March 30, 2015

2015 Topps Set Needs Help from Fuji

This is long overdue. A few weeks ago, I was on the receiving end of a package from Fuji that cut my Topps base set needs by a whopping 16. With the addition of a few others here and there, I currently stand at only 4 more to complete it. 

91 Corey Dickerson
240 Anthony Renaudo
298 Rymer Liriano
300 Mike Trout

If anyone out there has any spares of these guys laying around, I'd appreciate dropping me a comment or emailing me at: tim dot trisomenc at gmail dot com

Thanks for the help Fuji!

March 26, 2015

A Completely Welcome and Highly Appreciated PWE

The other day, a delivery from Brian of the blog Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary arrived in my mailbox. This is the second bunch of cards that I've received and I'm sure that my initial 'payment' package probably hasn't made it all the way to his doorstep just yet(it is on the way, I promise). I only expected a few cards from 2015 Donruss that he had posted a few days ago, but Brian went way above and beyond that. Let's start with the unexpected.

His note called these 'filler' to make the PWE less flimsy. Well, I will take filler like this any day of the week and twice on Sunday! These hail from the Topps Archives 'Ultimate 1953 series' set released in 1991.

Here's one more from the early Archives set, a random 1979 Yankee new acquisition and a recent Bowman Chrome Yankee Prospect(I will honestly have to research this kid, I don't know anything about him). Oh, but wait! Upon closer inspection, that isn't a random traded Yankee after all...

It's my first pre-1980 OPC! If I were more familiar with these, I would have recognized it by the text about the trade on the front of the card(plus, his regular Topps has the White Sox team name on front).

There was also one more card towards my 2015 Topps series one set included as filler(not pictured). Now, here are the ones I was expecting.

For me. The jury is still out on 2015 Donruss. I want to like this product, but I still have a hard time with the lack of team logos and I'm not completely sure what I think about the design. I do like the Javier Baez auto. The design kinda reminds me of 1996 Leaf Signature Series(which I really liked at the time), so I had inquired about its availability. I also commented that I thought the Gwynn insert was nicely done. Being the generous guy he is, Brian replied that he would set the Baez and the Gwynn aside for me and that he planned to throw in the Ellsbury base card as well.

Thanks once again Brian. I still can't wait to read your reaction to what I've sent your way, it just has to arrive first. I look forward to our next trade.

March 25, 2015

A Trek Through the Land of Listia

As a collector, I'm always looking for new ways to add some cards to my various collections. After keeping up with my blog roll for a while I started seeing a post here or there talking about the auction site Listia. I was intrigued. I did some research and pretty soon I decided to take an adventure in this new land. Upon entering this new place, I was given some free credits to spend and I was determined to find something that I could add to my collection with them. However, at first glance, I found a wasteland teeming with over-production era commons. If it wasn't for that determination I probably would have left that place and never returned. Instead, I learned that this was a land where a card hunter needs to be patient. After some time, I finally found some inhabitants that were worth keeping an eye on. So, watch them I did and when the time was right...I took a shot at making them mine. After a few near misses, I found success! Over the past few weeks, this place has become a semi-regular stomping grounds for this card hunter, so I thought I'd share a recent addition from the Land of Listia.

This is not my first new acquisition from this land, but it does happen to be one of my favorites so far. 

If you haven't visited this place yet, I would definitely recommend it. I have not only found some great new cards, but I have also found value in some cards that I figured I'd be stuck with because they weren't worth the effort to sell them on eBay. It has become a viable new source of cards for me and hasn't cost more than a few stamps here and there. Periodically, I will share some other new additions, but for now I wish you good luck in your travels to the Land of Listia.

March 24, 2015

Nacho Average Group Break - Heritage Style

Chris at Nachos Grande has opened my eyes to the wonders of the group break. Here we are a little more than halfway through March and I've already participated in both of his 2015 breaks. I've really enjoyed the concept and I've been fairly lucky with the results so far. This second time around, the break consisted of a case of 2015 Heritage and a 'bonus' box of 2004 Clubhouse Collection which promised hits-a-plenty.

Once again, Chris included some extra Yankees stuff along with the goods from the break. The most notable this time around was my second Topps Chipz. This A-Rod joins CC in the Chipz collection. I'm not sure I'll ever bust any packs of these on my own, but they are certainly interesting and welcome break/trade acquisitions.

