Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Back in Black

Over the weekend I received a pretty cool PWE from Zach in Colorado, better known as the Underdog Card Collector.  I totally forgot that I had sent him a bunch of 2012 Heritage cards a while back, and this special delivery was his way of saying thanks.

I'm alwas a happy camper when black-bordered parallels from Heritage are involved in any sort of exchange, and that's exactly what came my way on this occasion.  The above Granderson was joined by two other cards from the same Target-exclusive parallel set.

These are the cards you get when you buy one of those fun three-pack blister packages from the Bulls-eye retailer.  Three cards per blister pack.  I'm not cavalier enough to attempt to gather all the cards from that checklist, but I'd like to get as many of them as possible.  So, these cards were obviously great pick-ups.

And, for good measure, Zach included a 2013 GQ card of a guy who gave Nats fans quite a scare yesterday...

It seems the forearm tightness that Stras was feeling during Monday's start ain't nothin' at all, as the Washington ace has already proclaimed himself "fine" and ready for his next start this weekend.  For the good of the franchise as well as those of us who enjoy watching the guy pitch, hopefully this ins't just lip service.  And, by the way, this is a fine-looking card!

Muchos gracias for the cards, Underdog!  Looking forward to future exchanges...


Monday, April 29, 2013

Swing and a Pop-Up and a Trade

A couple weeks back, Bert and I were having an argument about whose state of residence is smaller.  I, nowadays a Delaware resident, and Bert, a New Hampshire chap, had quite a back-and-forth.  Lots of name calling and mud slinging.  You know, the usual rhubarb between adults regarding such things.

I know what you're thinking?  Is this really true?  And who's Bert?

Well, in reverse order, Bert is the creator and COO of Swing And A Pop-Up, a very handsome blog featuring many a fine Boston Red Sox card.

As far as the state-size argument, a bunch of fooey, should you think otherwise.  After all, that's perhaps the least believable argument subject I can think of.  But, I was hoping to rope you in, and if you're still reading, I guess it worked.

Now, even if Bert and I were having a tinkling match over our home states, one thing we can agree on is the amount of national pride one might derive from the above Robin Ventura card.  From 1989 Topps Big, kind of a cool set, albeit with cards that are just too darn big for their own good.  This Ventura was but one of the many snazzy cards Bert recently sent me in a swap of goods.

As Rockin' Robin's card as proof, Bert did a very  nice job of hitting on many of my player collection interests.

But there was more...

Now here's a beauty; 1996 Topps Finest with protective seal and all.  One of my new favorite Edgardo Alonzo cards, to be sure!

And the man that Fonzie teamed up with for many a double play in Flushing, Rey Ordonez.  I'm not a huge fan of minor league cards in general... except if they're of guys I collect.  Then, I'm pretty thrilled.  This is the first Rey-O card I have with the man rockin' Norfolk Tides threads.

Since we're talking former Mets infielders, here's an early card of the great future-HOFer, Jeff Kent. I thought for sure I had this card already, but Bert did a nice job of scanning through my player collection lists and filling this big need.

Before he came to the Mets in 1996, Carlos Baerga was a hittin' machine for the up-and-coming Tribe teams of the early '90s.  The way he used to terrorize the Yankees was a thing of beauty!

Baerga.  Indians.  Ramirez.  Stream of consciousness blogging... Manny being Manny on the great 1996 Bowman design.  I wish Bowman's base cards were still as attractive and unique as this.  They seem so, well, mailed-in nowadays.

Boy, Flair sure did make gorgeous cards back then.  This HoJo is a glossy piece of art.  No wonder I could never afford to buy packs of this stuff back in '93 and '94.

Speaking of art, I couldn't possibly love and appreciate these two 1994 Upper Deck "The Future is Now" cards any more.  And it's crazy to think that four years later, this duo would comprise the 3-4 hitters in the Mets batting order.  Man, how I long for those days!

And, finally, perhaps I alone could find this card to be the true prize of the trade package...

