Saturday, April 30, 2016

Scouting Report: 2016 Bowman & Gypsy Queen

It's been a while since I ripped into any retail packs, sooo...

On Friday a grabbed a three-pack hanger of both 2016 Bowman and '16 Gypsy Queen from Walmart just to get a taste of what the new stuff had to offer.  In addition to the three packs, each hanger included five retail-exclusive bonus cards.  Something to justify the $9.98 price tag, I guess.  Hell, I wish they still did it for Heritage, but that's a rant for another day.

I only cracked two of the three packs per product, since one of the packs goes towards my 2-year-old son's box o' packs, which is getting mighty full.  Anyhow, we'll start with Bowman, which must've just come out within the past week or so.

As you can see up from the Cespedes card up top, the design kind of borrows from last year's Bowman a bit, while also stealing off the vibe that this year's flagship offers.  All in all it ain't so bad.

The card backs are your usual Bowman fare.  Just much more futuristic and digital looking, I guess.

Nothing really exotic nor exciting in either of the packs.  The Cespy was my lone Mets card.

This green refractor /99 was my 'hit' of the two packs, if you will.  I'll be sending this one off to JayP of Cards Your Mother Didn't Throw Out.

The five yellow-bordered parallels that were included in the hanger weren't anything to write home about. In usual Bowman style, I never heard of any of the guys, so I didn't even bother scanning them.

Onto the GQ packs...

A pretty bland concept from Gyspy Queen in terms of this year's design.  I know that's pretty much like saying "snow is cold" but this one seems even more, uh, gray than usual.  But, whatever, that's what GQ is all about, I guess.  I still prefer it to Ginter.

The back.  Again, no surprises here.

Same as the Bowman packs, you'll note that my lone Met was Yoenis "6 RBIs in an inning" Cespedes.  I can live with that!

With the GQ hanger you get five blue-framed parallels, which I rather enjoy.

These are some names I know.  It's nice to add a new Mike Stanton card to the collection, and Nola looks like a future ace for the Phils.  I'm open to trade offers for the others!

Oh, and I did get a real 'hit' within the two GQ packs I opened...

I had to look this guy up.  His name is Max Kepler and he was recently sent back down to Triple-A.  He's considered a top-100 prospect and the No. 3 prospect in the Minnesota system.  He's also a native of Germany, so that's distinct.

Anyhow, if there are any Twins collectors out there who'd like to add this to their collection, I'm all ears!

Thoughts on either Bowman or Gypsy Queen?  I'd love to hear 'em!


Monday, April 25, 2016

One Met at a Time, Vol. 10

[Ed. Note: I recently surpassed the 8k mark in my Mets collection, so I thought it would be a fun idea to start picking through the cards one-by-one and presenting them here.  So, that's what this is.  Enjoy!]

Player Name:  Jeff Kent

Card Info:  1995 Sportflix, #30

Normally, getting a Sportflix card to scan properly is normally akin to putting a tutu on a weasel.  Not necessarily impossible but statistically very difficult to accomplish.  [Ed. Note: That's entirely a guess on my behalf and I don't have any hard data to support it, but I have a strong hunch a weasel has never worn a tutu.] For some reason, though, the '95 Sportflix cards have treated my scanner and me quite decently.  I guess the planets aligned -- and the weasel reluctantly donned the tutu -- in the case of the attractive scan you see above.

At the time of this post, there are 70 Jeff Kent cards in my Mets collection.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

From the Ocean State

It's that time again: Time to tip my cap to my friend from Rhode Island for another world-class PWE delivery!

The medley of cards that Shane (of Shoebox Legends fame) recently put together was, as usual, second-to-none.  Some old, some new.  Some common, some rare.  And even a little bit o' hockey, which we here in the Clubhouse always appreciate, especially at this time of the year when the playoffs are in full gear.

For starters, a great up close and personal photo of Hall of Famer Mike Piazza from one of my favorite UD products: Upper Deck Vintage.  Cos, even when they're essentially rip-offs from another major brand, nothing beats little wavy pennants on cards.

Another Hall of Famer on another now-defunct company from the early '00s.  Here we've got Tom Glavine on a 2003 E-X card.  It's clear, for which you'll have to take my word.  I know Shane is a sucker for cards of this sort, and I must admit I share his enthusiasm for them, too.

This one is satisfying on several fronts.  For starters, it's as rookie of fan favorite, Wilmer Flores.  A nice one, at that.  More importantly, however, this card completes the Mets team set from 2014 Finest.  Sure, it's only a four-card team set, but it's still an accomplishment, right?  Right!

