Friday, November 17, 2017

Inbound and Down #30: A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts

You may remember quite a few months ago I ran a little "contest" on the blog, daring people to write posts of 100 words or less.   I offered to knock 5 cards off of their want lists for doing so, and 20 victims dared to take up the challenge.  I told people that I wanted nothing in return, save for the challenge of writing a brief post.

Jon at the A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts blog took up the challenge, and wrote an excellent post featuring his cards and using haikus to describe them.  That post was written on March 4th.

Jon has a very long memory indeed, because he sent me a 6 card PWE this week as a thank you for what I sent back then!  Like I said, totally not necessary, but it is greatly appreciated!!

Let's start with the best Jay to wear the #30, Todd Stottlemyre

I always liked the Score Gold Rush cards, and have been stupid enough to entertain the thought of trying to put the parallel set together.   Needless to say, cooler heads prevailed....

Still hurts that EE is gone, but it appears that he's found a good home in Cleveland.  He had a typical EE offensive season (.258/38/107) and drew over 100 walks for the first time in his career.  He'll hit the 350 home run mark for his career early in 2018 (he needs 2) and is about 3 years away from 2000 hits (needs 418). 

Hadn't seen this card before last weekends card show.   I bought it for a quarter, then just a couple days later, it arrives in my mailbox!!  Rock solid foundation indeed, as '97 (the year this card is from) started a run of 10 straight 30+ HR seasons for Delgado.

A pair of red beauties finishes off the envelope.  I thought I had the Clemens card on the left, but a quick look at the Jays want list and sure enough, I was able to remove it from the list.  The stars on the card was the giveaway, as I didn't remember them at all on any of the Pinnacle Certified cards that I have.  Red Panini Prizm's are a favorite of mine as well, and Melky Cabrera (who the Jays can certainly use in their outfield now) was a welcome sight.

Jon, thank you very much for the envelope, it certainly was appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Try A Pack #10: 2017-18 Artifacts Hockey

I got lucky this season.  My annual bid to try and get a parallel or two out of Artifacts only cost me $6.  I was able to find two loose packs this year; every other season I've always had to buy a blaster which contained 8 packs of no parallels.

This year my two packs contained, you guessed it, no parallels.  I'll always keep trying though.

Retail packs of 5 cards cost $2.99, a bit expensive but the cards do look nice (as they always have).

The Hurricanes are closer to having a great team than people think.  They've got a good coach, a great young defense and some shooters up front.  Victor Rask is only 24 and in his 4th season.  He's been a solid contributor each of his first 3 seasons, and should see the benefits of his hard work very soon in the tobacco belt.

Stanley Cup this year?  That's what the Lightning have to be thinking.  Kucherov is the early favorite to win the Rocket Richard trophy, as he and Steven Stamkos are making mince meat out of goalies so far this season. 

Frederik Andersen is the lone Leaf I pulled out of the two packs.  I'd love to see the Leafs find a backup goalie that they fully trust, because I believe that Freddie just isn't a 70 start goaltender.  50-60 is more like it.

Ryan Spooner is part of the turnover in Boston, and he's put up decent numbers over the last two seasons.  He's been hurt a good portion of this season, not having played in the past month.

Part of the west coast beard movement, Jake Muzzin is the defenseman you don't hear about when discussion about the Kings happens.  Hard to believe he's already in his 8th NHL season; it seems like I just started hearing his name in the past couple of years. 

As always, the Artifacts design is for the lack of a better word, elegant.  The Artifacts name is always at the top of the card, and little changes happen at the bottom as far as design goes.  It's as reliable as it gets for card products, you know what you're going to get and how much you're going to pay for it.

thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Inbound and Down #29: Diamond Jesters

I only recently found the Diamond Jesters blog, and that was largely due to a trade I made with its writer, Matt.  Check it out when you have a moment, Matt is a Red Sox fan and writes haikus!

Shamefully, I was brutally slow on returning my end of the deal, but Matt was gracious about it and I actually have sent him a 2nd envelope today with a couple of more cards that I hope he can use.

Matt proposed a 1 for 1 trade, but in the end he sent me 4 cards, all worthy additions in their own way.

I'm sure I have a few copies of the '89T Lloyd Moseby card, but none with the rediscover Topps gold foil emblazoned on them!!   Still a good conversation piece and starter to the envelope.

2 things I would love to see from Troy Tulowitzki in 2018. 

