June 30, 2016

Stadium Club Acquired!

Earlier this week I was reading an article that contained the full 2016 Stadium Club checklist. At the time, I had no idea that the release date was this Friday. I was immediately excited at the prospect of busting some in the near future. As it turns out, today became 'near future' day when I found a few boasters sitting on the shelf at my local Target! I couldn't wait to rip the packs, so why should I make you wait to see what was inside? Here they are in the order they were ripped(with minimal, if any commentary in between).

My first pack of this year was pretty decent. The Rizzo is of the gold foil variety, but I think the Arrieta is the best in the pack.

The Boggs is a black foil version and man, what a sweet Clemente!

A Blake Snell RC and a Legends Die-Cut, not too shabby!

A Cepeda with the Mays cameo is pretty awesome, plus the Morales is another gold foil.

Gehrig and a Beam Team?!?!

The final pack was a bit anti-climactic, but overall it was a really great blaster! Here's a closer look at the Beam Team MadBum.

I like that they're reminiscent of the earlier inserts, but have an updated look and feel. While there wasn't anything Earth shattering in here, I really beat the odds with this blaster. The black foil was listed at 1:16 packs while both the Legends Die-Cut and the Beam Team were listed at 1:256 packs. As for the set design, I like it despite being very similar to a set from earlier in my collecting career...

This is a 1997 Fleer Tiffany parallel. Look familiar? Of course there are differences such as the player's name font being angular rather than blocky and the team name/position being pseudo-script. Otherwise, they're very similar. In fact, I probably like SC in part because it looks like the Fleer set from my younger days. Looks like I've got another set to start hunting. At only 35/300 from the single blaster, I've got a long way to go. Thanks for reading.

June 28, 2016

Vintage Hockey Treasures from the Land of Listia

It's been a little while since I took a trek through the Land of Listia. I browse often but bid rarely these days. Every once in a while, I am able to find a few gems. A few weeks back, I was checking out some newer listings and I came across a seller that had multiple lots of vintage hockey up for bid. I decided to keep an eye on about four of his auctions. As time ran low on the majority of them, e bids were way higher than I was willing to go, but for some reason, one of them was still in the range of what I was willing to offer. I placed my bid on a lot of 5 1971-72 Topps Hockey cards and waited for time to run out. When the countdown hit zero, I was still the high bidder and a few days later an envelope containing these treasures was in hand.

I don't think you can go wrong with a vintage goalie, but Crozier was a pretty decent player. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the top rookie in 1965 and followed that up by becoming the first goalkeeper to win the Conn Smythe Trophy and also the first player to do so for the losing team.

You gotta love a pair of old Hawks. White played in six consecutive All-Star games while averaging 30 assists over his 5 years in Chicago. Magnuson was a bit of a goon, racking up 1,442 career penalty minutes(a large number of those on fighting majors).

Bergman was a solid defenseman for a few great and a bunch of mediocre Red Wings teams.

I was thrilled to win this lot, but a bit disappointed that I missed out on one lot that had a half dozen Golden Seals players. Oh well, maybe I'll come across something similar if I stay patient. Thanks for reading.

June 27, 2016

A Belated But Super Father's Day Gift

No, this wasn't a late gift from my kids. I had hoped to make a trip out to my LCS last Sunday to pick up a few Panini Father's Day promo packs. However, due to family obligations(and realizing that the shop was giving out single packs for every $30 spent) the trip never materialized. I did begin to peruse the offerings on eBay though and when I saw the following listed for a great Buy It Now price, I had to make the purchase.

This is the Cracked Ice parallel of Mr. Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller. It's a bit tough to see through the cracked ice, but that is a photo of him eyeing the loose ball in the moments after one of his forced fumbles in the Big Game. I love everything about this card! The action shot brings me fond memories of watching the game live, the SB50 patch is clearly visible on his jersey, and the perspective of the shot makes me feel like I on the field fighting for the fumble recovery! Oh yeah, one more thing that's tough to see in this scan:

Yup, that's a Christmas card too!

