Monday, June 22, 2015

Indian head test pattern

Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, this is the only image I'll be able to put on the blog.

Sorry, but I'm going to be out of commission for a while.

Best of luck, Robert

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Knocking cards off of the top 30 list

Finally getting around to showing off a few additional cards from the COMC orders from a couple of weeks back.   Not only did I knock off a bunch of serial numbered cards for SNI, I also picked up a few cards off of my top 30 most wanted list.  I'm glad that I started that list, because what I've done is focused myself more on going after base cards for my player PCs.  Instead of randomly searching for more expensive jersey/auto/low numbered parallels, having the list of base cards (at least for now) has given me a method of adding to my collections without denting the wallet.

If there is one player that will probably see a lot of turnover on the most wanted list, it will probably be Brett Lawrie.  He's not a player that is chased by a lot of collectors, and now that he's on the west coast he'll probably fly even more under the radar (unless he's playing the Royals). 

I don't think I'd ever seen a Panini black Friday card before picking up this 2013 version, I must say that they don't look too bad.  The lack of logos really do hurt the overall grade, however. 

The Donruss Power Alley card wasn't on the most wanted list, but I happened to spot it for cheap when searching through the Thome list on COMC, so I decided to grab it.  Sorting cards by cheapest available made these 4 cards available to me for around $2.00 total, well worth it for a couple of his earlier cards.

My favorite PC is the Joe Sakic, largely because I've worked on it for a long time, and hockey is my first love.  It is disappointing for me that these cards, which are some of his early to mid 90's releases, weren't already in my collection.  Maybe when I start putting some of these bigger set projects to bed I'll be able to start honing on the Sakic PC, as it's the one that I'd really love to show off and grow  over time.

OK...that pile can be moved off the desk now

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, June 20, 2015

My first taste of series 2

I took a week off of diving into the serial numbered world to head to Target and grab my first rack packs of series 2.  Sticking with the under $20 limit lately, I limited myself to three of the 36 card packages.

I did manage to see my first two Jays cards from the 2nd series, Russell Martin and Roberto Osuna

I'm a set builder first, so I'll still need these 2 for the Jays collection.  Happily, Martin is proving my early season prediction horribly wrong and having a great season with the Jays so far. 

The 1st Home Run inserts are back, and while they look nice, they belong in other collector's hands.  If you want any or all of them, please let me know via comment or twitter.

Lucky me, the two Hot Streak inserts I pulled were of the same guy.  Braves don't belong here....

The Heart of the Order idea is interesting, would have loved to see Jose Bautista as part of this set, but no luck there.   I also pulled a Tony Gwynn, but that is headed down Marcus' way.

'Til it's over.  I've got nothing.  Yes, Mr. Perez is available to whomever wants it.

Mr. Sandoval strikes out on two counts; not only do I have the Red Sox finished for the SNI set, but the #1430 was already off of the list.   So, he is available to any Red Sox fan out there.

What brought a smile to my face is that I have 92 cards free of duplicates towards the 2nd series.  Nothing worse than a pile of doubles that just sits on your desk and doesn't go anywhere. 

I've got nothing to say here that wasn't already said when series 1 was released.  The base cards are nice, I will complete the set, but the insert sets don't do anything for me, so as usual they are available to those who request them.

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What a great way to start off 2015

I know what you may be thinking, we're 6 months into the year (almost) and I'm just starting the year?  In one aspect of my collection, 2015 was just kicked off.   The Blue Jays "just the hits" page had been lacking in any autos or relics from this year, until today.  I received a fantastic trio of autos and a bat card from Matt at the Bob Walk the Plank blog.  Totally unexpected, but greatly welcomed.

If Reyes had been able to stay healthy over the past 7 years (he's only played 140 games in a season twice since 2009), he'd be a lot closer to the magical 3000 hit mark than the 2000 he's closing in on (185 away entering tonight).  Even though it's Donruss, I still like having this card as part of my Jays collection.

The next two cards are from 2015 Topps Tier One, a set that I haven't bought packs of, and probably never will.  Getting these two cards for my collection is definitely a plus.

