Saturday, June 24, 2017

Try a Pack #3: 2017 Topps Archives

I actually bought this pack a couple of weeks ago, but just hadn't got around to posting about it.  Until now.  Opening this pack reminded me of why I never collected this set.

It just didn't impress me. 

At least I can add Josh Donaldson to my Jays collection.  We did this set 8 years ago I believe for Heritage.  At least some people did, I only bought a few packs from that set back in the day.

A card of the MLBPA director?  Not sure why that's there.  I like the '82 design, it's one of the many sets I have want lists up on the blog for.  Good to see a different photo of Pops on a card.

I was beginning to think that '92 was the design for all players retired until I saw the deGrom card.  Not a bad group of players on here though, a pair of 3000 hit guys and the once single season home run champ.  Bob Lemon spent his entire career as an Indian, and it would be interesting to think of what kind of win total he would have had if he didn't serve in the military for 3 years before his career started.  The most amazing stat for me is Lemon completed 20 or more games in a season 7 times, including 28 of them in 1952.  Rubber arm indeed.

I pulled two inserts, both representing the state of Texas.  The 58 Bazooka of Nolan Ryan is a cool looking card, and I'm sure that there's someone out there that can use it.  Alex Bregman wears #2 for the Astros.  I took a quick look to see the history of the #2 in Houston, and was very surprised to see that Nellie Fox wore it in 1964-65, then it wasn't worn again until 1987!  That's a long time for a team not to use a number.

This pack was a reminder of why I don't colelct Archives.  Yes, it's a great way to revisit past sets, but for me Heritage does that job much better.  

Sometimes you just need to buy a pack to remind you of the reason you don't collect something.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blog Bat Around: The Origins of my Player Collections

In case you missed it last Wednesday like I did, Tom from the Eamus Catuli blog started a blog bat around, asking what is the reason I collect the players I collect.

Well, I have 5 player PCs to speak of, each with their own tale of why I collect them.

My most recent collection is Felix Potvin.

I've been a life long Maple Leaf fan, and any of you who read this and are also Leaf fans know what a train wreck of a decade the 80's was in Toronto.  The biggest problem was the goaltending, starting with Jiri Crha who lasted just one season at the beginning of the decade, and the revolving door ended at the end of the decade with Grant Fuhr coming in from the dynasty in Edmonton.

The team started showing signs of life, but they needed a goalie to build the team around.  Felix was the Leafs 2nd round pick in the 1990 draft.  2 years later, he played 4 games at the end of the season, and became the #1 the next year.  I really enjoyed watching him play, and it didn't hurt that his mask design of "The Cat" was an instant favorite of mine.  Felix carried the design with him to the other 4 franchises he played with, and even though I never cared for any of those teams, I still followed his play.

Another Canadian born athlete that I collect is Brett Lawrie

I really enjoyed Brett's hard nosed play on the diamond, and I was also happy that the Jays acquired the Canadian born infielder from the Brewers for Shaun Marcum.  But he did something for a heartbroken young girl one day that really swayed me into his corner as a fan.  The girl was very upset when she found out he was traded to the A's, and a video of her in tears went viral.

The rest as they say is history.

Living north of Pittsburgh for over a decade had me watching the Pirates on TV, a lot.   It took a while, but starting to collect this guy became a real no-brainer.

What has impressed me more about Andrew is how he's handled all the adversity during his struggles of 2016 and early 2017.  You haven't heard him complain, he hasn't reacted to all the trade rumors, and his demotion in the batting order to 6th has turned him into the McCutchen of old. 

I'd really like to see him stay a Pirate for his entire career.   The way today's game is and how teams are run, that's going to be tough.

If I ever had enough baseball talent, Jim Thome reminds me of the kind of player I would have been.  I hit left handed, and had some power.  I played a lot of 3rd base where Jim started his career.  Jim was tough, wore the high socks and the eye black.

