Monday, December 31, 2012

this is my last post of 2012, I swear

Sadly, because of the crappy shift I worked today, and the level of tiredness that I'm experiencing at this moment, I really don't have anything prepped that would be worthy of an "end of the year" post.  I do have a couple of things that I really want to say before the year ends....very shortly.

  1. For the first time this evening, I watched the video for "Gangnam Style".   I have only one thing to say about the "craze".....what is the world coming to?????????
  2. I will say this for my wife, she did give it a good effort this Christmas when buying baseball cards for me.  I received a blaster and a rack pack of Update, and she was rather proud of herself because she took a picture on her iPhone of an old pack I had lying around and used it to make sure she was buying the "right kind".    Dear, you did just fine...
Sadly, not a batting practice cap logo....

Not sure how much of a blockbuster the deal was at the time, Smoltz was picked up by the Braves from the Tigers for Doyle Alexander.  The Tigers were sure happy with Doyle's pitching the rest of the way.  9-0 in 11 starts with a 1.53 ERA.   Detroit wound up losing the ALCS in 5 games to the Twins. 

Finally, to all the great people out there in blog land, I hope that you and your family have a safe, prosperous, and fun 2013. 

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's December 30th already?

Another year, come and gone, just like that.  A lot has happened over the year.  I dabbled in this, posted about that, and generally got through my first full calendar year on the blog without any major catastrophes.  I made a lot of trades, encountered a lot of new blogs, said good bye to a few of the old veterans, but most of all had a blast getting to know a lot of the regulars out there in blog land.

At the beginning of the year, I posted 7 goals for myself to attain for 2012.   It appears that I'm going to go   4 for 7 on these goals.

1.  Double the number of relics/autos in my Jays collection from 15 to 30.  Done.  I actually managed to more than double the amount of Blue Jays relics/autos in my collection.  #50 just came in this week, courtesy of Ryan over at the Ryan's Pitch blog.  Ryan sent me a nice auto of former Blue Jay Eric Thames:

Thank you Ryan!!

2.  Increase the number of completed sets to 25.  Not hitting this number is a big disappointment for me, but there's lot of reasons for it.  The main one is the lack of focus.  There are so many sets I have going right now that are less than 50 cards from completion that I should have hit 25 easily.  Hopefully before the 2013 baseball season starts I will hit that magic number.

3.  Increase the number of Jays cards in my collection to 3500.  I said at the start that this was a very aggressive goal, and it turns out that a lot of people out there tried to help me get there, but the last few weeks of the year saw me having less and less time to sort and catalog the plethora of cards the blogosphere sent me.  I managed to do some cataloging and sorting today, and the total rose to 2708, with the likely total after final clean up being around 2900-3000 cards of the Jays. 

4. Ship 100 bubble envelopes.   Done.  Very proud of that one, it means that I kept active with everyone out there.

5.  Hit 500 posts by the end of the year.  Done.  This is post #587 overall, another number I'm very pleased with.  As I tell my wife "it keeps me off the streets".

6.  Attend the National.  Done.  Spent two days there.   Loved every minute of it.  Looking forward to the 2014 National in Cleveland.  Why wait till then?  I'm a 90 minute drive from Cleveland, so I'll be able to attend multiple days and still be able to sleep in my own bed at night.  I loved Baltimore, but losing $130  in the budget due to hotel/parking fees just really sucks.

7.  Meet another blogger.  Nope.  No luck there.  Maybe some time in 2013.  I probably wound up passing a few bloggers at the National (and maybe at the Expo in November), but not knowing any of them face wise meant that this goal went by the wayside. 

Will I have goals for 2013?  Of course.  Gotta start the New Year off somehow!!  I will likely keep it at a modest total of 7 because any more than that will require a lot of thought, and I don't feel like doing that over the holidays. 

By the way, in case you haven't seen it, JBF's annual blog of the year voting is running right now.  Don't know how to get there?  Follow this link, and choose from any of the blogs listed on the right. 

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The November project purchase #7: 5 vintage cards

I decided to finish up this little project by cherry picking some single card auctions on eBay.  I hit 3 cards from the '64 Topps set, a '75 Topps Rod Carew, and finally a '77 Topps Willie McCovey.

Number of cards in lot: 5
Total amount spent : $10.10 (shipping was free)  Final total of all purchases was $96.63
Seller:  battersbox

Ol' Fritz Ackley has a little bit of the Wally Moon unibrow happening there.  I was happy to knock off a couple more of the Yankees from the '64 set, along with picking up a couple of star cards from the '70s sets that I'm working on. 

This little project was fun, I added a solid Blue Jay autograph to my collection (Drabek), got an excellent start on a '76 Topps set, won two great lots of '75 and '73 Topps, and found an absolute steal on a nice lot of '62 Topps. 

And, I still had $3.37 in change....

thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, December 28, 2012

No Mo, No Less

As always, Michael from the Nomo's Sushi Platter blog did not disappoint when he offered up a trade to me recently.  I believe that this was our 3rd trade, and the cards that came my way brought a smile to my face.  Then again, when do cards that arrive in your mailbox not bring a smile to your day.

Michael was one of the many who have recently sent me a great deal of '12 Topps Update cards which you've all seen many times, so I will not show them off to you.  If you read the "epilogue" post to my top 25 countdown the other night, you saw the Bill Madlock '75 card that he sent me.  A rookie cup card no less!!

Here's a few more of the great cards he sent me...

My recent turn towards vintage was noticed, as these 3 cards from the '68 set were sent my way.  Still a long way to go to complete the "burlap" set, but these cards brought me up to a dozen total.  Surely another set that over time will be brought into the fold.

Still in tune with what's happening in my little corner of the world, some Chrome Blue Jay goodness came my way in the form of Adam Lind.  I hope that Adam rebounds and has a good season with all that new talent that has been added to the roster. The return of Jose Bautista, combined with two remarkable trades, has a lot of Blue Jay fans thinking that the glory days of the early 90's may be returning to the dome.  The '73T card of Billy Williams, outside of being a little off center, is in fabulous condition, and is a "hero" card (#200).  Still a long way to go to finish the '73 set, but it's still one of my favorites.

Finally, what's a trade without some insanity coming my way?

Now, there are some of you out there that my cry blasphemy when I say this, but I like the orange Giants uniforms.  Better than the gray for sure.  I guess it's because I like to see a little color in the uniforms, and the orange really stands out.  ( I can hear the gagging from some of you out there  The Giants card in itself might be the reason that Spiegel was more than happy to send it my way. 

Ryan Madson, I have only one question for you.   How in the world do you remain standing after a pitch?  That may be one of the most extreme follow throughs I have ever seen immortalized on a baseball card.

Speaking of insanity, Brian, the answer to your question as of this writing is 743.

