April 28, 2015

To the Morning From the Night

A little while back, I took my first shot at sending some Dodgers to Night Owl. Unfortunately, I didn't hit as many needs as I had hoped. My average hovered somewhere just above the Mendoza line. That didn't stop NO from sending me a bubble mailer heavy on my various set needs and padded with a few Yankees.

Getting three more ar*che*types and 1st Home Run cards to cross off the checklist is always a good thing. I'm loving that pic of a young Donnie Baseball!

I'm also two more cards closer to the Babe Ruth Story set and I FINALLY have a copy of The Dude for my First Pitch set! The Walmart Jeter was a dupe, but I can never have too many cards of The Captain! I was shocked to see one of my needs from the 2002 Topps Post set fall out of the stack. It's not too often that I've seen these floating around. Lastly, I'll shine the morning light on The Warrior. I wasn't a fan of the UD Retro set when it came out and haven't actually held any singles from the set in my hand until now. The front is pretty pedestrian, but the back is interesting. It has an old timey, illustrated blurb decoding 'Baseball-ese'. 

This particular one defines a slugger, a pretty common term for most baseball fans. I must admit that I'd never heard the term 'banjo hitter' in the world of baseball before though. It made my day and makes me want to track down some other cards from the set to see what terms are defined on them. Thanks for the cards, NO! It's still early in the season, I promise I'll improve my average with the next stack of cards I send your way! 

April 27, 2015

Another Completely Awesome PWE - Brian Strikes Again!

I LOVE this shot of the old Durham Athletic Park! I only learned of this card's existence a few months ago. It was actually on my Cardboard Wishlist, but it hadn't quite cracked the top ten, so nobody could see it on the list yet. This card perfectly captures the 'famous' Lucky Strike water tower, an iconic part of the Downtown Durham skyline. The back is equally incredible.

This is the original 'Hit Bull, Win Steak' sign, and of course the write up mentions the park's connection to Bull Durham. All in all just a really great piece of my favorite minor league team's history. So, when Brian from HSCA wrote a post about the box of 1995 UD Minor League that he had busted, I quickly sent him an email asking if he had a dupe that he could possibly send my way. Fortunately he did, and now I am the proud owner of a copy of this beauty.

As has become usual in our interactions, I wondered what 'filler' he might include when the PWE arrived. In all fairness, I did ask him for a few other cards from the minor league set(which he also had and sent along). 

Brian sent two Durham Bulls players in addition to the Andy Pettitte on the right here. The addition of two other 'Core Four' guys was a pleasant surprise. I'm particularly fond of the National Baseball Card Day Derek Jeter. I wasn't collecting during the years they ran this promotion. I think they need to bring it back!

Next up, a pair of prospect cards and an Opening Day blue parallel of Jacoby Ellsbury. Also included, but not shown was an 'El Duque' A&G mini from 2014.

This was great! Brian included a fairly significant upgrade of the Orlando Cepeda for my 1968 Topps Game set. However, that was not all he sent.

This one was bittersweet. I really liked Robbie when he was in NY. This is my first relic of his. Though it's a plain gray swatch, it reminds me of better days when the Yankees had one of the best 2nd basemen in the league, not Stephen Drew or Gregorio Petit. Granted, I do like some of the cards showing Robbie in Seattle's throwback threads, but I wish he was still playing in The Big Apple!

Once again, Brian, thanks for the great cards. I hope you enjoy what I've sent your way in return as much as I'm enjoying these!

April 26, 2015

Maybe I Should Get a Lottery Ticket

After an exceptionally long work week, I decided that some pack busting therapy was definitely in order. I decided to go to a different Target to get my fix this time. I was pleasantly surprised to find one of those Leaf Pete Rose Living Legend blasters(that guarantee an autograph) on clearance.

I picked one of these up on clearance a while back because I figured even though the market is kinda saturated with his signature, it's still a Pete Rose autograph. I thought it was worth the $12 back then and as it turns out, my stance on this topic hasn't changed. Since I knew what I was getting with the blaster, I decided to grab one of the 30 card 2015 Donruss packs too.