Just an old fashioned ball player.  How could you not love that?  600+ homers doesn't hurt either.  

When you're in Canada, you watch a lot of hockey.  It's what you do.  (I've heard that line somewhere before...)  You'll even watch it in French.  What impressed me about Joe to start collecting him?  Watching a English speaking player in his early 20's conduct a between periods interview completely in French, and not look out of place doing it, absolutely impressed me.  

I've collected Sakic ever since.  I've lost count, but I'd say I'm closing in on 600 cards of Sakic, if I'm not there already.  Chances are if I ever start buying higher dollar cards of any of the players I collect, they will be of "Burnaby Joe".  

Tom, thanks for the post idea, it was a good one.  I enjoyed taking a stroll down memory lane.  

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Great Reorg #400: 1993 Upper Deck Jimmy Key

I loved watching this guy pitch.  His delivery was so smooth, there seemed to be no wasted effort at all.  His '94 Upper Deck card kind of gives you the gist of it.  Medium high leg kick and slight twist.  Nothing overpowering in his arsenal, but the ball always moved around. 

Things I didn't remember when looking at his career stats:
  • He was exclusively a reliever his first full season in Toronto ('84) and saved 10 games.  
  • Led the AL in ERA in '87 (2.76).  He also had 8 complete games that year and finished 2nd in Cy Young voting (Clemens)
  • In the strike shortened season of '94, he was 17-4 (!) when play was halted in August.  He also finished 2nd in Cy Young voting that year as well (Cone)

This would be the last year for cards depicting Jimmy as a Blue Jay, as he moved on to New York in 1993 as a free agent.  The Jays would end up replacing him in the rotation with Dave Stewart and would win their 2nd straight World Series.  Jimmy would end up getting a 2nd ring 3 years later as part of the '96 Yankees World Series championship team. 

It's been fun so far going through the cards and getting them into a spreadsheet, seeing how many have doubles up to now (there's 19 players with 2 of the same card), and seeing the stack grow.  For those of you that have the Xfinity cable remote, a stack of 400 cards is as tall as the remote standing on its end. 

Maybe another couple hundred cards and I'll put them into a box and start dividing them up by year.  I still don't have a card from all 40 years of the team's existence recorded yet, but that should come soon.

Stay tuned...there's more

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, June 17, 2017

1426: Sportlots

It had been quite a while since I placed an order from Sportlots.  September of 2016 was the last time I bought anything off the site, and it makes me wonder why since I have so many modern sets on my want list that I haven't chipped more of those off with orders from the site.

I decided a week and a half ago to try and knock down a couple of baseball sets.  First up was this years flagship:

Only 5 of the 29 cards were horizontal.  I especially like the Blue Jays team card (of course), even more so because Topps managed to include a picture of last years "Big 4", Donaldson, Bautista, Tulo and Encarnacion.  Anyone else out there noticing the big numbers that Mark Reynolds is putting up so far in Colorado this year?  Might get his first all star nod if he keeps it going. 

Still need a little over 100 cards to finish off series 1.  With series 2 on shelves, I don't know if I can hold off buying packs before completing the first 350....

Another set that I'm trying to complete is the 2016 A&G release.  Still have 81 cards to go; I'd like to finish this set off before the end of summer so I can work on some other want lists that have been on my list for quite a while.

Finally, I added 4 more cards to my Andrew McCutchen collection.  At 18 cents each, it was easy to add them to the cart.  I'll have to start doing this more with Sportlots, as it's a lot cheaper to add to my PCs this way than always using COMC or ebay. 

The best part about this order was I received a 5 dollar credit from Paypal, so the whole thing only cost me 12 dollars! 

$1438-$12=$1426 left to spend in 2017.  June is the halfway point of the year, and I'd have to spend 426 dollars on cards in the next two weeks in order to be exactly half way to my 2017 budget. 

It looks as if I'll be ahead of the game for the next little while....