The Jays could use a young left hander in their rotation, and hopefully Daniel Norris becomes that in the next year or two.  He's back down at AAA Buffalo right now hopefully fixing his control problems (24 walks in 44.1 innings), but he has the stuff to be a solid member of the rotation.

Loved seeing this card, as this might be the best young pitcher that the Jays have developed since Roy Halladay.  It was quite a shame that he lost his season in spring training due to a torn ACL, but it sounds as if he's a very determined young man, and will bounce back stronger than ever.

Finally, the 4th card isn't from 2015, but it's still a recent card of a Jays power hitter that I'm happy to have.

Limited to only 35 copies, I now have a 2013 Topps Tribute auto of Edwin Encarnacion in my hands.  Like many other autographs in our time, it's not the greatest, but I've certainly seen many that are worse. 

These 4 cards have put me further behind on the trade front with Matt, but now that I've seen on his blog that Penguins may be welcome, I may be able to find a few cards that are to his liking.

Thank you very much for the unexpected envelope Matt, it was really appreciated!!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I finished another team--not 2

Was glad to see my COMC order full of serial numbered cards arrived tonight, unfortunately out of the 19 cards that I ordered, 3 of them were unusable.   2 because of mistakes that I made, but 1 was clearly a screw up from the vendor.

I ordered serial # 980 Bert Blyleven for the last card I needed to finish the Twins.   Here's what I got.

Yep, they sent me 880 instead.   Not worth anything to me unfortunately, so if there are any Twins/Blyleven fans out there who would like this card, let me know and I'll gladly send it your way.

I did however find a nice card to finish off the Atlanta Braves portion of the set.

2010 Topps Update Brian McCann, serial number 1237.  Love the bat he's holding from the 2010 All Star game; I'm guessing that's the MVP trophy.  I thought it looked really cool, and decided to grab it for the set.

I'll post a few of the cards I could use over the next couple of days.   I wound up being knocking 16 numbers off of the list, which leaves me with 84 to go.

That light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter...

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, June 13, 2015

It's funny what a little focus can accomplish

Focus (v) - pay particular attention to
As I've aged, I've also gained the knowledge that focus is something that I've clearly lacked during my lifetime.  I'm a person that can easily shift from one task to another quickly, often leaving tasks half finished.

I can also describe my collecting habits as focus impaired.  Start one thing, work on it for a while, move on to something else that I find interesting, work on that for a while, and so on.

With the SNI set down to its final 100 cards, I've started working towards the finish line.  I'm using my weekly budget (or parts of it due to lower amounts of discretionary spending money) and chipping away at the remaining serial numbers needed.

The last 2 purchases from knocked off 19 cards, 5 of which I showed off the other day.  The Goodbye Ohio post showed the final cards of the Cleveland and Cincinnati clubs, and today I'll show off three more teams that were finished recently.

Up until last week, the Cubs were down to just 2 cards to finish off their portion of the set.  Fukudome (#1047) and Gallagher (#1006) made the Cubs the 12th team to have all 50 cards in house.

The Dodgers became the 13th team to be completed when the sole remaining card arrived in the same order.  Delwyn Young (#1421) is the final piece of the Dodgers puzzle.  In case you were wondering, Young is still playing baseball, with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.

Jake Peavy (#753) is the final part of the San Diego Padres portion of the set.  Peavy is probably not the same pitcher now as he was with the Padres many years ago, but I'm sure that the sting is lessened with two consecutive WS rings on his resume.   To get a third, he's probably going to have to be traded, because we all know that the Giants can only win in even #'d years...

Not only have I completed those teams with recent orders, I've added cards for other teams as well.

I only grabbed a couple of Phillies so that they would be over the 40 card mark.  Same with the Tigers below...

Little did I know that these two teams would be in the sights of another blogger, to be completely wiped out with one single order.   When they arrive, I'll be sure to show them off and give many thanks to the generous person.

Lastly, in what I can only call a moment of non-clarity, I ordered 4 Braves cards.

