Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nick's Picks: Pinch Hits, Grand Slams and Rocket Richard

My buddy Nick at Dime Boxes once again provided me with a PWE chock full of cardboard sunshine.  Plenty of Mets and a few player collection additions to share today.

Since one of Nick's mini-collections is "Double Dips," I had to lead off the post with this awesome action shot of Jose Valentin getting airborne to avoid former MVP Albert Pujols.  I'll go out on a limb and say that this play occurred during the 2006 NLCS.  Just a hunch.  By the way, this card receives a first-class ticket to my Horizontal Heroes frankenset!

A rather large Panini Canadian sticker from 1991.  I'm so used to the miniature size of the present-day stickers, that this one struck me by surprise.  A nice addition to the Frank Viola corner of my Mets collection which now numbers 38 cards.

It's probably fitting that a franchise as quirky as the Mets would have such a rich tradition of gifted pinch hitters. From Kranepool to Staub to Carreron to Lenny Harris, there have been some good ones in Queens!  Carreon cracked eight pinch-hit taters as a Met, which I believe is still a club record.

Speaking of record-holders, Robin Ventura holds a pretty unique record in terms of grand slam homers:

The only thing more impressive than Rockin' Robin's feat was the two-grannies-in-one-inning trick turned by St. Louis's Fernando Tatis in 1999.  Strangely enough, Tatis would play for the Mets to finish out his big league career.

I always assumed Josh Satin's initial appearance on a trading card was in the 2012 Topps flagship set.  I guess was wrong!  It turns out this one -- from 2010 Bowman Chrome -- is his true rookie.  And, thanks to this card, I discovered that Satin's also featured on one of those four-player, floating-head "Rookie Stars" cards from 2012 Heritage.  How did I miss that??

Nick's delivery also gave me my first up-close taste of this year's Allen & Ginter set...

I somehow didn't stumble across any dime boxes containing '16 A&G at the National earlier this month.  But, I'm happy to finally get my hands on a few Mets from the set.

And even an insert!  Usually, I'm befuddled by or disappointed in Ginter's insert themes, but this one I like a lot. I've always been enamored with players' jersey numbers.

The use of the word "Greats" as in "Mets Greats to Wear #31" is quite liberal here.  Undoubtedly John Franco is an all-time great Met, but Berenyi and Lynch?  Well, let's just say they were both nice players.

A mini Conforto!  My collection of Mets minis isn't vast -- I've only just completed two full pages -- but I've managed to gather some really good ones to this point.

I've not lost faith in young Mr. Conforto yet.  He's ripping up Triple-A pitching and, hopefully, will still have a big say in New York in September.

Okay, some non-Mets cardboard before we part company...

Olerud's swing is every bit as sweet even when captured on a SportFlix card!

Are any of you old enough to remember Alex Rodriguez from his playing days?

A short-time Met, Jay Bell is one of those guys who I've always enjoyed collecting.  As a glasses-wearer myself, I think I secretly always admired Bell cos he was a very good player who didn't opt for contact lenses or corrective surgery or whatever.

If you think that's strange, you're absolutely right!

This great UD Vintage insert of Vlad polishes off the terrific PWE from Nick.  The "9" patch on Guerrero's sleeve?  (I had to look it up!)  The Expos honored the memory of legendary Montreal Canadien Maurice "Rocket" Richard who passed away during the 2000 season.  Richard wore No. 9 for the Habs.

By the way, did you know the Expos have an active Twitter account?  Well, I didn't, but I'm a follower now!

As always, thanks for a fun and colorful collection of the cards, Nick.  Much appreciated!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Another Topps Product? Sure, Why Not?!

Searching for Mets cards on Ebay brought 2016 Topps Bunt to my attention a week or so ago.  When I saw an 11-card Mets team set for a Buy It Now price of $1.50 (plus shipping) I quickly threw my imaginary money at the faceless vendor and moved on with my life.

What I didn't know is that this wasn't some sort of special set that was only available for purchase at the Topps website or whatever.  Turns out it's available quite readily at the usual retail spots for cheap.  No matter, I wouldn't change my purchase decision with that knowledge.

My feelings on this release?  I'm pleased Topps is offering another consumer-friendly baseball card product with a fresh design and some new photos.  Some bloggers I respect have opined that they would prefer this to take the place of Opening Day, and I'd be all for that!  But, if they keep OD in the same format and keep Bunt as an additional thing each year, I'd be happy, too.

The card stock is kinda weak -- probably on par with those old promo cards you used to get in your packs.  But, you don't buy a baseball card called "Bunt" and expect something sturdy, right?  Certainly not for the price point.

The back. Nothing extraordinary.

As for the look, it instantly reminded me of an old eTopps design.  I suppose that's fitting since these cards are based off the Bunt computer/phone app -- of which I have zero connection or interest in.

I got a look at some of the insert sets via blogger posts and other websites and, well, they're actually pretty neat. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled at future card shows.

For now, I've got the base Mets from the 200-card set.  And, here they are...

Now, I'm probably in the minority on this matter, but I'd prefer to not have any more sets feature retired players or HOFers.  Yes, it's cool to get new cards of Mike Piazza and Doc Gooden, but I'd like to get new cards of current players even more so.  Plus, I mean, we've already got Archives, A&G and GQ for our old guys fix, right?  And it sure woulda been nice for this 2016 team set to have Familia, Duda and Colon instead of the three retired players.  But, again, that's just me.