Good grief, I love me some Butch Huskey cards.  And anytime someone dredges up one that I don't have and sails it may way, I'm always elated.  This has to be one of Butch's all-time best cards, without question.  Fitting pose and facial expression for a man who used to stride to the plate at Shea Stadium to strains of "Hypnotize" by the Notorious B.I.G.

Bert, a monumentally great trade package, sir -- thank you!!  Our first trade, and hopefully not our last.

And remember, should we ever really joust about our diminutive states, Delaware is The First State.

Just sayin'...


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Card Show & Tell: The Rest

Okay, this is the final post featuring cards I picked up at last weekend's show.  I promise!

This one groups together some of the odds and ends, all of which were either a nickel or dime.

With the exception of this one:

This purple refractor was in one of those 50-count plastic cases with the tag "$1 each" affixed to it.  Naturally, I had to have it!  After I was done going through the seller's discount boxes, I handed him this Wright and a big stack of 10-cent singles.  I had about 120 cards, plus this one.  He only charged me 10 bucks.  Good deal!

Since we're already discussing David Wright, here's another of the Mets' third-bagger, plus a Pedro Martinez. From the 2007 Bowman Heritage product.  Though the scan doesn't really give you the impression, these are the thick "rainbow" foil parallels.

A pair of J.T. Snows.  Can anyone help me out with the '07 Heritage on the left?  [Ed. Note: It's actually 2005; see the Comments section below!]  The front has a consistency and coloring of regular cardboard and the stock is significantly thicker.  I couldn't find anything on any of the usually-helpful hobby websites that might clue me in.

While Snow was one of the best fielding first basemen of his era, Keith Hernandez is one of the all-time defensive masters of the position.  This red "Showdown" parallel from 2005 Donruss Team Heroes was one of my favorite finds from the show!

I sure did find soime really great cards of Fonzie at last Friday's show.  Perhaps this is the most exciting photo of them all.  The ball is about to be gobbled up by Alfonzo, who began and ended his career at third base.  But, recall that Fonz played second base for the Mets on those really great defensive teams of the late '90s. Specifically, the '99 Mets infield was touted by S.I. as one of the best ever (from l-r, Ventura, Ordonez, Alfonzo and Olerud).

Last but not least, some really cool oddball HOFers...

I only wish I had unearthed more of these at the show.  The Swell set is one of my favorite of the oddball sets paying homage to the legends of the game.  I think half the NBA's superstars wear the exact same glasses that Satchel is rocking in this card.  Isn't fashion a funny and cyclical thing?

Thanks for sticking with me through this prolonged look at the highlights from the show.  Believe it or not, the monthly firehouse hobby show is tomorrow, but I'm gonna take a pass.  I've barely been able to catalog and sort the cards I brought home from last weekend.  Not that I've let that stop me before or anything, but I hate getting so far behind in the organization department!

Til next time...


Friday, April 26, 2013

Card Show & Tell: Tradition and Heritage and Such

Onward and (possibly) upward we go.  Some more cards from last weekend's show.  So far, I've talked about '12 Prizm and '97 Score and '13 GQ.   Those were among the main themes of my pickups from a week ago.

Today, the retro-look cards take center stage.  First, a dabbling a 2005 Fleer Tradition...

I had to do a double-take on this one initially.  I don't know how it is with others, but I rarely have come across any R.A. Dickey Texas-era cards in dime boxes.  And by rarely I mean never.  So this guy was my first.  Furthermore, this is the oldest R.A. that I own.  Pretty cool.

Javy Lopez, just chillin' and stretchin' before a game at Camden Yards.  The gray border on this leads me to believe its some sort of parallel.  But, I could be wrong about that.

Speaking of chillin', Robbie Alomar looks absolutely ice cold in his wrap-around shades and throwback ChiSox uni.  The mandarin orange background makes the card really pop.

I have been a fan of Carlos for a long time, but things really blossomed when he got traded to the Mets at the deadline in '96.  Here, we find Baerga at the tail-end of his career.  I think this might be my first D-Back Baerga card.

