Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm going to be very late for the chase

The internet was all abuzz yesterday with the release of the 2013 Topps flagship set.  There were many pictures and commentaries about the various parallels, inserts, manufactured patch relics (or whatever they are called) and so on.  There was enough to read that it kept me out of trouble (or maybe got me into trouble) for most of the day.

I loved it all.  It was great to see the enthusiasm over the new product. The base cards really do look good.

Despite all that, I think I'm going to pass.  It's not fitting into the plans right at the moment.  Don't let me spoil the party though, I need to see those cards on your posts/tweets.  Yes, it's difficult for me to see everyone out there having a blast with the new toys, but I'm going to do my best to stick to my 1st goal that I posted on January 1st.

1.  2013 will be the year of Heritage, and nothing else.  Why Heritage only?  Well, this year's design will mimic the '64 Topps set, which is one of my favorites.  And if I'm going to go after only one set this year, it's got to be something I like, correct?
Now that I reread the goal, I probably should clarify and say that Heritage will be the only 2013 product I attempt to build.  The less I spend on current baseball products, the more I will have to spend on the vintage sets that I really have enjoyed building over the past several months.  

Sets such as 1973 Topps:

4 more from the Night Owl
The more cards I see from the '73 Topps set, the more I really do appreciate it.  The manager/coaches cards are something that I'd like to see brought back.  Topps had a great idea here with adding 4 of the "field leaders" onto the manager's card.

There are also some more modern sets that I'm working on, such as 2008 Masterpieces:

Thank you Jeroen!
Just 4 of the SPs left to complete the set.  Ryne Sandberg, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, and Bob Gibson are the ones I need.  If you have a spare, please let me know...

Not to be outdone, there's always the Blue Jays to keep me busy...

Brian, thank you for the Jays!!
Once I get my ass in gear and finish going through the multitude of Jays I have, I'll start working on my want list that I have posted.  I've posted up to the '93 sets, but don't really want to add any more after that until I get everything I have in Blue off of my desk.  I still have the mega box that Ted sent me to write a post about. (the Adam Lind auto/relic grouping alone will be a post in itself)

Who knows?  Maybe I'll cave in later on this year and chase the flagship.  I have a reputation for being weak. 

At least I got through day 1 without my truck making a left turn into the Wal-Mart parking lot.  There's hope for me yet.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My campaign of cheapness continues

I don't like to gloat, or brag, or self-promote, but I'm damn proud of myself this month.  I've stayed on course with the goal of focusing on sets that I'm trying to complete, instead of randomly buying packs and just adding to the clutter.  As of tomorrow, this blog will be renamed $30 a month habit.

No it won't.  But for January, that's what I spent out of pocket.  And I'll tell you this...

It feels great. 

I have mentioned a few times on the blog the two A&G cards that I sold on eBay this month.  Both of them have pretty much funded all of my card purchases on the site for the entire month, and for that, I am proud.

It's been a while since I've been able to post any '64 Topps purchases on the blog.  I knew that when I added the extra sets from the '70s to the want list, that something would have to give.  The '64 set has been the primary victim, but I was able to snap up a couple of the high numbers on eBay this past week.

They arrived today, and are a pair of great cards...

Outside of being off center, the cards are in fantastic shape.  The corners are sharp, there are no markings of any kind on the front or the back.

The cartoons haven't been rubbed off either.  It's almost as if they came straight from a pack to my house.  The total cost for the 2 high numbers shipped?


If only I could find 50 more of those at that price, I'd be in heaven.  It would certainly take the sting of the Mantle, Rose and Koufax purchases (when they do happen) down a notch.

But for now, having hit 40% completion of the '64 set feels good.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, January 28, 2013

3 in a row from the same set. how does he do that?

I am a believer.  The man has mystical powers.  He hits multiple want lists with relative ease.  He even sends packs of cards when they aren't even expected.

Yes, I'm talking about Mr. 500K himself, the Night Owl

Since I'm tired and totally unwilling to do a lengthy synopsis of the multitude of great cards in the envelope Greg sent (that was long..wasn't it?), let's do a 5-4-3-2-1 countdown.

Let's start with 5 Blue Jays from the 80's

In case you really cared, Barry Bonnell is exactly 14 years older than I am.  So, the way I feel right now, that would make him about 106.

Next, we have 4 Junior Felix cards...

Yes, Junior is his real first name.  It seemed like every other Jay in the package was Felix, so why not showcase him?

Not to be outdone, 3 serial insanity cards were in the envelope

OK...3 in a row from the same set.  All 2006 Topps cards.   Serial #'d 1333,1334,1335.  Really?  Come on blogosphere, let's see you top that trick...