I'm not going to post scans of the entire team(which I received at least four or five times over), but will focus on a few of my favorites. Unfortunately there were exactly zero Yankees in the SP high numbers this year. Really Topps, zero? I know that with the retirement of Derek Jeter, the Yankees don't really have much in the way of a hobby superstar, but some teams out there had 4 or 5 SP's. You'd think there could be a little more equitable distribution, at least one SP per team. OK, rant over. I really like the 'classic' poses on the Gardner and Nova. It certainly doesn't hurt to see the famous Yankee Stadium facade behind them. They are probably two of my top five current favorite players on the team. I include the Girardi because it's so rare to see a manager's card in today's hobby. I think these should be a staple in Flagship, but that's just this guy's opinion.

Three more pitchers from the set. The old school 'All-Star Rookie' cups on the Betances and the Tanaka are great! As I've previously written, I have high hopes that Pineda can have a productive, if not dominant, season. 

I really like the team cards, but I think they should have come up with alternate captions or left them off completely for the teams that didn't finish first or second in their division. It is definitely strange to see a celebratory team photo with the words 5th Place ________ Division. Even though the Yankees didn't make the playoffs, at least 2nd place in the division doesn't look too bad. The 2015 Rookie Stars is my favorite of the Yankee base cards from this set. I was hoping that Jose Pirela would get a rookie card when Topps series one was released. He played really well for the Triple A Scranton Railriders and earned a September call-up during which he hit pretty well in limited at bats. I got to meet him at the Triple A All-Star autograph session held in Durham this past season. He was a really nice guy. I had hoped that he would have a real chance to earn either the starting SS or 2B role this season, but with the addition of Didi Gregorius and the re-signing of Steven Drew(no idea what they were thinking), it looks unlikely that Pirela will get much of a shot. After the loss of the Captain, this should be a prime opportunity to give a shot to some of their younger guys like Pirela and Rob Refsnyder.

As we move on to the non-base card part of the program, I was lucky enough to land one of the box topper advertising panels. Even though this will be difficult to display, I love adding stuff like this to the collection.

The design of the New Age Performers is solid year after year. I landed three copies of this Tanaka so if there is anyone out there looking for a copy, I can send one your way.

I know they don't really fit with the 'vintage' theme of Heritage, but I think the Chrome and refractor parallels are great. I was lucky that this refractor of Ellsbury came out of the case. It's numbered out of 599 and is shiny, sparkly goodness! It probably would have been the card of the break for me if it hadn't been for the next lucky pull.

It's a piece of a bat from the Captain!!! It's not numbered, but it was awesome to see this card come from one of the boxes. That would have been a good enough break. A solid haul, nothing spectacular or super rare, but I would have been happy with it.

Fortunately, Chris pulled a Yankee hit from the box of Clubhouse. Granted, he's not a very memorable Yankee, but Ruben Sierra played for a long time and put up some respectable numbers over his career. It seems he was playing almost as far back as I remember watching games(almost). I was very happy to get this card. It's way better than not getting any hit from that box. It was truly some icing on what was already a pretty decent break from my perspective.

Once again, huge thanks to Chris for putting in all of the work to plan and host this break! I hope to join another one sometime soon.

March 23, 2015

A Completely Arbitrary Group Trade

As many of you know, Brian from the relatively new blog Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary recently held a group trade. I thought it was a brilliant idea so I jumped at the chance to participate. I won't go into too many details since many of you are already familiar with his concept, but I definitely wanted to show off the new Yankees cards that came my way as a result. 

Brian busted a box of 1996 Pinnacle, 1999 Ultra, 2002 Gallery, 2002 Great of the Game, and 2003 Stadium Club. I must say he chose a great variety of products. Without further delay, here are the highlights:

As if Brian wasn't already generous enough to host a unique break like this, he even included some 'bonus' cards for my collection. All three of these are semi-shiny, foil-y insert goodness. Finding these was a nice surprise, especially since I had some pretty good luck with the break products.

I used to have a copy of this 'Boomer' Wells Ultra card celebrating his perfect game, but it somehow got lost, so it's great to have another copy. I find the perspective of the shot on the Jeter Stadium Club to be quite strange, having a blurred Giambi in the foreground and all. It's still a great shot though, but not as great as the sliding Soriano.

Here I've got two Yankee prospects that never lived up to their hype and one that proved to be all that was promised and more. It's funny, now that I've been reminded of Drew Henson, he's showing up in a second consecutive trade package. 

Three of my favorite Yankees from my generation get the painted Gallery treatment here. I feel like these should be printed on stock that feels more like canvas, but alas regular card stock it is. They are still quite nice.

This is the box I was most excited for. I had a few singles from this set and really liked the way Fleer executed the design. These three true Yankee Greats here are my faves from this set's base cards.

Next, we go to the inserts. I love the World Premiere 'El Duque'! Back in 1999, I pulled a few of these inserts, but never this one. I haven't written about how big a fan of Orlando Hernandez I am, but it's forthcoming at some point. I'm really happy to have this one in the collection now. It's also great to add 2 new cards of the Captain.