Bottom line, Bunt is a fun cheap product in a hobby world that is lacking in fun, cheap products.  And that's a good thing.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Talkin' Baseball

When I was at the National Sports Collectors Convention a few weeks ago, I found a big stash of 1989 Topps Baseball Talk packages.  I picked out three packages that contained Mets cards and called it a day.  In retrospect, for just $1 or $2 per pack, I should have gotten many more packs.  After all, the 1989 Topps set is my sentimental all-time favorite.  But, what can you do?

Anyhow, I finally got around to busting one of these open not too long ago.  I've been kinda back logged in regards to putting together trade packages and scanning cards and updating checklists, etc.  Thus, the delay with these guys.

The cards are significantly taller and wider than your standard 2.5 x 3.5 cards, creating a crisis of proper storage.  I don't think there are pages or individual protectors made to specifically accommodate these cards, so I guess I'll need to improvise somehow.

Before opening the pack, I was expecting the cards to be much thicker than normal cards since, y'know, they're supposed to contain some sort of technology to produce sound when inserted into the special card player.  But, the card stock is virtually the same as a standard card and the fronts of the cards have basically a Topps Tiffany treatment to them.

Here's your card back.  The circular pattern thingie on the top half of the card is where your audio is embedded. The bottom half is a nearly identical reproduction of Gregg Jefferies' iconic Topps card from the '89 flagship set. The only difference is the card number (he's #233 in the flagship set) and the addition of the "New York Mets 1988 N.L. East Champs" note at the bottom of the card.

Since every package of '89 Baseball Talk indicated the cards included therein, I was also expecting a 1986 NLCS card.

Originally, I was bummed at the photo choice on this card since, well, the Mets won the damn ballgame! However, it all made sense when I realized the image on the front of the card is a reproduction of the official game program which fans could purchase at the Astrodome that day.  So, that's pretty cool.  Still, it's the ugliest "Mets card" in my collection!

Here's the back:

I'ts a good thing I was only six years old when this game happened.  I probably would've had a heart attack five times over while watching it.  And, even if I survived, Game 6 of the subsequent Series would have finished me off for sure.

The two other cards in this pack are no slouches.

I really like how the facsimile autographs look on the '89 Topps design.  This is a terrific looking card of the late Minnesota superstar.

From looking at quite a few scans of other cards in the set, every once in a while you'll get a photograph that has a lot of wasted space up top.  Kinda like in this card of the Eck.  The perils of an elongated format, I guess. Strange placement of the autograph, also.

I'll eventually open the other two packs I purchased, thereby freeing the Dwight Gooden and Keith Hernandez cards trapped within.  Then again, if I can't figure out how to properly store them, I might just leave 'em put.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bo Knows

I received an email a few weeks back from Bo who operates Baseball Cards Come to Life.  He had come into a mass quantity of Mets cards and was looking to deal them to a Mets collector -- Me!

In advance of me sending him anything, he promptly shipped me a USPS box stuffed with hundreds of cards. Sure, there were many dupes, but there were plenty that that I needed for my collection.

These Pacific Private Stock 2000 minis of Mike Piazza and former prospect Jorge Toca were maybe my favorite part of the assortment since I can't recall seeing too many Pacific minis in my travels.

But, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  There was plenty more in the mix to get excited about...

A page-worth of new David Wrights!

Fonzies, Piazzas and a lone Ventura.

2001 Finest (center row) and 1997 Topps Gallery (bottom) are a couple of sets for which I lack depth, so I was happy to receive these.

I was ecstatic to find some Fleer Platinum base cards (middle row) I needed!

Lots of Flair.  I think this might be my favorite year of Flair (1997).

Mo Bruce (top row, center) was the final card I needed to complete my 1999 Topps Traded team set.

How neat is that Ron Swoboda Archives card?

Since becoming an avid team collector, I've also become a very big fan of minor league cards.  Even guys who never made the big club, like Eric Ludwick (bottom, right).

Mid-'90s Donruss and a lonely Pacific Omega single of Masato Yoshii.

Finally, a bunch of 2007 Topps.  Normally pretty boring, right?

Well, these aren't just normal '07 base cards.  Rather, they are part of the expanded team sets (or "gift sets") that Topps released for a few club.

The checklist is comprised 55 cards, included coaches which I greatly enjoy!  Additionally, some -- not all -- of the cards feature alternate photos from their flagship counterparts.  Reyes (top, right) and Beltran (center, middle), for instance.

I mean, where else are going to get a card of Coach Rickey Henderson (top, center) or former pitching coach Rick Peterson (top, left)

The back end of the checklist is made up of team statistical leaders and also season highlight cards.  It's interesting that the highlight cards are from first few months the 2007 season.  Thus, you can deduce that these gift sets were released towards the end of the '07 regular season, or even after it.

Anyhow, Bo's lot included 35 of the 55 cards from the gift set.  Normally, my OCD receptors would tingle over an incomplete factory team set, but these were such an unexpected and pleasant surprise, that I don't mind in the least.

Thanks a lot for reaching out to me, Bo!  I know there are lots of Mets collectors in the blogging world, so I'm honored that you had me in mind for these cards.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Ebay: Stranger than Fiction

You'd better act quick on this one, friends.  It's a Buy It Now that won't stick around for very long.

Not only are none of cards pictured Jeff Tackett, but how about that asking price?  Pretty sweet.  And, hey, it ships Fast 'N Free!

The funny thing about this seller is that he's got a few decent bulk card lots for what I would deem a reasonable price.  So, maybe he just felt like having a laugh with this listing?

Then again...

Same seller.   Different confused player lot.  Equally great deal.

You've gotta love Ebay!