2 '77 Topps cards are up next....

50 left to go for the set, and Reggie Jackson is on his way to me.  The end is nigh...

Finally, we have a Mitchell who's a SP...

Russ Mitchell (no relation) leaves me with 31 SPs left to go to finish the '11 Heritage set. 

I haven't even mentioned the '73s yet....that's another time.   Thank you Greg...I'll be hunting for Dodgers this weekend at the show.

I'm going to bed now....

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I just couldn't do it

I'm scaring myself right now writing this post.  I headed out to Wal Mart today in need of a few things, but most of all I was really jonesing to rip some wax.

Yeah, you read it right.  I needed a fix.  Guess what happened.

Guilt won out.  I got to the card aisle, and there was nothing there that I really needed.  Oh sure, if I was into football or basketball I could have gone crazy.  Sadly, I even had a pack of Crown Royale (one of my favorite designs) football in my hands ready to purchase. 

My conscience won out.  With no baseball on hand that I was collecting (the only baseball they had was 2012 Update, or a box of 2008 Heritage High Numbers, which I passed on), and hockey all of sudden dried up (not one pack to be found), I just couldn't do it.  I didn't get weak and grab a "best of 2012" box in order to cure my need to rip. 

I left it all behind.  I actually was desperate enough to purchase a binder and some pages so I could at least do a little bit of housekeeping and put another set away.  In that sense, the trip was productive.

Thank goodness there is somebody out there thinking of me.  Greg from the Night Owl blog sent me a little care package this past week, and as usual he was spot on hitting a bunch of my want lists.  But what was also inside the envelope actually reminded me today that I really didn't need to pick up any packs.

Two packs of OPC!!  These will do me for a few days anyhow.   Shall we?

Pack 1:  the "need 'ems"

Always good to get one of the big names that you need out of the pack, and Ovechkin was a welcome sight.  Tlusty and Bergenheim are just commons, but still needed for the set.

the "got 'ems"

There was a lot of rumors that Mike Komisarek was going to be one of the amnesty buyouts for the Leafs.  So far he's played reasonably well in a limited role, with a bit of snarl I might add.  Mike's card goes right into the Leafs pile, while the others hit the trade box.

Finally, we have a little Red to show ya:

I really do love the retro parallels, and the only thing that would have made this card better is if Red was in a Leafs uni.  You can't have everything I guess. 

Pack 2:  the need 'ems

It was interesting that the 2 packs worked out exactly the same.  Need 3, have 4 and then the 8th card rounded out the pack.

Scott Clemmensen spent what seemed to be an eternity in Martin Brodeur's shadow, and has finally emerged to be a solid #2 in Florida. 

Sergei Gonchar, Hall of Fame candidate?  Discuss....

Calling Eric Lindros a legend is debatable from the chair I sit in, but there is no doubt that he changed the face of the game when he stood up to the Nordiques in 1991.  Think about what the Avalanche would have been like during the mid 90's.   Sakic, Sundin, Nolan, Lindros.  Very big, and very talented. 

Oh, and if you were wondering who led the NHL in scoring during the last lockout shortened season in 94-95?  Lindros...70 pts.

The Got 'ems

There was a poll on the Puck Junk website recently (I believe) that asked whether you believe that checklists should be part of the main set.  I like them as part of the set, they were that way when I was a kid, and my feelings haven't changed about that.  By the way, if you're not reading Sal's blog, why not?

Last but not least, I pulled a rainbow parallel of Joel Ward...

OK, maybe it should be last.  I do prefer the retro parallels to the rainbows.  Beggars can't be choosers.

The rest of what was in the envelope?  Sorry, next time....

Thank you for the packs Greg, they were enjoyed very much and kept me out of trouble!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, January 26, 2013

It's like I have my own personal shopper

I received an unexpected envelope in the mail today, from one of my faves in the land of the blogs.   Max over at the Starting Nine blog sent me some cards, and it appears as if he heads to a show with a copy of my personal want list in his brain.

11 cards, all of them right on the money.

Max digs the insanity set, so he knocked 2 more off of my list for me...

Ohio players only on this excursion, including Griffey Jr who makes his first appearance in the insanity set with card #1491.

Max knows I'm very partial to the team featuring the blue bird, so he sent me a few.  Here are my favorite 3...

The trio features the Wal Mart parallel of Shawn Camp from 2011, a Bowman's Best card of Jose Bautista, and my favorite card of the three, the Game Changers insert from 2012 Topps Finest.  The Jays logo is in a shiny background, which looks a lot better in person than in the scan.

