Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vintage Legends

In my last post, I detailed the wonderful abundance of 1972 Mini inserts from this year's Topps set that I was able to accumulate out of a single dime box.  That, plus the baker's dozen that I already owned, put me one card short of a complete insert set.

That wasn't the only insert set I attacked out of that box, however.  In 2010, Topps produced a 50-card insert collection called Vintage Inserts, which featured 25 Hall of Fame players depicted on base-card designs that either preceded them or arrived post-retirement or death (or both).

At the time of its release in 2010 through this past Sunday, Vintage Legends never interested me.  Nothing therein moved me to pursue the cards.  But, for some reason, seeing these cards again (or, in certain cases, for the first time), I was really into them.  It's not like this insert set features a novel idea.  Retired players on various card designs from Topps' historical catalog has basically become old hat over the past decade, thanks to products like Heritage and Archives.

But, maybe it was the inclusion of players like Pee Wee Reese and Jimmie Foxx that hooked my intrigue.  Or the fact that, these days, I'm just way more into cards of HOF players in latter-day sets.  Also, I like how the back of the card relates the player's performance from a prime year to the year from which the card design comes.  In other words, how would Ty Cobb's 1911 performance have stacked up to the league's best from 1971. A pretty neat Strat-O-Matic type of concept.

I don't know this for a fact, but I'm thinking this 50-card set was released in two 25-card waves split between Series 1 and 2 Topps.  I could be completely wrong about that, but that's my best guess.  Some further proof: the Cobb card above is number 36, while the other Cobb (in which he's shown on a '56 Topps card) is card number 20.  No player has both their cards fall within the top half of the checklist.

Anyhow, here are the rest of the Vintage Legend cards I found from my box hunting last weekend:

That's a pretty decent beginning to the collection.

I'll definitely be on the lookout for these at shows in the future.

I'm not sure if I'll be posting again before the weekend, so I want to take the opportunity to wish everyone out there a Happy Easter! (and a Happy Passover, as well!)


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Almost There (and quickly!)

When 2013 Topps arrived and I was able to get my hands on the various insert cards, I was of course intrigued by the '72 minis.  I loved collecting the '87s from the 2012 edition, but that's mainly due to personal connection I have to that 1987 Topps set.  They were, after all, the baseball cards I cut my teeth on.

So, when it came to this year's retro minis, I was wishy-washy.  Sure they are fun, colorful cards, with a nice mix of current and retired stars.  But was that gonna be enough to drive me to chase the entire collection?

To that question, an obvious answer availed itself at Sunday's card show.  Mixed into one of the dime boxes at my new favorite seller's table were hordes of those '72 suckers.  At 10-cents a pop, working towards completion of the 50-card set seemed like a no-brainer.

And so it was decided.  When the smoke cleared and I sorted through my purchases back at the Kaz manor, I counted 36 different minis.  Added to the 13 that I already had, that left me ONE card shy of a finished product.  The odd man out?  The Iron Man himself, Cal Ripken.  Living in Delaware, Orioles and Phillies stuff is usually scarce or over-priced, so I'm not shocked that I didn't stumble upon Cal.

Anyhow, chasing after just one card is way better than having a dozen or more still M.I.A.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's what the almost-complete set looks like...


In the event you are curious, the Ripken card would slide right in between Nolan Ryan and Jim Rice.  And, FYI, I already had the Trout and Harper cards.  I wouldn't expect to find those two in any dime boxes any time soon.  Maybe a decade from now.

All told, this is a pretty snazzy-looking collection.  My top three favorites, in no particular order, are Braun, A-Rod and Votto.  The Trout is pretty darn cool, as well.

I'm kinda curious how/why Matt Kemp's card ended up towards the end of the checklist among the HOFers. Perhaps that slot was originally labeled for Mantle?  I don't know, but I sincerely doubt they mapped out the player order and felt that Kemp logically fit between Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams.

Also, what's Buster Posey doing at the card no. 1 position?  I thought we were going alphabetically by city?  Oh well, he was a league MVP and won another World Series ring last season; I guess he can go wherever he darn well pleases.

I can only hope the Series 2 and Update minis also find their ways into dime boxes.  But, that would be too easy...


Monday, March 25, 2013

One-Stop Shopping

For the first time since I've been attending the monthly card show at my local firehouse, I visited exactly one seller's table.  Two hours later and $20 poorer, I left the fire hall.  I didn't even make a circuit around the room.  I went straight to the dime-box table of one of the best regular sellers, hunkered down and got busy.  It was a satisfying show, to say the least.

For your enjoyment, here's a sampling of my 200-card haul.

First, a couple of my favorite photos, both from the tremendous 2008 Upper Deck flagship set.

You know the best part about these cards?  They aren't even the player's regular base card.  The Glavine is a "Season Highlights," while Zimm's celebration shot is nothing more than a team checklist.

Sticking with future-HOF pitchers who spent their glory years in Atlanta -- and also remaining with the Upper deck theme -- here's a Greg Maddux card I couldn't leave behind.

Man, did UD ever nail the essence of Maddux the fielder with this one.  This might be my new favorite Maddux card.

I really love these OPC inserts from 2008 Upper Deck.  Wright was one of the handful of players I found from this same set.  And what can you say about Piazza in a tuxedo?  Exactly.