Nothing against the Braves of course, but for some reason I ordered just 4 when I needed 5 to finish them off.  Duh me.  I corrected this mistake in the order that I placed today.

Speaking of that order, along with the generosity of a fellow blogger I have a little more than a third of the final 100 cards headed my way.  With just under 6 weeks left until my blogoversary, there is a chance that I can finish this set before the start of my 5th year in the blog world.

Let's see if I can stay focused enough to do it...

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Goodbye Ohio

Over the past few weeks, the desire to finish one of my "bigger" set builds has intensified.  With money tighter than normal, the choice between chasing the more valuable cards to finish the '64 Topps set versus obtaining the remaining cards to finish off my serial numbered insanity set became much clearer.

The ability to purchase serial numbered cards off of at a reasonable price won out, and so over the past couple of weeks I've placed two small orders on the site.  In addition to about a dozen cards for my 3 player PCs, I started knocking off some teams from the SNI set, which is making the task a little less daunting, at least in my eyes.

I decided for today's post to say goodbye to the Ohio based teams.   I only needed a handful of cards to finish off both teams, which made scanning the cards all that much easier.

In trying to complete the set, I've been trying to purchase cards from various sets to enjoy a little more variety.  Picking up a lot of Triple Threads cards had made the process somewhat stale, so finding a David Ross from 2007 Topps helped. 

I only needed two cards to complete the Indians portion of the set.  The Casey Kotchman was one of the lowest serial numbers that I still needed, #395.  Most of my focus on buying these cards has been on parallels with larger print runs, such as the gold parallels of Lou Manson on the right, but with only a few serial numbers left that are below 500, I was able to grab a Bowman blue parallel for some more variety.  I will probably do the same thing for the final 3 serial numbers below 500.

With the Indians and Reds complete, I now have over half the teams finished, 16 to be exact.  The Braves only need one more card, while the remainder of the teams have anywhere between 5 and 10 cards left.

Even better than all I've said so far is the fact that I only need 100 cards to finish the set.  I bet you thought this might go on forever....

So did I.

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, June 7, 2015

I'll knock off the Blue Jays want list one set at a time if I have to

I've been very lucky over the last few weeks to knock off quite a few cards from the massive Blue Jays want list.  I normally will look at the want list from the top to the bottom, meaning that the older sets are the ones that I look at first.  

For the longest time, this portion of the list had me wondering:

1978 Topps:

What in the world could those cards be?  I knew that there weren't any key rookies that I was missing from that era, so I decided to hop on and find out what the cards were.  I had forgotten all the quad boxed rookie cards from that set, of which these 2 cards were a part.

Upon finding out who was on the cards, picking them up for about $1 apiece didn't hurt me that much, and now the '78 Topps set has been marked COMPLETE.

Garth Iorg wound up having a nice career with the Blue Jays, and easily is the 2nd best player on the card.  Dave Oliver didn't play in the majors again after 1977, and Sam Perlozzo only had 2 ABs in 1979 for the Padres after appearing on this card. 

Ernie Whitt still holds the Blue Jays franchise record for games caught and HRs by a catcher, and is part of a very talented group of catchers featured on this card.  I hated (yes, I know hate is a strong word, but 30 years ago, that's how I felt) Lance Parrish in the mid 80's because it always seemed that he did something to the Jays every time he played against them.  Looking up Dale Murphy's career led me to something interesting.  Every one remembers Murphy patrolling center field for the Braves during the 80's, but does anyone remember him playing a good portion of the '78 and '79 seasons at first base?  I always thought he went straight from the dish out to center, so this really surprised me. 

I can happily say that I now have finished the Blue Jays portion of the '78 set with these 2 cards.  With a little over 2 dozen pre 1995 sets just needing 1 or 2 cards to complete, I may just start knocking these off, one set at a time if I have to.

It'll be nice to shorten the list, as I'm sure that there's a lot of people that probably get dizzy scrolling up and down it.  I know I'm one of them....