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, June 12, 2017

Try a Pack #2: 2017 Donruss Baseball

Now before you say anything, I am not becoming a Panini advocate.  I've always preferred products that have a MLB license, and that's not going to change.

But I really like the look of this set.  If I weren't chasing so many damn sets right now, I might be tempted to put this together.

I bought the jumbo pack, 30 cards in total.   I really enjoyed ripping this.

I was always under the impression that the retro versions were a parallel set.   Wrong.  It's an insert, 50 cards total.  That's a shame, because I like these as well.  Pulled some pretty good names though.   If you need one, let me know.

A couple of Hall of Famers in the set, Ryan and Bench.  Nice!
A couple of Davis' in the set, both named Khris/Chris.  Confusing!  (no, not really)

A pretty solid start to a pitching staff here.  I had to check out Carlos Martinez's stats, he's been a solid part of that Cardinals rotation for a couple of years now, and his numbers this year are pretty solid so far: 2.95 ERA, WHIP of 1.042, 99K's to 30 walks.   A 5-5 record obviously doesn't reflect what he's done so far this year...

4 pretty good bats here at first base.  Love the photo of Goldschmidt at what I'm guessing is Wrigley Field. 

Stanton and Yelich make up what I believe to be 2/3 of the best outfield in baseball with Marcell Ozuna.  If you haven't seen the shot that Stanton hit over the batters eye in Pittsburgh on the weekend, check it out here on Twitter. 

I had not heard of Seth Beer, so I looked him up.  He's a first baseman for the Clemson Tigers who won National collegiate player of the year in 2016, the first time a freshman has won the award.  Listen for his name in the next few years.  As you can see I pulled his American Pride insert, 169/999. 

Josh Bell is a player that the Pirates have high hopes for, but he's struggling to keep his average up during his first full season, although he is showing some power with 11 HR's so far.  I may have to send that card up to Bob Walk the Plank...

I like this set.  Not enough to go and build it, but it's not bad.  I've received cards from this set from other bloggers (Jays, of course), but hadn't seen anything else until I decided to try a pack. 

I imagine there's a few people out there that would definitely get some enjoyment out of putting this set together...

thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, June 10, 2017

1438: Only three

It's funny.  I've been to a lot of card shows over the past several years, and it's always been a solitary thing.  I've wondered what it would be like to go with another collector, to chat about cards and congratulate each other over great finds.

Well, I've had that opportunity over the past couple of months.  My wife's "nephew" has the collecting bug again, and I've gone the past two months to the show with him.  While his purchases have gone up, mine have gone down.  It just hasn't been quite the experience that I thought it would be.

We've joked and laughed, a good thing.  He walked in with a list today, and walked about with a box of football singles full of cards for a few sets he wants to complete.   That monster box cost him a grand total of $5. 

Me?  I bought 3 cards, and they cost me $15.  I'm definitely happy with them, but I'm not sitting down and hunting through boxes the way I used to. 

Oh well, let's look at what I got and go from there, shall we?

Let's start with the "newest" card...

For $2 I snagged the Lou Whitaker and Garth Iorg RC from '78 Topps.  I want to build this set someday, so this knocks off one card.   I also wasn't sure if I had the Iorg card for my Jays collection (I did).

For $3 I grabbed this Joe Morgan '68 Topps all star card.  I was pretty sure I needed it without looking at my want list, and I figured $3 was a decent enough price (it was).

Finally, I grabbed this card...

At $10, for me this was a no brainer.  It has the standard '62 condition flaws that I'm used to.  Rounded corners.  Border off center.  But this one also has a crease through the middle of the card on the front.  To me, it didn't matter.  I'm just happy to get another high price card out of the way for pennies on the dollar.  And to me, it doesn't look all that bad.

$1453-$15=$1438 left on the budget.   On pace to spend $1274 for the year, so I'm still way ahead of the game. 

If I keep on spending just $15 at card shows the rest of the year, I'll be in great shape.  Funny how that works, isn't it?

Thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Great Reorg #300: 1979 Topps Mike Willis

Dig the classic road powder blues on lefty reliever Mike Willis on this '79 Topps card.  The Jays picked him with the 55th pickup of the '76 expansion draft from the Orioles.  His entire MLB career consisted of 5 seasons with the Jays between 1977-1981.

After a couple of decent seasons in the Jays first two years of existence, 1979 was a nightmare for Mike.  He appeared in just 17 games, with an ERA over 8 and a WHIP nearing 2. 

Mike would finish his career in 1982 with a full season in the minors in the Phillies system before retiring at age 32.

Surprisingly I was able to get through another 100 cards in about 1 hour, largely helped by finding groups of cards from the same set together in a box. 

I've found 9 doubles so far, and maybe a dozen or so parallels from more recent years.  Still quite a ways to go, but it's nice to have a stack the height of an iPhone 6 of Jays cards that are in order.

I'll be much happier when that stack turns into a monster box or 2...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 7: 1964 Pete Rose

I haven't written one of these posts for a few weeks, and the rules say that there's no time frame for these, so I figured this was a perfect opportunity to move forward in the list.

Day 7:  A card you bought in person and the story behind it.

I've bought a lot of cards in person over the past few years, but for some reason, this card came to mind right away.

My '64 Pete Rose.  I remembered right away what I paid for it.  $38.  I remember buying it at the monthly card show back in October '13 when I lived up north. 

It's always great when you go to a show expecting to do one thing, and come home with something that was totally unexpected.   Finding this card was not something I expected to do that day.

This was one of the cards that taught me that you can put vintage sets together at a reasonable price, no matter what the price guides say.  Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to building older sets, and finding something that you like with higher priced cards can be a challenge.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Try a pack #1: 2016 Donruss Football

Decided to try something new on the blog.  I see a lot of stuff in the Target card aisle that I normally turn my nose up at.  That's right, look at it and kind of go "ugh" and turn away. 

I've dabbled with football in the past, and had to stop collecting it because my primary hobby loves of hockey and baseball really took up most of my budget.  But there are others out there whose envelopes I might help fill with a football card here and there.

So when at Target on the weekend, I looked at all the packs that they had and grabbed 3 different products that I normally would never buy, just to try my luck.  Every now and then I'll do the same as new releases come out.  Who knows, I just may pull something that somebody really wants! 

The first of the packs I'm going to feature is a pack of 2016 Donruss football, which I bought kind of by accident because I thought it was 2017.  This new series has already taught me to look a little closer at the writing on the front of the pack.

After opening the pack, I recognized the cards as I've seen them on someone's blog in the past.

I like that Donruss used the team colors in the border, makes it a lot nicer for team collectors in my opinion.  I pulled a couple of legends cards; I like the photo of Joe Namath even though I can't quite tell who he's playing against (if someone recognizes the player/team, please let me know in the comments). 

This was a rack pack of 20 cards, so to me it made sense that a good portion of the base was devoted to the skill positions.  Imagine if the Case Keenum card had a yellow border, it might just burn out your retinas.  Didn't pull any star RBs in the pack, but got some names that I knew. 

3 of the 4 defensive base cards featured players I knew, including the only Steelers player in the pack, Cameron Heyward.  I'm hoping Craig "Ironhead" Heyward's son comes back from off-season surgery and bolsters that defensive line in 2017. 

Pulled 3 blue press proof cards in the pack, I understand that there is more than one color of the press proof parallels (which doesn't make sense to me).  If I remember correctly, Max from the Starting Nine blog collects Saints, so maybe he'll be interested in the two of these.  Will Fuller of the Texans on the right had a decent rookie season, totaling 635 yards in catches over 14 games. 

