Monday, October 29, 2012

Trade Post: Hurricane Edition

Greetings from Mother Nature's war zone.  As I write this, Hurricane Sandy is less than 100 miles outside of Atlantic City, NJ.  Here in northern Delaware, we've been getting heavy rain and steadily-intensifying wind gusts since the early A.M.  

But, my thoughts and prayers truly go out to those folks who live on the N.J. barrier islands and in the Delaware beach communities.  Those places have already met disaster, with the worst of this event yet to come.  Millions and millions of dollars in damage.  Just complete heartbreak.

For any of you within the path of Sandy, all my best to you.  Remain safe!


Back to the business of blogging, let me first congratulate the Giants on another World Series title.  I have no ill will towards either team, so I would've been fine with the outcome in favor of San Fran or Detroit.  

And now we put baseball back onto the shelf til pitchers and catchers report in February.  Kinda sad, if you ask me.

BUT, the hobby blogs have no offseason!  So thankfully we continue to turn the wheel and keep the game of baseball vibrant even during the fall and winter months.

An important bit of business to handle today deals with my first-ever trade with Nick at Dime Boxes.  Great, great blog as most of you know.  Not only does he have a killer card collection, but he's a darn good writer. So hats off to Nick.

Anyhow, I recently contacted Nick to flip him a few cards for his 2012 Update pursuits plus some red, blue and gold parallels from this year's Topps set.

In return, I got a bunch of neat stuff.  How about some samples?

Like, lots of Vlad cards!

1998 Topps, #5

A nice big stack of cards ranging in years from 1998 through 2010 has upped my Guerrero player collection to 161 unique cards.  Without checking, I think that qualifies it as my largest player collection.  Couldn't have gotten there without lots of generous bloggers and readers out there.

1195 Topps Traded, #12T

This has become a pretty iconic card, has it not?  In their 1995 Traded set, Topps screwed up by ascribing a photo of Carlos Beltran to a card designated for Juan LeBron.  [Ed. Note: Must've been the mustache.]  I've seen this card a lot on eBay, etc., but now I have my own copy of it.  Very cool!

2002 Stadium Club, #16

SHINJO!  I became an instant Shinjo fan after watching him in his first Mets game.  He came to America with quite a reputation from his many All-Star years in Japan.  Flashy and photogenic -- the Japanese Jeter, so they said.  He never became a MLB star, but that hasn't faded his star.  I was recently told by a friend's fiance (who lived in Japan her whole life and recently moved to the U.S.) that Shinjo retains his icon status in Japan today.

1999 Pacific Prism, #95

Speaking of flashy, that pretty much sums up Rey Ordonez's approach in the field.  For my money, he's still one of the top-3 best defensive shortstops I've ever watched.  Unfortunately, my scanner was unimpressed and decided to capture an image of this super-shiny Prism card in the throes of a supernova.  

2000 Bowman's Best, #7

Along with Ordonez, Olerud was a piece of the 1999 Mets infield that Sports Illustrated featured as being one of the best defensive quartets ever.  Pictured in this Bowman's Best card as a Mariner, Olerud wasn't too shabby with the bat either (a .295 career hitter).

A trio of 2012 Heritage

All right!  Three more cards for my 2012  Heritage base set.  That leaves me just 19 cards short of completing that sucker.  Anyone out there who has some doubles laying around, give me a holler!  I'm itching to complete this thing.

And a quartet of 2011 Heritage

And, yes, I'm absolutely still working on the 2011 Heritage set, as well.  Just an awesome looking set.

Well, a big 'thank you' once again goes out to Nick for an enjoyable trading experience!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Here Comes Sandy...

1998 Stadium Club, #22

No, not him.

The Category 1 hurricane working its way towards the U.S. Northeast has brought the first phase of rainfall to us here in Delaware.  If all the forecast models are right, this thing is going to bring heavy rain and destructive winds for a 2-3 day period.  Basically a real mess is on tap.

Anyhow, I thought it was appropriate to honor the impending catastrophic storm with a card from one of my favorite all-time backstops.

