are a few parallels to chase down of Larkin's in the set but to be honest, I can't really be bothered to figure out exactly which parallels exist for him.  The main reason for that is that the base card design is so underwhelming to me that I don't have a strong desire to actively chase other versions of it!  I mean, don't get me wrong, if someone sends me one I don't have I'll be super happy and grateful, but I don't see myself chasing after the remaining Larkin cards from this set any time soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Great Reorganization: Step 35: Taking Stock of Where I Am and Where I Need to Go

I've been using my long-running Great Reorganization series of posts to document my various successes in terms of (finally) getting my baseball card collection fully organized.  It's been a long and rather arduous process, no doubt made more challenging by moving houses a couple of years ago as well as the fact that I keep buying more cards (and trading cards as well). 

All that said, I'm hopeful that 2019 is the year that I finally get the collection organized once and for all.  In an effort to hold myself accountable, today's post is a quick look into my next (and largest) remaining projects en route to completely organizing everything:  my man cave baseball card table.

In a word, the table is a wreck right now.  As you can see, there are stacks and stacks of cards.  While some of the cards are actually sorted, most of them are not - and that's a huge project that I need to get done.  There are also a lot of stacks of Barry Larkin cards that need to be sorted (with any new ones scanned and then added to the appropriate binders). 

My other big remaining project is my non-Reds Frankenset.  I've been saving cards for years for possible inclusion in the set - but right now most of those saved cards are simply stacked up on a bookshelf.

I need to go through and organize all of those (which I've started on - I've already reduced the unsorted cards by about two boxes).

The downside to both remaining projects is that they are fairly labor intensive and they both will take a lot of time.  Time that I need to force myself to set aside or else it'll be June and I won't have any progress to show all of you.

That's where this post comes in.  It's a reminder of where I was...and hopefully *fingers crossed* I'll be able to show actual, tangible progress before too long!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Barry Larkin Collection 642: 2001 Topps Stars - #91

Barry Larkin
Year:  2001
Brand:  Topps Stars
Card number:  91

I never knew about the Topps Stars set until many, many years later - but one quick glance at this card design and you can see that I didn't miss much good at all in that time.  The set looks a lot like the much later (and equally ugly) Upper Deck X brand, though I guess the design is suppose to be a star here and not the letter "x."

I've grown to generally dislike when the same image is used on the front and backside of a card - but even I can admit that it sort of works here (the different cropping helps I guess).  I kind of like the star ratings as well (fits with the brand name) but even so, the back is awfully sparse when you really look at it.

All things considered, while I don't love the Topps Stars brand I can't help but be somewhat impressed by the various parts of this card that I do like.  When I first set out to write this post, I was expecting it to be full of hate, but really, this card isn't all that bad (it's not all that good either, let's not get carried away).

As for the set itself, there are 2 parallels of this card that I have yet to track down plus an Elimination partial parallel.  The Gold parallels are numbered out of 499, the Onyx parallels to 99, and the Elimination cards are out of 100 (but not serially numbered).  Given the relative rarity of the cards, I doubt I'll track any of them down any time soon but I guess you never know for sure!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Trade Bait Blowout: Volume 01: The Returns Are Coming In - Too Many Verlanders

At the end of 2018, I posted a HUGE list of cards that I was making available as part of my Trade Bait Blowout.  My goal was simple:  rid myself of cards that don't fit in my collection and add cards that do fit into my collection (or add LEGO which was just as good in my book).

The first of the trades that I ended up working out arrived at my house right around Christmas time from Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders.  Not surprising, Dennis claimed one of my Tigers relic - but not just any relic but a Justin Verlander relic from 2017 Allen & Ginter.  He also claimed a football card of Thomas Rawls numbered out of 99.  I ended up with a bunch of nice (but random) football inserts earlier in 2018 so I'm happy to see at least one or two of them go to move loving homes than what I can provide!

So what did I get in return?  Well, a number of good things that definitely fit better into my collection, that's what!

First up, a few Barry Larkin cards. 

I needed both of those "micro" cards - the regular sized Sportflics card is there simply for scale in the scan. 

Although I am most definitely a Barry Larkin collector first and foremost, I have set aside cards of a number of other players (mostly Reds, but not entirely).  Dennis managed to hit three of my "mini" player collections with a nice Adam Dunn, a Brandon Phillips autograph, and a sweet Sean Casey relic with a red pinstripe.

All of those are nice and all three are much better fits for my collection than what I gave up to acquire them!  That was the entire goal of my Trade Bait Blowout so to have it work so nicely with the very first package gives me hope!

Finally, I have to show off one last card from Dennis - even though it isn't a baseball card.

That's an awesome Iguanodon patch from the 2015 Upper Deck Dinosaurs set.  I LOVE the UD Dinosaurs set - so much so that I'm (slowly) adding these patch cards to my collection whenever I can.  It's been awhile since I landed one in a trade - and this was an awesome surprise ending to what was a great trade package! 

