June 30, 2015

Archives on Clearance

Now that the hype/madness around this year's Archives has started to die down I thought I'd explore last year's offering a bit courtesy of a great deal. I didn't buy much in 2014, just a few rack packs and that was about it. However, when I saw this sitting on the shelf at my local Target, I couldn't resist.

I was secretly hoping for something huge like the Wild Thing auto(which I would have promptly put on eBay after the shock of pulling it wore off), but that didn't happen. It was a pretty darn good box, especially considering it was on clearance.

I won't go crazy showing base cards, but I didn't pull either of these last year and I really thought they were great cards.

Unlike this year where I yet to pull one of the SPs, I pulled both of these out of the 8 packs. It would have been nicer had I pulled at least one retired star, but I won't get picky. After all, these are two pretty great players. Next, we move on to the inserts.

I really like these. They are based upon the one-per-rack pack, glossy All-Stars that Topps produced in the '80's. I've only got a handful of these, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna try to finish the set.

I was lucky enough to pull a few deckle edge inserts. I had actually pulled that very Verlander from one of the packs I bought last year, but it had since found its way into a trade package. It's probably a good thing I got a replacement. Since my appreciation for the vintage Topps inserts has grown exponentially over the past year, I've decided that I really dig these. The vintage Deckle set may well be next on my list after I complete the 1968 Topps Game set. So, that being said, I think I'm probably going to try to complete this one too. Hmmm, is there an echo in here?

I probably would have been pretty satisfied with this blaster had the inserts stopped there, but I'm really happy that they didn't.

These are pretty cool. Though I don't collect Trout, I may very well end up holding on to this hockey insert. The Future Stars inserts make me nostalgic for the 1987 set. Now that the dust has settled, I can say that blaster wasn't too shabby. Heck, I'd have been happy with that blaster if I had bought it at full price when it was first released!

Well, I suppose I've got some work to do creating new set needs checklists. Hopefully I'll have them ready to be posted soon. Thanks for reading.

June 29, 2015

Justin's World Gets Me One Card Closer

A little while back, a comment was posted on my set needs page. I was a bit slow on following up, but Justin said he had one of the First Pitch inserts that I still needed from series one. After a lengthy trade process(again due to my own slow follow-up), I am one card closer to completing that set. Justin was also trying to complete the set so I agreed to send him three dupes I had that he needed.

In order to even the deal, I also received some shiny Nats. I particularly dig the Espinosa refractor RC.

I don't know anything about softball, but I sure have learned a lot since I started reading Justin's World. Thanks for the help Justin!

June 28, 2015

Attack of the PWE's

I've connected with a bunch of great trading partners over the course of my first six months of writing this blog. Now that I find myself snowballing towards my one year anniversary, the frequency and random timing of deliveries to my mailbox from some of these partners has picked up pace as well. Case in point, the recent barrage of PWE's that found their way to me courtesy of Mr. Shoebox Legends himself, Shane.

A short while ago, an unexpected envelope arrived.

It was filled with a bit of vintage goodness, a former captain, and one of the greatest hitters in MLB while I was growing up.

Don't think that there was a lack of shiny, because that Gosuke Katoh Bowman insert has that covered. No matter what anyone says, I still love 'The Rocket' too! After checking these out I thought I'd get them scanned and a post written fairly quickly, but before I had the chance to do either, another envelope arrived.

I found some more shiny(and in he purple Arcia's case, serial numbered) goodies, two of the many young SS that are bursting from the seams of the Yankees farm system, my first Co-Signers card, and another Donnie Baseball. Thanks for the great additions to my collection Shane! You're quickly becoming my most prolific trading partner.