Michael, thank you again for the great cards, they are very much appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Before there were lockouts and strikes: Larry Robinson

1979-80 OPC # 50

The "Big Bird".  One of the "Big Three".  At 6'4" and 225 lbs, Robinson was a very smooth skater who had no problems clearing the front of the net.  I had always remembered him as a defensive force, and was very surprised when looking over his career stats to find out that he scored 208 goals, and was 5th all time for defensemen in total points when he retired.  (He has since slipped to 19th all time in defensemen points). 

Larry was the cog in what I still consider the greatest regular season any team has ever had.  In 1976-77, Montreal destroyed the NHL to a tune of 60 wins, 8 losses and 12 ties.  Of the 387 goals that Montreal scored that year, Larry was on the ice for 218 of them.  Opponents only scored 171 goals against Montreal that year.  They didn't keep stats for time on ice in his day, but I will bet that he played a lot of 30+ minute games. 

Scary stat:  +/- in 1976/77:  120  Only one player had a season better than that.  Bobby Orr in 70/71 was +124.
Scary stat #2:  Larry never finished a season with a negative +/-.  His lowest total was +1, at age 40.

There is a video on You Tube of a playoff game between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs in 1979.  The teams at the time were in the habit of clearing the bench when ever someone scored a goal, which in itself is surprising. At the 7:55 mark of the video, Jacques Lemaire scores for the Canadiens, and the bench clears, except for Robinson, who is absolutely dog tired.  Almost every highlight featured Robinson. 

I could go on forever about how great a player Larry was...

Before there were lockouts and strikes, there was Larry Robinson

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My top 25 sets: Epilogue

I will say this.  Over the past few weeks, I've enjoyed writing, as well as reliving, some of the sets that I have built, or am building currently.  I've learned a lot over the past few weeks as well.

1.  There are a lot of sets out there.  I realized that while writing a bunch of posts one day.  Not only have I barely scratched the surface on a few 60's & 70's baseball sets, there are a lot of hockey sets that I would like to try and complete from that era as well.  Am I becoming a vintage freak...well

2.  No, not entirely, because there are a lot of modern sets that I would like to chase after as well.  A decade of just dabbling in hockey sets has left me wanting, especially for a lot of great Upper Deck hockey sets that were released over the past 10+ years.  I'm sure that there are some baseball sets from the late 90's through to the mid 2000's that would be worth chasing after as well.

3.  I like doing countdowns.  I would say that this has been the easiest month I've had out of the 17 so far for generating posts, largely because of the countdown.  Because of this, I'm going to have my first 40+ post month since the beginning of 2012.  With 2 sports that I enjoy so much, there should be no reason for me to be less than a post a day on average.  I'm hoping that countdowns don't become my crutch when I'm out of ideas.

I do also have to sit down and get some thoughts together for 2013, I'm sure that I will not be the only person in the blogosphere to have some goals set out for themselves.  Cleaning up the catastrophe that I call a desk should be one of those's kind of tough though when you have so many cards, and yet so little time on your hands. 

One thing that I'm also pretty sure about, and it's that there's probably a few of you out there who thought that some of the sets in my countdown, well let's just say I was daft for putting them in there.  Well, to be honest, I just may be.  But to be fair, each of the posts were titled "my top 25 sets", not "the top 25 sets".

I do not, nor will I ever, claim to be the be all and end all when it comes to cards.  If you ever see that on this blog, you will know that the Mayans have won.

As I progress into 2013, and start to move towards putting some older sets together, such as the 80's O-Pee-Chee hockey, the late 60's and early 70's baseball, and maybe something from the early 2000's as well, there will be more sets for me to reflect on, and thus the countdown should be more "enhanced" from a quality standpoint next December.

As to why I never thought of making it a top 30 (to coincide with the blog title...), I'll never know. 

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas, I know that I did.

thanks for reading. Robert

P.S.   One card rule still applies

Got Em Spiegel...thank you!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My top 25 sets #1: 1977 Topps

Set  1977 Topps
Number of cards in set: 660
Affordability: 8
Key RCs:   Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Bruce Sutter
Is the set built?: need less than 60 to complete the set

What I like about this set:   I will always love this set.  It is the first set I collected as a child, and thus is one that is near and dear to me.  The card front is simple.  The player's position located in a pennant in the upper right corner of the card.  In the case of Randy Jones above, the N.L. All-Stars notation is in a blue bar below the picture.  The team name in big block letters across the top of the card, in the team's predominant color.  Simple, yet great, at least for me.

The backs have the players name in large lettering across the top, standard biographical information, full career stats, and where there's room available, there's also an interesting statistic below the career stats.  Each card also has a cartoon on the left hand side of the back as well.

What I don't like about this set:   Nothing.

This is the first baseball set that I ever remember collecting, and when I saw images of players such as Reggie Jackson and Nolan Ryan on these cards again, the memories just came flooding back.

The strangest memory about this set for me is the Carl Morton card.  I don't know why, but it's the one card that I've always associated with putting this set together.  I had to actually look up Carl's history, and it turns out he was a fairly decent pitcher who won the NL rookie of the year award in 1970.  Carl also died too young, dying of a heart attack while jogging, at the age of 39. 

I hope that everyone out there at least enjoyed reading these posts, I will post a brief epilogue to this series tomorrow to sum up my thoughts regarding the previous 25 posts.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Kerry Christmas

It's always great when post titles just fall into your lap.  I had forgotten that I sent some cards to Kerry over at the Cards on Cards blog a little while back, the product of Kerry commenting on my "not a spring cleaning" post.  I sent Kerry a few colored parallels, along with a framed paper GQ card, all Cardinals of course.  In return, I received a healthy stack of Update, a few Jays, and a little insanity (which for me goes a long way).

Among the update, I found 3 photos that I really like.  The common element being the baseball.  Jose Bautista about to make a great semi-diving catch.  That blue glove is awesome.  The shots of Cano and CarGo making contact with the baseball are what intrigue me the most.  The timing on these photographs is incredible, although I'm sure that today's camera technology makes it a lot easier to catch these moments.  The Gonzalez on the right is the image I like better, the ball having just made contact with the bat and ascending to its flight path is a great photo.

Poor Eddie Zosky looks like he was photographed right after a workout.  Come on Score, if you're going to show the guy in a sweat, give him an action shot or something, not a posed head shot. 

Check the eyes on the "Crime Dog", love the concentration on this photo.  McGriff always amazed me, the power he could generate for being as skinny as he was.  McGriff is another player that I would have loved to see longer in Toronto, but hey, he brought a couple of the key pieces in the World Series teams, so I really shouldn't complain.