Sandy Alomar, Jr. has plenty of awesome cards featuring actions shots of all varieties.  But this '98 Stadium Club issue really called out to me as I was flipping through my Alomar collection.  He's either spotting an infield pop or he's alerting the denizens of the Megalopolis to the wicked storm that is churning in the sky above.

I don't know if the storm "Sandy" is supposed to be a guy or a gal, but I'll personally choose to assign it a female designation.  I just can't bring myself to imagine a male Sandy -- like the good and talented Mr. Alomar -- causing so much drama.  [Ed. Note: Is that sexist?]

To all my friends in the eastern U.S., exercise caution and stay safe!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

From the Backstop to the Clubhouse

Always a treat, I received an unexpected package in Friday's mail from Marcus at All the Way to the Backstop. My long-time trading partner (and an all-around good guy) never fails to put together a fun and interesting assortment of cards for my collection.

Let's get to it, shall we?  As usual, I'll just show you some of the highlights.

2012 Heritage SP, #494

YES!  How can I not begin with a short print gem from the 2012 Heritage set?!  By now, you know I'm a Heritage addict.  Slowly but surely, I'm nearing the completion the base set and still working my way through the 75-card SP checklist.  Next to David Wright, Zimmerman is my favorite third baseman to watch.  Love this card!  Marcus, you are The Man!

2012 Update Gold Sparkle, #US151

I first saw this card on Marcus' blog a few weeks ago.  He pulled this from a rack pack and mentioned he had an idea which Mets fan was going to receive it.  I was secretly hoping it was me.  And, well, it was!

2012 Update, #US276

While we're on topic of Update, I received not one, but TWO of these Matt Harvey "Rookie Debut" cards.  Which is great because I still needed this for my set, and now I can add one to my Mets/player collection.  Awesome!

2012 Topps "Cut Above", #ACA-18

With this Halladay card off the checklist, I need just nine more "Cut Above" cards to knock out that Series 2 insert set.

2012 Topps "Gold Standard", #GS-34

A bit further to go with the Series 2 "Gold Standard" set.  Thirteen more needed in that quest.  Great pic they used of Reggie in this one, by the way.

2011 Update Cognac, #99

Speaking of collecting "quests", I still have an APB out on 2011 Topps Cognac parallels.  Thus, I'm happy to receive thie Ben Revere rookie!

1988 Topps UK, #11

I love these UK cards.  I hate their smaller size.  What was Topps thinking?  Nevertheless, this Gary Carter card is a winner.

1985 Topps, #9

Also from the "What Were They Thinking?" file comes this unique piece of hobby history.  Quality control please, anyone?  Further, I've seen some badly miscut Topps cards before, but never one that had dotted lines. How did this occur??

1992 Stadium Club, #676

I don't have to ask former Mets prospect Bill Pulsipher what he was thinking when picked out this shirt.  I mean, those of us who were in middle school or high school during the early-to-mid '90s had a shirt like this in our closet, no?  Silk, probably.  And we thought that it made us look cool, no?  Or was that just me...and Bill?

1981 Topps, #119

Ah, vintage football!  Nicely played, Mr. Backstop!  I knew Foreman was a star for the Vikings during the 1970s, but didn't realize he landed on the Pats further down the road.  Great addition to the package, Marcus!

Once again, sincere thanks to Marcus for a stellar group of cards!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Game Two Gold

On my way home from work, I bought a jumbo pack of Update with hopes of getting a few of the remaining base cards I needed.  And perhaps a nice insert or two.

No such luck on the former, but in honor of tonight's Game Two of the Fall Classic, I present a pair of golden heroes.

From the NL champion Giants, victorious in last night's Series opener:

Hunter Pence, #US297

And from the Junior Circuit's top club, looking to bounce back tonight:

Prince Fielder, #US237

The Tigers could use a couple of long balls from the reigning Home Run Derby champ.  I don't know if he'll oblige this evening, but I have a hunch Detroit will knot the series heading back to Motown.