June 27, 2015

My First Stadium Club in 13 Years

That's right, thirteen years. The last time I purchased any Stadium Club was way back in 2002. It's not that I don't like the brand, because I really do. Especially as I get older, I have developed a real appreciation for the top notch photography that most folks rave about. Since last year's product was Hobby-only, I never got the chance to get my hands on any packs. In fact, I only own two cards from last year's set, the Derek Jeter that shows him with his fellow 'Core Four' team members and the Yangervis Solarte auto that was sent to me by Shane from Shoebox Legends a few weeks ago. I know that at some point I'll change that, but that's not the point of this post. I intended for my next 'new product' post to be about series two. Instead, I've decided to publish posts out of order because I finally got my hands on some packs of this season's SC and I'm really excited to share before it gets to be old news. Let's dive in to the three rack packs I picked up.

Horizontal cards to start. A pair of nice stadium shots and a pair of great defensive plays. Of course I'm partial to the shot of Tex warming up at Yankee Stadium, but the shot of Springer prepping for an at-bat at home is pretty nice too.

Another Yankee Stadium shot. It would have been perfect for last year's set as it was Ellsbury's first season playing in the bright lights of New York. I thought the Adams and Giambi were great photos. The Donaldson is a gold parallel...totally pointless, but a great pic. The Gordon insert doesn't really have any redeeming quality in my eyes. I'll be hoping I avoid this insert set as I bust more packs. Eck x 2!!! How awesome is that? By far the best card of this scan, but not nearly the best I pulled.

A few dominating pitchers from different decades. I'm loving the photo of a young and spry Iron Horse(still not the best card I pulled).

Say hey! Now here's an insert set I can get behind. I mean, die-cut Legends? What's not to like?

I've made you wait long enough. Here's the best card I pulled:

When I saw this, my jaw dropped. Granted, I've only seen a small percentage of the set so far(in hand and in various posts), but this one is going to be hard to beat for best card of the set. Here you have the players who broke each league's color barrier standing side by side presumably exchanging trade secrets. Just an incredible image. Way to go Topps!

June 26, 2015

Vintage Set Collecting Help Courtesy of Brian at HSCA

It's been a little while since Brian and I have exchanged cards. I've been slowly accumulating some cards I hope he'll like since he has been one of my most prolific trading partners in the short history of this blog. That said, it was quite the surprise when I received a PWE out of the blue from HSCA headquarters a short while ago.

These don't qualify as vintage set needs, but there were new cards of four of my favorite contemporary Yankees. I especially like the O'Neill. It's tough to see in the scan, but it's shiny and colorful. Also, how could I not like a Post Donnie Baseball and have I mentioned how much I like Collector's Choice?

Brian included two new 1968 Topps Game inserts to help in my set collecting quest. Until I can make it to a local show, my only sources that allow me to cross more names off this checklist are eBay(which is not preferred due to cost) and fellow bloggers that have the benefit of regular shows in their area. This is already the third card that Brian has helped me cross off this list and it leaves me with only 14 more to track down.

Thanks for the great PWE Brian. I promise that I've got something almost ready to send your way. I hope once it arrives, you'll find the contents were worth the wait!

June 21, 2015

The Art of Making a Deal

In the few months since joining the blogosphere, I've been spoiled. There, I said it. I've added all sorts of new cards to my collection just by sending cards that I didn't want to other collectors. Most of the time, this has been done with little more than the exchange of an address and the knowledge of that other person's favorite team(s), players, or types of cards. Rarely, in my experience, has there been much specific discussion of what would be sent or received. It's been close to 15 years since I've traded with anyone face to face, so needless to say the art of negotiating the trade has gotten quite rusty for me. That was until this past week.

In addition to writing this blog, I belong to a Facebook group of mostly local folks that trade, discuss, and show off their collections. I haven't posted much within the group, but when post started showing up highlighting Archives hits, I reached out to a few group members. I figured it might be a good way to put a dent into my Will Ferrell and Topps Game insert set needs. Turns out I was right. It just took way more work than I've been used to. In the long run, I only had to part with one card that even made me remotely think twice. The rest have been sitting in various boxes since I pulled them out of packs. Let's check out the new additions from my first completed FB group trade.

Here are the ones that started it all! Not too bad to check off Trout and Miggy in the same trade. Heck, I even knocked out The Yankee from the set in that Ellsbury! This wasn't all for this trade though. The cards that I had to offer in return outweighed the value of these Game inserts alone and this trade partner wasn't willing to part with any Ferrell cards, so I expanded my interests a bit.

