Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cardboard Kindness

I have a couple mail days from bloggers that I need to post.  One that's old and sorely needs a post.  The other is a fresh package.

Let's start with a package from Nachos Grande as part of his "Season of Giving."  He sent over a flat rate box full of Mariners cards.  There were so many cards, many of which I have never seen.  I'll highlight a few of my favorites.

1999 UD Choice

It's always nice to add more Griffey cards to the collection.  I haven't heard of Choice before but I'm guessing it's an offspring of Collector's Choice.  

1997 Collector's Choice

Normally I'd be loathe to highlight a card with Alex Rodriguez.   Although given my recent Padres fandom I'm happy to see Tony Gwynn.  I like this League Leaders card as it features the AL and NL player side-by-side.  Back before interleague play it always seemed like such a big deal to see AL and NL players together.

2003 Fleer Box Score

Another new set for me.  This set features a notable box score on the back for each player.  Edgar's box score was from the 1990 season when he had a two home run game.  From a historical perspective this could be a fun set to put together.

I don't understand this card.  The Mariners are listed as the team.  Yet, Johnson is pictured in an Astros uniform.  He was traded to the Astros *after* playing for the Mariners so why wouldn't Upper Deck list the Astros as the team if they are going to feature him in an Astros uniform?  

2012 Bowman
For whatever reason, I've enjoyed putting together the base Bowman set more than I have Flagship.  Maybe it's because prospects are sprinkled into the insert sets.  Plus, the colored parallels have looked a lot better than the Flagship design the past couple years.

1994 Bowman's Best

I'm highlighting this card just for the fact of seeing Johnny Damon as a skinny, clean faced kid in a Royals uniform.  That's not the image I have of him in my mind.  He just looks so funny.

Thank you again Nachos Grande!


Next up is a recent trade package from P-town Tom of Waiting 'til Next Year...

Here are the cards I was expecting too get, 2013 Panini USA Champions. This puts me under 10 left on the base set. I opened up a box last year chasing a Kris Bryant auto on the cheap (no such luck) and ended about a dozen cards short of the set.  I can't leave a set unfinished when I am so close. 

Tom, being the stand up guy that he is, also sent along quite a few more cards. Thanks Tom! He said that he didnt know how the junk wax cards slipped into the package but as you'll see there was certainly some non junker cards!

2017 Panini Chronicles

A purple rookie parallel of Guillermo Heredia from the weirdly overpriced Chronicles. A blaster box contained a whopping 20 cards. I feel like Panini is always providing terrible value in their retail products. I don't care about hits but give me more cards damnit! These are not $1 cards.

2017 Topps Gallery

I looked down upon Gallery as I thought a lot of the drawings were bad. This Seager card looks alright though. I only wish the cards were printed on canvas stock. That would have piqued my interest a little more.

2016 Topps High Tek

If Mitch Haniger had not had his face busted open last season requiring plastic surgery, he could have been the Mariners' best player behind Cruz. Given the Mariners injury luck he will probably go down to an injury at some point this season.

I believe this is my first look at High Tek in hand.  These cards are kinda neat with the crazy background and translucent card stock.  I'll have to keep my eye out for more.  

2015 Bowman's Best

This card is thick.  Unnecessarily thick.  It's 138 pt.  There is probably some backstory here I don't understand.

1970 Topps
Vintage! Wow! It's of the short lived Seattle Pilots.  I did not previously have any cards from 1970 Topps so this is an excellent addition.

Thank you again Tom! I am blown away by your generosity.  And believe it not I even appreciate the junk wax you sent along. 

That wraps this post for today.  A lot of cards to sort through that will keep me busy!  Thanks for tuning in.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Feeling A Wave of Excitement with A 2018 Topps Jumbo Box

After all but ignoring 2017 Topps, I was completely on board with 2018 Topps.  Admittedly, the design won't .  However, it is serviceable and after my dislike towards last year perhaps I was just eager to like a Topps design again.  I knew I wanted to hand collate this set so that meant buying a hobby box.

I bought a jumbo box for several reasons.  First, I know if I bought I hobby box I would end up with a standard relic.  At least with a jumbo box I get an autograph and manufactured relic in addition.  Second, buying a jumbo box usually guarantees pulling one full set.  I didn't want to buy a hobby box to then have to chase down the rest of the base set.  Finally, getting two silver packs instead of one was an extra incentive to spring for the jumbo.

I'm starting with the silver packs as they were the first things I opened.  Here are the highlights from the two packs I opened.  They are all base, with a nice Devers rookie.  It's hard to feel disappointed with getting only base as these are essentially free cards.

I'm not familiar with the 1983 Topps design but these have a nice modern look.  I hope it's something continues to do for Flagship each year.

Here is a small sampling of the vertical and horizontal base cards.  The design won't win any awards but it is miles ahead of last year's design that felt sloppy.  Though, I could do without the disintegrating name and team plates.