The back is kind of a bland/typical Panini design, but just in case I ever forget the details of that game, they're right there in print!

Did I mention that I love everything about this card? I've had it in hand for only a few hours, but it's already taken its place as one of my favorite cards. Thanks for reading.

June 21, 2016

Falling Farther Down the Digital Rabbit Hole

Not long ago, I wrote about completing my first 'set' on the Bunt app. At the time, I really didn't know how many cards I'd actually chase after that. I had my answer in relatively short order...A LOT! I have become increasingly active on the app. I think it will continue to appeal to me as long as I don't begin making real purchases. I have built my collection with the daily free coins by having patience and some good luck. I've since completed the Striking Distance insert(modeled after the Opening Day set of the sesame name) and a Bernie Williams Tribute set. However, I recently acquired the two following cards that commemorate two really great highlights over the past week.

First up is this tribute to Ichiro. I know that his being called the all time hits leader has been a polarizing topic but I, for one, consider him to be exactly that. I'm not suggesting that his name should be in the MLB record book as the career hits leader, but the fact is he has cranked out 4,257 professional hits in his career. That is pretty darned impressive. I'm very much looking forward to him joining the 3000 hit club in the coming weeks.

From a great veteran to a highly touted youngster.

This is a really fun card for me on multiple levels. Contreras is the next great Cubs prospect(I snagged him in my fantasy league), it was an awesome highlight, and it shows off the Father's Day uniforms with the blue patches.

I'm digging this set which often parallels the Topps Now releases. I guess you could say that I took the red pill. Thanks for reading.

June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

It's been a busy few days traveling back home from a brief post-Kindergarten graduation escape, recovering from said escape and then today being Father's Day. Here are Happy Father's Day wishes to everyone out there that was celebrating today, I hope you all had a great day. Since it's late, here are a few father/son moments on cardboard.

I love this card from the Empire Strikes Back set from back in the '80's. It captures the moment prior to one of the truly great cinematic reveals.

This is a great insert from the recently released version of Topps Archives. It shows perhaps the greatest father-son pairing in MLB history.

True, see cards have little to do with each other outside of the familial links in both. However, if I want to stretch a bit, they both depict and that in one way or another were able to step from their father's shadow. Anyway, that's all I've got this late. Thanks for reading.

June 15, 2016

Cracking a Box O' Series Two

For my second post in as many days, I've decided to share the results of a Hanger box of Topps Series  Teo that my oldest daughter picked out for me as we browsed around an unfamiliar Target tonight. We're out of town, trying to enjoy a few days to ourselves since school ended last week. It's kinda a vacation, but kinda not. Between my wife and I, we will have worked remotely every day and/or night that we'll be away before returning to the office next week. At least we've been able to steal some time to have some fun in between meetings. Anyway, back to the subject at hand...it turns out that there is a Target a few hundred yards from the hotel/suites where we are staying. We had to pick up a few things to keep in e room for the next few days so my oldest and I walked over to do some quick shopping. Once we had grabbed all of the things we needed, we found ourselves in the card aisle. Fortunately, she doesn't mind because there are all manner of other interesting items sitting on the shelves adjacent to the cards(My Little Pony cards/figures, Frozen stuff, and Star Wars stuff happen to keep her busy). I made a deal that she could pick a MLP mystery figure for her and one for her sister, but she had to pick a hanger box for me. She quickly told me which one out of the four I should get and we were on our way. 

By popular demand, here are the contents of the mystery packs:

They were both quite happy with this, by the way. Here's the hanger:

Shortly after returning to the room and getting stuff unpacked, she ripped into her figure, and I ripped into the box.

Leading off, we have a pair of RCs from my two favorite AL teams and two nice Future Stars. I particularly dig the Baez since it's not everyday you see the cold weather gear front and center on some baseball cardboard. Plus, he's one of my favorite non-Yankee/Rays/former Bulls players. This is the first Maile solo RC I've seen and I include the Sanchez just to note that the photo is slightly less pixelated than the zoomed in version Topps used on the Opening Day version.