Many, many thanks Dennis!  (and by the way Dennis, you package is going out in the mail today)

If you are interested in a trade, I still have a TON of trade bait leftover.  I made it easier and organized everything by sport and then team (in the case of baseball).  Go here to check it all out.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Barry Larkin Collection 641: 2001 Fleer Ultra - #71

Barry Larkin
Year:  2001
Brand:  Fleer Ultra
Card number:  71

Fleer Ultra has been on of my favorite brands for quite a number of years.  I think that's because Ultra always had photography that was nearly up-to-par with Topps Stadium Club combined with just a bit more whimsy (which as an Allen & Ginter collector, you know I love)!  The 2001 Fleer Ultra set is pretty nice - and Larkin lucked out with a really nice action shot on his card!

The backside of the card is just as nice - full career statistics, a team logo, and an easy-to-read card number.  Seriously, what isn't there to like about this set and card?!  This is another classic set from around the turn of the century that I'd love to collect if I had unlimited time, money, and storage space!

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Testing the New Scanner

I mentioned a day or two ago that my scanner that I use for all of my card blogging finally wore out right around Christmas.  It took me a bit of time, but I was finally able to find a good deal on a new printer/scanner - so now it is time to put it to the test!

Let's see how it performed.  Of course, to test it I figured I ought to scan some more Barry Larkin cards.

Not bad, right?

I'm going to have to get used to the new scanner software that I need - it seems to be quite a bit clunkier (for blogging purposes) but the scanner itself is able to scan much faster.  Maybe the trade off will be worthwhile.  Actually, it's already worthwhile in a sense since my old scanner no longer works!

Hopefully soon I'll get to posting some of the recent trade packages that have arrived at my house - I had to wait for the scanner to be operational! 

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Barry Larkin Collection 640: 2001 Topps - #195

Barry Larkin
Brand:  Topps
Card number:  195

My scanner broke about a week ago and I've since ordered a new one.  However, until I can get it the new one setup I am basically "stuck" doing Barry Larkin Collection posts using cards that I have in my saved scan folder.  On the bright side, that does mean I'll make solid progress on one of my New Year's Resolutions which was to post more Larkin cards!

Today's card is a simple base card from 2001.  This was Topps' 50th Anniversary set so all the base cards have that ugly gold stamp on them.  Other than that though, there isn't a whole lot to say about the card.  The front has a perfectly adequate design - one that I think actually looks better now than it may have to me back in 2001.  I definitely miss Topps having simple borders on their base cards.

The reverse side of the card isn't as good - or at least, the image that Topps chose to use for Barry's card isn't very good.  Of course, I always appreciate the full career statistics and I also like the easy-to-read card number.  Larkin had a long and illustrious career by 2001 so there wasn't much room on the card back for any extra text, but Topps did do a nice job in giving him a single line of text highlighting his 11th All-Star game appearance the previous year.  All in all, this is a solid card from a solid set.  Nothing spectacular, but solid nonetheless.  Exactly what you would want from a base set!

Friday, January 04, 2019

Barry Larkin Collection 639: 2001 Donruss - #492 - Anniversary Originals insert

Barry Larkin
Year:  2001 (but it's a slabbed 1987 card)
Brand:  Donruss
Insert set:  Anniversary Originals
Card number:  492

This is one of the dumbest gimmicks that I've seen in a long time - so dumb, in fact, that I've been tempted to remove this card from my Larkin Collection (I won't do that, but I'm tempted)! 

Basically, the idea was that Donruss put a slabbed card as a box loader in each hobby box.  Unfortunately for collectors, many of those cards weren't even of the highest grades - and, quite honestly, weren't even cards that were worth slabbing in the first place!  Case in point, this Larkin rookie card is from the 1987 Donruss set - an entirely forgettable set as it is.  Even worse, it only scored a grade of 7.5 which is pretty a sad box loader, especially for anyone who isn't a die-hard Larkin collector.

I have no idea how many different Barry Larkin cards were distributed in 2001 Donruss boxes in this manner.  I don't think it really matters though because the only thing that is different about this card and an original 1987 Donruss Larkin is the slab with the little label.  The card itself is an untouched 1987 Donruss.  Like I said, this was a dumb gimmick that I hope never gets repeated by another card company.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Barry Larkin Collection 638: 2001 Donruss Class of 2001 - #98

Barry Larkin
Year:  2001
Brand:  Donruss Class of 2001
Card number:  98

The Donruss Class of 2001 set is probably best known for being the set that was packed with bobbleheads as box toppers (Larkin was not featured).  The set also had a bunch of autographs (which did feature Barry Larkin who signed only 15 cards)!  Other than the gimmick of the bobblehead dolls, I can't say that this set is of much interest to me.  The front is classic Donruss, and by that I mean it is entirely forgettable.  I do like the back of the card (notice the full 2001 year stats - this set was released in December 2001 so Donruss could do that). Otherwise though, it's pretty blah.