Naturally, I was intrigued by the diamond sparkly parallel of Jon Rauch.  I knew that he only spent a short time in T.O., so I decided to take a look at his career.  The guy is a workhorse.  88 appearances in 2007, 85 in 2006, 3 other seasons that he had 70 or more.  Damn.  Honestly, and I'll probably be damned for saying this, but $3.5 million a season is probably a steal for someone who can throw in a lot of games, and can be a spot closer when needed (he's saved in double digits 4 times in his career).  Just the intimidation factor alone standing 6'10" on the mound should be reason enough to get him into a game...somebody give this guy a contract. 

Let's finish with a little insanity, shall we?  Yes, it is Russell Branyan, then of the Seattle Mariners.  But how cool is a card where the player is wearing sunglasses on the Chrome technology.  The scan really doesn't do the card justice, it looks really good in hand.  Russell is still looking for a contract for 2013.  If he could turn last years brief stay in Scranton-Wilkes Barre into a full season somewhere, he would have people talking.  11 HR in 110 ABs...project that out over 550 ABs...not too shabby. 

Kerry, thank you for the cards, they are very much appreciated!!

I hope that all of my friends, along with the entire blogosphere, are having a Merry Christmas.

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, December 24, 2012

My top 25 sets #2: 1984-85 OPC hockey

Set  1984-85 OPC
Number of cards in set: 396
Affordability:  7
Key RCs:   Cam Neely, Steve Yzerman, Doug Gilmour, Chris Chelios, Pat LaFontaine
Is the set built?:   It was once, read on for the story

What I like about this set:  Mimicking the 1983 Topps baseball design with the added player photo featured on an inset circle, and with a top shelf crop of RCs, this ranks as the best 80's set that OPC released.  The color of the border matches the prominent team color, always a great feature in my book.  There are also some very undervalued RC's of some great players.  Dave Andreychuk and Pat Verbeek, $6.  Tom Barrasso, $5?

The card back is also very uncluttered and easy to read.  Complete career stats, and in some cases a lengthy bio printed both in English and French are available.  The silhouette of a hockey stick on the back does not really interfere with any of the wording as well.  The players name is contained in a rectangular blue box, and the rest of the back has a pink/red background with dark blue lettering. 

What I don't like about this set:   That the complete set I once had is no longer in my possession.  I stupidly sold it a long time ago when I was in need of money.   I really should have sold something less important, like a kidney.

This set is another where memories play a big part of the reason why the set is ranked really high.  This set is one that I never started collecting until the card boom of the early 90's.  I bought a couple of packs of it, I want to say for around $8 at a card show, and instantly fell in love.  When I lived close to the US border in the early 90's, I would actually drive across the border into Niagara Falls, NY, to the LCS there to pickup packs.  This is at a time when the dollar was maybe 70 cents American, so that made the trip a little more pricey.  But in the end, this set was well worth it.   When I moved to the US, like any other newbie, I was strapped for cash, so assets were sold, including this beauty. 

Never again.  I will rebuild it sometime, and do my best never to let go again.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Blue Jay Monday: Dime box style

I'm long overdue for some trade posts.  The cards have actually started to trickle in over the past week, and I'm sure that when this post hits the airwaves, the post office will have a couple of more envelopes waiting for me.

The first one is from Nick at the Dime Boxes blog, who recently sent me a generous helping of insanity, along with some Blue Jays (of course).  I'm hoping to make this kind of post a regular staple on Monday's; featuring Jays cards that were sent to me by the blogosphere.

Let's start with some power hitters from the pile:

A little old school to the left, Big John Mayberry's 1980 Topps card.  Every time I see a John Mayberry card, I actually think of my dad.  My dad and I are polar opposites, I'm a big sports freak, while he on the other hand could care less about any of the 'big 4".  In the early 80's, my dad actually started to become a little interested in the Jays, largely because they were the talk of the machine shop he worked at.  The only player that my dad at all cared about was John Mayberry, and he would make it a point to talk to me about Mayberry if he had hit a HR or done something notable in a game the night before.  That will always be a great memory for me....

The TSC card of Dave Winfield just mystifies me.  Dave, did you not want your picture taken that day?  Don't get me wrong, Dave is not a man I would mess around with in any way, but honestly, how about a smile Dave??

The Joe Carter card on the right says on the back that I'm one step closer to $1,000,000!!!  Of course, with anything like that, you have to read the fine print, and sure enough that contest ended in June of 1998.

Damn tease....

We move from the power hitters to some more speedy types:

That Eric Thames hits the sweet spot for a Jays collector, a nice blue bordered parallel from the 2012 Topps set.  It's too bad that Eric is likely going to be the odd man out in the outfield this year, unless he can beat out Colby Rasmus for the CF job.  Don't bet the farm on it friends...

Another great card on the right.  Robbie Alomar doing his best Superman imitation.  Looks like he's going from first to third on a base hit, and the main reason I'm guessing that way is because he already has a sliding glove on his left hand.  What worries me though is that it looks like he's going to land on his right hand first.  Ouch.

Up next, smooth as silk....Jimmy Key

You're damn right Jimmy Key was a winner.  I loved watching this guy pitch.  This card is a perfect example of why he was so damn good, great follow through, body position excellent and ready to field his position.  Key was the only pitcher I trusted besides Dave Stieb when it came to throwing a gem in a big game.  I loved these gold parallels back then...another sad parallel addiction.

Finally, somebody has to tell me how Fleer and Pat Hentgen knew my plans?

I've planned to increase my top sets countdown to 30 sets in 2013, to run the entire month of December.  30 sets in 30 days will be even more exciting for me to write about next year, because there are a lot of older baseball and hockey sets that I will be starting next year, and my love for the vintage will permeate the countdown even further.  By the way, I had never seen a "Top 30" Ultra insert ever until this came my way.  It's a sharp looking card, the gold foil not withstanding...

I'll have the #2 set for you tonight, and a couple of posts waiting for you tomorrow, I'm sure that there are some of you out there who will have a little extra time to read on your hands.

Nick, thank you for the always very much appreciated!!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My top 25 sets #3: 1973 Topps

No C in the middle

Set  1973 Topps
Number of cards in set: 660
Affordability:  6.5
Key RCs:   Mike Schmidt, Rich "Goose" Gossage
Is the set built?:  216/660 so far

What I like about this set:   I love the mix of posed shots with game shots.  I love the font that the players name and the team name is written in.  Shots like the George Scott card above are what makes this set different from any other set that contains action photos.  Instead of a more close up shot that would have made George the prominent figure in the card, a lot of the action photos could leave an unseasoned collector guessing as to who the actual player is in the photo.  Different. 

The card back for the '73 Topps set is probably my favorite card back out of all the sets I've collected so far.  The black lettering on a dark yellow background is very easy to read, the cartoon at the top is small yet big enough to contain enough pertinent information about the player.  Scott's card back cartoon says that his nickname is "Boomer", and it doesn't take over the card.   The players name and biographical information is right below the cartoon, and very easy to read as well.  Even the card number, contained inside a baseball, is big enough that it can be easily read.