In my small sample size, I'm pretty sure that the horizontals will rule once again in series two! I love the photo on that Ichiro and this is the third different time a (slight) variation of that Ortiz has shown up on he blog. The Cubs duo card is pretty sweet and I couldn't resist scanning my first Goody RC. So, I feel like the base cards are pretty decent from what I've seen. How would the insert portion of the box look?

Well, it opened strong since I pulled a gold parallel of a Yankee. That's a decent action shot of Didi and I'm thrilled they didn't crop the ball out of the frame. The '200' card highlights Ichiro setting the rookie record for hits in a season while topping 200 back in 2001. I haven't decided yet, but I'm considering hunting down the Chasing 3000 set. They're decent looking and the subject matter fits my collection for multiple reasons...

More inserts and another parallel. I mean how much better could a box get? I snagged a gold and a rainbow parallel(both with quality players, some PC RCs, and two different Kris Bryant inserts among some other cardboard of personal interest that didn't make the cut to get scanned. The upper left Bryant is apparently from the Target exclusive Changing of the Guard insert. Nice design. However, as great as I felt this was, that MLB Debut Car-Go happened to be the third time I saw his name in this pack so I went back and dug a little bit.

Yup, sure enough, I had pulled these two base cards and the Debut. A quick search of Cardboard Connection told me that the card on the right was a Jackie Robinson Day SP variation. It's tough to tell, but he is wearing number 42. The search of Cardboard Connection also told me that the card back code method of identifying the variations is in effect for series 2. I hope Topps decides to continue this going forward as they have in the past.

That was one of the best hanger boxes I've cracked in quite some time. I really need to stick to allowing my daughters to pick packs or boxes for me. Thanks for reading.

June 14, 2016

Some Legendary Cards from the Shoebox

Alright, enough is enough. I was really in a pretty regular groove, churning out posts at a fairly constant pace for the first few months of the year. Seems that for the past 6-8 weeks, I've become quite erratic in the frequency of posting. Thus, I'm beginning to accumulate trade packages that I haven't properly written up(to show my appreciation) and shown off. Though I've said this in recent times, tonight I'm going to get back to my semi-regular posting schedule. Honestly, there's no better way than to jump in to the most recent envelope that arrived in my mailbox courtesy of None other than Shane from Shoebox Legends. I'm always blown away by the contents of Shane's trades and his time was no exception. Check it out!

First up, an unopened retail(I think Dollar Tree) 2014 MLS pack. Inexplicably, this is the first MLS pack of any vintage that I've ever cracked. Truth be told, it's probably because I enjoy most varieties of International footy way better than MLS matches. One of these days I have to give the homegrown league more of a fair shake.

Here they are, my first ever MLS cards. I dig the design of these. As for the players, I was a touch underwhelmed since I didn't recognize any of these guys except the vague recollection of Will Johnson on Canada's National Team. I did however pull a Seattle Sounders player which is significant because they are probably my favorite MLS club(mostly because Clint Dempsey is on he roster). Good stuff. If I could find these packs at my local retail establishment, I'd pick up a few more for sure. Maybe I'll finally break down and snag a blaster or hobby box one of these days. Moving right along...

The envelope was packed, but let's get right to the heavy hitters. I happened to unwrap quite a bit of ink in this particular bubble mailer. Floro is currently a Durham Bulls guy in his second go 'round at the Triple-A level. I think they're trying to reinvent him. Most of last season he was a starter, but this year he's been strictly out of the 'pen. I'm pretty sure it's because of the embarrassment of riches the Rays have in the starting pitching category and the multiple guys waiting in line for a turn to crack the big league rotation(ahem...Blake Snell anyone?). It's been said by others before, but these Inception autos are just plain beautiful.

...and there's a Yankee! I'm no Hensley super collector, as evidenced by the fact that this is only like my 6th or 7th card of him and my first auto, but I sure am pulling for him to fully recover from his second Tommy John surgery in as many years. If there's any silver lining for him, it's that he has youth on his side. He's just 21, but losing the past two seasons of development may be too much to overcome. Either way, this is a sweet looking sig!