There are 50 cards in the Rose base set and collation was good enough that I completed the set with the 60 cards from the box. Thought they are unlicensed, the cards are fairly well done and it's nice to read the blurbs about his career on the card backs. We all know that the real draw here is the ink.

Here is the auto I pulled from this box. Other than the fact that there couldn't be a photo where the lack of logos is any more obvious, it's pretty nice. I dig the tip of the cap.

While the blaster was fun to open, the Donruss was not to be outdone.

These are the only two base card keepers, and the Pujols is the first 1981 SP that I've seen firsthand. I like the pic on this one and I'm on the fence about whether I'm going to keep it or not. From opening a few of these previously, I know the inserts are where the action is in these packs.

I am not a huge fan of the Elite or Preferred sets, but I do like The Rookies design.

Unlike many of you, I've never been the biggest fan of the Diamond Kings through the years. I like 'em, but I've never actively searched them out. I'm pretty sure that I'll be sending the Puckett to a new home in the near future and I'll gladly add the Zimmermann to my budding PC. The Studio set is far and away my favorite insert offering this year. This Soler single from the set just further cements that set's status in my mind. I would have been plenty happy if that was all the pack had to offer, but my recent luck in pack selection continued.

This is the first Jersey Kings card I've held, though I've seen many floating around the blogosphere. I wasn't blown away by the look of these before seeing one in person, but these are really nice. The stock is very thick, the missing logo isn't too conspicuous, and I like the red swatch that's embedded. By the way, I actually like Josh Hamilton. I am probably in the minority in that anymore since people tend to turn on people that have made multiple mistakes, but not this guy. I remember reading the Raleigh News & Observer and seeing write ups about him when he was still in high school at Athens Drive. I'm pulling for him to once again overcome his injuries and his demons. I was thrilled to pull this. Turns out a little pack busting therapy was just what the doctor ordered after this crazy work week, as I suspected.

My lucky streak got me thinking... I definitely prefer my gambling to be done on ripping packs and not the lottery, but the roll I've been on sure makes me wonder 'what if'. Fortunately, the logical side of me will always win out when these thoughts creep in. Buying a few tickets with long odds on winning some money leaves me with only useless paper if I don't win. If I spend that same money on cards or packs I would never consider the paper I'm left with to be useless. That means it's always a win in my book. You can't get any luckier than that.

April 25, 2015

A Hefty Yankee Addition courtesy of eBay

That is the first 'silver framed' parallel that I've had the good fortune to hold in my hand. I've seen a bunch of these written about across the blogging community and I thought it would be nice to pick one up if it ever fit my budget. So, I happened to be searching around eBay about a week ago and saw that this Phelps was going to end soon and had a $0.99 starting bid and was $2.50 for shipping. I watched it and figured as it came close to ending that its price would pop up over $10 or more. However, when I checked back about 15 minutes before the end of the auction, there were still no bids at all. I figured I'd put in a $2.50 max bid and if I could pick it up for $5, I would. Even still, I assumed that I'd be outbid. Later that day, when I had the chance to check my email, I saw that I'd won the auction. To make things better, mine was the only bid! This arrived in my mail box yesterday. When I opened it, I was impressed with the weight of it. 

Granted, Phelps is no longer a Yankee, but I liked watching him pitch while he was in pinstripes. Now, if I can only pick up a relatively cheap copy of an acetate Yankee...

April 23, 2015

Another Dance with the Queen

I recently picked up a value pack of Gypsy Queen, just to check it out. Much to my surprise, I found that I liked the design quite a bit more than in past years. I also like a few of the insert sets. So, when I found myself back at Target, I decided I'd give the product another spin. I picked up two more value packs even though it looked pretty obvious that they had been 'searched'. Well, either I was wrong, or I am fortunate enough that the pack searchers at my local Target aren't very good at it. Here's the goods.