Enjoy the game!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

High on High Numbers, Plus a Little Update Attitude

Been absent from the blog for a little bit since I was away on an extended weekend.  My buddies and I took our annual trek up to Western N.Y. to take in a Buffalo Bills game -- as well as soak up all the local food and drink. It's always a great time, despite the fact that the team usually isn't very good.  This year was no different, as the Titans dealt the Bills a crushing 35-34 loss.

Anyhow, I was scouring Facebook earlier today and came across some exciting news about the 2012 Heritage High Number series.  Looks like Topps finally released the checklist, including most of the autograph subjects.

The obvious highlights are the debut Heritage cards for Bryce Harper, Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish, and Will Middlebrooks.  Additonally, the Ichiro card is of interest since he'll be donning the Yankee threads.  Andy Pettitte, Adam Wainwright, Raul Ibanez, Pedro Alvarez, Jamie Moyer, and Bobby Abreu are some other names of note.

In terms of the autographs, each of the aforementioned big-time rooks is included, plus guys like Pettitte, Cody Ross, and Zack Cozart.  I'd be on Cloud 9 if my pre-ordered box were to contain a Harper, Pettitte or Yu auto, but I won't hold my breath.

As far as my Mets are concerned, Jonathan Niese, Andres Torres, Jordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis each has a card.  On top of that, the latter two each has an auto card.  I'd certainly be happy if I managed to pull one of those as my guaranteed auto.

All in all, it's not an overwhelming checklist but it certainly has enough to keep me excited.  The Harper alone has me geeked.

I know most of you out there are sour about Topps' ploy, and I'm not blaming you (as stated in my previous post).  But, that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to be pumped up for this release.

And I'm certainly pumped!

Oh, and since we're on the subject of things that have irked the majority of the collecting community, let me just say that I love this card and I'm glad it was included in Topps Update:

I think it's A-OK that Topps gave Stanton an Update card to reflect his "new" first name.  In fact, I think it's pretty great.  I mean, if that's not an update worthy of Update, I'm not sure what is.  Plus this is absolutely one of the best photos Topps has used in any product this year.  It's top five at worst.

Therefore, I'll happily accept my spot in the sitting room for dissidents.

Whew.  Okay, glad I got that off my chest.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Heritage High Numbers 2012: The Stockholm Syndrome

Yes, I pre-ordered the damn cube of cards that you see above.  It goes against many of my principles in regards to frugality and common decency.  But I did it.

And, if I'm being honest, I think I'd do it again.

I know there's a lot of outrage within the collecting community about the recent release of the 2012 Topps Heritage High Number set -- a exclusive.  And justifiably so.  It's outrageously priced and smacks of shameless gimmickry.

Most of you probably already saw/read it, but in case you haven't, Night Owl wrote a very passionate column about Topps' abuse of the common collector and, most notably, the set builders out there.  To say that Topps is turning their backs on us with many of their present-day shenanigans in an understatement.

So why the hell did you buy this box then, Mark?

Because I'm a hopeless addict, I suppose.  But, that's a rather watery gruel of an excuse, isn't it?  Countless times previous I've turned up my nose at over-priced boxes and exclusive gimmick sets, etc.  Why, just this past summer, I refused to buy any of the "online exclusive" Topps mini cards.

So what makes this new ploy any different?

Sorry to disappoint, but I really don't have a concrete or satisfactory answer.  I've written numerous times on this blog about my new fixation with Topps Heritage.  And the excitement I've derived from working on the 2011 and 2012 sets this past summer.  I really can't tell you the last time I enjoyed collecting a set as much as I've enjoyed my Heritage chase.  So, there's that.

The thrill of getting the first Heritage card of Bryce Harper or Ichiro in Yankees garb?  Sure, that's very enticing, though I find it repulsive that Topps keeps taking us hostage with these short-print rookie card releases.  While it adds an element of excitement to the pursuit, knowing that I'll never have a legit chance of getting a Harper rookie in Topps flagship or Heritage without breaking the bank is a nauseating thought.