Max also sent me a card towards my Joe Sakic PC, one that I'd never seen before.

If RC's in the 80's were handled the way they are in today's card world, this is what Joe Sakic's rookie card might have looked like.  This is actually a lost rookies insert card from 03-04 Topps. 

Last up, we have a couple of Maple Leafs.  First let's start with the new...

I really like Tyler Bozak as a player, and if his defensive zone coverage ever improved, he would be such a solid player in the NHL, because his offensive skills are good and his ability to win face-offs is among the best in the league.   This card I already have for the set, so it goes with the Leafs collection.

Finally, I almost fell over when this card came to my eyes...

A vintage beauty

Hot Damn!!  57-58 Parkhurst Jim Morrison.  If someone hadn't taken tape and pulled off a fair portion of the left hand side of this card, it would be no worse than NM.  The corners are in great shape, the back is flawless, and the surface is smooth.   A great addition to the collection! 

Max, thank you again for this great surprise, it really is appreciated!!

Blogger generosity at its finest....

thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, January 25, 2013

Even when he's gone, he's here

Two weeks ago, I received an email totally out of the blue.   Greetings! was the subject line, the sender was a familiar one.  Basically the subject matter consisted of "hey Robert, is this still your address?", and I have some cards to send you.

This seems to be the norm lately, as you saw the night before last in my post about the '75 Topps cards that Ryan sent me. 

Well, there were no Crinkly Wrappers in this box, but "retired" blogger Ted sent me an amazing box of Blue Jays.  This was no small box was a 500 count box.

I am never going to catch up with all these Jays cards....

I could easily have pulled 50 cards from this box and inundated you with Jays cards until your ears bled. 

I'm not that desperate....yet

I did find 10 for you to peruse, some different, some amusing, some partially French.

How about some old style Blue Jays uniforms from the 80's, as featured on a Mark Eichhorn '89 Score.

It's amazing that he never fell sideways off of the mound the way he threw.

This next card sent me scurrying to baseball reference .com

I did not remember that big Cecil Fielder had returned back to the Jays in 1999.  After some research, it turns out that this doesn't appear to be the case, as Cecil's last game was in September of 1998. 

Next up, a card of Roy Halladay that falls under the category of ugly but good.

Since it's a rookie card, we'll forgive the hideousness.  At least for a moment.

Big Bill Caudill was supposed to be the answer for the Jays bullpen in '85.  The Jays gave up Dave Collins and Alfredo Griffin to acquire Caudill after a 36 save season for Oakland in '84.  Bill wound up with a strained neck after allowing the most HRs of any Jays reliever (9), and within 2 years he was out of baseball altogether at the age of 30. 

Sticking with the '85 OPC them, here's Willie Upshaw...

Willie's cousins Gene & Marv Upshaw played in the NFL.  That's all his bio on the back says.   Less is more I guess.

This next guy reminded me of a book I had just finished reading about George Steinbrenner...

I remember vaguely about the Boss blowing up at his GM over acquiring Cerone from the Blue Jays, and it turned out in 1980 that Cerone had a career year, finishing 7th in MVP voting while catching 147 games in the pinstripes. 

The next card is a design that I had never seen before, a '94 OPC of Roberto Alomar

Not a bad card, but I think that it would have helped to have the "Blue Jays" lettering on the left hand side to be filled in.  Even still the photo is a good action shot of an impending play at the plate.

Next up, we have a sticker for idiots...

Peel Here.   Really?  Were kids in the mid 80's that ignorant?   Still pretty cool to get another sticker that I'd never seen before.

The next two cards are of Dave Stewart, or "Smoke" as he was nicknamed.  The first is a '94 Pinnacle Museum Collection parallel...

Wanna know the look that the photographer received when he started making fun of Dave's hat?

Nobody....makes fun of Dave's hat! 

These 10 cards just scratch the surface of what Ted sent me.  I may have to pull off a marathon soon to get caught up. 

Thank you for the Jays Ted!  This post is only the beginning.

thanks for reading, Robert

Sometimes when you don't know what to write, just say anything

On a cold evening here in western PA, I sit at the computer and realize that I can't put two coherent thoughts together in order to form a post.

So, here goes nothing...

It was good to see today that Upper Deck followed Panini's lead of a few weeks back and cancelled some of their "mid season" hockey products.  I was kind of surprised that they actually cancelled Series 2 of their base set, but it really does make sense since the NHLPA decided to not allow the use of any new rookies in this years products.  Upper Deck also stated that they had limited their early season products (O-Pee-Chee, Series 1, Artifacts, Black Diamond, Game Used) with the uncertain labor climate. 