The photos have some nice variety as well.  The picture quality is crisp and bright.  Last year everything looked dull.  I do miss borders but the full-bleed photos are nice.  The design doesn't get in the way of the photos like 2016 and 2017 Topps designs.

I think I can tolerate staring at this design for a whole year.

I have a couple problems with the backs.  Why is there a black box around the social media handles? Why are the social media handles the biggest thing on the back of the cards?  They are weirdly emphasized over everything else.  Get rid of them or make them smaller.  Preferably delete them.

The write-ups should be centered or justified.  Otherwise there is this weird blank space on the right.

Lastly, I still cannot support the elimination of full stats.  I will never be okay with this.  Thankfully they are not going the Panini route and eliminating all but one year of stats.  Topps has shown some restraint.

Parallels are underwhelming without borders.  They are also easy to miss.  Here's a side by side of a gold with the base.  They don't pop like they should.

Rainbow Foil / Black

The rainbow foil parallels are always easy to spot.  The black parallel took me a few seconds of studying to realize it was a parallel.  I hate to say it but the Yankee uniform looks rather nice against the black background.  I always enjoy it when a color parallel compliments the photo on the card.

I don't know if this was the case last year but for inserts Topps has forsaken breadth for depth.  I pulled a grand total of four different inserts.  If you like putting together insert sets, the checklist depth for them will make it very difficult to put together without spending a lot of time trading or shelling out money. 

The non-chrome 1983 cards still look fantastic.  If the insert set wasn't ONE HUNDRED FREAKING CARDS, I could see myself consider putting it together.  Since it is so big, I'll collect whatever Mariners/Padres are in the set and call it good.

Topps Salute
Topps Salute is back again as a mishmash insert.  Here is an idea to improve Topps Salute.  Remove all rookies.  Remove all legends.  Keep only the special jerseys.

The promised manufactured relic of the box.  The Spring Training logos have looked cool the past couple years and this year is no exception.  I'm curious to hear what happens with MLB's investigation into Sano's alleged sexual assault.  This is already shaping up to be a poor choice of a card.  

The second promised relic of the box.  I have a feeling that the jersey piece isn't from an Astros jersey but a Tigers jersey.  I bet Topps had some left Tiger jerseys of Verlander after he was traded.  Either way, he's a World Series winner so it's a nice hit.

I like the base relic design, unlike last year's that looked like it was designed at the last second.  It's a basic design but I think it looks nice.  I'm happy with the hit.  

Lastly, we have the 1 promised autograph.  Verdugo ranked as the 33th best prospect.  He's only 21 and already made an appearance in the MLB.  In 21 at bats he had only four hits but that's a small sample size.  In AAA he hit .314 with a .389 OBP.  He probably won't make the 25-man team coming out of Spring Training but is waiting in the wings should the Dodgers need some help.

The autograph is on-card so that's a plus.  The 1983 design makes for a great autograph.  It's a base auto but much like the relic, the card looks great so I'm not complaining.  

The last "hit" of the box was this Kershaw short print.  Short prints aren't as plentiful like they were in 2017 Update.  That makes this is a nice pull, especially of such a quality player.

Overall, I had a great time with this break.  The silver packs added a lot of value and look to be back for Series 2.  That means I'll be back for Series 2 as well. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I'll Take TTM Success for $200, Alex

A few months ago I slowly dipped my toes into the world of TTMing.  I sent out two cards both to non-athletes.  This was my way of seeing if I wanted to do more of it.  Today I received my first success and now I look forward to sending out more requests.

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter

It's Ken Jennings! Notable Jeopardy champion and local celebrity.  According to the back of the card, he won over $2.5 million during his unprecedented run.  He was also later beaten by a robot but that was not really his fault.

The blue looks great on the Allen and Ginter card.  The autograph is slightly smudged as it was likely put into a penny sleeve right after being signed.  I think I included the sleeve so that one is on me.  Can't expect them to wait for the pen to dry.  Next time I won't included any sleeves.

This was not my first time obtaining Mr. Jennings' autograph.  I attended a book reading of his about 5 years where I had him sign a copy of Maphead.  I am indeed a maphead.  I could seriously spend hours reading maps.

It takes some work to send out TTM requests but the payoff is worth it.  I'll try to get some requests out for Spring Training and hope for the best!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Set Highlight: 1992 Topps 1991 Major League Debut

One of my goals for 2018 has been to finish off more sets on my backlog.  This set was not specifically targeted in my initial resolutions goal but I saw a complete set at a good price. 

If I were to rank my favorite Topps sets since the mid-80s (when I was born), the 1992 design is my favorite right behind 2008.  The design is clean and crisp that pops off the card.  The color matching looks sharp, too.

I'm working on collecting the sets for all four major sports plus any applicable gold and micro parallels.  So far I only have Topps Traded and now 91 Major League Debut.

Ricky Bones, what a name!

Set on the 1992 design, this set features 192 player who made their debut in 1991.  This is the third and final series of major league debut sets. 