The Noah Spence card on the left made me remember that I'd seen this set before, as it looks very similar to the 1990 Donruss baseball set.   I have to start watching more west coast games this season, as I didn't remember Hunter Henry on the right.  Hunter seemed to have a decent first season as a TE for the Chargers, with 36 catches for 476 yards and 8 TDs!  Not shabby.  Donruss could have been smarter and made the border for the Rated Rookie cards the same as the team's colors.  Would have made sense to me, as it would have just followed the rest of the set.

For me, the cards don't look bad at all.  I don't know if this would be the first choice if I ever started collecting football again, but the pack wasn't that bad to be honest.  Maybe there's someone out there that may need a home for these, just let me know.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, June 5, 2017

Inbound and down #15: Jason's Card Blog

I received an email not too long ago from Jason at the newly created Jason's Card Blog.  Jason had a few Jays cards for me, and wondered if we might be able to strike up a trade.  So I sent a few cards that Jason was in need of his way, and the other day I received an envelope of Blue Jays goodness in my mailbox.

Yes, I know that's how it usually works...

Early 90's Jays.  Knocking 3 more cards off of the want list.  I was always a fan of both of these sets, especially the Flair.

Both of these cards completed their respective team sets.  I looked and looked at the Juan Guzman card and was surprised that I didn't have it.   Same with the Ware.  I guess that's what happens when you have Jays cards all over the place, you just lose track of what you have.  Hopefully by the end of the year I'll have an idea of what I have and just where in the hell in the house it is...

Jason Knocked a bunch of 1999 Metal Universe cards off of that want list.  Just one to go to finish that set, the Shawn Green.  Jason collects Shawn Green, so I can totally understand why he'd keep that one for his collection.

We go from a pair of '96 Pacific cards of Al Leiter and Alex Gonzalez in this scan, and then skip right over the '00s decade and into the 2010's.  Dioner Navarro managed to get a Jays card in the 2017 set even though he was just a August acquisition in 2016.  Still looking for a lot of gold Jays parallels from 2011 on, seeing the Josh Johnson was a welcome sight.  Also still need a handful of '11 Heritage Jays SPs, Jason knocked the Kevin Gregg off the list. 

Many thanks Jason for this great envelope, it is much appreciated!!  Looking forward to trading with you again in the future.

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Johnny from the Johnny's Trading Spot blog recently ran the "big fun game" similar to what Wes does at the Willinghammer rising blog. 

I took the #1, and wound up with a page worth of 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes cards/inserts.

I never did buy any packs of these a few years ago, but the look of the cards is sharp.  I can see now why the Night Owl is trying to complete the set.

But that wasn't all that was in the envelope, Johnny added a few extras for me.  Blue Jays of course!!

Now Tu-lo is a current Blue Jay (and popular at that), but unfortunately this Sportdiscs card features him as a Rockie.  I'll have to see if Johnny from Cards from the Quarry might want to add this to his Rockies collection.

There's Tulowitzki featured as a Jay!  Love the '79 design so this card is an instant winner for me.  The pennant was an instant hit when I pulled it out of the envelope, I think I'm going to affix it to my monster box of Jays cards so I can tell it apart from the other monster boxes that I have in the closet. 

I had never participated in one of these games, so it was fun watching others pick and steal cards from other people.  To be honest, I didn't have the heart to steal anything from anybody, so I decided just to pick the number 1 and see how lucky I got.

Thank you for running the game Johnny and including me!  It was fun and I'll be up for it again sometime.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Serial Saturday #16: Hitting the 400 mark

OK, here we go, 2 more pages to show off for the SNI set.  These 2 take the total over 400 shown so far in page format.  Card #400 was the actual start/inspiration for the set oh so many years ago. 