Stadium Club makes up for the lackluster design on the Beam Team set with the Stadium Shots insert. The view of Yankee Stadium is really great. If I had the choice, it wouldn't showcase Giambi, but I can't argue. This is one beautiful card! It's a shame that both of these from the box Brian opened were Giambi, giving me dupes. It would have been nice to have seen another park showcased.

Last, but certainly not least, a hit from the Fleer Greats came my way. It's not of some of the older generation players that I had dreamed of, but I can't complain. Mr. October is certainly nothing to sneeze at!

All told, my haul from the group trade was far better than I expected. I've been pulling plenty of great cardboard to send to Brian as 'payment' for my slot. I hope once my payment box finds its way to his doorstep that he is as pleased with its contents as I was with the spoils from his break. Thanks Brian for setting this up and hosting it, it was a blast!

March 21, 2015

Splinters from A Cracked Bat

I know the title is a bit of a reach. I've been a touch busy this past week and I guess my return post's creativity is lacking as a result. Hopefully I can shake off the rust and return to better form this coming week(assuming that I'm usually in better form that is).

A little while back, I contacted Julie from A Cracked Bat blog. I had a lot of Tigers that were just longing for a new home, so I sent them her way. She put together quite a generous box filled with Yankees of all sorts to send my way. Back when they were released, I really liked the designs of the Select brand. I ripped a few packs way back when, but I didn't really have much luck pulling Yankees and never really pursued them at shows or shops. Seeing these come out of that box, makes me wonder why I didn't. I'm particularly partial to the '94 Bernie(middle right). The Upper Deck Damon doesn't really fit in with the other five here, but I like the action shot nonetheless.

I definitely needed 5 of these 6(the Soriano RC is a welcomed dupe for me). Another new(to me) Bernie, a rookie cup Melk-man, and a second year Drew Henson(more on him later) were nice to see. The Pinnacle Inside cards of Pettitte and Martinez are the first of that release to find a home in my collection. For those who don't remember, this set was distributed in sealed cans that had different players printed on them. That was certainly a novel concept, but I never could bring myself to take a chance on a pack that required a can opener. The card design is quite nice though.

Rookies and first cards of (new to me) sets just kept on coming as I flipped through the the box. I had a few parallels of the JR Murphy Chrome, but Julie sent me my first base RC. It was the opposite story for the Betances. I had a few base RC's and a parallel or two(including a few different autos from the Chrome set), but I was excited to see the orange refractor staring back at me. I'm hoping he's set to have a huge season, closer's role or not. That Donnie Baseball from Triple Threads was the first of its kind that I've seen in person. I was really impressed and surprised by how thick the card stock was, and it's always nice to add a new card of a former Yankee Captain.

The variety continued with more former Yankees(all Greats in their own way). I really dig the Torre and the Miller Huggins. Godzilla makes a cameo. I'll always have a soft spot for him. I really enjoyed his stint with the Durham Bulls where I got to see him play in person 'in my own backyard' for a few weeks. That's my first Classics card as well. This trading thing is really expanding my collecting horizons!

Shortly before Julie and I made our exchange, she had posted a bunch of Kellogg's cards that were up for grabs. I was fortunate enough to claim a few which she sent with the rest of the trade package.

The more of these 3-D Super Stars that I add to my collection, the more I fall in love with these. These were great, but I've saved the best scan for last.

That is my first relic of Swisher as a Yankee. I enjoyed watching him play in Pinstripes, he was a goofball who had a knack for coming up with the big hit when the team needed it. 

I think my favorite card in the entire package was this Drew Henson auto. Henson was supposed to be the 'next Yankee Superstar'. He was even compared to the likes of Mike Schmidt. In the early 2000's, I remember scrambling to get a few of his inexpensive base cards(difficult with all the hype surrounding him back then) because he was spending time with the Columbus Clippers(then the Yankees' Triple A club) who were coming to Durham to play my hometown Bulls. I succeeded in finding a few non-RC's and was lucky to have gotten 2 or 3 of them signed by the end of that series. I was thrilled. I longed to add his 2001 Fleer Legacy autographed RC, but it was pretty limited and pricey. Then, Henson struggled in the minors and eventually decided to try his hand at an NFL career which also ended badly. He was a rare case of failing to capitalize on his boatload of talent that wasn't due to substance abuse. 
I hadn't thought of him in years until a few days before Julie's package arrived in my mailbox. I was at Barnes and Noble flipping through the new Baseball America and came upon a 'Where are They Now' type of article about him that detailed his MLB and NFL failures and went on to say that he was now scouting for the Yankees organization. The article reminded me of his place in Yankee history and rekindled my desire to add that Legacy auto. Funny how a few days later I was opening the trade package from ACB and flipped to this card. I had to do a double take. I already had the base insert of this one and certainly wasn't expecting an autograph to be hiding in this box, so it took me a second to realize it was, in fact, signed. When I realized it was, I was very excited.