Two ferocious run-producers, adorned with golden borders.  2003 Topps is a great-looking set, and it's even better in gold.  As for 2005, I'm still unsure what my ultimate feelings are.  It's certainly a colorful design, albeit a tad busy.

I'm always a fan of cards that celebrate a player's nationality.  Especially when it's one of my favorite players.

Remember when Topps made cool inserts like this?  This year's "Cut to the Chase" insert is both flashy and bold, which is a step in the right direction.

All-Star cards were also much better a decade ago.  An abundance of wasted space?  Yes.  But at least the background is holographic, which is a nice (and hypnotic) distraction.

Back to the future now with two 2012 inserts.  A floating-head sticker from Heritage and a deckle edge from Archives.  Pujols is a guy I've collected for a while now, while I finally decided to collect Bautista last summer. Both of these are neat odds 'n ends for their respective collections.

Hall of Famers was a sort of theme for me while going through the various dime boxes.  Nothing vintage, mind you, but plenty of cool cards of hallowed players from recent sets.

National Chicle was a pretty attractive set, and this Musial has to be one of the best from the checklist.

I've noticed that very few collectors/bloggers have anything positive to say about last year's GQ set.  I guess I must have bad taste, because I think they're quite good.

I was pretty successful when it came to finding Seavers.  I like this one a whole lot because it utilizes a photo of Tom Terrific from his second go-round with the Mets.  You don't find that very often when it comes to latter-day Seaver cards.

I told you I found some good Seaver cards.  Anytime I can find these glittery refractors from 2011 Lineage for a dime, I consider that a big win.

Ditto for these less-glittery, but just as enticing and shiny Lineage refractors.

More glitter, this time from 2011 Topps Update.  I totally love the HOF variation cards!  And to think, I used to avoid non-vintage cards of olders players.  Actually, I used to think they were a waste of time.  Boy, was I missing out.  I can thank the world of sports card blogging for opening my eyes and changing my attitude on this subject.

These were some of my favorite pick-ups from Sunday's show, but perhaps not the ultimate highlights.  Thanks to one particular dime box, I was able to amass all but one card from a recent 50-card insert set.  Additionally, I put a decent dent into another insert set from a few years back that I had previously ignored.

More on each of those cases later this week...


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Auction Action

A pair of eBay auctions that I won early last week arrived in Saturday's mail...

This first one is from a special 2000 Topps set commemorating the Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees.  That's an actual NYC subway token embedded into the card, which features pitcher Rick Reed.  From what I understand, there were one of these special relic cards inserted into each boxed set.

Most of the other token cards I've come across previously on eBay were way too pricey for my budget.  Then again, many of those featured more desirable players, like Jeter or Piazza or Rivera.  But, this Reed card suits me just fine; after all, he was the starting pitcher in the lone game the Mets won in the '00 Series.  And, at $6.99 delivered, I was happy to add this bit of history to my collection.

The  other acquisition wasn't quite as exciting, but made me happy just the same.

A 2013 Heritage SP of Jesus Montero.  But not just one; two came in the auction.  I picked them up for $1.99 delivered, which means less than a buck per card.  Pretty decent considering what Heritage short prints are going for.  And, getting two was nice -- one for the set and one for my small-but-growing Montero collection.

It turns out that these cards were just the tip of the iceberg from this weekend.  A little while ago I got back from the monthly card show at my local fire house.  I debated whether I was gonna go or not (I'm trying my best to be conservative with my money), but in the end gave in to my compulsion.  I capped myself off at twenty bucks, though.  A small concession for a weak man, I suppose.  Hey, I never said I was perfect!

Anyhow, more on that a little later...


Friday, March 22, 2013

Two Blue (aka My 200th Post)

Back on June 28 of last year when I created this blog and posted my first entry, I had not idea how long I would bother to keep up with this thing.  I tend to run hot and cold with certain ventures.  Yet, in the span of less than a year, I have made it to my 200th post.  Not exactly a monumental milestone, but I'll be sure to have a cupcake and a shot of Jameson a little later on to commemorate the occasion nonetheless.  My gratitude to all who have latched onto the existence of this blog and, therefore, me.  I hope the next 200 posts are just as much fun.

Now that I've taken care of that, time to talk about 2013 Topps Wal-Mart blue parallels, one of my favorite collecting topics of this season.  I received a pair of very nice contributions this week via the mail.

From the upstate NY headquarters of the famous Plain Gray Swatch, I received eight cards, including the two hurlers depicted above.  As well as the six fancy examples below.  Rookies ahoy!

Thanks very much for the cards, Roy!  Always happy to work out a trade with ya.

Then, one the newer allies of the Clubhouse, none other than the good waxcaptain, sent me an unannounced PWE of blue dandies.  And not just that, but each of them was a tremendous horizontal card.

These are great.  A warm thank you, Victoriano.  Your random kindness will be reciprocated!

For those scoring at home (or if you're by yourself), the one-dozen cards received this week brings my Blue Project total to 215 cards from the 330-card set.  We have reached 65% completion rate!

Enjoy the weekend, folks!  And good luck with your March Madness brackets, if that's your thing.