April 12, 2017

30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day 3

Today I'm back with the third day of my baseball card challenge. The topic for the day is 'a card from the first set I tried to complete'. In the early days of my collecting history, my cards were sourced by my brother. He gave me dupes of stuff he had. However, in 1989 I began hearing the buzz about the Fleer Billy Ripken error. That just so happened to coincide with my local convenience store putting boxes of cards on their shelves for the first time. I used a lot of allowance and birthday money on packs of 1989 Fleer in hopes of finding that 'other' Ripken with the curse word on it. I also bought a few packs of Upper Deck that year. While I liked the design and the 'premium' feel of those cards, I often opted for the Fleer packs because they were less expensive. Sadly, I hadn't heard as much about the Ken Griffey Jr RC. If I had, perhaps I would have bought more UD packs. At some point, I actually began sorting all of the Fleer cards I had and started a list of the numbers I needed. One day, my family drove out to a flea market and I somehow convinced my dad to buy me a Fleer factory set thinking it was the guaranteed way to finally get my hands on that Ripken error(I was a kid and didn't know how those things worked). Obviously, I got home and flipped through each card in that set and was disappointed to find a black box over the bat knob when I came to that card. At that point, I gave up my chase with somewhere around only 20 or so cards to go to complete my hand collated set. To this day, I still have that opened factory set sitting on a shelf in my closet. There are some interesting cards in the 1989 Fleer set. Here is one of my favorites:

Though I've always been a Yankee fan, I really loved watching the A's in the late '80's and early '90's. During that time, Jose Canseco was probably my favorite MLB player not named Don Mattingly. I love this card because it's a reminder of an incredible achievement by an exciting player prior to his name and legacy being ruined by PED use and whistle blowing. Thanks for reading.

April 2, 2017

It's WrestleMania Sunday!

Today is the biggest show of the Year in Sports Entertainment. These days, that statement applies both literally and figuratively. Conservative estimates suggest the show could clock in at between 6.5-7 hours long. WOW! That is excessive. I'll be sporadically checking in on a few live blog sites for the results as I keep up with MLB Opening Day games. Here are a few matches that I'm interested in today, but mostly for the possibility of what may be rumored to happen instead of watching the talent that is actually booked to perform. I won't get into all that here. The point of today's post is to share one of my favorite WrestleMania moments that was captured on cardboard.

This is the moment one of my favorite wrestlers of all time won his first WWE Championship. The card back does a good job with the recap:

I loved this match for so much more than just the outcome. I thought it had a little bit of everything. There was the Vince/Stone Cold battle, DX, the involvement of Mike Tyson, and a great swerve ending. For me, it was entertaining all the way around. When all was said and done, Tyson's hand hit the mat for a third time and in the words of good ol' JR, 'Austin is the champion'!

Thanks for reading.

April 1, 2017

Day 2 of the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge

Today I tackle the second topic of the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge.

I had to think for a while on this one. There are many types of cards that feature more than one player. After some careful consideration, my mind kept going back to the following:

This is the 2001 Fleer Tradition New York Yankees Team Leaders card. There are a few reasons I ultimately chose this card. First, it's the Yankees. Less predictably, 2001 is the first year I really went all in on collecting. Sure, I collected as a kid, but back then, my funds were limited to allowance, Birthday, and Christmas money. In 2001, I had already entered the workforce and was drawing a steady paycheck. Couple that with the fact that I was working about 500 yards from a pretty great LCS and I was picking up cardboard several days a week. That year was also the dawning of the retro themed sets. Fleer Tradition, Topps Heritage and Bowman Heritage all come to mind and I loved them all. I love that this card features the 'floating heads' that were often found in the '60's. Lastly, if you're going to have a modern Yankee card that features multiple players, it doesn't hurt to have 3/4 of the Core Four and Bernie Wiliams for good measure. Thank you for reading.

March 31, 2017

My 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: Day One

A few days ago, as I was doing my best to finally complete my longer than expected 12 Days of Trade Posts series, I read this post from Tony over at Off Hiatus Baseball and I immediately knew what the subject matter of my next (probably longer than expected) series was going to be.

As soon as I saw it, I knew The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge would allow me to have some fun creating content that I probably wouldn't have ever written otherwise. I plan to take the challenge as it made: one topic per post. I'm not sure how long it will take me to complete the 30 topics, but 'day 30' will be written some time before the end of the year. I hope that a few of you will find my choices to be entertaining reads. Let's dive into day one: a card from the current year with a photo you like.