I'll start with the six total retail exclusive white bordered cards.

I don't know about you, but I'll take these six if they'd been searched any day! Granted, the two that you'd be able to see if you tried were Napoli and Miller, but still. I love the faux-back on Matt Moore and I got the Captain(not to mention a Joc Pederson RC)! The three on top are up for grabs if anyone is interested. After seeing these come out of the exclusive packs, I wondered if my luck could hold up across the remaining packs.

As the base cards go, these were the highlights for me, though honestly, I'll probably only hold on to the Pederson RC(sorry Wade). I still think the design is way better than last year. Let's move on to the mini highlights.

I couldn't believe that I pulled a silver parallel mini from each value pack. Not too shabby! I could have done quite a bit worse than an RC and Adrian Beltre. They're numbered /199 and up for grabs. That's the first card of Andrew Miller in a Yankees uni and an addition to my small-but-growing Anthony Rendon collection in the middle there.

I almost struck out on the insert front, but this beauty saved me from the o-fer.

This is from one of the inserts I really like this year. It's a bonus that it features a former Durham Bull that I happen to collect. It's a double bonus that the pic was from a game at Yankee Stadium! Very cool, it could have only been beaten by one of the two Jeter cards that are in that checklist.

That's not a bad haul for a couple of value packs, huh? I agree, but fortunately the luck didn't stop there. In one of the packs from the first value pack I busted, I saw something shiny. I thought to myself that it was strange to see something shiny in Gypsy Queen...

Now, I am no fan of the Phillies, and that is a pretty boring white swatch, but pulling a relic from a retail pack is still pretty awesome! As is the case with a lot of the stuff in this post, this Hamels jersey is up for grabs if anyone wants it.

Well that definitely must be all, right? I would have thought so too, but there was one more awesome pull to come from the second value pack. As I was flipping through, I saw something shiny again. This time I thought there was no way I just pulled another relic from a retail pack...

Turns out I was right! My jaw dropped when I saw this autograph of 'the Hawk'! I had never seen any of his certified autos so I was quite impressed with how nice it looked. I was pretty darn happy with the haul. It was certainly in the top three retail purchases I've ever made. That was until I started flipping through the cards a second time. It was when I started taking the time to really look at the cards and read the backs that I found this.

The Dawson auto was limited to 25 copies! These two value packs that I thought were likely searched turned up the best collection of hits I've ever had the fortune of pulling from any retail purchase.

If you're interested in any of these, let me know. I'm sure we can work out a deal. Thanks for reading.

April 22, 2015

A Totally Cracked(Bat) Trade

A little while ago, I had posted some cards from Topps series 1 that were up for trade. Julie from A Cracked Bat blog sent me a message hoping to claim a gold Miguel Cabrera. At first, I was going to send him her way via PWE, but I found some other Tigers to accompany Miggy on his journey. Julie had made me an offer so I wasn't expecting anything beyond what we had agreed upon, but I was in for quite the surprise! Shortly after our message exchange, I found a bubble mailer in my mailbox.

Inside I found a Boomer Wells Press Proof. I never really got into the press proof chase back in those days, but I am happy to give them a home now that they're not really considered 'rare' anymore. It's always nice to add a new Museum Collection single. That set is really well done and the stock is super thick. I don't care what anyone says, that 2015 Donruss design is growing on me. It doesn't hurt when one of the singles that is changing my mind is good ol' Mo.

There was also a new 'Core Four' addition and an awesome 'Godzilla' cracked bat card from A Cracked Bat!

Two different kinds of Classic Yankees and two game cards. I really dig the full windup card of 'El Duque'! He had one of the most unique and interesting deliveries in recent memory.

There were four new cards for the Bernie collection. I'm particularly fond of the Flair and Pacific cards. I remember when Flair was the epitome of premium, that's why I don't have many in the collection. Those packs were a bit too rich for a collecting teenager's blood.