I can't really even be bothered to figure out how many other parallels there are from this set for me to track down.  I do know of at least one (which I own and will probably show off sooner rather than later just to get it over with).  This set bores me, can you tell?!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

My 2019 Blog Resolutions!

Each year, I like to post my blog resolutions in an effort to hold myself accountable over the next twelve months.  Last year was a huge year for me personally with the birth of my son - so don't expect nearly as lofty of resolutions for 2019!  That said, here's this year's list of goals:

1.  Barry Larkin Collection
Barry Larkin is my all-time favorite player and a lifelong Cincinnati Red.  I admit to being rather discouraged by the sheer number of new Larkin cards still being produced, but that hasn't totally stopped me from chasing his stuff yet.  As of this post, I have a total of 637 Barry Larkin cards scanned, typed, and posted about on the blog.  While I understand that my Barry Larkin posts are only of interest to a small fraction of my audience, I'd still like to get to 700 unique Barry Larkin card posts before the end of 2019!

2.  Blog Trading
For the longest time, trading has been the lifeblood of my blog.  Without trading, I wouldn't be able to buy nearly as many cards because I'd know that I'd be "stuck" with tons of stuff I don't collect and that I'd be missing tons of stuff that I'd like to collect.  That all being said, last year was a down year in trading - and unfortunately, it's been a trend over the past few years:
Trades sent out by year:
2018: 045
2017: 056
2016: 070
2015: 056
2014: 069
2013: 083
2012: 107
2011: 166
2010: 122
In an effort to be positive, let's try to reverse the trend in 2019, even if only slightly.  My goal is to complete 50 trades this year!

3.  The Want List
By my count, my baseball card want list has a total of 132 different sets (insert, base, etc) on it right now.  That total does not include the various Barry Larkin cards that also exist within the want list.  Frankly, 132 sets is an obscene number to be working on and there's no way I'll ever complete all of those without some serious capital investment (which I'm not willing, or able, to provide at this time).  Therefore, my goal by the end of 2019 is to have my want list whittled down to less than 100 different sets.  This can be done in a number of ways.  Obviously the most ideal way would be to actually complete the various sets but other options include simply deciding to no longer collect specific sets.  This goal will also drastically limit the number of new 2019 stuff that I can add to my want list - something that I wasn't overly concerned with in 2018.

4.  The Great Reorganization
This is the year where I finally finish organizing my collection.  Seriously.  It's been a five (or more) year process - but I can see the finish line at last.  In fact, I've had a small card table in my man cave for about a year that has been covered with cards.  Only this past week did I finally get things organized enough that I was able to take that table down and store it away.  I still have a big mess of random stuff to organize (including a bunch of new Barry Larkin cards to scan and sort) but I think it's possible to finish it all in 2019.

5.  My LEGO Blog
I didn't pay as much attention to my LEGO blog in 2018 as I would have liked, but hopefully I can change that in 2019.  I actually spent a good chunk of time over Christmas break completely overhauling my LEGO room which should make for a much better building experience for me moving forward.  Ideally, that will also mean I'll have more to blog about moving forward!  Let's set the same goal that I did last year, except this year let's hope I actually meet it.  My goal is to complete 50 posts on my LEGO blog, or about one per week for the entire year.

6.  Reading
I used to love to read books.  Now, in my relatively minimal spare time I've been finding myself playing easy games to drop-in and drop-out of in (such as Fortnite).  I ought to get back to reading some actually novels again, so let's start in 2019 with a reading goal of 12 books.  If I could count baby books in this total, I'd be fine but that seems like cheating!

I think that's good enough for 2019.  I have a few other things that I'd like to do but they aren't necessarily "resolution" material.  Hopefully by the time we are starting to flip the calendar over to 2020 (weird to even write that), I'l have completed all six of my resolutions for the year!

Now it's your turn:  What are your 2019 resolutions?  Let me know in the comments - and let's all have a happy, wonderful new year!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year Everyone!

The year 2018 has now come and gone.  Personally, 2018 will always be a special year for me because of the birth of my son in May.  As for the rest of the year, I did fairly well on my 2018 Resolutions (see my recap here) so I can't complain much about 2018 on any front.

What will 2019 bring me? 

Well, for starters I've got a bunch of trades to send out later this week from my Trade Bait Blowout.  For those that have claimed a card (or cards), please send me your address ASAP even if we have already traded in the past.  I aim to get those cards out the door by the end of the week.  I also have a TON of trade bait left - so go here to see if there is anything you might be interested in (I've separated everything out by sport and then team).

For now though, I'm going to sign off.  My entire household came down with a nasty head cold - first my wife right before Christmas, then the baby a few days ago, and then I finally succumbed to the plague three days ago.  It's been brutal here and my energy levels are nonexistent.  I should be on the mend soon though - so here's to a great 2019 for everyone (and as always, thank you for visiting my blog)!