Hey, you, get off of my clouds!  These are absolutely dreamy.  Even if this pair weren't among my favorite players, I'd be positively tickled by these artsy-fartsy cards.

So that's Fleer's nod to nostalgia.  I really like these things.  I was kinda on a collecting sabbatical at the time Tradition came around, so I really missed out on all this brand.  Luckily, card shows and discount boxes allow me (and all of us) to reclaim those lost years.

On the topic of nostalgia, may I present a few Topps Heritage cards from 2006 and 2007...

With this Fonzie card, I've detected a theme.  Just like the Dickey card was my first from his Rangers days, and the Baerga was my first from his Arizona days, this '06 Alfonzo is my first of the former-Met in Halos garb.

Sammy as an Oriole, with is trademark smile.  Such a likable guy, it's a shame he wrapped himself up in the PED nonsense.  Regardless, he's still one of my all-time favorites.

I found some great 2007's, as well.

I found nearly every Mets card from the set in this particular dime box.  All except the David Wright base and All-Star cards.  These two were my favorites of those I uncovered.  Lo Duca hamming it up with the catcher's mitt, and Carlos shouldering a bunch of Louisville Sluggers.

A pair of superstars from early in their careers.  I love the red background on the Zimm card.  This is truly one of the best years from Heritage.  Makes me wish I was collecting this product back then as I collect it nowadays.

And to leave you with a pleasant taste in your mouth, here's A-Rod!  Haha, sorry about that.  But, I'll take a 10-cent Heritage card of A-Rod all day, every day.  Definitely one of the best All-Star subset designs in the history of Topps.

I think perhaps one last post is in order before I put last weekend's show to bed.  I've got some trades to catch up on, anyhow.

Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend, folks!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Card Show & Tell: 2013 Gypsy Queen (My First Look)

I'm still in the process of dissecting last weekend's card show purchases, so bear with me for another post or two.

This time around, a bunch of cards from the Topps product that everyone loves to hate...

Ta-da, 2013 Gypsy Queen!

I haven't bought any of the stuff, although I meant to around the time of its immediate release.  Trouble is my local Target didn't have any of the new packs and, well, the urge has passed me since.  I figured I'd be able to take a taste and get my fill and all that jazz at the next card show I attended.  So that's what I did.

Lots of fellow bloggers and collectors don't seem to be huge fans of this card set.  I understand why, but I don't really share a lot of the same venom.  Granted, the design for this year's edition is pretty tough to digest at first look.  And second, and possibly third, too.

But, to me, I view this set like A&G without having to deal with cards of Fuzzy Zoeller, John Stamos and Charles Krauthammer (love ya, Chuck!), and inserts titled "Dudes in Tube Socks".  [Ed. Note: Yes, I took artistic liberty.]  Sure, the design is more obtrusive and drab, but the artistic presentation of the card's subjects is still pretty great.

The Buster Posey specimen above is a good example.  From what I've seen, I have to say this is the best-looking card in the set.  Who doesn't love catcher cards, after all.

My favorite Mets subject, as usual, is the third team captain in franchise history, Mr. David Wright.

With Michael Jordan tongue action and everything.  Yeah, yeah, it's lots of gray and white and washed out and such.  Still, a great photo that's nicely framed.

Verrrry nice.  Wiliam N. Clark, hacking away at Shea Stadium back in the day.  I'm plenty happy that The Thrill continues to show up in latter day Topps releases.

Okay, I understand that you, the guy next to you, and your grandmom all hate A-Rod, but I still collect his cards. I do well to block out all the PED nonsense, weirdo personality issues, and off-the-field circus antics, and try to just enjoy the man's career.  Cos it's pretty amazing to sit back and look at his career stats year by year.  And he does cut a nice baseball card more times than not.

Much respect to Topps for getting Abbott into some of their mixed-generation sets.  The way I see it, he's one of the funnest players to collect in the hobby.