  1. Stay healthy.  66 games in 2017 was a killer to the team, even though Jays fans may have seen the beginning of the shortstop of the future for the club, Richard Urena.
  2. Get that hitting stroke back.  Troy is hitting combined .250 during his tenure in Toronto, and if we can see him get back close to the .300 hitter he was in Colorado, that would certainly help.

A little gold never hurts!  I believe that this is the first gold card from 2017 for my Jays collection.  Devon Travis is another player that the Jays need to stay healthy in order for the offense to get rolling again.

Finally, this is the card that was originally offered, the Josh Donaldson 2017 Optic base card.  Topps Chrome without the logos, right?  Still it's a good card of the Jays best player right now, so I love having it in the collection.

Matt, thank you for the trade, the cards are appreciated!  My apologies again for the slowness of sending you my end, hopefully the envelope I mailed today helps a little with that.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, November 13, 2017


After this past Saturday's card show, I decided to head to the local Target to pick up a few packs of cards to finish off the day's purchases.

The card aisle there was a bit in disarray, but what popped right out at me was the new NHL sticker album for the 17-18 season.  I briefly flipped through the album and upon seeing that the set was just over 500 stickers strong, I put it back down.

I then thought to myself that I had bought and started the '17 baseball sticker album, and began to hunt around the shelves for any packs of stickers.  No sense starting the album like I did a couple of months ago and not at least try a little to fill it.

What's cool about the stickers is the size, at least for scanning.  This is 2 full packs, 16 in total.  I bought 4 packs and only pulled 2 doubles (better than the card packs I usually buy). 

Here's one of the pages that I'm close to completing, and as you can see coloring inside the lines was never one of my strong suits. 

The set is relatively small, just 301 stickers total.  I have about 1/3 of them so far, and putting the 30 stickers I had tonight into the album was kind of therapeutic.  It'll be interesting for me to see how long it takes to finish the album.

Maybe it'll take some sticktoitiveness on my part to get it done...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Inbound and Down #28: The Chronicles of Fuji

The Chronicles of Fuji.  Need I say more?  OK I will.  Mark is one of the best and longest lasting writers on the card collecting blogosphere, and I have had the good fortune of trading with Mark on a few occasions. 

I'm so far behind on my blog reading that I didn't notice until today that Mark had announced on his blog that he was sending packages (27 of them!) out to folks in the world, and I was one of them.

To be honest, I really don't remember sending him anything (it could have been a while ago, my mind is shot...), but I won't sneeze at the cards he sent me.

Why is it I don't remember Joe Carter as part of the Crash the Game set?  Right, the mind is gone...

OK, maybe the mind isn't that far gone, because I instantly recognized the Tony Fernandez on the right as being from one of the many 80's Fire Safety sets that the Jays released.  Love the old photo of Exhibition Stadium in the background.

A trio of Bowman Platinum gold.  Sadly, none of these 3 are currently with the club.

More Bowman Platinum, and a Topps Super insert from last year's Archives featuring Josh Donaldson.  Nice!

The Brett Lawrie card will go into his PC, the Jose Bautista card is sharp and I must be careful, and I have to admit, that Blue Jays logo in the center is the ugliest of them all. 

Didn't have my reading glasses on when I pulled this out of the envelope, and I said out loud "who the hell is this?"  I did not recognize Pat Borders at all with the mustache.  Cool jersey card though from the 2000 Black Diamond Rookie Edition set.  I had no idea that Borders was ever affiliated with the USA Baseball program, which makes this even more cool for me.

Mark, thank you for the great envelope, it is very much appreciated!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Inbound and Down #27: Remember the Astrodome

Sometimes you go quite a while on the blogosphere without communicating with some of your fellow bloggers.  It's just a fact of life, as there's so many card bloggers out there you can't keep up with everyone.  I recently received an email from Marc at the Remember the Astrodome blog saying that he had a few Series 2 cards from '17 Topps to send my way.

It had been quite a while since Marc and I communicated last, since the address he had on file for me was my PA address!  So I sent him the new address and I received a nice windfall in the mail yesterday...

6 more off the list, need just over 100 now.   Hoping that today's card show can knock that list down some more.

A trio of Blue Jays, a welcome addition in any envelope!!  I especially liked the Fond Farewells card of Omar Vizquel which I don't remember seeing in the past.

Marc also chipped away at a couple of other want lists, as he knocked off 4 '89 Upper Deck cards, as well as a 1990 Leaf (not scanned).  Still a long way to go for both of these sets, but every little bit helps, right?