What I don't like about this set:  The cheap ass in me hates that all the big name stars in this set are priced at double digits ($10+), but what do you expect for a set this old with that many quality players?

This is the one set where one particular aspect of the card (the card back), vaults it quite a few spots ahead of others.  There is something about these card backs that just drew me to the set, even though many may consider it very plain.  The Mike Schmidt RC books for $150 in NM, and will probably be the last card in the set that I will need to pickup.  It will be interesting to see how this set ranks as I obtain more of these cards, but so far I really like what I see, and with a bunch of Hall of Famers still to pickup, I imagine that my impressions of the set will only improve.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My top 25 sets #4: 76-77 OPC hockey

Set  1976-77 OPC
Number of cards in set: 396
Affordability:  7.5
Key RCs: Bryan Trottier, Dave "Tiger" Williams
Is the set built?:   Don't have an official count, but it's less than 75 cards from completion.

What I like about this set:  Again, it's the simplicity that I love about this set.  The  majority of the photos are posed shots with a generic blue background.  But there are some game shots, such as the Clark Gillies one above, that really do stand out.  (The Gillies stands out for me because I don't think I ever saw him without his mustache.).  I like the team logo not overtaking the entire card, and the players name and position at the bottom have letters that are easy to read.

The back of the card is a dark green with blue lettering, which is an interesting combination, but it works.  The bio is contained in a box on the lower left portion of the card, and it is much easier to read with the background being a light grey instead of green.  The cards also have a cartoon on the lower back in the right corner, containing some kind of interesting fact about the player.  (Clark's nickname is "Jethro")  The player stats only feature the recent season along with the career stats, but that helps to keep all the card backs in the set similar.

What I don't like about this set:   Outside of the usual OPC production issues with their older sets (miscuts, centering, etc.), there's absolutely nothing wrong with this set.

There are really only two cards that will set you back a decent amount of money in this set.  The Trottier RC, at least in my opinion, is still a great buy if you can find one in NM.  It's even better if you find it at the "listed" price of $60.  The Bobby Orr in this set has a substantial price tag of $50, but it's a great card of him in a BlackHawks jersey for the first time.  I still need one for my set.  This set contains all the classic subsets, team leaders, record breakers, team photos, etc.  It will always be remembered by me as one of the first hockey sets I ever collected, and after purchasing a box of these from Dave at Wax Stain Rookie for $20, it took me weeks just to start sorting them, because every time I took them out of the box, all I wanted to do was look at them and relive old collecting memories.

That's what it's all about...isn't it?

Thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, December 21, 2012

My top 25 sets #5: 1964 Topps

Set  1964 Topps
Number of cards in set: 587
Affordability:   4
Key RCs:  Phil Niekro, Tony Conigliaro, Lou Piniella, Tommy John
Is the set built?:   230/587

What I like about this set:   It's simplicity.  The design is not fancy, there's no wild colors or team logos that dominate the front.  The card is simple, clean and easy to read.  The photos are classic 60's photos, which I've featured many times on the blog. The RC's are usually dual player cards, with some interesting combinations, such as Phil Niekro/Phil Roof.

The backs are a nice bright orange, with the stats being printed in a white background to make for easy reading.  Topps for the first time made the cartoons a rub off, meaning in order to obtain the answer to the question, you had to rub a coin over the area next to the question to reveal it.  Some dealers charge a premium for cards that don't have the cartoon revealed.

What I don't like about this set:   Whine time, but if you're going to collect anything pre 1977, you're going to have to be prepared to pay a premium for some of the big names.  The '64 set is no exception.  The Mantle will cost you around $500 in NM, and a NM 2nd yr Pete Rose running around $250.  There are also several cards in the set that are $100+, making patience in collecting this set a premium.

Thankfully, this set is one of the few of the 60's that doesn't contain any high priced RC's, otherwise this set might be beyond reach for some.  The high numbers (523-587) are tougher to find, and at $15 in NM condition, will also test the limits for the semi-serious collector.  My goal for this set in 2013 is to be between 350-400 cards complete.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My top 25 sets #6: 1975 Topps

Set  1975 Topps
Number of cards in set: 660
Affordability: 7
Key RCs:  George Brett, Robin Yount
Is the set built?:  341/660 

What I like about this set:   Topps really let it go when it comes to the color schemes for the front border, showcasing 18 different color combinations.  That fact alone would easily carry this set even if there were no key players in the set.  But with RCs of HOFers George Brett and Robin Yount, along with others such as Gibson, Aaron and Robinson, this set is loaded with great cards.   Add in RCs of Gary Carter and Jim Rice, and a set in NM condition costs a little bit more for a guy on a budget. 

The backs of the cards are easily readable with the ink being a dark green.  The top of the back also has an information cartoon, a staple of Topps sets over the years.  Frank Robinson's cartoon is actually a pretty easy trivia question, as it asks "who is the only player manager" (at the time), which of course was Robinson himself.

What I don't like about this set:  There is nothing really wrong with this set at all that I can see. 

I am looking forward in 2013 to completing, or coming close to completing this set.  This set was released a couple of years before I started collecting cards, but a good deal of the players in the set are recognizable to me, which is what makes older sets even more fun to collect.  The combination of the card design along with the great RC/player selection is what will keep this set a classic for many years to come.  If you would like to see a real take on what this set is all about, take a look here

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My top 25 sets #7: 2008 UD Masterpieces

Set  2008 UD Masterpieces
Number of cards in set: 120
Affordability: 8
Key RCs:  Evan Longoria, Max Scherzer
Is the set built?:   Need just 8 SPs to finish the set

What I like about this set:  The artwork is what separates UD Masterpieces from any other art related set.  The design is also great, with the border not really a distraction for the picture of the player.  The set/(s) is/are so good, there is one blog out there dedicated to it.

The backs of the cards are sufficient, the top half containing roughly the top 1/3 of the artwork on the front, then there is a short bio and a 1 yr stat line for the player.  The team logo is in a black box below the stats.
What I don't like about this set:  120 cards, 30 SPs.  1 out of 4 cards is not a good ratio for SPs.   200 cards would have been a fabulous size for this set.

I would have loved to have seen UD keep this set going, because the 2 years that the company released this set is just a tease.  The designs were great, the player selection was good, and the parallels were a great touch, even if in some collector's eyes there may have been too many.

Somebody, please bring back a set styled like this would certainly get my attention.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My top 25 sets #8: 1988-89 OPC hockey

Set  1988-89 O-Pee-Chee hockey
Number of cards in set: 264
Affordability: 7.5
Key RCs: Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Pierre Turgeon
Is the set built?: Need 11 cards to finish the set

What I like about this set:  The "push pin" set has long been a favorite of mine.  The set really gained some steam when Brett Hull starting pumping goals in a couple years after this was released, causing both the set prices, and Hull's RCs, to go crazy.  The set finally came back to earth a few years later.