When I saw the topic for day one it gave me an excuse to go flipping through the stacks of 2017 product that I've opened so far. While there were several worthy candidates that fit the topic, I decided to go with a card that I haven't previously shown off. I recently found this Gary Sanchez in my first a Donruss retail pack of the season. I was immediately impressed by the composition of the photo. It does a great job of hiding the lack of licensing. Though the background is blurred, I'm pretty sure that is Joe Girardi in the dugout and I'm pretty sure this was taken during a game against the Rays. As I was scanning this awesome piece of cardboard for its place in this post, my mind wandered back to the day one topic. As it is written, it doesn't say anything about having to own the card you select. So, I started seeking out a card that I don't own that has a photo I like. After some searching, I settled on this:

This SSP photo variation from Opening Day is a card I will likely never own. It reminds me of cards you would find in the early to mid-nineties. There's a great view of Tal's Hill in Minute Maid Park behind Longo. It's rare to find this kind of pre-game warmup captured on cardboard. I suppose there was an unintended double meaning to my last statement. There aren't many cards that depict baseball players throwing a football and now that this one has been released, there aren't many copies to go around. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I sure wish that Topps would utilize some of these unique photos to add some spice to a base set. I mean, how many of the same type of photo can you possibly look at across a 300+ card series without getting bored to tears? Thanks for reading.

March 30, 2017

(Finally)The 12th Day of Trade Posts...

Dimebox Nick sent to me, a bit of just about everything! Today, I highlight the last of my really overdue trade packages. Moving forward, I'll be able to get to my just a bit overdue packages. Some months ago, I received a rather large, bulging bubble mailer from Nick. Side note - the mailer had a small tear in it, but fortunately none of the contents were missing. I know this because I can't imagine anything more cardboard actually fitting in it. As usual, the trade from Nick contained a little bit of everything that I collect. Let's get on to the highlights!

Among the various stuffed team bags were these. Despite the note, there were not 179 Burger King cards in that pack. There was a half dozen cards towards the Yankees set though and that was an awesome start. In the middle here is a sleeve stuffed with minis of all sorts. Perhaps most interesting in the pack was the alert to 'check the backs...' Upon flipping them over:

Wow, the Ginter #23/25(best I can read the hand numbering) and a Sabermetrics Brett Gardner variation were surprising finds.

Oddballs!!! I can't imagine receiving a trade from Nick without some form of oddball being included. The Smokey the Bear Angels were ones that I had previously eyeballed on Johnny's Trading Spot several months before this package arrived. Bill Dickey is one of my favorite old school Yankees players. It's always awesome to find a Hostess card in a trade pack and that also goes for any Kellogg's cards. I was doubly grilled with that Guidry because it was completely crack-free.

Moving on to some former Yankees that I have sentimental attachments to for one reason or another. As you can see, the oddballs continue through this scan as well. I love that Strawberry with him taking a curtain call. The Donnie Baseball is one of the sometimes tough to find box bottom cards. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned my love of those Dufex parallels before. The Topps Kids Kevin Maas actually looks really similar to the way I remember him when he was mashing HRs in his rookie season. The blue parallel, serial numbered Betances doesn't really fit since it's kinda mainstream, but it was definitely a welcome addition. Finally, a minor league issue of Hideki Irabu. I vividly remember the hype that surrounded him and the hope I had for him to be even better than Hideo Nomo. Good times, reminiscing about a time when he had all the potential in the world. Too bad he was one of the biggest busts.

Here, we've got some old and some new. I especially love the Buck Leonard and the Trea Turner, but they're all pretty great.

Next up, some Archives-y and Heritage-y inserts of former Yankees. The 1951 design is my first from that set and it only serves as a reminder that I really need to pick up one of those factory sets one of these days. In case you guys haven't gotten the idea from reading my previous posts, I am a sucker for these old school oddball-type sets.

I was blown away when I flipped to this one in one of the stacks. Now, I'm no Jayson Werth fan, but I have eyeballed these Sega Card-Gen issues since I first saw them on several other blogs. Occasionally, I've search d for these on eBay and I've never come across one that fits my collection well enough to pay the asking prices. I love this card.

I was shocked to see these. Knowing Nick's usual point of view on relic cards, I would have never thought I'd find one(let alone two) in a trade from him. These are welcome additions to my former Durham Bulls collections. If only that Souza had the Rays logo on that helmet... Usually, if I'm lucky enough to find a relic in a trade package, it is the final scan that I post. However, this particular envelope happened to contain a parallel that blew me away even more so than he truly unexpected relics...

There you have it! Maybe it's not so awesome to some of you being that this is a week or so from opening day. Though I'm embarrassed to say it, this card arrived in my collection right at the beginning of Gary's barrage of home runs last summer. I actually kinda felt bad because had Nick held onto it for another week or so(rather than throwing it into this trade package), he probably could have sold it for a pretty penny. I'm extremely thankful that he was willing to include this awesome RC parallel. Thanks for another great trade, Nick. I've got several stacks set to the side with your name on them. I'll be sure to get them in the mail to you really soon. Thanks for reading.

March 29, 2017

Waiting For Opening Day

For the past few years, I haven't been able to get into the March Madness as easily as I did when I was younger. Instead, once the final whistle of the Super Bowl blows, I anxiously await the a start of baseball season. Tuesday evening a few weeks back, I was fortunate to stumble across something to help keep me occupied until MLB's first pitch of the season on April 2nd.