The autograph card?  Not really my thing.  I like auto and relic cards, don't get me wrong.  But they don't rotate the earth.  And, as I've said before, my luck with autos and "hits" is such that I fully expect the autograph in my box to be of Barry Lyons.  [Ed. Note: Yes, I'm aware that Barry Lyons won't be featured in this set.  Hyperbole, y'all.]

But, yet here I am.  Writing about a 100-card set that Topps is dangling before us like a captor taunting his prisoner with the key to his cell.  And, yes, that was me this morning at 6:30 anxiously clicking towards the Topps online shop to register my pre-order for this thing.  After all, one should not hesitate since production is limited to 1,000 sets (or so states the website).

So without a pint of decent rationalization, I guess I'll wear the dunce cap and fully accept the terms of the traumatic bonding that I have forged with Topps, specifically their Heritage line.

I'd bother to draw a figurative line in the sand, but what's the use of further embarrassment?  I know I'll go running back when the 2013 Heritage blister packs and tote bags and fuchsia parallels arrive in a few months.

By the way, the 2012 High Numbers set is slated to ship the week of November 6.

I can't wait!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Deacon

I don't know if any fellow football fans caught last week's edition of "A Football Life" on the NFL Network, but the focus was the vaunted "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line of the Los Angeles Rams from the late '60s.  If you didn't see it, you missed a fantastic hour of cable programming.

Perhaps the two most notable members of that unit were notorious nice guy and flower salesman Merlin Olsen, and the big, bad, boastful Dave "Deacon" Jones.  Both tremendous, game-changing players.  And both, deservedly, enshrined in Canton for the rest of time.

Now, I like Merlin just fine (rest in peace, sir), but Deacon is one of those guys I'd put on the NFL's Mount Rushmore.

This is my actual card; used the eBay photo

My first introduction to Deacon Jones -- like so many other football legends -- was via NFL Films as a teenager. Sure the highlights were great.  But more than that, the guy was gold when it came to giving a memorable soundbite, both during his playing days and (especially) after he hung up this cleats.  Deacon was never shy about sharing his feelings about, well, anything.

But when it came to discussing football and his own merits and accomplishments, Deacon was a big fan of Deacon.  After all, he did invent the term sack in regards to dragging down the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage.  Many football historians agree that Jones would be atop the career sack list had that stat been kept for the better part of his playing days.  Kinda like with Bill Russell and blocked shots in the NBA.

Anyhow, I've been a fan of the Deacon Jones mystique and mastery for some time now.  He was the best at his position for many years and is acknowledged as perhaps the greatest pass rusher of all time.  He was mean and nasty and played without regards for his opponent's welfare (head slap, anyone?).  Hell, to this day, Jones still speaks ill of quarterbacks.  All of them.  Both active and retired.  Living and deceased.  Even those QBs who played on his own team, like the great Roman Gabriel.

I mean, any player who played as hard and fast as Deacon, and still carries personal grudges to this day is A-OK in my book.  That's a guy who gave his life to the game and, as a result, took the game to a different level.

Deacon is what I term an ultimate warrior of his sport.  Just like Pete Rose was for baseball, Larry Bird for the NBA, and Mark Messier for the game of hockey.  Guys who wouldn't exist but for the sport.

So, when last Wednesday the Fearsome Foursome show aired, I felt inspired to scour eBay for an affordable piece of cardboard that would honor Jones.  I'm embarrassed to say I've gone this long without anything from Deacon in my collection.

Well, I found the above card for under $4 and received it over the weekend.  To say I'm pretty satisfied is an understatement.  No, it's not a Topps card; that would have been my first option.  But, this 1967 Philadelphia card is both classic-looking and in absolutely great shape.  And it captures a snap shot of Deacon right in the midst of his dominating prime.

Plus, I received an education in old football terminology from the card back:

I didn't rub it off, but I know Deacon was fast.