I like the push pin on the top, it is something different and really works with the name plate.  Using the team logo on the top of the card helps as well.  Again, the back of the card is another favorite of mine, the orange background with the dark blue lettering is again easy to read, and contains full stats similar to the 87-88 OPC set.

The Mike Krushelnyski airbrush job is an absolute classic.  I wonder if he was called Casper afterwards.
What I don't like about this set: I still haven't found anything wrong with this set.  I'm sure someone can steer me in that direction...

This set was the beneficiary of the sports card boom of the early 90's, driving the set price to about $200, while the Brett Hull RC was up as high as $80.  Both the set price and the Hull RC have dropped to more "comfortable" levels.  This set is another keeper, and should be an easy build if you're looking for a medium priced set to chase.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Retail therapy nets me my first auto of 2012-13

I've barely had time to think the past 2 weeks, let alone do such basic blog tasks as updating want lists, respond to emails, etc etc.

This past week was the worst, largely because after working and commuting to and from work, I've had no time to do any Christmas shopping.  That task was done this past weekend.

Unlike the myriad of others (including my wife), who do their shopping online, I still do it the old fashioned way.  I hop in my truck and drive towards the insanity.  Which this past weekend was Youngstown, OH, which is the nearest decent size city to us (25 minute drive).  Thankfully, it wasn't the normal mad house over there and I was able to hit a few stores with relatively no trouble at all.

One of those stores was Target, and naturally the card aisle was the last place I headed for after buying the Mrs. her loot.  I decided on a blaster of 2012-13 Score hockey as my little pick me up, and I ripped it on Saturday when I got home. 

This should tell you how busy I've been, it only took me three days to be able to brag about the auto I pulled.

Now I was aware that Marcus had his first taste of NHL action last season, but I was not aware of the impression that he made over that brief period of time.  13 pts in 14 games is nothing to sneeze at, and if he can keep up that pace, I'm sure that he'll get a longer look the next time he's called back up to the big squad (which I'm fully convinced will be 2013-14, since the No Hockey League refuses to play this year).

This card was great to pull, as with most of Score's base brand releases, hits are few and far between. 

At least I can say I beat the odds this year...

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, December 17, 2012

My top 25 sets #9: 1987-88 OPC hockey

Set 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee hockey
Number of cards in set: 264
Affordability: 7.5
Key RCs: Luc Robitaille, Adam Oates, Ron Hextall
Is the set built?:  Just missing 3 cards  (15,53,163)

What I like about this set:   It's part of a classic run of great OPC sets that started in 79-80 and ended in 88-89.  The design is clean and easy on the eyes without taking too much away from the player photo.  The player selection in the last 66 cards is geared towards the Canadian collector, with all the Canadian teams having at least 9 cards included, including players who have horrible airbrushing jobs (Dale Hunter, Clint Malarchuk to name two).  The high numbers also afforded OPC to include some key RCs such as Damphousse, Vernon and Richer.

The back of the card is tremendous.  Very easy to read with a predominantly pink background and black text.  Full career stats are featured as well, and broken down into separate leagues if the player played in the WHA (as Gartner did for the Baby Bulls in 78-79)

What I don't like about this set:   Would have rather seen the team logo in the lower right corner instead of the black puck with the team name.  Other than that, this set is a winner.

I've had this set in a binder for a very long time, but just never got around to finishing it.  That's probably because the last 3 cards I need are some guys named Gretzky, Lemieux and Roy.  No biggie.  Anyone who is just starting out collecting 80's hockey sets should ear mark this one as one of the 2 or 3 key sets to work on.  It has a great look, and the key RCs will not blow your budget through the roof. 

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My top 25 sets #10: 2011 Topps Heritage

Set 2011 Topps Heritage
Number of cards in set: 500
Affordability: 7
Key RCs: Darwin Barney, Freddie Freeman, Jeremy Hellickson
Is the set built?:  468/500 (missing 32 SPs)

What I like about this set:   I love the wood grain borders.  The copy of the 1962 design is a winner in my book, because the set is easily distinguishable from the other releases.  The photos for the most part are really nice, and the backs of the cards are an easy read.  The look and feel of this set is the main reason that I am working towards completing this set.  I've bought lots of Heritage in the past, but none of the sets have inspired me to complete them as much as the '11 set has.  I am a big fan of the '64 set, so we'll see if the '13 Heritage release inspires me like this one did.

What I don't like about this set:  I will whine and moan about this until Topps changes the number of SPs in the set.  I'm sorry, but 75 is just way too much.  Do the math:  75 SPs at a rate of 1 in every 3 packs, so in a perfect world, you would have to buy 225 packs to obtain all 75 SPs.  At 24 packs in a hobby box, you're buying a minimum of 9 boxes.  Those who have pulled the SPs are not letting them go easily, the $6 common price is still not far fetched almost 2 years after release.  Rant over....

I did a search for hobby boxes for this set while writing this post, and the disparity is alarming.  While hobby boxes on Dave & Adam's are going for $71, on eBay the prices are in the $85 range, while a 12 box case is up for $970 (just under $81 a box).  Unlike the '12 release which saw hobby boxes crash below the $50 mark, this set appears to have some staying far anyhow.

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My top 25 sets #11: 1990-91 OPC premier

Set 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier hockey
Number of cards in set: 132
Affordability: Buy the set, 9..  buy the singles, 8.5
Key RCs:  Jaromir Jagr, Mats Sundin, Sergei Fedorov, Jeremy Roenick
Is the set built?:   Yes it is

What I like about this set:  This is the first set that really introduced me to the concept of supply and demand.  It is also the first set that introduced me to the phrase "perception is reality".  Back in the day, at least in the part of the world where I was, this set was in high demand, but was thought to have been very low in supply.  Hence, the prices went through the roof, especially for the Jagr/Fedorov RCs, which if I remember correctly were in the $30-40 range.  (please correct me if I'm wrong)  Over the years, this set sank in value, now settling at the $40 current listing.

One of my favorite hobby stories revolved around this set.  I was in my LCS, still buying up packs of 90-91 UD hockey, and the buzz was all around this set, which was retailing for about $2 a pack (expensive at that time).  Anyhow, one day in the LCS I had a guy approach me and ask me if I wanted to buy a box of Premier for $40.  We were told to "take it outside", and this was the first box of cards that I ever bought out of the trunk of a car.  For all I know, those boxes could have walked out the side door of the factory, but I was naive and never stopped to ask any questions. 

What I don't like about this set:  132 cards.  More of an update set than a regular release.   For as scarce as this set was supposed to be, there is still a lot of it out there today, and I'm sure I could still complete a set today very quickly.