Hey, two more Yankee(former Yankee) prospect autos! Joseph is currently in the Baltimore system at Double-A Bowie and Zink last pitched in the Yanks' organization in 2009 and apparently finished his career in the Independent Frontier League back in 2011. I love the sparkly, shiny Gardy! The three across the bottom are throwbacks. When I was a kid, watching some really bad Yankee teams, Hensley 'Bam Bam' Meulens was one of my favorite players on the squad. I really wish he could have carved out a better career for himself. Oscar Gamble is just Oscar Gamble. 'Nuff said, even if he's not sporting the 'fro here. back to '93 Ultra for a Bob Wickman RC. I liked him too, and of course, he became quite a decent closer after his time in Pinstripes was over. He's still the holder of the Indians' career saves record, was a two time All-Star, and the AL saves leader in 2005. Oh well, at least the Yankees won the '96 WS with Wetteland as the closer and then decided to use some guy named Rivera in that role. I think that turned out pretty well for them. Anyway, I threw in some base cards, so that must be the end of the highlights from this particular trade package, right? WRONG! There was one more heavy hitter lurking within:

YIKES!!! This is my first Sweet Spot Signatures card. I must say that I didn't really see what all the fuss was about before I held this in my hand. I had seen these around, read a lot about them, and just didn't get it. For me, I guess I just had to hold it and stare for a few minutes to let it sink in. This is an awesome card! Yes, the signature leaves a bit to be desired, but this is from a time in Crawford's career when he was quite the commodity. He couldn't be bothered to actually sign his entire name! Joking aside, I dig everything about this card. It's super thick to accommodate the giant piece of leather along with the stitches, it's got a 'sweet spot' auto like the name implies, and it pictures a guy hat I really enjoyed watching while he was in Durham. So, when I look at this incredible specimen of cardboard awesomeness, I'll choose to remember his short, but incredible time spent in Durham back in 2002. Well, that wraps up another great trade package from Mr. Shoebox Legends. Thanks Shane! I've got some BoSox almost ready to be packaged up and sent your way. Thanks for reading.

June 7, 2016

Gotta Love a Day at the Ballpark

I haven't been to many baseball games so far this season. I guess that having a third child somewhat limits opportunities to just pack up and head to the ballpark. Well, my beloved Durham Bulls only play the Yankees' Scranton Railriders for one series at home each season. That series happened to begin last Monday on Memorial Day. I couldn't make it to Monday or Tuesday's game, but Wednesday, hey were scheduled for a day game. The planets aligned just right and I was able to pack up my two youngest and head to the ballpark while my oldest was at school for the day.

It turned out to be a beautiful day to take in a ballgame. As the series approached this year, I had been pulling cards of players from the Scranton roster in hopes that I'd get to do a bit of autograph hunting. When hints didn't work out for me to go to either of the first two games, I assumed that I'd be coming empty in the autograph department, but I packed a few cards along with all of the necessities I needed for my girls. Somewhere along my drive to the game, I decided that if things worked out just right, I'd attempt to grab some sigs before the first pitch. When I got there and went to the box office to grab tickets, I was able to grab a few seats in he section at the outfield end of the visiting dugout, second row. I figured things couldn't line up much better, so I set up shop along the wall at the end of the dugout. At the end of the day, I probably could have left with more autos than I got, but I prioritized tow guys:

First, one of the top prospects in the system. Turns out he was a really great kid. Yes, I said kid... He asked 'how are you doing, sir'? I wished him luck and told him how much I appreciated his time and he seemed truly thankful for the kind words.

The other guy I targeted was a little more elusive and I had to wait a bit longer to walk away with his auto.