The topping on this envelope, which was totally unexpected, was the '74 Topps cards that Marc included.

Love the horizontal cards, especially the shot of Gary Matthews sliding into 3rd.  Looked at the '73 Giants roster, and that team had a very young and talented OF group, with Matthews (22), Garry Maddox (23) and Bobby Bonds (27) .  The team as a whole was young, with only one regular fielder over 30 (McCovey) and one starting pitcher (Marichal); neither of those two would be on the club the next season.

Another 9 more towards the set, including Barry's dad and Bob Forsch's brother Ken.  These 13 cards put me at just 2 cards shy of having 2/3 of the set in hand.   Maybe I'll be lucky and find a few today to bring home from the show.

Thank you for the cards Marc, they are appreciated!!  I have sent you a friend request on the TCDB (rmitchell6700 is my user ID there).  

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Still a little bit stunned over hearing the news that one of the greatest pitchers in Blue Jays history, Roy Halladay, tragically passed away yesterday at the age of 40.

Seeing all the highlights on TV and on twitter, I had forgotten that Roy was an out away from a no-hitter in only his 2nd career start (damn you Bobby Higginson). 

Roy was an 8-time All Star, 6 of those selections coming as a Blue Jay. 

Roy won a Cy Young in 2003 with the Jays, going 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA and 9 complete games.  He pitched 266 innings that year, a number that you may not see ever again with today's pitch count and inning limits placed on pitchers.

Roy was having one of his better statistical seasons in 2005 when he was hit by a line drive against Texas in July.  He was 12-4 at the time with a 2.41 ERA and a WHIP of 0.96.

In 2007, Roy pitched 7 complete games.  That would start a run of 5 consecutive seasons in which he would lead the league in complete games (3 in the AL, 2 in the NL).  During that 5 year period, Roy would win 93 games and throw 42 CG's, 12 of those shutouts.

2010 was the coup-de-grace for Roy, throwing a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29th, striking out 11 hitters while throwing 115 pitches. 
Roy would finally hit the postseason that year, and in his first start he would no-hit the Reds, striking out 8.  The only blemish on that game would be a walk to Jay Bruce.  It was the first post-season no hitter since Don Larsen's perfect game in the '56 World Series.

Destined for history?  I hope so.  Would love to see the Jays honor him sometime in 2018 by adding him to the level of excellence.  He was one of the best pitchers to ever start for Toronto, if not the best.

God bless you Roy, you left us way too soon.   Rest in peace.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, November 6, 2017

2017 Topps Series 1--My top 10

I haven't written one of these posts in a long time, so it feels good to go through an entire set of cards and take a good look at all the photos.  Most of them are the standard in play photos of hitters and pitchers, so they were easy "throw away" cards.  But I did pluck out 13 cards whose photos were worthy of inclusion.

Honorable mention:

Derek Norris #92

Love the look on Derek's face, almost as if he's saying "anyone who tries to cross this plate is dead meat".

Adam Lind #328 and Jesse Hahn #140

It doesn't have to be all about baseball, right?  Love the shot of Adam Lind turning his helmet into a basketball.  Wonder if he sank the J?

Jesse Hahn's card is a great shot of him warming up in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum.

OK, let's get started with #10

#10:  Miguel Sano card  #126

OK, I could go into a big political statement about the players in the No Fans Left league, but that's for another place and time.   Thank you Miguel.

#9:  Chicago Cubs Team Card #72

Great shot of the fans flying the W at Wrigley field after a win.  What better way to honor fans who suffered through a 100+ year WS drought.

#8:  Gregory Polanco card #149

I remember posting this card at the beginning of the year and saying that it would be one of the best.  Yep, it sure is.  The guy in the first row with some good focus on the play adds to the card for me.

#7: Jacoby Ellsbury card #197

Why this one ahead of Polanco?  The shot of the lightning bolt on the ad sign in behind Jacoby just added a little something to the card for me.

#6:  Baltimore Orioles team card #141

Looks better on the screen to me.  The Gatorade shower isn't hitting just one or 2 guys, it's hitting a half dozen!  The reaction of the one player on the left is priceless.

#5:  Jace Peterson card #133

Great, great shot of Jace making the DP turn on Addison Russell and the Cubs.  The shot of the ivy in the background just adds another great touch to this card.

#4:  Daniel Murphy card #62

Those who post vintage cards on the blogs with great shots of stadiums in the background was the inspiration for adding this card.  It is a great shot of Miller Park, showing a couple of the retired numbers in the background.