Are you old enough to remember when Topps cards had borders?  And when they came in various parallel forms that were easily recognizable, such as blue, red, purple and gold?  Those were indeed simpler times.  From 2012, a goldy, sparkly card of Big Pelf, aka Mike Pelfrey.

Jorge Toca's last name lent itself to plenty of plays on words and puns and such.  It's a shame he never made the transition from a Triple-A sensation to a big league superstar.  Cos we coulda had quite a few "Toca Parties" at the ol' ball yard in Queens, no?

An oldie and most certainly a goodie!  It's '66 Topps and it's in fantastic shape!  How about a "Did You Know" for Chuck Hiller.  Ready?  Hiller, as a member of the Giants, swatted the NL's first grand slam in a World Series. He pulled off the feat in Game Four of the '62 Series versus the Yanks.  The Bombers won the series in seven, in case you were wondering.

Ink?  INK!!

A beautiful rookie auto from 2003 Bowman Heritage of former prospect Jeff Duncan.  These "Signs of Greatness" autos are among the nicest and cleanest of the time period.

Duncan participated in 69 games over two seasons as a big leaguer--all with the Mets.  A cup of coffee, more or less.  That doesn't come close to lessening the enjoyment of this card, however.  In fact, I'm crazy enough to like random autos like this more so than the big names.

Shane continues to be a steady source of new Vladimir Guerrero cards for my collection.  This one brings my Vlad total to 390!  Topps Gold Label, by the way, was a terrific brand.  I like the spiral notebook effect they worked into the 2001 edition.

And we conclude with card featuring a hockey mullet that would make any red-blooded Canadian proud!  John Vanbiesbrouck had a long and very successful career between the pipes. winning 200 games over 11 NHL seasons.  His lone Vezina trophy came during the '85-'86 season as a Ranger.  I was only five at the time, so I can't say that I remember it.  Nonetheless, I'll always love the Beezer as he was the NYR goalie when I first fell in love with the team.

Another extraordinary submission in our long-running PWE exchange, Shane!  It's always a fun and exciting occasion to get correspondence from the Ocean State!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Zistle the 28th

Normally, I hunt for trades on Zistle in an effort to tack cards onto my ever-growing Mets collection.  Whether it be a huge exchange or small doesn't matter.  Every little bit is a victory and therefore worthy of celebration.

But, every so often I like to snag a card or two off the beaten path.  That is, non-Mets cards.

Such was the case with my 28th foray into the universe of Zistle trading.  My partner this time around was fellow member Rmiskid4.  The exchange was very heavy with 2015 Heritage base--nearly 50 to be more specific.  And that nearly knocked out all my needs from that set.  I won't bother inserting scans of those cards here since you've probably seen every one of 'em a million times over by now.  So, let's move along, shall we?

In addition to the hefty portion of Heritage, this trade featured a few more odds and ends from my want list. That includes the very manly card you see in the lead-off spot.  A true meat-and-potatoes slugger, this is Tettleton's true rookie from '85 Topps Traded.  Brilliant!

This George Springer card from last year's Gypsy Queen caught my eye for sure.  I mean, who doesn't love the old Astros tops?  Even if you think they're ugly (which of course they are) you at least have to appreciate them for being bold.  Pretty neat card and another piece for my embryonic Springer collection.

While branching out a tiny bit is fun, it all comes back to the Mets.  It always does.

I'm still in the process of trying to track down all the Mets from last year's gorgeous Stadium Club release.  With this Juan Lagares now in tow, I'm lacking just four of the 13 Amazins from the set.  What a tremendous photo here, by the way, right?  Spectacular!

I certainly do love and appreciate everything Tom Seaver stands for as it pertains to the Mets.  But, I mean, how many times can we see this same exact snapshot on latter day Topps cards of the Franchise?  This image has enough miles to circumvent the globe 18 times.

Finally--and at long last--I've managed to track down a copy of this Ryan tribute card from '90 Topps flagship. Been meaning to snag this card for my team collection for longer than I care to admit.  This Ryan subset was really well done.  If you're a fan of '90 Topps, what's not to like??

Mickey, Springer and the Mets.  All in all, a pretty neat little trade.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pick Me Ups

After watching the Mets lose two of three to the baseball version of the Keystone Kops, it's nice to have baseball cards to look at and remind me of the good times.  Y'know, like last year when the Mets won the pennant for the first time in 15 years.

The perfect card for bringing back the warm 'n fuzzies is pictured above.  From this year's Opening Day product, a "Superstar Celebrations" insert featuring the Bambino of the '15 postseason, Daniel Murphy.  Murph is no longer a Met, but he'll always be in the hearts of NY fans for his home run heroics that propelled the Amazins to the Fall Classic.