The greatest relief pitcher in baseball history presented to us in some throwback threads, with the Monster looming in the background.  Along with Posey, this has to be in the top five of best GQ cards this year. Amiright?

And we'll finish up with an irresistible card of the greatest fiend in baseball history...

I'm quite certain this picture has been used in other recent Topps releases.  Nonetheless,this photo of this player creates nearly perfect chemistry when fitted within that ill-conceived GQ frame.  Seems fitting.  Perhaps only someone as miserable and misunderstood as Cobb could find beauty in this set?

On second though... Nah!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Card Show and Tell: 1997 Score

So, you'll note that I've strayed from the "Card Show-Offs" themed title in favor of "Card Show and Tell."  I've come to learn that Dustin from the Vealtones blog has been operating something nearly identical to that for some time already, summing up his card show findings.  He was nice enough to offer the title on a shared basis, but fair is fair.  Plus, I don't like ripping off other people's ingenuity, even if it wasn't intended.

Hopefully, no one is genius enough to have drummed up "Card Show and Tell."  I'd wager against it, since it's a pretty goopy play on words.  But, it has potential.

Anyhow, let's get on with it.  More cards from this past weekend's show.  Time time, I'll focus on a bunch of really neat 1997 Score cards that I came across.  I especially miss Score when I find cards like the ones I'm about to show.  Each set me back a nifty nickel.

Score's baseball card output from the mid-to-late '90s sure produced some real gems, and the '97 set is a prime example.  Like this Lenny Dykstra card, for instance.  A really fantastic action shot of Nails tracking down a deep fly at the old Vet.

Score was always good for capturing players doing some rather mundane, yet unusually entertaining things.  I can't think of any other cards with a chunky southpaw knotting his laces, can you?  (Well, I'll bet some of you can, but I sure can't!)

See what I mean about  mundane, yet kooky things?  You don't see a whole lot of pregame stretching activity captured on baseball cards anymore.  It sometimes served well to humanize even the gruffest (or jerkiest) of players.  I hate Clemens and haven't really collected his cards for a while now, but this card was tough to pass.

Albert Belle, on the other hand, is a guy I truly enjoy collecting.  So to find an unusual card of the feared slugger is always a plus.  And, for that, you could always count on Score.

I guess what I liked the most about Score is that they didn't seem to take the business of baseball cards too seriously.  That's not to say they didn't care about putting out a good product; rather they weren't afraid to have some fun with it.

Has a more appropriate Primetime card ever been produced?  Perhaps one that featured him dousing Tim McCarver with ice water would be a more intimate portrait of the man, but this is pretty darn good, too.  Stylin' and profilin'!

I came across a bunch of these True Grit cards in the nickel box, and this was by far the most attractive.  Great action of Robbie in flight, but perhaps more notable is the classic stirrup and sock combo of the fella trying to break up the double play.

My main man Carl Everett!  I enjoy most any Carl Everett card, but those featuring him in the Blue and Orange are particularly appealing to me.  And this card is cool for a bunch of reasons.  Everett's sprawling attempt at a Sportscenter-worthy catch is nicely centered on the card, but probably the best feature is the drab early-season ivy in the background.  Can you beat Wrigley shots?

I love me some Denny Martinez.  In a Mariners uniform, to boot!  I don't believe I have any El Presidente cards in Seattle duds.

I think this card of the hefty former NL MVP falls into the same category as the Martinez card.  I can't recall any Mitchell cards in my collection in which he's wearing the semblance of Chief Wahoo.

And, now for the pick of the litter.  Truly saving the best for last...

You just can't beat a Vlad Guerrero rookie for 5-cents, can you?  A simple card with a simple design and a simple photo.  But it all makes for an outstanding card.  Then again, I'm biased!

Finding gobs or Score baseball cards from the late '90s at a hobby show is certainly a treat.  To me, anyhow.  It's the type of thing that isn't necessarily on your checklist of things to scout for at a show, but to come across them is a real pleasant and fun surprise.