This may not be the Legacy auto that I've been looking for on and off, but the irony of finding a certified auto in this trade package so shortly after being reminded of this former 'can't miss prospect' gives it the win against some very strong competition in this trade box.

Thanks Julie, I had a blast trading with you! I'm hoping we can work on another deal sometime soon.

March 15, 2015

Trading with Shoebox Legends

A few weeks ago, Shane from the great blog, Shoebox Legends contacted me and proposed an AL East rivals trade. Since I am a Yankee fan, the overwhelming majority of the Red Sox in my possession are certainly fair game, so I agreed readily. The other day an envelope arrived from Shane. Here's the goods.

A trio of Bowman Heritage rookies that I didn't already have start things off. For a while I had the Hughes and Chamberlain on a want list, but I really only looked for them half-heartedly. Once they both left NY, they really got put on the back burner, but it is nice to finally have these cards that I had on one of my official lists a few years back. The last one is Kei Igawa. I try my best to forget guys like him(Hideki Irabu anyone...). The only card that really stands out in my mind that I have is one that was given out at the National one year.

Next up, another Hughes and another Chamberlain. Very nice additions. I really like that Fleer Tradition Banner Season design, and this is the first Yankee that I have.

A little Mo and an appearance from the Captain make me happy. This Ultra Rising Stars appeared long after I had stopped collecting that product. The design reminds me of something from the late '90's.

I also like the Topps Turkey Red inserts, but until this arrived, I had no idea that there were refractor parallels of them as well.

I'm probably one of the few Yankee collectors that miss Chien-Ming Wang. I like to remember the few seasons that he was pretty dominant and came up just shy of being a 20 game winner, before injuries derailed his career. Shane's envelope didn't just focus on the more modern day players though.

These two from the '70's are right up my alley. I wish Topps would create a design similar to this for either traded or season highlight cards. I love the 'ripped from the headlines' feel.

There were also a few cards of Yankees legends thrown in for good measure! The Mantle came from a retail 'cereal box' configuration(I think) and is a shiny refractor, though it's tough to tell from the scan. The 2 GQ's are framed parallels, as is the Ruth Masterpieces. I particularly love the Action Packed Gehrig. All in all a great selection of cards that will now have a home in friendly territory.

A huge thanks Shane! You may not have thought that there was anything fantastic in here, but I would disagree. I have a large stack of BoSox to send your way, I just need to check them against your Zistle list. I'm open to taking cards of your AL East rivals anytime!

March 12, 2015

Will Ferrell - Baseball Superstar!.

I'm not one to post multiple times a day, because I don't ever really have the time or the ideas for content to support that. Today, however is a different story. I had scheduled the post from earlier this morning when I completed it last night. This morning, I was made aware that today is going to be quite the day for Will Ferrell. Yes, THAT Will Ferrell. He will be participating in 5 different spring training games, suiting up for 10 different clubs and playing all nine positions on the field. Check his schedule for today's action here. I thought this was worth quickly putting together a second post today.

Once I heard about this, I was doing some research about his charitable intent and learned that he has suited up and taken to the diamond before. In 2010, he 'played' in a single game for the Round Rock Express Triple A club, throwing a single pitch before getting ejected. The PCL even released a card in their annual Top Prospect set that year to commemorate the event.

Now that I know that this card exists, it is a must have for my collection. I'm hoping that Topps will see enough merit in this fundraising effort to produce some sort of insert of Ferrell playing for one of the teams today. Beckett Media actually wrote a piece expressing that exact sentiment.

So, for anyone reading this, do you have thoughts on this topic? Would you be interested in Will Ferrell baseball cards?

At the least, this should be an entertaining afternoon!

Would the Blaster Be Worth It?

I've been out of commission for the past few days, but I'm ready to get back in the game. I'll pick up where I left off. I did, in fact, head right back to the local Target the day after I was able to pick up the previously posted jumbo pack. When I arrived, there was no Heritage on the shelves. I had seen the guy getting ready to put the stock out while I was in the store less than 24 hours before and I knew they wouldn't have sold out. So, I wandered over to the customer service desk and actually saw the guy that was stocking the day before. I pulled out the $5 Topps coupon and asked the guy if they had any of it in stock. He said 'yeah I put that out yesterday, it should be in the card aisle.' When I told him I had checked there, he walked over there with me and said ' if we have any, it would be right here...' When he saw none on the shelf, he told me that he remembered that they didn't have any room and that's why he didn't finish putting that stock out the day before. So, he unlocked a cabinet below the register right next to the card aisle and pulled out the box with all of the Heritage jumbos, hangers, and blasters. He asked if I wanted to grab one now since they did have it. I said yes, and he grabbed one random blaster.