I was able to secure this Gehrig gold parallel numbered 43/50. It's a bit strange seeing The Iron Horse on the 1983 design, but I still like this card quite a bit.

Next, I took the dive on Michael Taylor. I'm still not 100% sure that I'm going to start collecting him, but adding this auto has me leaning that way. I didn't realize until I received this that it is numbered on the back.

I think this is a silver parallel auto /199. Whatever it's officially called, doesn't really matter to me. It's a nice new auto.

This was the final piece to this trading puzzle. I hadn't held one of these Championship Ring manu-relic cards before, but this Yogi was offered and I jumped at the chance to bring it home.

Just a few days after securing these in my first group trade, I finalized my second. This one happened to be with a group member that happens to be a fellow blogger as well. The following cards came to me courtesy of Eric from the great blog The Snorting Bull. As an aside, this happens to be one of the first blogs that I discovered and read regularly prior to starting my own.

Eric was kind enough to send me three more Game needs. It was pretty nice to be able to cross off the Puig and Goldschmidt as well. We had actually agreed on the trade for these three when I decided to ask about the availability of his Ferrell playing for the Reds. Shortly thereafter, we finalized this one. You can see what I sent Eric's way here. When I opened the envelope, this is what I saw:

He had sent me both of the Ferrell cards that he had posted. I already had the Dodgers card, but I'm pretty sure that I can find someone that needs it out there. Thanks for the trade Eric! If I come across any other Cardinals, I'll be sure to let you know!

Anyway, that wraps up my first two Facebook group trades. While hey sure did require a lot more work than the 'blind trades' that I've grown accustomed to, the effort was sure worth it to come those few steps closer to completing two more insert sets. Heck, I was even able to acquire a few other cards for the collection too. I guess the old trading skills weren't too rusty after all.

June 19, 2015

Tales From FDR Sportscards - This One Time at the Card Shop...

Okay, please pardon that weak American Pie reference. This is the second installment in a series about my favorite LCS which unfortunately is no longer in existence. 

In my first post, I wrote about how much time I spent here. In case you missed it, I spent a lot of time in that shop. This one day when I happened to be browsing/chatting the owner, Fran said she had something she thought I might be interested in. At this point, I had been a regular customer in the shop for over a year, so she knew what I collected almost as well as I did. However, when she turned back to come back over to the counter, she was holding some well worn, old, slightly over sized card... At this point in my collecting career, I was not in the habit of buying vintage and I thought that every card I owned needed to be really close to mint or else it wasn't worth owning. I immediately asked her why she thought I'd be interested and she asked me to just take a look. She placed the card in front of me. It had definitely seen better days, but for reasons I didn't understand at the time, I couldn't stop staring at it. I had often looked at pictures of this card and wondered what it would be like to own one, but the four digit 'book value' told me it wasn't likely to happen. Yet here it was sitting in all of its worn down glory just inches away from me. I still assumed the cost would be the deal breaker for me. I was mostly broke and could only justify laying out small chunks of change for some singles or a few packs here and there. Fran knew this as well. After staring at it for what seemed like forever, I asked her about the price. She launched into a proposal that she had obviously put a lot of thought into. She told me that since it's condition wasn't great that she'd sell it to me for $100 and before I could tell her that was going to be out of my price range, she said she'd hold it and I could make whatever payments I thought I could manage until it was paid off. I'd like to say that I jumped at that offer, but in reality I had to think long and hard about it. I was just about to decline her generous offer when the phone rang. While she handled the phone call, I once again stared at the card. I'm not sure what it was, but something changed my mind in those moments and when she hung up the phone I told her that I'd like to accept her offer. A few weeks later, I walked into the shop, made the last payment, and took this home:

These days, when I look at this card, I can't believe that I hesitated for even a moment at the chance to own this card. It is absolutely one of my favorite cards - rounded corners, poor centering, creases and all. I'm still not sure what exactly changed my mind that day, but I sure am glad that I didn't pass this up.