For me, that spells good news, since I will not have to spend as much to chase down the Series 2 set.  For now, that leaves me to enjoy cards such as this one of Tyler Seguin...

I've always expressed my admiration for cards that feature a player signing autographs for the fans.  It's good to see that young and upcoming stars such as Seguin actually "get it".


On a totally unrelated topic...what are your thoughts on graded cards?  To be honest, you will never see me ever send any card to a grading service ever again.   I did it once a few years ago, and the result was less than flattering.  The card I sent at the time was a Martin Havlat RC (don't ask me why...), and while the card was graded a Mint 9, the return package and the case were pretty much destroyed during return shipping.  Soured me on the experience forever.

I now own two graded cards.  One was one in a contest a while back (79 Topps Eddie Murray), and the other was sent to me recently by Pat at the Hot Corner Cards blog.  An interesting choice of cards for sure..

A graded Mats Sundin RC from 90-91 OPC Premier.  One of my favorite players on the Leafs over the past decade, and his best RC, encapsulated forever.  Another odd coincidence is that both graded cards are NM-MT 8's.   Thank you Pat!

Now that I think about it, I should have bragged about getting my cable internet & router hooked up this evening....OK, maybe not...

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sometimes it's better when you don't know

Now that the wife and I have become in tune with 21st century technology, we've used it to our benefit.  The two of us went from "anti-texters" to a couple that will send 3-4 texts discussing what came in the mail that day.

Most days my wife gets home from work before I do, and if there are any goodies in the mail for me, she'll send me a text.  Yesterday was no different, except it was different.

"2 boxes today" was the text.   What???  I was lost for a while, trying to figure out what I could be receiving in boxes.

It took me a while to figure out one of the them, it was from a "retired" blogger who has been very good to me in the past.   I'm going to have a lot of fun posting the contents of that box in the coming days.  The 2nd one still baffled me.   There were no eBay auctions that I had won.  The trades that I had completed with fellow bloggers recently were small in nature, and should not have required boxes to ship to me.

When I looked at the box, I knew right away who it was....but still had no idea what it was...

One of the best traders out there, Ryan from "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog had sent me a package out of the blue.  What was inside was an absolute shock...I'll let you read the note to get an idea.

I have only two words for that note......holy shit.....

Blogger generosity at its finest.  Come in handy?!  Oh hell yes....

Remember I said "box".   88 cards came in that box.  All '75s.  Not one double, all of them I needed for my set.  They weren't all commons either. 

How about that for the first card you see out of the box! 

Chatham, Ontario's own Fergie Jenkins. 

Singleton appears to be watching a fly ball, maybe during BP.  I hope that George Foster didn't hit in that stance, because that just looks painful with those shoulders hunched over like that.  Two great sluggers of the '70s, now in my possession. 

Love how Topps did a retrospective of all the MVP's in each league from each of the first 25 seasons that they produced cards.  By the way, I still need the actual '64s featured on the left (Brooks Robinson and Ken Boyer).

OK Red Sox fans, altogether's Bucky @%$@ing Dent!!

Not only did Topps airbrush Elias Sosa's cap, but it almost looks like they airbrushed his face as well.  Doesn't show well on the scan, but if you have the card, take a look at it.  Elias has a very pale look about him...

What would a post about mid to late '70s Topps cards be without featuring the fellow above!  You know I just had to.....

I could go on and on scanning cards and showing the awesomeness of this gracious package sent by Ryan.  This generosity moved this set from a "may complete" in 2013 to a "should complete".  The want list has been updated; the set is now 2/3 finished.  Still have the Gary Carter and Jim Rice RCs to pickup, along with a handful of star cards that will set me back a few bucks (Aaron, Rose, Ryan to name 3.)

If it doesn't get completed, it's nobody's fault but my own.  Ryan, thank you very much for the generosity!!  

Yea....I owe him....big time..

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blue Jay Monday: The Toddfather made me an offer..

I just couldn't refuse.  When I aborted the attempt of putting together the complete set of '12 Gypsy Queen, and offered up the variation SPs to the world, Tim over at the Home of the Toddfather asked me for a couple of the SPs, and offered up a Jays relic in return...yea I bit.

Rajai Davis is no superstar for sure, but for me the black borders are what make the A&G relics look good this year. 

The design is a little busy, but the black overrides the busy look.  Found out that this is also the first Blue Jays relic from 2012 A&G I own, and just the 4th piece of bat that I own of a Jays player over all.