Swish! The small group that had gathered near the wall where I was standing had asked Nick to sign as he went out to the field to do pre-game stretches/warm-ups. He didn't stop to sign, but he was very animated and asked how we were all doing. He was quite the character. I had met a fellow member of a local FB card collector's group while waiting at the wall and he told me it would be worth a shot at asking when he was on the way back to the dugout after warm-ups. So, we did. We were all met with the same 'How's it going, guys'? This time he added that he would happily get everyone after the game. So, knowing that I wouldn't be able to hang around post-game, I began to resign myself to the idea of only being lucky enough to walk away with Judge as my only success. Honestly, that would have been fine, but as I was packing up, my fellow group member offered to take some stuff that he was fairly certain he could get signed post-game. I handed him the Pressed Into Service and told him I only wanted one and would appreciate his trying for me. Sure enough, a few hours later, I received a FB message letting me know that one of the other members of the group met up with him after the game and he was able to get the card signed. I sent my address and yesterday a FedEx envelope with the Swisher auto arrived on my doorstep. It never ceases to amaze me how generous the collecting community tends to be.

In my younger days, I would have been disappointed with a 'graphing haul of only two cards. However, as I've gotten older, I care more for the memories associated with the experience of obtaining the autos. When I look at most of my older IP auto cards, not many stand out for more than the subject pictured. Going forward, when I look at these two, I'll always remember having my two youngest daughters with me, how nice Aaron Judge was(despite being one of the organization's top prospects), and how entertaining Nick Swisher was. Ahhh, memories! Thanks for reading.

June 6, 2016

Trading With the Chop Keep- Errr, The Cardboard Curmedgeon

A short while ago my quest to complete the Marketside Pizza set led into my second trade with Steve, the former Chop Keeper and current Cardboard Curmudgeon. In addition to providing some much appreciated pizza set needs, he included a few other food related oddballs and a few other set needs.

The Jeter disc was found attached to the lids of Skippy peanut butter several years back. As stated on the front, there were four, unlicensed discs in the set. I was able to track them all down back then, but more cards of the Captain are always welcome! The Randolph may look like the regular base Topps issue, but it is in fact of the Burger King variety.

This pair of series two needs get me a little bit closer to finally polishing off that set. Maybe I'll get it together and complete this and the Update set before this year's Update releases. Maybe not...

Here is the centerpiece of the trade. Three set needs in one package. At this point in my quest, this kind of success rate is unheard of. I stand at 43/50 but have been stuck at that number for some time. My last half dozen or so packs have produced nothing but dupes. I guess the bright side is that I have plenty to send out in trade packages. The end of this promo is rapidly approaching. I'm going to pick up a few more bread stick packages before they disappear. Hopefully I'll be able to cross off a few more cards before I have to begin searching eBay or Listia. This chase sure has been a lot of fun, I can't wait for the next one...oh wait, it might already be here. This new chase, however, is a story for another day.

Thanks for the great trade package Steve, your return package should arrive early this coming week. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for reading.

June 4, 2016

Fundraiser/Raffle Recap

First things first, I would like to thank each and every one of you for the support of my fundraising raffle. The kind words, sharing of the post, and number of tickets purchased all reinforced what I already knew. This is a really great community that I get to be a part of and I truly appreciate each of you! That being said, let's deal with the business first. All told, there were 28 total tickets sold. That equaled $140 to be donated directly to Chris and his family. I did encounter one little hiccup as I went to make the donation prior to writing this. I didn't realize that the only way to donate on GoFundMe is via credit card. That was not a feasible option for me and since I had all of the funds in my PayPal account, I asked Chris if I could donate to him that way.

Oh yeah, as an added bonus, today happens to be Delia's first Birthday! So, with this info, I had my way to donate.

...and there it goes! Quite honestly, the total surpassed what I had hoped for and I couldn't be happier!

Now, on to the raffle! Here is the list of entries(written in order of receiving them).

As per the rules that were laid out in the original post, the entire list was randomized eight times. Like so:

The big congrats(and the Cal Ripken auto) go out to Jon! Please email me(tim.trisomenc@gmail.com) your contact info Jon. I will be sure to get this mailed out to you this coming week. Thanks again for all of the support for this. I'll be getting back to a more regular posting schedule in the coming days. As always, thanks for reading!