Julie also included some shiny Yankees. The Jorge is a base card, but no less welcome than the Abreu x-fractor or the Nova refractor. Hmmm, Nova refractor...sounds like an idea for a new chrome parallel! Sorry, I don't mean to give Topps any ideas. With that wide variety of goodies, I thought that was all. Well, I was wrong! Julie included one more truly noteworthy card.

An in-person autograph of former Yankee Top Prospect, David Walling, complete with a card certifying its authenticity. This was particularly nice to find because I remember bringing cards of Walling to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park hoping to get one signed. I never did catch Mr. Walling for a signature and ended up picking up a certified auto out of some product from the early 2000's. Now I can say that I have an in-person auto of his, and what a story this card must have to tell about its travels.

That wraps up a wonderfully unexpected trade package from A Cracked Bat. I really appreciate all that you sent and look forward to our next trade.

April 19, 2015

A Trek Through the Land of Listia: volume 2

It is true that it has not been long since my last post that chronicled a voyage to the Land of Listia. Alas, the new addition that resulted from a recent search there was too exciting for me hold off on sharing. 

I have been exploring more of the vintage aspect of our great hobby since my post about winning that Joe Torre that I wrote about in my first Listia post. Let's just say that I arrived fashionably late to the vintage party, but I say better late than never. I've decided that I am going to dance with the one that brought me here: vintage oddball. Without further delay, here is my newest addition from the Land of Listia.

It's a 1961 Post Edward Charles 'Whitey' Ford! I love everything about his card and can't believe it is really in my collection now. Once again, patience has paid off. Hopefully(for my wallet's sake) this win will not lead to a decision to put together this set. That's quite an ambitious undertaking, even if I only focus on the Yankees in the set(#'s 1-18). Nope! I am perfectly happy with having Mr. Ford in the collection... well, it couldn't hurt to try and add just one more!

April 18, 2015

A Grande Trade Package

A little while back, I had sent Chris from Nachos Grande a few cards. I was excited to see that he found so many cards that he enjoyed in that padded mailer. Well, a few days back, a small flat rate box showed up in my mailbox. Here are the contents prior to busting the team bags. I was quite surprised at the volume that Chris sent over and couldn't wait to see what was inside.

I'll start with the DiMaggio insert highlighting 'The Streak'. This is the first of these that I've gotten my hands on. I had actually kinda ignored this insert because I have two examples of a similar insert that Topps did that focuses on 'The Streak Before the Streak'. While still in the minors, Joe D actually had a 61 game hitting streak. I stumbled on that set and picked up number 1 and 61. There is not much difference between those cards since there is no information on the specific game(s) in which he got each respective hit. The above DiMaggio is much different. It has pretty detailed info about game 24 in The Streak. I May need to hunt down the entire set... I will not however be chasing the Mantle career home run set, but it is nice to have a few of these hanging around. A new Jeter showed up next to the first of four new cards of Bernie. The Strawberry made me a bit nostalgic, both about his career and about Collector's Choice.

Here are the other three new Bernie cards. I think my favorite of them is the Collector's Choice. Hope you guys don't mind the repetition, but we're not quite done with that sentiment in this post.

Jorge hails from an Opening Day set that is easily differentiated from the corresponding flagship design of the same year. Granted, the big difference besides the huge Opening Day logo is the fact that the border is blue instead of green, but at this point, I'd welcome even as subtle a change as that back to the brand. Shane Spencer is one of my favorite unsung heroes. His time with the Yankees was short, but he played a big role in their 2000 World Series championship. There was a time when Adrian Hernandez was touted as the next 'El Duque' Orlando Hernandez(no relation). He was even nicknamed 'El Duquecito'. In late season 2001 products, I actively hunted his cards. As we all know, his career didn't quite pan out that way, but the combo of Hernandez and Spencer showing up in this package made me think about good times hunting autographs at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park(but that's a story for another post). Hey look at that Joe Girardi! Wait, that's another card from a Collector's Choice set!