"Stripping the interference on the wide sweeps" is one of those expressions that has gone the way of the Dodo, I guess.  I don't recall Greg Gumbel or Joe Buck using that slang recently, do you?

Anyhow, this probably bumps my Johnny Unitas card into the second position in regards to favorite football cards in my collection.


Monday, October 15, 2012

CC aka SP

Recently I was complaining how I never get anything good in Topps rack packs.  Well as luck would have it, Mrs. K and I were running some errands on Saturday and stopped into our local K-Mart.  I think K-Mart has a pretty underrated card section.  Granted, they don't have as much in the way of new product selection, but they have a great assortment of discounted older stuff.

But, I'm veering off topic (big surprise).

Naturally, running errands at any place that ends in a -Mart or features a bullseye logo most likely means I'm going to head home with a pack.  Or two.  Or a box.  I think I'm not alone in living with such a vice, yes?

So, this time I grabbed a rack pack of Update, because that's my recent muse.

Within, hiding among a bunch of doubles and bland inserts, was this guy:

All-Star Game Short Print, #US62

Nice!  I pulled one of these All-Star short prints in my hobby box and now I score another in a random rack pack.

It's nice to be lucky every so often.  Perhaps with a little more luck, I can stop pulling damn Yankees!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fun with Heritage, 2nd Edition

A while back I made a discovery about Topps Heritage.  The problem was the discovery was more-or-less a widely known fact by the rest of the collecting world.

"Hey guys!  The earth is round, the WWF is fake, and Darth Vader is really Luke Skywalker's dad!  Isn't that, like, amazing?!"

No matter, that didn't --and hasn't -- dampened the joy I derived from the fact that Heritage's checklist was created with the original vintage sets in mind.  In other words, Topps tried to match up teams or positions or subsets as best they could between the two sets.

Pretty neat idea, even if it isn't a National Treasure type of secret.

So, I'd like to give it another go, if you don't mind.  Last time I did card #124 both from the original 1963 set and the 2012 Heritage set.

Today's subject is #111, still sticking with the '63 and '12 sets.

1963 Topps, #111

A member of the 1962 Original Mets, here we have lefty pitcher Al Jackson.  In 36 games for the Amazins, Al went 8-20 with a 4.40 ERA.  He struck out 118 and walked 78 in 231 innings.  The team only won 40 games in its seminal season, so an eight-win ledger isn't exactly too lousy.  Jackson and Jay Hook tied for second on the club for wins behind veteran Roger Craig who won 10 (and lost 24).

The cartoon on the back of the card depicts one ballplayer using a towel to fan another, who happens to be laying down in exhaustion on the bench.  The caption reads, "Al pitched a 15-inning ball game last year."  I guess if his season stats don't strike you (or me) as Rookie Cup-worthy, perhaps a 15-inning effort would?  But, before we write off the Topps staff as goofy, keep in mind that Jackson won 13 games for the Mets in the '63 season, dropping his ERA below four in the process.  Not a bad bit of projection, Topps!

Jackson wound up pitching 10 years in the big leagues, six of them in New York where he compiled a 43-80 mark.

And we now fast-forward to present day...

2012 Heritage, #111

Jackson is a lefty, Jeremy Hellickson is a righty.  But both have the Topps All-Star Rookie cup in their imaginary trophy cases.  Hellickson went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA for the playoff-bound Rays in 2011.  His ERA, the back of the card notes, was the lowest by a qualifying AL rookie in over two decades.

The cartoon on the back shows a player tucking two monstrously over-sized trophies under each arm, one reading "4-1" and the other "1.36 ERA."  The caption explains, "Jeremy was the AL Pitcher and Rookie of the Month for May."

Hellickson took a bit of a step back this season, but still won 10 ballgames and had an ERA slightly over three (3.10).  He also cut down on his walks and improved his strikeout rate.  Without a doubt, Jeremy will continue to be an important piece on one of the league's most talented starting staffs.