Thanks for reading, I hope you'll stay tuned in the future for more Tales From FDR Sportscards!

June 18, 2015

A Mega-PWE Filled With...Hockey?!?

I recently claimed some hockey cards from JediJeff of 2x3 Heroes. Back in my younger days, I was an pretty huge NJ Devils fan. To this day, I guess I'm a casual fan. So, when the opportunity arose to claim some Devils cards, I jumped. Jeff has said that he's going to continue to drop cards on everyone until they're gone and the first installment arrived the other day.

These were the highlights. There were guys included that I had to Google, but these guys were on the teams back when I followed closely. My favorite of the bunch is definitely the Brodeur in the upper left corner. Great player+great shot holding the Stanley Cup=incredible card! I was thrilled to see not just one, but two cards of players hoisting the trophy. The envelope was heavy on the captain of those squads too, Scott Stevens. 

Jeff also helped me cross off three more 2015 Topps series one base cards. I'm betting sooooo close to finishing that set, just a few more to go. Thanks Jeff.

June 16, 2015

I Wish This PWE Came With Bubblegum

Jeff from Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum has been working on his PWE packing skills and I am happy to say that I was recently on the receiving end of one. The contents packed quite a punch. There were seven cards in all. I needed six of them. Here they are.

I'll start with one of the highest rated Yankees prospects in the system. This is a great die-cut. The prospects didn't end there.

Jeff has sent me the only two Refsnyder cards that I have. In an earlier package, he sent me the Bowman paper version which I got signed, here we have the Chrome version. The orange wave Mateo is the first orange wave that I have added and the first Mateo to find a home in my collection. Next, Jeff hit my love of season highlights and of Bernie Williams.

Wait, I forgot to include my love of Collector's Choice. I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned that in a previous post or two.

Though the rest of the contents were pretty great, these two were definitely my favorites of the bunch. I think that Topps Gallery is hit or miss. There have been really great designs done well and there have been some really weak designs done poorly. These two are really great! 

Thanks for the PWE Jeff! I've got some more Bravos to ship your way soon.

June 12, 2015

A Trip to My Not-So-Local Card Shop

Last week, my family and I were on vacation on Myrtle Beach. It happened to be raining one of the days and we were driving around exploring(read: keeping the kids from going crazy in the hotel room). Just as we were headed back to the room to get lunch and let the girls nap, we passed by a card shop. Once we finished lunch and the girls were sound asleep, I drove back out to the shop. I mean, what better way to spend a rainy day at the beach?

Since it was raining and I had limited time to search the store, I didn't take any pics of my own, but here are a few that give a feel for the shop.

The storefront
The wall behind the main showcases
The boxes on the shelves differed a bit, but this is a pretty decent representation of the shop atmosphere. Given my time constraints, I did a quick lap around the shop to see where my time would be best spent. It turns out that this is one of the rare shops that has dollar and quarter boxes on display. I decided to focus on them for this first visit.

I hit the quarter boxes second and didn't spend much time there, but I'll start with a few I pulled from there.

3-D! A Yankee World Series hero and a former Durham Bull, both decked out in all of their lenticular glory. I'm such a sucker for these kind of cards.

This gem features two great Yankees and makes me aware of another great oddball set to chase after. I had no clue there were cards from Sunoco. Mattingly will make another appearance or two in my purchase stack.

This one bummed out the shop owner while I was paying. He told me he completely forgot that he had put Pineda on the quarter boxes last year. He had two of this one that I found, so I snagged them both. There were a few others that I won't show here, but a few of you out there will be seeing them pop up in your mailboxes in the near future.

Back in my past show going days, the dollar boxes were my thing as much as the dime boxes are Nick's thing so I was interested in checking out what I might find. These dollar boxes were sorted fairly well by sport and into star player sections. I dug right in and picked out a few hidden treasures.

I grabbed this five card sealed pack of Starline/Coca-Cola cards that had Donnie Baseball on the front. I'm certain that I'll open it soon.