What was so big about this set at the time was that it was OPC's response to UD's landmark hockey release.  For the first time, OPC's card back was in full color, unheard of at that time.  Over the next few years, OPC was forced to evolve and their base sets became full color, front and back. 

Thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, December 14, 2012

My top 25 sets #12: 2002 Topps Gallery

Set  2002 Topps Gallery
Number of cards in set: 200
Affordability: 9
Key RCs:  Joe Mauer
Is the set built?:   100% complete

What I like about this set:  The art.  The explanation doesn't get much simpler than that.  I've long been a fan of cards that are produced from drawings, and this set is no stranger to that love.  The art is first rate, as you can see from the Jim Thome card above.  The set is also smaller in size, which made it easier to complete.

What made this set really interesting for me as a collector were the backs of the card.  The backs had a lot of the regular elements you might see, team logo, bio/height/weight/age of the player, but the stats were quite unique.  There was only one years worth of stats, which was the 2001 season, broken down by month.  Definitely a different take on stats, but kind of fitting because you didn't see sets that were as different as Topps Gallery was.

What I don't like about this set:   Call me finicky.  300 cards would have made this set that much better. 

This is a set that I would have fun putting together again if needed.  The cards weren't too hard to obtain, and there were a few SP veterans/HOFers that added to the appeal of the set as well. 

Before there were lockouts and strikes: Lyman Bostock

'76 topps #263

Lyman's is a tragic story of what could have been.  Lyman was murdered by a jealous husband in the back seat of his uncle's car just hours after a game in Chicago against the White Sox.  The woman he was sitting in the back seat with he had known for all of 20 minutes.  Lyman was only 28 years old at the time, and had the better part of his career ahead of him. 

After 3 solid seasons with the Twins, Bostock signed as a free agent with the California Angels in 1978.  In what is a legendary story about him, in April of '78 after hitting a paltry .150, Bostock went to Angels owner Gene Autry and offered to return his salary.  Autry declined, and Bostock wound up donating that months salary to charity, feeling that his poor play didn't merit him his salary.

Scary stat:  You can't tell me that winning doesn't influence the MVP vote.  Let's compare Bostock's 1977 numbers to that of Mickey Rivers. 

Bostock:  .336 avg, 199 hits, 14 HR, 90 RBI, 16 steals---  played for Minnesota (84-77)
Rivers:     .326 avg., 184 hits, 12 HR, 69 RBI, 22 steals--- played for New York Yankees (100-62)

Rivers receives 59 vote points for MVP, Bostock receives 2 vote points for MVP. 

This argument gets shot down though, because the 1977 MVP was Rod Carew, who played for the Twins, and led the AL in batting (.388) and hits (239).

Before there were lockouts and strikes, there was Lyman Bostock

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My top 25 sets #13: 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey

Set 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey
Number of cards in set: 400 (low series) 150 (high series)
Affordability: 9.5
Key RCs:  Jaromir Jagr, Mats Sundin (low), Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov (High)
Is the set built?:   Many times over.

What I like about this set:  This is the set that introduced me back into collecting in late 1990. Even though this set is the epitome of the overproduction era (I once owned 15 full sets of these cards..), it is still a classic.  The design is clean, the back has up to 5 years of stats with a 2nd full photo.  Speaking of photos, some of the photos in this set (see Bob Probert card here to get an idea of what I mean) feature the best hockey photography ever.

Late to the party?  No problem, shouldn't cost you but a couple of week's budgets (for my blog anyhow) to complete this set.

What I don't like about this set:  The true 'purist' would love to see a complete set of stats for each player on the back, but with that leaves no photo.  In other words, there's not a whole lot wrong with this set, outside of letting the presses roll.

For me, 90-91 UD hockey is what got me back into collecting over 20 years ago.  I feasted on this set heartily, and will have a soft spot for it for many years to come.  While it may not remain on the top 25 over the coming years, it will always be a reminder of a crazy time in the sports card world.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Just shut it down already

When the No Hockey League and the No Hockey League Players Association can't even decide if they've had a meeting or not, it's time to give up on the season.

Check out this tweet from Darren Dreger of TSN Canada:

How pathetic has this stalemate become for me?  I've been a hockey fan for 40 years now, and I don't even care if they come back this year.  If they do, I will not watch. 

48 games...not worth my time...

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My top 25 sets #14: 2007-08 OPC hockey

Set: 2007-08 OPC hockey
Number of cards in set: 600
Affordability: 9
Key RCs: Johnathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Carey Price
Is the set built?:   240/600

What I like about this set:  I like the half gold, half black front design.  The team logo in the lower right is not oversized and doesn't distract from the player photo.  What stands out for me on these cards is the back of the short printed cards.  Instead of just the gray back with stats and information, the backs are in color, and feature a photo as well.  For me, this makes the rookie cards stand out from the rest of the base set, which I believe they should.

This set is numbered in alphabetical order by team also, making it a little easier (if you don't have the checklists) to figure out what team/player is potentially missing.  Numbering by team also looks a lot better when you put the set in binder pages as well.  

What I don't like about this set:   The card stock on the back is a little too dark and makes them tough to read at times.  No bios on the back as well, similar to the 2008-09 set.

What makes this set have even more potential is that beyond the big 3 RCs (Price, Toews, Kane), there are many other players whose cards are undervalued in my opinion.  Guys such as Bobby Ryan, Milan Lucic and Nicklas Backstrom all are top talents and have long careers ahead of them, which is a good reason to acquire this set before their card values rise.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Dave Stieb is no Tim "the tool man" Taylor

But his slider certainly sawed through a few bats in his day!!  Leave it up to Nick at the "veteran" Dime Boxes blog to send me something that's going to leave me in a quandary.

One thing I've learned since I started blogging is that you have to expect the unexpected.  This card that Nick sent me, is evidence of this.   Take a look at this 1986 True Value Dave Stieb:

Now, here's the back of the card/envelope.  As you can clearly see it's unopened.

Help a brother out here.  Is the card of Dave Stieb inside, or am I going to open the envelope up and find a set of lock washers or a key of some sort?  I've never seen anything like this before.  With a little research I found out that the set is 30 cards, and features a good selection of players including George Brett, Andre Dawson, Robin Yount, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Reggie Jackson. 

The first place I went to hunt for these cards is trading card, where I found the image of Steve Garvey's card, front and back. 

I would feel better about opening the envelope if I knew that Stieb's card is inside. 

Any knowledge about these would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My top 25 sets #15: 2008-09 OPC Hockey

Card #53

Set 2008-09 OPC
Number of cards in set: 600 base + 200 update
Affordability: 8.5
Key RCs:  Claude Giroux (base), Steven Stamkos (update)
Is the set built?:   518/600 base.  Undecided on whether I will build the update

What I like about this set:  The size for one thing.  I've always enjoyed the challenge of building larger sets, and this set does not disappoint.  The update set was released to capture a couple of key RCs that UD didn't release in the base set.  Good thing, because the Stamkos and Doughty RC's will be strong sellers for years to come.