Why did I go through the trouble of asking? Well, I knew it had been there, I saw it. I had my heart set on breaking a blaster, THAT day and I really didn't want to drive around to other Targets to find a box to use my coupon on. 

Why did I go through the trouble of writing all of that for you? Well, for those who have hopes of finding the new product of the day and keep searching Target day after day, wondering if it has appeared on the shelves yet, maybe the reason the store doesn't have it on the shelves is because they didn't have space. Maybe you'll have luck if you go through the trouble of asking. Now, on to the contents of the box.

First, I was apprehensive because I didn't get to choose the box, but it wasn't going to argue with the guy who just grabbed a box and locked the rest away. I just wanted to get out if there and rip some packs. So, even with the $5 off, I did kind of wonder if the contents would be worth the trouble and cost.

The first couple packs only provided a few league leaders and a flashback insert to speak of. Somewhere in the middle, things got a bit better, but we'll get to that.

I pulled only one of the Target exclusive Nolan Ryan inserts and one more New Age Performer. The Abreu is not anything super special, I just like the old school Rookie Cup.

I hit the high number SP odds on the head and pulled these three. I was not terribly thrilled, but then again, there are no Yankees on the SP checklist this year, but would it have been too much to actually pull a player I even had a remote interest in? Apparently it was. However, I have no reason to complain because of these two:

The Hamilton is the refractor version, numbered 168/566. Then, I pulled the auto. I realize how difficult it is to pull autos out of this stuff, and I have had some recent success pulling one from some loose packs of the 2014 set. Come on though! I love baseball history and I haven't heard of this guy. Nor had I heard of the subject of my 2014 auto pull. I've researched the bespectacled Kreutzer and he really didn't have much going for him. I really have no idea how Topps is coming up with candidates to include in their Real Ones auto sets. But hey, pulling an auto is pulling an auto. This on is going to be up for grabs though. If anyone out there has any interest in it, let me know. I'm sure we could work out a deal. In the long run, I may not have pulled many keepers, but that blaster was certainly worth it!

March 4, 2015

First Heritage of the Year

It was a long day at work yesterday, but I had to pick up a few items at the local Target before going home. As I always do, I stopped by the card aisle. Much to my surprise, I saw a few of these packs hanging out! I was shocked, especially since I had to wait until almost a week after the release date for this Target to have series one. I really wanted to pick up a blaster, but I figured I might as well wait until today to get one since I can start using my $5 off coupon I got out of the series one Target blaster. So, once I got home, I ripped into the pack to get my first taste of this year's Heritage! Here are the highlights of the 20 cards.

I really like the kind of player Mookie Betts seems to be, so I won't hold it against him that he plays for Boston. After all, his location isn't his fault. I've got the Yankees in the Nachos Grande Heritage group break, so for the first time, I didn't want to pull any Yankees, but it is cool to see the first card with Didi in a Yanks uni. Gotta love that airbrush! Insert 1 of 2 - a Cutch New Age Performer. An interesting design and a great player.

More airbrush! First cards of Miley w/ the BoSox and Shelby Miller w/ the Braves. Hey, didn't that last guy pitch pretty well in the World Series last year?

I like the dual-player rookie cards. I'm probably the only one that feels that way, but that's OK. You've gotta love insert 2 of 2. Koufax and Kershaw! I'm not a Dodgers fan, but I really like this card. I don't really see anything terribly original in this design, but this is the first combo of these two that I have in the collection. 

Overall impressions are solid. This is about what I've come to expect(and what I like about) from Heritage, year after year. I'm definitely looking forward to snagging that blaster a bit later on today!

March 3, 2015

Going Once, Going Twice...

I'm going to give everyone a few more hours to express interest in either of these two Topps series one inserts before sending them out to eBay. The Miguel Cabrera gold is in a pending transaction, but the Junior Lake snow camo parallel #33/99 and the Paul Goldschmidt First Home Run Medallion are still up for grabs. If you or anyone you know might have interest in trading for either, please let me know today. Later tonight, they'll seek new homes through auction. Thanks everyone, have a great day!

Junior Lake snow camo 33/99

Paul Goldschmidt First Home Run Medallion