#3:  Kevin Pillar card #6

I'm sure that Topps probably has enough photos of Kevin making diving catches in the outfield to cover 10 products each season for the next 10 seasons.  Finding a shot of him diving into home plate is even more outstanding.

#2:  Mookie Betts card #161

I had this card at #1 for a few minutes, but I dropped it to #2 just because of the bend in Ben Revere's body, which you'll see in a minute.  Whomever took this photo should be congratulated, because snapping this picture right at the moment the ball entered the glove is fantastic.

#1:  Ben Revere card #324

Two things that made this photo #1 for me over the Mookie Betts card.  First, the bend in Revere's body, that looks painful (OK, well it would be painful for me to do that).  Second, catching the yellow home run line shows that Ben is bringing a home run back onto the field for his pitcher.

Looking forward to seeing what series 2 has in store photo wise.

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The hockey half of my COMC purchase

Maybe half is too strong a word to use.  Hockey just counted for about a third of the order, but for me there was some good stuff in there that took a few numbers off some want lists.

My 1970's want lists really haven't been touched much the past few months, so I picked a trio of cards to make me feel like I'm doing something about those sets.  The 2 71-72 OPC cards bring that set to 1/6th complete, not bad for a set that is probably near the bottom of the set building totem pole.  Just above it would be the 76-77 OPC set, which is represented on the left by Bob Gassoff of the Blues. 

This trio is a little more modern, with Larry Murphy on the left knocking one number off of the 20 year old Players Club want list.  The other two cards are short prints from the 2012-13 OPC set, which still has 90 cards to go. 

I don't remember how long ago it was, but I had the beginnings of a 83-84 OPC set.  What happened to those cards is an absolute mystery to me now, but as I march closer to completing that set, I regret not keeping them more prominent in my collection.  These 7 cards bring me just under having 60% of the set in hand.  What will slow that build down a bit is I need what seems to be a million Gretzky cards, along with most of the Oilers and Islanders from the set. 
I've barely touched the 86-87 OPC set, represented by the Larmer and Malarchuk cards at the top of the scan, but it is one of my faves from the 80's and I'll be sure to have that one completed some day.

Not a bad haul if I do say so myself, and I'll say this about COMC.  I requested shipment on these cards on 10/29 (last Sunday), and I had the cards in hand by Saturday.  6 days including shipping time from Washington state to SE Florida. 

Not too shabby if you ask me.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Knocking down some want lists, COMC style

The latest push of card purchases came around my birthday late last week.  I decided to splurge on myself  a little (you only turn 50 once), and I also wanted to hit the $5 bonus so I decided to hit a bunch of different want lists.  Variety is the spice of life and all that....

So series 1 is finally complete, only 3 days after the World Series has concluded.  It's been a long time since I've been able to do a complete set post, so I'm looking forward to going through series 1 and picking out my favorite cards to show off.

I also put my Series 2 want list up today, 108 cards in total to put 2017 Topps to bed for good.

Here's the list, just in case you don't feel like hunting for it on my many want list pages...


15 cards from the almost completed 2016 Allen & Ginter set made their way to my door today.  I'm down to just 9 cards to finish the set, and knock off one of my 2017 'resolutions'.  Will be glad to get this one off the want lists as well.

In hindsight, buying a couple of '82 Topps cards as part of this last order might not have been the best idea, as I'm sure I can hunt around and find them a bit cheaper.  Plucking a few '68 and '69 Topps cards for less than 50 cents apiece was something that I didn't mind doing though.  I'm closing in on 100 cards in hand for the '69 set, and every time I see one of the pink or salmon colored backs I fall in love with the set just a bit more.

I've never really written much about the '74 Topps set on the blog, largely because I bought one large lot of it a couple years ago, and never chased it much since.  I'm 15 cards shy of having 2/3 of the set in hand, and could honestly say I could count on one hand the number of times I've mentioned it.

To show you how little I know about the set, I wondered during my shopping spree last week why I didn't have the first 6 cards of the '74 set.  Dopey me had no idea that the first 6 were a tribute to the great Hank Aaron.  So, I found a couple of the tribute cards for less than a buck apiece and added them to my order.  Surprising that I could only find one blog dedicated to the '74 set, and unfortunately that effort appears abandoned after approximately 90 posts. 

Well, that's the baseball half of the purchase.  Tomorrow, we'll go over the hockey portion, a little bit less but still it fills some holes in the collection.

Thanks for reading, Robert