The Final Say:  He's well on his way to besting Al Jackson's career win total of 67, but I'll eat my hat if Jeremy Hellickson ever works 15 innings in one game.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Odds and Ends

First of all, congrats to those pesky S.F. Giants for advancing to the NL Championship Series.  My hypothetical money is behind them to knock off the St. Louis/Washington winner.  And speaking of the Nats,  that was a beautiful ballgame that they won over the Cards.  Game 5 is gonna be a dandy.

Moving onto business.  Please allow me to use this post to tie up some loose ends.  If I don't take care of these now, I'll probably never get around to it.

To kick things off, I received a few items in today's mail.  Namely the rest of the cards I needed to complete my set of '87 Minis from 2012 Topps Series 2.

Okay, to be honest, I needed all but nine cards, so I just bid on a complete set from eBay and wound up winning it.  I couldn't help myself.  The '87 Topps set represents my entry into the world of baseball cards at the age of seven.  So, this insert set is a 'must' for my collection.  Since the Update Series continues the set with another 50 cards, I'll be chasing after those throughout the fall and into the winter, I'm sure.

Also in the mail, my third stab at a Listia auction.  The first try was a success with the 2002 Shinjo insert, while the second turn was kind of a bust with a very crinkly 1990 Topps box bottom of Doc Gooden.  This time around, I ventured into the football realm and got this Fred Jackson card for 55 credits:

This one is from the 2012 Bowman set, which was seemingly released 10 months ago.  The Bowman cards this year are more artwork than they are photographs, which is kind of nice for a change I suppose.  Not sure why Topps chose to take Bowman football in that direction, but that's neither here nor there.  The card was in very nice condition, in case you were wondering.  So, I'm batting .667 with Listia so far.

Next up are a couple of cards I got from the 50-cent bin at my local card shop.  I got these a while ago and they've just been sitting on my desk (along with hundreds of other cards) waiting to get properly organized.  But, since I don't have a proper player collection going for either guy yet, they're kind of just hanging around in limbo.

2012 Archives Cloth Sticker, #77C-AM

2012 Topps Gold Rush Redemption, #61

I have a few McCutchen cards floating around, but nothing significant.  I recently decided it was probably a good idea to jump on his bandwagon, as this guy looks like he's going to be the real deal for quite some time.  For a player collection that resembles a mostly bare cupboard, the Cloth Sticker of Cutch from this year's Archives collection was a nice pick up.

And the Stanton Gold Rush card was one I did not expect to come across in the singles box.  I had only seen pictures and scans of these cards on blogs previously, so I was excited to grab this one.  In general, I don't really find these cards that exciting or attractive, but I will say that they look a lot better in person.  And with the right player, they work just fine.  Stanton, an All-Star with awe-inducing power, has grown on me over this past year.  I'll definitely be on the lookout for his cards in the coming years.

Finally, some 1989 Topps Cap'n Crunch cards that Mrs. K found online and bought for me a couple weeks ago:

I've mentioned these oddball cards on the ol' blog before, so I guess she was paying attention to that.  These things are great!  I really dig the design they used; the red and blue frame is pretty sharp.  I've now got six of the 22 cards in the set.

Well, I think this is a pretty appropriate place to call it a night.  Thanks for rummaging through the junk drawer with me.

Take care, and happy collecting!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One More off the Heritage Checklist (Trade with Toddfather)

I'm still coming down from my Topps Update high, but a package arrived in today's mail that sidetracked my attention.  The good and gracious Toddfather (aka Tim) shipped another fine assortment of trading cards my way.

Loads of great stuff included, as usual.  And I feel kind of stupid to even admit this, but out of all the unique and splendid cards he flipped me, I was perhaps most excited about the one 2012 Topps Heritage card that was included.  And it's not even a player I remotely like...

2012 Heritage, #132

All-Star lefty Cole Hamels bugs me about as much as any other Phillies player.  And they all really bug me.  In the aftermath of the Victorino trade, Hamels took the catbird seat of my most despised Phils.  Can't put my finger on exactly why.  Maybe it's the French Stewart-esque voice.  Or the "whatever dude" attitude he displays quite regularly.  Could be the hair, also.