Davis is in the last year of a 3 year deal with the Jays, and with the additions of Melky Cabrera and Emilio Bonifacio (that name is going to be hard to type for me...), and the return to health of Jose Bautista, it appears that Davis is probably 5th on the outfield depth chart right now, with Colby Rasmus in the mix as well.  If Anthony Gose improves with the bat during spring training, we may see Davis in a new uniform before the 2013 season starts.

Thanks for the trade Tim!! 

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fixing a couple of mistakes

I've mentioned in the past my love for the 83/84 and 84/85 OPC hockey sets.  I also mentioned the stupidity (at least perceived stupidity in my eyes) of selling those classic sets away.

My last eBay purchase of 2012 was the start of correcting those past mistakes. I found a pair of 25 card lots from the same seller, 1 for each of the two sets listed above, and after a couple of weeks of waiting, the resurrection has begun.

I really do enjoy when card companies number their cards by team.  The 84/85 set is a good example of this, the Calgary Flames that you see above are all in numerical order.  One better, the cards are also numbered alphabetically by the players last name.  What's even more ironic is that OPC knew that (Ed) Beers comes before everything (and everyone) else....

Although the scan isn't the greatest on the 83/84 cards you see here (the Plett and Payne cards are not miscut for example), the cards are still in great shape, and the numbering pattern is similar to the 84/85.

The seller also sent me both lots in numbered groups...the 84/85 cards were in the mid 200s and featured the Flames and the Capitals primarily.  The 83/84s were the same numbering pattern, but featured the Canadiens, North Stars and Rangers.  Even though the auctions listed the cards as all commons, as you can see I received some minor star cards such as Larry Robinson, Bobby Smith, and a few goalie cards (which have their own pricing level that I have always found interesting, I'll feature a post later on this week to discuss). 

These aren't the only 80's sets that I plan on putting together in the near future.  Another gem, that I always believed was under appreciated was the 82-83 set.

As far as I can tell, these are the only 2 82/83 cards that I own.  Love how the bars at the top with the team name and player name feature the club's primary colors.

The last one that I will be taking a shot at is another design that I like, the 86/87 OPC set.

I only have 8 of these in my collection, but the 86/87 set is one of those that looks great and has always been in my radar.  I've just never gotten around to chasing it down.

With my renewed addiction to 70's baseball and 80's hockey, the foreseeable future should be quite entertaining to say the least.  Finding cards of names that I haven't heard in 20 or more years is sure to bring back a lot of memories. 

That's the reason that my focus has shifted more towards vintage.  Moving forwards by moving backwards. 

Yea, I know, it probably only makes sense to me....

thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Tony Gwynn turned into

No doubt if you've read over the past couple of weeks, you are aware that I put the Tony Gwynn auto card up for auction (no more scans...I promised).  I've had a fun 10 days making a few purchases that have definitely enhanced my collection.

Time to show off share some of the fruits of my "labor" (yea, as if mailing a card to Arizona was really tough on me...)

First, I scored a decent lot of 27 '70 Topps cards...nothing earth shattering, but hey it's 27 closer to the set..

All 3 checklists have markings on them, no worries here though.  For the price I paid for this lot ($5 shipped), their condition is fine.  I can always upgrade later if I really need/want to.

Next, I put a bit of a dent into a long neglected set, 2008 UD Masterpieces.

Tom Terrific.  It is even more terrific now that I have him.

This Yogi-ism is perfect for me.  "you better cut that pizza into 4 slices, because I'm not hungry enough to eat 6."   I love pizza....


Roberto Clemente.   As close to God as you're going to get in the eyes of Pittsburgh sports fans.

Let's not forget about my favorite set, '77 Topps.  I picked up only one card from the set, but it's a good one.

We all know about Nolan's strikeout prowess, did you know that he actually walked 202 batters in 1974?  Wow.

Finally, time to show off a couple of beauties from the '75 Topps set.

To be honest, I would have been happy getting just one of these cards with the funds from eBay.  I am very lucky to have obtained both of these.

First, the Robin Yount RC

Yes, off center, and a ding on the lower left.  Again, if I really need to I can upgrade later on.  Still, I'm very happy to have it.

Last but not least, George Brett comes a calling...

Great card, corners are sharp and the centering is pretty good.  I don't think I'll have to worry about upgrading this one.

I believe after all these purchases I still had about 5 or 6 dollars left to spend.  I managed to sell the numbered Phil Pfister red A&G back for $15, so when that arrives to its destination I'll have a little bit more money to play with.

I could get used to turning cards I don't want into cash which in turn feeds the habit.   It sure has helped me spend a whole lot less this month so far. 

Have to get the disaster area cleaned up first. a project in itself. 

thanks for reading, Robert