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, June 6, 2015

2014 Topps Series 2 is done--here is my top 10

Two in a row!  Believe me, I was very thankful to get this set off the want list the other day.  Going through the cards last night made me realize that there were quite a few solid photos in this set, and picking out 15 cards was a bit difficult.   In the end, the horizontal photos won a place 7 times in this top 10, including spots 1 through 6.   Sometimes to get a great photo on the card, vertical just doesn't do it.

Here's the next installment of the set completion files, 2014 Topps Series 2.  Enjoy!

#10:  Card 343 Nate Freiman

The timing on the chest bump with Jed Lowrie was just a bit off, but at least I can give them an A for effort.  If Bob Walk had his way, we wouldn't have seen a card for Nate in 2014.

Anyone else notice that Nate's last name breaks the I before E rule?

#9:  Card 509 Brandon Phillips

Remember Carlos Gomez last night?   Same thing for me with Brandon Phillips on this card.  I've watched him quite a bit over the past few seasons on Pirates telecasts, and the guy is a competitor.  Smiling all the time as well. 

#8:  Card 594 Justin Maxwell

I had to hit the Trading Card Database just to make sure that this wasn't one of those short print pie in the face cards.  Sure enough it wasn't, so I included it.   The powder blue uniforms help the cause also.

#7:  Card 538 Jon Jay

The timing on this jump with Matt Holliday was a lot better than the Nate Freiman card at #10, so it gets a better position on the countdown.  It just fit nicely at the 7 spot because of Holliday's jersey number. 

#6:  Card 637 Freddy Galvis

Let the run of horizontal cards begin.  If Freddy can keep his spot at short stop, this might be the last time we see him listed as a second baseman on a card.  This is a great shot of a home plate celebration, and some of the reactions on the other players faces are priceless. 

#5:  Card 598 Marco Estrada

Any time that a card features a player signing for kids, it'll find a way into one of my year end countdowns.  I'm awaiting Estrada's first flagship card featuring him as a Blue Jay, which I hope will appear in series 2.

#4:  Card 436 Eric Young Jr.

There is quite a lot going on in this picture.  What made it really stand out for me is that you don't often see two players from the same team running the bases on one card, which makes this shot even greater for me.  Add to that the Brewers player getting ready to pick up the baseball, while keeping Eric as the focal point of the card makes this card outstanding in my eyes.  I don't think we'll see shots like this very often.

#3:  Card 339 Cody Ross

There were a couple of other play at the plate cards in my top 15 ( 360 Russell Martin, 399 Hector Sanchez), however this card, much like Eric Young at #4, has a lot going on.   You have Cody Ross coming in for the drop kick.  You have the catcher about to apply the tag without the ball in his glove, and you have the third base coach (Matt Williams I believe) watching on in the background.  Another fantastic shot.

#2:  Card 357 Lorenzo Cain

Honestly, I think that this photo might have been better served if it was positioned vertically on the card.  Having said that, this card is one of the many I've shown on the blog featuring outfield larceny.  Great catch, even though the coach in the bullpen doesn't seem to be too concerned/impressed.

#1:  Card 587 Dee Gordon

Absolutely, positively fantastic!!  The art of bunting featured prominently on a card doesn't happen often, and the concentration on Dee's face is evident.  Add in the pink eye blacks along with the baseball absolutely frozen in the frame, and this is easily the best card of the 2014 set in my opinion.

Feel free to share your opinions in the comments section.   Any other cards that I should have included?  Something in my top 10 that shouldn't be there in your opinion?  Let me know....

thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, June 5, 2015

2015 Topps Series 1 is done. Here are my top 10 cards

In the past I've done top 5 countdowns with modern sets when I've completed them, but I found enough compelling cards while searching through Series 1 that I decided to do a top 10 list this time around.

For those of you who haven't seen (or just plain ignored) my set countdowns in the past, what I do is I go through the entire set twice, and take out the cards that I believe have the best photos.  This is by no means a definitive list, but it's what I like. 