Card 388:  Carlos Beltran, 2009 Topps Triple Threads #388/525.  New York Mets card #8
Card 389:  Hideo Nomo, 2008 Topps Triple Threads #389/525.  Kansas City card #15
Card 390:  Troy Tulowitzki, 2011 Topps Triple Threads #390/1500.  Colorado card #14

Card 391:  Ozzie Martinez, 2011 Bowman green #391/450.  Miami card #15
Card 392:  Russell Martin, 2011 Topps gold #392/2011.  New York Yankees card #13
Card 393:  Pablo Sandoval, 2011 Topps Chrome heritage refractor #393/562.  San Francisco card #9

Card 394:  Miguel Cabrera, 2005 Bowmans Best #394/899.  Miami card #16
Card 395:  Casey Kotchman, 2012 Bowman blue #395/500.  Cleveland card #18
Card 396:  Adam Lind, 2011 Bowman blue #396/500.  Toronto card #20

Weird:  I started typing Los Angeles Dodgers when I was listing Hideo Nomo's card.  It is hard for me to think of him anywhere else but Dodger blue. 
Toronto becomes the first team to reach the 20 card mark.  Bowman parallels are going to start drying up as they generally don't go past 500 copies (blue). 

Card 397:  John Lannan, 2010 Topps Finest #397/599.  Washington card #18
Card 398:  Micah Owings, 2011 Topps gold #398/2011.  Arizona card #12
Card 399:  Alfonso Soriano, 2008 Topps Heritage #399/1959.  Chicago Cubs card #12

Card 400:  Kevin Millar, 2009 Topps gold #400/2009.  Toronto card #21
Card 401:  Carlos Beltran, 2011 Topps Chrome purple refractor #401/499.  New York Mets card #9
Card 402:  Eric Young JR., 2011 Topps gold #402/2011.  Colorado card #15

Card 403:  Ben Davis, 2002 Topps gold #403/2002.  Seattle card #7
Card 404:  Jacoby Ellsbury, 2011 Topps Finest #404/549.  Boston card #12
Card 405:  Joe Mauer, 2011 Topps Opening Day blue #405/2011.  Minnesota card #13

Heartbreaking:  Ben Davis' card on the lower left corner has a ding.  Never noticed till now.
Kevin Pillar's card #400 was the inspiration for this set.  I looked at the card when it first came to me and I thought of how I could create something a little different. 
Carlos Beltran appears on two straight Mets cards.  His purple refractor from Topps Chrome scanned quite well in the center of this page. 

There's 11 pages left until the first of 3 binders is finished.  I have a few weeks left until the end of my blogging year (I started blogging in mid July) so I'll have to shoot for finishing them off before then.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Great Reorg #200: Celebrating #100

Normally, I would (and will) put the name of the player and the year/set in the post title for these reorganization posts.  But this post is taking care of two things tonight.  First, it's letting everyone out there know (if you don't know yet, which you probably do) that Julie over at the A Cracked Bat blog is celebrating her 100th post with a giveaway. 

If you haven't entered yet, head on over there before midnight tonight and put your entry in.

Congratulations Julie!!

Now, on to the 200th card in the big Jays project I've got going on.  Hitting 200 cards has shown me that this is going to take a while to finish.  I'm sure that if I give myself a goal for this project, I'll wait as long as possible before getting it done.  That being said, I'm going to try and have this done by the end of 2017.  With approx. 7000 more cards to go, this might be a lofty goal. 

In the meantime, let's take a look at card #200:

A very baby faced Duane Ward, featured on his 1987 Donruss card, #45.  The Jays picked up Ward from the Atlanta Braves in 1986, trading Doyle Alexander down south.  Duane only pitched 11.2 innings for Toronto in '87, posting a 6+ ERA.  In 1988, he would become the #2 man out of the pen, still behind closer Tom Henke.  By the time 1990 rolled around, Duane would become a rubber armed reliever for the Jays, appearing in 70+ games for the next 4 seasons, including a career high 81 games in '92.  His final full season in Toronto was in '93, saving 45 games and helping the Jays to their 2nd straight World Series title.  That would be pretty much the end for Ward, as he missed the entire '94 season with biceps tendinitis, and after 4 appearances in '95 that would be all for Duane.

See you at 300....

thanks for reading, Robert