It was on the shelf a day earlier than its release date and since it is one of the most affordable products of the year, I went with a blaster and a jumbo pack. Other than three inserts(shown below), the jumbo didn't yield anything terribly exciting. Here are the highlights of the night's pack ripping.

This year,s Sanchez is a significant upgrade from the pixelated monstrosity of an RC he had in OD last year. I'm diggin the emotion captured in the Andrew Miller photo and I can just imagine where the ball landed after Javy Baez put his bat to it. The bottom row is a trio of first cards of guys on new teams. This season they seem to be photoshopped much better than in previous years.

Here are three decent looking horizontal cards set next to the first few inserts from the product. I really like the team inserts and who doesn't love ballpark food?

Now, I might love some ballpark popcorn, but that has got to be one of the most generic pictures you could possibly ever see grace the front of a baseball card. Next up, Superstar Celebrations. As has been the case the last few years, these are by far my favorite inserts from OD. Photo selection is always really great and unique in this set.

Running a close second in the favorite insert set race are the mascots! If only the Yankees had a mascot, I'd really love this set. I guess I'll have to settle for Tampa's Raymond. Lastly, the Pence was the best of the blue foil parallels that I pulled. I think these are really well done. I do wish they would go back to the practice of a few years ago and put serial numbering on these. While it's true that #/2017 is nowhere near 'limited' I just like the numbering. That was all I ever expected to pull from an Opening Day blaster, but apparently the odds were with me on that day a few weeks back.

This was tucked away in one of the blaster packs! Ive never pulled a relic from Opening Day. It's a mundane, gray swatch and isn't numbered, but it was a real thrill knowing that the odds are stacked against you in this product. How high are they stacked?

Opening Day relic 1:525 packs, that's how high. One in every 53(yes, I rounded up) blasters should contain a relic pack. As always, OD was a fun break. In the big picture, I really hope a Topps brings Bunt back as a low cost option, but I don't see myself abandoning OD anytime in the near future. Thanks for reading.

March 28, 2017

A Royal Visit to the Card Aisle

Today was one of the worst workdays I've had in quite some time. I was stressed about an issue walking in the door and the day just snowballed. It ended up with me spending 2+ hours with a dear friend(and coworker) of mine at an urgent care and eventually the ER. From the ER, it was back to work for another 2 hours, where I was unable to be very productive due to the events of the day. So, when I finally left the office, my car kinda drove itself to the local Target for some potential retail pack therapy. I would up picking out a variety of products to open, but for tonight I'll focus on the most unexpected.

Once again, I am apparently out of the loop on release dates. GQ officially releases tomorrow, but as is sometimes the case, I found some blasters on the shelf and some 'Value Packs' hanging on the pegs a day early. Not shown in this picture, there was a coupon for a free pack of Opening Day attached to the front of this package. Let's take a look, shall we?

Here are a few favorites from the three packs. Of course, I love the Tanaka. The Trout is already re-homed, but it's a nice 'art-card'. That concept seems a bit lost on me for a set like GQ though. I mean, can you really tell a huge difference between these drawn cards and the artistic likenesses that always grace the fronts of the Gypsy Queen set? I included Kirby Yates because he was one of my favorite Durham Bulls a few years back. Then he played with the Yankees for a short while. The Reyes and Swanson were the only RCs I pulled, but they're pretty good ones to pull. It's a shame Reyes got hurt. The Quintana shows of the design of the backs. Overall, I think I like the design a bit better than in most years past. It's probably not a product I'll open much more of, but it was a fun rip nonetheless. Now. On to the exclusive green bordered pack.

Not to shabby. A rare cardboard Wieters sighting, Andrew Miller(even if it is in an Indians jersey), and a promising young hurler from Philly makes for a decent pack. I really like the way the green border works with the design and it's a bonus for me that these are not done as 'colored frames' like in years past. My free OD pack was not my first exposure to the 2017 version of the brand. I had picked up a blaster and jumbo pack the day before they officially released. The goods from that break have been scanned and a post is about halfway written, but I haven't gotten a chance to finish it. Maybe I will sometime soon. Anyway, on to the free pack.

Of course it was not nearly as good as my last free pack(series one yielding the Bryant photo variation SSP), but it was a fun addition to my therapeutic break for the evening. I scanned the V-Mart because you don't often see him playing in the field on cardboard these days. The Bregman RC should speak for itself. I always dig the mascots in OD, maybe one year, I'll put together the set. The Sano was my first Opening Day Stars in hand. I like the design, but I'm not sure I'll ever get past the idea that Topps is no longer using the lenticular design on this insert. There were a few other packs that were part of my pack therapy, but they'll have to wait for another post. I'm so glad that cardboard is my 'go-to' vice on difficult days like today. Thanks for reading.