#10:  Card 271  Pittsburgh Pirates team card

Those that know me are well aware that the Blue Jays are my #1 team.  Always have been, always will be.  But the Pirates over the last handful of seasons have kind of become my #1B team, and watching the outfielders dust each others shoulders off after a win has been a fun thing to watch.  Also looking at this card I see the memorial patch on the right sleeve for Ralph Kiner, and I think of GCRL and all the patches he's shown off over the years.

#9:  Card 340 Carlos Gomez

I like cards that show the essence of a player, and the Carlos Gomez card does just that.  I'm sure that he's just hit a homer, and is thanking the deity of his choice in the way he knows how.   Yes, he's pretty cocky, but he's also a pretty good ball player, and should be in CF for the Brewers for a while.

#8:  Card 102 Gordon Beckham

Think '75T Boog Powell.  That's what I did for a brief moment when I saw this card.  No, it's not exactly like Powell's 75T card (which is a classic), but this isn't too shabby.

#7:  Card 136 Manny Machado

Get used to seeing this guy.  If he can stay healthy, and control his temper enough so someone doesn't throw at his head and kill him, he'll be around for a long time.  This shot of him throwing from his knees is one of many defensive gems we'll see from the hot corner in Baltimore for at least the next decade.

#6:  Card 314 Jackie Bradley Jr.

I could have easily ranked this card higher on the list.  But I've highlighted enough shots of outfielders making great grabs at the top of these lists before, so I knocked JBJ down a bit.  Still a fantastic photo.

#5:  Card 177 Paul Konerko

Let's start a double dip of homages to retired players with this Paul Konerko card.  The shot of him nearly in tears with the " P K" letters behind him is a great tribute to one of the South Side's best players in my lifetime.

#4:  Card 1 Derek Jeter

I'm sure that there are people out there that may rank this card at the top of their list.  For me, the top 3 cards that you're going to see shortly won out because of the photos.  The Captain's card here reminds me that in the end, these are grown men playing a kids game, and more often than not, those same grown men will react like kids.

#3:  Card 256 Adam Eaton

I love this card.  Catching Eaton in mid air while sliding into home is nothing short of fantastic.  Not too sure why the Red Sox catcher has his hands on his knees, unless he's bracing for a Karate Kid like kick from Eaton.  Bonus points for the Gulf advertisement on Fenway's padded walls in back of Eaton. 

#2:  Card 184  B.J. Upton

To use a photograph that makes a light hitter like Upton look as bad ass as he does?   Fantastic.  Yes, it's kind of plain, but the facial expression combined with the glasses just does it for me.

#1:  Card 300 Mike Trout

Maybe the best card over the past few years?  A card featuring a young superstar raising a cloud of dirt while sliding into a base just cannot be beat in my eyes.  I honestly don't think any other card comes close to this one in Series 1.  What do you think?

Feel free to tell me what you think of my list in the comments.   Remember, I'm not a professional anything.  I'm just another card collector...

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Killing 2 sets with one envelope

Between the lack of time, and the need to reign in some of my card spending has caused me to kind of ignore the blog for the past couple of weeks.   I actually had quite a bit of time on my hands last Sunday that could have been used to write a post or three, but instead I decided to follow the lead of Brian at PATP and do a little reorganizing myself.

I haven't gone completely cold turkey, there have been a couple of small purchases on Sportlots and that have amounted to a week's worth of budget.  When that is spread over a couple of weeks, you can tell that I've cut back.

I've tried to focus my purchases on sets that I would like to complete sooner rather than later.  The Sportlots purchase was small, just 8 cards.  But what it did is complete 2 sets, which in turn will generate a couple more posts.

I had quite the trio of cards left to complete '15 series 1.  They feature 5 pretty damn good players, and getting them at the 18 cent base price each was superb.

While many others put this set to bed months ago, I put off finishing this set until I finally got sick of looking at the group of 5 #'s on my want list page.  I like the Jon Jay card, and I'll be interested to see if it makes my top 5 cards for '14 series 2 post.

I need to make a more concerted effort of posting on a regular basis.   When the Night Owl notices that you've been gone, and mentions it on his blog, you know you've been away for too long.

Let's see if I can get back on a more regular posting regimen....

thanks for reading, Robert