In any event, getting this card cuts my '12 Heritage "need" list down to just 22 cards.  I know that's not exactly a benchmark number, but anything that moves me closer to my goal of completing this awesome set is noteworthy in my book.  I'm a card carrying Heritage nut these days, so I can't be blamed for being irrational.

While we're on the topic of set completion, Tim also knocked 17 cards off my 2005 Topps Fan Favorites checklist.

2005 Fan Favorites, #34

Thanks to Tom Terrific and his 16 buddies, I'm now 59 cards away from completing the 142-card set.

I know I'm in the midst of a boring trade post, but bear with me for just four more cards.  It's just getting good!

While the Hamels card was exciting, this Will Clark card grabbed hold of me right away and pronounced itself the alpha dog of the trade package:

2008 Donruss Threads, College Greats #CG-9

Okay, seriously, this is probably in my top five of favorite Will the Thrill cards of all time.  And normally I don't get too crazy about cards of retired players in post-retirement sets.  But...well...just look at it!

This next card will go rather nicely with the new dollies...umm...I mean, the life-like poseable collectible sports figurines of Mike Piazza I recently bought:

1996 SPx Mike Piazza Tribute, #MP1

It's a die cut and it's a hologram.  Beat that, Topps!  All kidding aside, this is a beautiful card.  And a gorgeous mustache, might I add.

From one (future) HOF catcher to another HOF catcher, this Gary Carter card is tremendous on a few levels:

2005 Donruss Studio, #SP-63

Before I even bothered to turn it over, I was smitten with this card of the late, great Kid.  But, a quick twist revealed further greatness:

Only 25 of these wondrous things grace God's green earth.  And I have one of them!  JOY!!!

So, wait, maybe that one was my favorite of the package?  At this point, does it really matter?  They're all fantastic!

Okay, happy?  Now stop your blubbering, Mark, and finish the damn post.  We're getting bored and we want a snack.

Okay, I'll close this particular trade post with a little splash of color:

Topps Chrome Purple Refractor, #64

The Dude most definitely approves!  I thought you were working on this set, Tim?  You nut, you!

Mr. Toddfather, as usual, a trade package fit for a king.  Thanks very much!!


Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 Update Hobby Box: The Results

As previously stated, I had the day off thanks to Christopher Columbus.  And I couldn't think of a better way to spend it than going through the contents of my newly-purchased 2012 Topps Update hobby box.

Naturally, I had a fun time opening the packs and going through all the cards.  Lots of neat inserts and parallels. Of course, the base cards are great to sort through as well.  Super photography, tons of terrific action shots, and all the usual bells and whistles that we've all come to expect from Update.

Plus, the best part -- no duplicates in the whole box!  Not sure if that is common or not, but the collation throughout Topps flagship this year has been pretty maddening.  So I'm pleased by this fact.

Okay, time to share!  I'll start with my 'hits' so as not to drag out the suspense.

All-Star Game Relic, #AS-CUG

Update Silk Collection, 02/50

Can't say either of these is the most glamorous of pulls, but that certainly didn't ruin my experience.  Granderson has become the Yankees' biggest power source these past couple seasons, plus he was a big cog on my fantasy baseball team this year.  That being said, he's most certainly up for trade!

And the silk card is really cool.  I've never held one of these before, much less seen one in person.  I can see how it would be a big thrill to have a silk card of your favorite player in your collection.  I had to look up Santiago since I'm not a follower of the ChiSox of the AL Central in general.  He went 4-1 with four saves and a 3.33 ERA this year working primarily as a reliever.  He did make four starts late in the season, including a real gem on October 1 vs. the Indians (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K).  Again, this is up for trade.

As far as inserts and parallels go, here's the breakdown:

Gold Parallel:  21 unique cards
Gold Sparkle Parallel:  9 unique
Blockbusters:  9 unique
Golden Greats:  5 unique
Gold Moments:  9 unique
1987 Minis:  9 unique

Nothing especially mind blowing with the inserts of parallels, but definitely some nice catches.  The '87 minis continue to be my favorite insert, so I'm glad they were carried over.  The "Future Stars" cards are a tremendous addition.