The front of the card in my opinion is a good design.  I like the team logo in the circle on the lower right, and the bottom of the card is colored to match the team's predominant color (blue for the Sabres in the Ryan Miller example above).  The back features a nice bright card stock, which makes the cards very easy to read.

What sets the OPC releases apart as well is the year is printed on the bottom of the back of the card.  For newbies, and even for old vets such as myself, this allows for very little guesswork in determining what year the card is from. 

What I don't like about this set: Would have been great to see OPC use some of the empty space on the backs of the cards to feature some kind of short bio on the players.  The 200 card update set, even though it is full of good rookies, makes the set too big in my opinion.  800 cards is a little bit of overkill.

In my opinion, Upper Deck has done a good job with the OPC releases over the past few years.  Kudos to them for picking up the name, and keeping a hobby classic alive.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Another set bites the dust...

2012 Topps Series 2 is done.  Finally.  I have a wantlist up for the Update series, I think I need about a third of the set to finish off this years flagship.

For those who don't feel like checking my wantlist, here's a list of what I need for update...


What left me scratching my head about the final card that I needed to finish series 2 was the thought that I had seen the card before when it arrived in the mail last week.

Here's the card I needed...

Here's why I thought I had seen it before:


OK good, I wasn't going crazy.  Don't need it for the insanity though...any fans of the north siders out there need it?  If so, drop a comment and I'm sure we can work something out.

Likely not going to reach the goal of 25 sets completed by the end of December, but I know that I have at least made some progress this year, especially on some older sets that I've been trying to clean up for a long time.  Nineteen is not a bad number...

There's always 2013.....

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, December 10, 2012

My top 25 sets #16: 1976 Topps baseball

Set 1976 Topps
Number of cards in set: 660
Affordability: 6.5
Key RCs:  Dennis Eckersley
Is the set built?:   Just started, see below...

What I like about this set:  The fronts are color coded, similar to the '75 set.   The set size at 660 cards is comprehensive enough to include most of the players from all 24 MLB teams.  The ball on the back which contains the card number, along with the bat is a unique combination that I don't remember on too many Topps issues  (Topps has put the card number in a baseball before..)  The cartoons on the back are interesting, but depict historical records instead of information about the player on the card. 

What I don't like about this set:  The dark green back section that contains the stats, which are written in black ink, can be very difficult to read in poor lighting.  The lot I bought doesn't really contain any action shots...though that may change as I collect and discover more of this set.

This set was a late addition to the countdown, but merits a strong position for the simple fact that it is a simple and classic set.  I still haven't organized the box of cards that I received in November, but I figure that my set is about 30% complete.  The affordability score drops because there are a lot of star cards ( I count 16 of them) in the set that are $10 and up.  This is going to be a fun challenge as well to put this set together, and if I can get lucky and get a couple more lots as cheap as I did the first one, then the set will not break the bank.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Blue Jay Monday: A tribute to the past from modern sets

The past decade has seen multiple efforts from Topps to recreate the love of their older sets.  Heritage of course being the flagship effort, with other releases such as Archives and Fan Favorites also promoting prior designs with current players.

I decided to make this Blue Jay Monday effort about a few cards that I received from Pat at the Hot Corner blog that relived the past.

First, from the 2012 Heritage release, comes this '63 sticker insert of Jose Bautista

Although I am not too sure that Jose was happy to have had his picture taken here, I can admire a man that is able to grow a full beard in 3 days like Joey Bats can (to me it seems that way..what do you think?)  The '63/'12 set is one that I haven't gained a full appreciation of as of yet, maybe it's because I like the backs more than I do the fronts.  I'm sure that is something that will change over time, but for now, I will not be chasing either of those sets.

The next two cards come from the 2012 Topps Archives set (or Heritage lite as I've called it...)

With Topps limiting the number of SPs in the set to 40 (41 with the Harper RC), I was very surprised that the Jays were represented twice.  I've spoken many times about the duo you see above, so I will not bore you with more.  All I'll say is that it's nice to have these 2 short prints as part of the overall Jays collection here.

Pat, thanks again!!  I'll be sure to get you something in return as soon as I can...

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My top 25 sets # 17: 1983-84 OPC Hockey

Set: 1983-84 OPC Hockey
Number of cards in set: 396
Affordability: 8.5
Key RCs: Pelle Lindbergh, Scott Stevens, Steve Larmer, Bernie Nicholls, Guy Carbonneau,
Is the set built?:    See below

What I like about this set:  396 cards is a great set size, especially when you're putting them in pages (exactly 44 pages needed).  A lot of great rookies in this set, and at $20, the Lindbergh is a great card at a decent price.  The stick blade and puck design that house the players position and team logo do not detract from the photo of the player.   For the collector on a budget, this set is very affordable for a 30 year old set, and probably will remain that way for many years to come with no "huge" RCs to speak of, unlike many other 80's OPC sets.

What I don't like about this set:  Being absolutely nit-picky, the green lettering on top of the green background on the back of the cards can be a little difficult to read sometimes. 

This set represents one of the 2 biggest mistakes I've made when it comes to card collecting.  I had this set about half complete about 12-13 years ago, and I sold off the cards.   I don't even remember why.  I have maybe a handful of cards, and this set will be another project to complete, especially since it is so affordable.

Thanks for reading, Robert

The November project purchase #6: '62 Topps lot of 30

This set definitely came under my radar when the 2011 Heritage set was released.  I really don't know a whole lot about the Topps releases from the 1960's, so Heritage over the past 3-4 years has really been a help in that regard.

Number of cards in lot: 30
Total amount spent: $17.27 (Shipping was free)  There is now $13.47 left out of the original $100.
Seller: eddieplank

For me, this lot was an absolute steal.  30 commons for less than 60 cents apiece is a great deal.  The backs of the cards are in great condition, no stains or pen marks.  The corners on all the cards are in decent shape as well. 

The '62 set is going to be a costly one if I decide to build it, with there being at least a bakers dozen worth of cards that list for $100+ in NM condition.  There are other vintage sets that need completed first ('64 for example) before I'll even start to tackle this one.

But dabbling here and there isn't bad either...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My top 25 sets #18: 2009 OPC Baseball

Set: 2009 OPC baseball
Number of cards in set:  600
Affordability:  9.5
Key RCs: David Freese, Rick Porcello, James McDonald,
Is the set built?:    100% complete

What I like about this set:  600 cards is an instant lure for me.  The SPs #'d 501-600 are not pricey at all, with the most expensive listing being the David Freese at $6.  The ballpark cards are a big favorite as well, along with the league leader cards.  The only insert set that I really cared about was the OPC Retro cards, and that was only because they had a similar design to one of the best hockey sets ever produced, 79-80 OPC/Topps.  