I've had that Stadium Club Don Mattingly on my eBay watch list for a while now. The perspective of that photo might well be from the best seat in the house as the name of the subset implies. Hey, that Cecil Fielder comes from Collector's Choice too!

In this group, good things come in pairs. Two former Yankee Captains, two former Yankees that hailed from the Land of the Rising Sun, and two awesome Yankee season highlights cards.

Chris also included a mysterious, Upper Deck Yankees Fan Pack(still sealed). He told me he had no idea what to expect from the pack. I just had to find out.

It turns out that the pack contained a rehash of multiple 2007-08 UD product lines.

All of these were on the same type of card stock and were not easy to differentiate from the original issues.

These Masterpieces reworkings were the only ones that were easy to tell apart from the originals. These three were all on standard thickness, glossy stock instead of the canvas-like stock of the actual set.

It wasn't quite what I expected from the pack, but it still provided a bunch of new Yankees for the collection.

In the middle of one of those team bags fell this awesome manu-patch of Wade Boggs. This is my third different Yankee patch from this set. It also happens to commemorate the first Yankees World Series win of my life that I can remember.

These two bits of greatness fell from two other separate team bags. The Noesi auto reminds me of a time when he was a highly touted prospect and I was anxiously awaiting his MLB debut. Then he got traded in the deal that brought Pineda to New York. It certainly looks like NY got the better end of that deal! Finally, we come to the incredible Hideki Matsui bat card. I really liked the design of the Timeline relic cards and I love that the photo shows the prominent Yankee Stadium final season patch on his left arm. Add to that the fact that this is my first Matsui relic, and it easily takes the cake as my favorite card of the package. 

Thanks for your generosity Chris. I truly enjoyed sorting through this flat rate box-o-goodies. I'm looking forward to our next exchange!

April 17, 2015

Ripping Some Retail Gypsy Queen

I'm not the biggest fan of Gypsy Queen. Like many of you, I can't pass on the opportunity to crack open some new product. Yesterday, I found myself walking around my local Target to pick up a few household items. The lure of the card aisle was once again to great to ignore. I quickly picked a value pack of the new Gypsy Queen and went on my way. I've seen the product pop upon a few blogs already and actually liked the design a bit better than past years. Here were my three packs and the three 'special' white bordered cards.

I didn't do too bad on the white bordered pack. I got the Ironman, a rookie, and a Ray. In one of the regular packs, I pulled the bronze bordered Shelby Miller on the top row. It is serial numbered out of 499. A fairly boring McCann and an awesome throwback George Springer round out the first scan.

Big Mac, Robbie Alomar, and another great Astros throwback highlight these 6. I've got to say that it seems wrong seeing David Robertson in a ChiSox uni.

Not too much exciting here, but I did land a new Jordan Zimmermann and I kinda like the Marcell Ozuna shot.

Minis came one per pack, as per usual. This Eovaldi sporting the Yankees jersey looks so much better than the one that I pulled out of the retail team set.

Overall, ripping these packs was fun, but didn't really yield many keepers for me. At least my pack busting urges were temporarily satisfied. I plan to hold on to the Baez white border, McCann, Springer, Zimmermann, and the Eovaldi mini. All the rest are up for grabs if anyone wants them. Comment or send me an email if you'd like to claim any of them. Thanks for reading and Happy Friday.

April 15, 2015

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

On this date 68 years ago, Jackie Robinson played in his first major league game, breaking the MLB color barrier. So, today I want to give a huge thanks to him for not only integrating the game we all love, but for also playing such a huge role in the national civil rights movement. 

Since this is a baseball card blog, I'll honor him by posting a card of his that's a bit off the beaten trail.

It comes from a 1987 Nestle set and is one of my favorite oddball cards that I own. There is nothing terribly outstanding about the design or photo, but there is something about its simplicity that speaks to me.

I think the back is great: a concise career summary, complete MLB stat totals, and his full name at the top. Good stuff!

Thanks for reading and Happy Jackie Robinson Day!!!