1987 Minis, #TM-106 and TM-139

Was hoping to get Trout or Harper, but none to be found.  No biggie, I'll track 'em down eventually.

The newest insert set, Blockbusters, is pretty decent.  And it makes sense to have such an insert included in the Update series.

Blockbusters, #BB-1

A couple minor complaints about this insert set.  Firstly, I wish Topps would have varied the wording on each card instead of using "[insert team name here] Get [insert player name]" all the time.  How about a "Halos Land Albert" or "Prince Hits Motown" or something semi-creative.  Also, some of the choices for inclusion aren't exactly earth-shattering.  Among the cards I received, Cespedes to the A's didn't quake the globe, did it?  And was the acquisition of Carlos Gonzalez by the Rockies in 2008 a "Stop the Presses!" moment?

Speaking of acquisitions, Ichiro is included in that discussion.  I got a pair of the future HOFer's cards:

#US272 and BB-23

Anyone else feel underwhelmed by the photo choice for Ichiro's first Yankees card?  Kind of a let down.  But that's just me.  On the other hand, I think Ichiro is a good inclusion for the Blockbusters insert set not necessarily for on-field purposes, but because of the shock value involved in the trade.  I don't know that many of us expected him to land in the Bronx, thus the trade carried a good amount of discussion for quite some time. And, who knows, maybe Ichiro is the final piece to World Series title No. 28 for the Yankees.  We shall see.

The gold parallel cards did all right by me in this box.  I got some great names, like McCutchen, Weaver, Konerko, Dunn, and Lester.  And then there were these two guys:

Gold Parallel, #7 and 30

For those keeping score, that's one Granderson relic and two gold Yankee greats.  A fan of the Pinstripes would have enjoyed this box even more than me, I guess.  Still, I have a growing Jeter collection that I'm too embarrassed to share, since I'm supposed to hate the guy like a good Mets fan.  Believe me, I'm no fan, but he does have some great looking cards.

Keeping with the gold theme:

Gold Parallel and Base, #US202

I've gone on record saying I don't like the HR Derby cards.  I just feel like its overkill on the AS Game theme that is already overly prevalent throughout Update.  But, I do really enjoy this card of Trumbo.  He put on quite a power display at the Derby.  Prior to that, I didn't know much about the guy, nor did I feel it necessary to keep tabs on him.  But I've followed him ever since.  And I was happy to get the gold version of his Derby card.

So, not only would this have been a good box for Yankees fans, but fans of David Ortiz would have been quite satisfied, also.  Check out the trio of Papi cards I received:

Gold Parallel and Base, #US292

All-Star SP, #US292

I was absolutely hoping to get one of these short-printed All-Star cards.  And that's exactly what I got with the horizontal Papi card.  Sure, I was hoping for one of the Harpers or the David Wright, but I can live with David Ortiz.  Very cool card!

I don't totally want to snub the base cards, because there are plenty of awesome cards in the set of 330.

Among them, I got my fix of Mets stars, both rookie and veteran:

#US23 and US280

And we can't forget about the NL's best pitcher from 2012 (that's right, I said it!):

#US141 and US284

  Plus, a trio of Washington All-Stars:

#US184, US299, and US326

I can't help but be jealous of this nucleus.  They are going to be a force for years to come in the nation's capital.

And speaking of D.C., I even got one of these cards in my hobby box:

Presidential Predictor, #PPO-3

Well, per the most recent polls I checked, Arizona seems to be Romney territory.  A quick Google search also told me that Arizona was a red state for nine of the last 10 presidential elections -- 1996 (Clinton) being the exception.  So, this card of the POTUS might not net me any sweepstakes prizes.  Nevertheless, it's a unique collectible.

All things considered, this was a great experience.  Hobby boxes are definitely the way to go.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a stack of base cards that need to be numerically sorted and logged into my checklist...