This card and all the cards in this post were generously bestowed upon me recently by my bud and yours, Nick of Dime Boxes.  As usual, Nick was able to amass a nice cache of cards that perfectly suited my tastes, mostly centered around my Mets collecting habit.

Ruben is also gone from Queens, but you can't blame Topps for including him in this year's Opening Day checklist as a Met.  Tejada was released at the tail-end of the spring training before latching on with the Cards.

You'll have to take my word that this card of Juan Lagares is a foil parallel.  Great action shot of the former Gold Glove center-fielder robbing a would-be homer.

Short prints aside, I've now compiled all the base Mets from '16 Heritage.  Matz was included in last year's High Numbers set, so this isn't technically his rookie.  I'm still steamed that Topps dropped the ball and didn't include a true rookie of the young southpaw in last year's Topps Update.  Instead, we only got a "Rookie Debut" subset card, which doesn't count.  Despite several tweets, I've gotten bubkus from Topps in the way of an explanation of this.

Here's Neil Walker's first card as a Met.  Digitally enhanced, I'm sure, but a pretty clean job of it.

Now, this was a brilliant surprise.  This is a card from last year's Topps Heritage '51 set, which was released in box format on the Topps website only.  I initially thought these were going to be 'mini' cards, but they are not. They're normal baseball card size and printed on very sturdy Heritage-like card stock.

I was pretty excited to find these in Nick's PWE, and I very much would like to track down the rest of the Mets in this set.

An awesome refractor of Travis d'Arnaud from 2015 Topps Chrome.  This one is classified as as "prism refractor" I believe.  It seems like every year there is a new kind of refractor that is born.  Tough to keep track of!

This one was easy enough to decode: it's a sepia refractor.  It's the first of its kind in my Mets collection.  Pretty cool dime-box find for sure!

He of the quick pitch, Hansel Robles is featured here on a rainbow foil parallel from last year's Update.

So is backup catcher Kevin Plawecki.  This is one of my favorite Mets cards from '15 Update.  I just like the simplicity of the photo.

Going back a couple seasons, Daniel Murphy gets the Walmart blue treatment on this 2014 Topps parallel.  One of the best photograph backdrops you're gonna find on any baseball card.  At least one snapped at Citi Field. #HomeRunApple

This is a 2000 Finest refractor of former defensive wizard Rey Ordonez.  Sometimes it's tough to tell when cards are refractors or not, especially in a brand like Finest.  Sometimes it's indicated on the back of the card, but sometimes it isn't.  Sharp card.

Awesomeness right here.  A sliding horizontal HoJo card from 1992 Classic.  My first from this set and one that I've had on my want list for some time.  

This isn't a Card Your Mom Threw Out or any of the overly-repetitive reprints trotted out by Topps these days.  This is a real deal vintage '71 of the Kooz.  Card is in fantastic shape!  Tough to do for this set, as many of you are aware.

We finish with the only non-Met of the bunch.  But, it's a special one!  A short print of A-Rod from this year's Heritage!  SPs are always a rare and precious commodity, especially when it comes to Heritage.  They are also the thing that makes building a Heritage set a near impossibility for the average collector with a modest budget.  Anyhow, for all those reasons and more, this is a terrific get.

Thanks a million for another awesome delivery, Nick!  Even on a Casey-strikes-out kind of day, cards like these are just the tonic!


Friday, April 8, 2016

#1 Draft Picks: 1990 Style!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a bunch of dime-priced inserts from 2015 Archives I snagged at a recent card show here in Northern Delaware.  Those were of the 1990 Topps-themed variety.  And so are these!

From the same seller, in the same dime box, a whole run of these #1 Draft Pick inserts.  I'm more partial to the Rookie Cups, but it's hard to argue against these.  Great player selection, plus the '90 Topps #1 Draft Pick subset reminds us of one of the most iconic cards of that era -- the Frank Thomas rookie.

There are 15 total cards in this particular insert set, and I was able to find all but three!  No Mets to be found, but I was pretty stoked to secure that Jose Fernandez.  He might be my favorite non-Met in the game today.  Plus, I've had that particular card on my radar for a while.

The rest of my finds...

The only three cards I'm missing contain some pretty predictable names: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw.  It's probably for the best that they were M.I.A. cos if they were present, I might've yelped rather loudly and that's not a good look in public.

I'll never get tired of the totally-dated 1990 design as a vehicle for inserts or throwback sets.  It's a shame we have to wait another another 23 years until Heritage gets the '90 Topps treatment.  That's a very long time from now and I'm an impatient animal.  Plus how do I know I won't have been reduced to merely a frozen head in a jar by then?

A worry for another day, I guess.  In the meantime, I'll just enjoy these.