What I don't like about this set:  I have no qualms about the black bordered parallels, you know my affinity for parallel sets.  But releasing a 2nd black bordered mini set was a little much for me.  The rest of the inserts that weren't the OPC retro were boring to me.  

To be honest, in my first year of this blog, this was one set build that really kept me going.  600 cards was a challenge to put together, and I bought a lot of packs to prove it.  The hockey sets over the past 6 years are very similar, and if UD hadn't lost its license, it probably still could have produced this set over the past couple of years. 

Thanks for reading, Robert


Sometimes, blog post titles are just too easy.  I still owe the very generous Jeff over at 2x3 heroes some cards in return for the great deal of insanity he sent my way.  Included was this little beauty...

I thought this guy was a corner back?

Why so special?  It's serial #'d 23/150.  The card completes my 6th page of insanity!!  Take a look...

7 different bloggers contributed to this page, with Dennis at Too Many Grandersons Verlanders contributing 2 of them (the Drese and Loretta).  6 pages down, 160 to sweat.

If you're wondering why I didn't entitle the post "2x3=6" (the 6 would have been appropriate because this is the 6th page completed), well, everyone already knows that 2x3=6. 

At least 2x3=9 makes you wonder a little before opening.

Thank you Jeff!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, December 7, 2012

My top 25 sets #19: 2002-03 Heritage Hockey

Set: 2002-03 Topps Heritage
Number of cards in set: 180
Affordability: 8
Key RCs:  Henrik Zetterberg, Rick Nash, Jason Spezza
Is the set built?:   60/180 so far

What I like about this set:  Since I pretty much cannot afford the original 1966-67 Topps set that this was patterned after, this is a pretty good "consolation".  The TV set design is a classic, and Topps did a really good job of mimicking the original with this set.  I still haven't seen any of the relics (live) to date, but would love to obtain a Sawchuk or Bower relic card from this set for my Leafs collection.  One of the last hockey sets that I can remember that included bubble gum in the packs (I'm sure that there's probably one more recent that somebody can remind me about...)

What I don't like about this set:  No different than its baseball brother, SPs account for the last 25 cards.  At least that's more manageable than the 75 the baseball Heritage gives us. Would have liked this set to be bigger than 180 cards as well.

Buying a hobby box to try and complete the set is also an expensive proposition, with boxes running in the $150 range.  Probably will be a 2013 project to complete this set...

Thanks for reading, Robert

The November project purchase #5: 60 card lot of 1975 Topps

This was my last purchase that was actually made in the month of November, and it was a good one.  I picked up a nice lot of 60 cards from the '75 Topps set, with some minor stars included.

Number of cards purchased:  60
Price:  $24.99 including shipping, which leaves me with $30.74 out of my original $100 budget.
Seller:  dbacks1111

Cards arrived in timely fashion and well packed. 

This lot of 60 put me over the halfway mark for the set, which is a nice mark to attain but with a lot of pricey cards still to go (Brett and Yount RCs for example), it will probably be some time before this set is finished.

No matter, the cards look great and I thought it was a great deal for the price that was offered.

I'm currently waiting on one more vintage lot purchase to come in.  The next lot is a nice '62 Topps lot that I got for a reasonable price as well, leaving me with about $13 for one more purchase to finalize the project.

Stay tuned....

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My top 25 sets #20: 2012-13 O-Pee-Chee

Set: 2012-13 O-Pee-Chee
Number of cards in set:  600
Affordability:  9 (base set), 7.5 (base set + SPs)
Key RCs: Chris Kreider, Sven Baertschi
Is the set built?:   Need about 225 cards at time of writing to complete full set

What I like about this set:  It's the current version of the O-Pee-Chee standard that has been used for the past several years. Interesting that even though Upper Deck is an American company, the positions on the front of the card are noted in English and French (although you couldn't tell by the Carey Price's card above).  The border has a bit of a yellowish tinge to it, but doesn't distract from the overall card design.  The OPC logo is not large as well, another good feature.  The back features the team logo on the upper right corner, the card number is large and easy to see in the upper left corner.  The backs also have complete career stats as well, another plus.

What I don't like about this set:  The card stock on the back makes the cards difficult to read in certain lighting.  The cheap ass in me would love to see more cards in a pack than either 6 or 8 (10 would be great).
I also would like to see more of the players that were actually on the club, instead of using legends year after year. 

The first hockey card set of the countdown, the current OPC release is a solid draw, with the inserts (especially the stickers) being a nice change from the award winners.  The rainbow and retro parallels are only going to get me into trouble...

Thanks for reading, Robert

The Signature and the Shaker

Looking back to when I first started blogging, I really had no idea what I was doing. I'm sure that there a few people out there that would argue the same thing a year and a half later.   The posts were horrible and short (now they're horrible and long, and for the first three weeks, the post just kind of ended.  Reading those posts over again made me remember my thought process at that time.  I needed something to write something that made me feel that the post was done.

Fast forward about 15 months, and twice within a 2 week period, 2 of my favorite trading partners just happen to mention my signature on their blogs.  First, Dennis over at Too Many Manninghams used the signature at the end of the trade post for the Turco relic I sent him.  Next, Charlie over at the Lifetime Topps Project mentioned the signature yesterday as well.  (BTW Charlie, congrats on hitting the 100K hits total for your blog)

To be honest, when I started using the signature line at the beginning of week 4, I did it solely to give closure to the blog post.  It always felt odd when I finished a post and there was nothing there to make it feel like the post was done.  After a little bit of thought, I came up with the "thanks for reading, Robert" signature to not only close the post, but to thank anyone and everyone who did stop by to read what I had written.

Politeness never hurts, right?

To be honest, I had never really thought much of the signature until both Dennis and Charlie had mentioned it on their blogs the past couple of weeks.  I will say this, it really made me feel good that the guys mentioned the signature.

Gentlemen, thank you!

OK then, onwards...

I received in the mail the other day a card unlike any other that I have received over my blog's existence.  It was of one of my favorite Jays from the 80's, Lloyd "Shaker" Moseby.

Guys, this thing is damn big...just for comparison's sake, an 82 Jerry Garvin is scanned next to it.

This oversized thing of beauty came to me courtesy of Pat at the newer Hot Corner Cards blog.   I will say this, Pat has definitely been paying attention to my blog, because he's hit me for a couple of trades already, both of which have hit my insanity, Sakic, and Blue Jay lists very well.  Pat is a devoted Tiger fan, so if you've got any extra Tigers on your hands, check him out..  Pat, thank you for the cards in each of our trades as well!

Thanks for reading, Robert