I couldn't pass up the chance to pick up one of Nomo's best RC's for just a buck. I don't collect him, but owning this card takes me back to the time of Nomo-Mania.

The action shot
The posed, head shot
I was thrilled to find this 1985 Slurpee Disc from 7-11.

Here's the back
I LOVE these things! I'm sure the actual 'value' isn't much more than a dollar(or even a dollar), but I happily forked that over to be able to take this one home. I thought this would be the best item I found for my collection, but I was wrong.

A few stacks after finding Mattingly, I found this. It's  a bit mis-cut and has some rounded edges, but it's a 1976 Hostess Thurman Munson! Surely, this would be the best find of the day, right? Wrong again!

My jaw nearly dropped when I saw this, a BBM Ichiro from 1995! I don't know anything about these types of cards, so I'm not even sure if it's authentic. Truthfully, I don't care. Check out that young Ichiro!

Here's the back. I don't have many cards with other languages. I've got a handful of O-Pee-Chee, a slightly larger stack of Pacific, and one or two from Topps that have Japanese writing on the back. This one is by far my favorite. If anyone out there is more knowledgeable about BBM cards and can let me know if this is legit, that would be great.

Just as was the case with the quarter boxes, there are some dollar box finds that will shortly be making their way into mailboxes near you.

I didn't have high hopes for this shop away from home, but I was pleasantly surprised. We've already got another trip planned for Myrtle later this summer, so I'll be making at least one more stop into Baseball 17 for some more goodies! Thanks for reading.

June 11, 2015

A Sad Day...

I had intended to write an entirely different type of post today. However, when I heard the news this afternoon that one of my favorite wrestlers of all time had passed, I had to quickly shift gears. 

'The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes is gone. I remember being a kid and watching some of his battles with Harley Race and Ric Flair. Later, I remember having to turn off the WWF(so named at the time) when he would come on their shows because I hated his gimmick of being the 'Common Man' and the fact that he was never really used in any matches above mid-card level. I may have been young watching him, but I could see that he was one of the most gifted men to grab a mic and cut a promo.

Sadly, this is the only card I currently own of Dusty. I guess I'll have to actively set out to change that.

Goodbye Dream...you'll be missed. RIP, if you wiiilll.

June 8, 2015

A Brief and Early Peek at Some Archives

Imagine my surprise. While I was perusing the card aisle at the local Target, what did I see? Blasters of the soon-to-be officially released 2015 Topps Archives! I hadn't planned on making a card purchase, but of course I had to grab one of these!

The packs looked like this, albeit very briefly(before I quickly ripped them). The blaster contained a total of 80 cards and I got a mixed bag, nothing terribly exciting but certainly solid.

Stars of today(and maybe tomorrow). I don't collect either Trout or Stanton, but they were a few of the bigger names that were in my first 8 packs. Taylor is probably my favorite rookie that was pulled. He may well be the next Nats player that I start to collect.

Stars of yesterday! Again, no PC(though Rickey is close), but these are some of my favorite retired player cards of the lot.

Yankee stars! These are just three of the six Yankees, but they're definitely the three best photos to share.

Last but not least, insert stars! Mission kinda accomplished. I would have been terribly disappointed if the blaster didn't yield at least one of the ten Will Ferrell cards. As it was, I had to suppress disappointment anyway because the Ferrell was smack-dab in the middle of the first pack I opened. I had high hopes that at least a second would make an appearance. Oh well, there's always tomorrow to go back and grab another blaster. For now, it's one down and nine to go! I was pleased to pull the Gomez. I wasn't sure what it was exactly, but a bit of research says it is a gold parallel. It's serial #'d out of 50 on the back. I might know someone out there that would enjoy this one... I wrap the insert portion of the program with one of the most well known US Presidents, a very cool card of Abe Lincoln.

Not too shabby. Sadly, no SP's(which meant no Bryant or Soler RC), Topps Game inserts, or Will Ferrell auto's but I guess I can't have it all in the first blaster. I'm just thrilled to be able to open something early for a change! Opening this makes me wish I could justify the cost for one of those last spots in the Nachos Grande group break of this stuff!