In place of the team name is the date of the player's debut.  It's a design element that works well.  The photos are mostly from what I'm assuming are the Spring Training photo shoots.  I like it because these photos feel more personal than a standard batting or fielding shot. 

Two Hall of Famers made their debut in 1991.  Funny enough, Bagwell and Rodriguez made their debuts in the same year and were elected into the Hall of Fame in the same year.

The card backs show a lot of effort on Topps' part, something we don't see to much of these days.  The write-up details their transaction to the majors, the result of their debut, and some minor league information.  It even includes who scouted the player, which I've never seen.  Very informative.

Topps gets creative with the checklist for this set listing the players in chronological order.  Excellent choice by Topps.

If this set did not feature the 1992 Topps design, I likely would not have bothered with it.  That said, this is not just a throwaway set.  For any 1992 Topps collectors this set is a must have.  I still have a lot of 92 sets left to go but it's nice to get this likely lesser known set out of the way.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Reading A Book(let)

Whichever company invented the booklet card gets a pat on the back from me.  The cards allow for some unique looks.  I've seen booklet cards before but never opened any product where I could reasonably pull a booklet card.  I have wanted a booklet card for a while so it was time to search on eBay.

2013-14 Panini Preferred - Rookie Rotation Memorabilia /#299

There are a lot of nice booklet cards from high end products like National Treasures, which were out of my price range for the moment.  Thankfully this Kelly Olynyk booklet was priced right at $4.99.

It's likely from his rookie photo shoot meaning the material is player worn.  I love the photo selection with the full color photo set next to the silhouette images.  Two decent sized jersey swatches on the end gives the card nice book ends.

The only downside to booklet cards is that leaving them in a plastic snap case does not do the card justice.  I plan to buy a booklet card holder to give it the light of day. 

I look forward to picking up another booklet in the future!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 Cardboard Resolutions

New Year's resolutions typically are not my style.  I never have much passion to stick with them so I forget about them by February.  Perhaps committing them to a blog post will provide accountability.  I'll perform a 6 month check-up to see how I'm doing.

  • Two blog posts per month

I know this doesn't seem like a lot.  For me though, it represents a significant time commitment.  With a baby, my free time is all but non-existent and only when he is asleep.  After taking care of myself and the house, I'm left with about an hour to balance my various interests such as cards, video games, music, and watching TV with the wife.

So yeah, two posts a month can be a challenge.  I think I'll also focus on writing smaller posts to help meet my goal.  This post will mark my second post in January so I'm doing great so far!

  • Finish my 2008 Topps Printing Plate "Master" Set

2008 Topps Update - Black Pritning Plate

With 2008 Topps being my favorite set, I was planning to collect as many plates as I could.  Then after seeing eBay alerts every day I started to get board of plates.  I changed my strategy to collect  one printing plate of each color from all of the Topps sets released in 2008 using the main design.

Slightly limiting this goal is the fact that I don't like to spend more than about $10 on a plate.  If I get close to my goal by the end of the year I might splurge a little to finish it off.  I currently have 16 plates.  2008 Topps Football is the only complete plate set.  If I pick up two plates per month I will be on track to complete my goal.

  • Complete collection of Mariners All-Star Game relics

One new project I started last year was collecting Mariners ASG relics.  Since 2005, Topps has included event-worn ASG jersey relics for most all participants. The Mariners have been included in every year.

The Ichiro ones have been the most expensive, $15-$20, but everything else has been reasonable. I haven't gone through my latest COMC order so I can't say for sure how many I am missing. It is not many.

2008 Topps Update -- pulled this one myself

2017 Topps Update - Mr. MVP

I'm only aiming for the standard jersey swatch pieces and nine of the jumbo or dual relics. Except for Michael Pineda who only appeared on a dual relic short printed to 25. I will have a tough time finding that one especially since it was released in 2011 Update.

  • Open one hobby box of a 2018 product

My last posted mentioned that I focused more on singles.  That will remain the goal going forward.  Still, it would be fun to open a new product in the new year. I'm currently eyeing Topps Series 1.  The design could be better but it could also be a lot worse *cough 2017 cough*

  • Complete two sets in my backlog

My focus will be 2008 Topps Update and 2017 Bowman.  Here's a chance for some low hanging fruit as both set needs are under 25 cards each.  I'll try a couple trades on The Trading Card Database to finish out the sets if possible.  Otherwise, I'll be taking a trip to Sportlots.

2008 Topps Update

Completing 2008 Update should be easy as I already have the Kershaw rookie.  I pulled this in the same box as the Ichiro relic, above.

  • Finish cataloging my cards

Ever since Gavin loaded me up with a medium flat rate of cards for winning one of his contests, I've struggled to catalog them all.  Mainly it is because I'm short on some organizing supplies.  It is more efficient to catalog and organize at the same time rather than do it at two separate times.

I need to buy more tall card dividers to get back on track.  I used to use cut in half note cards but they proved to be too flimsy for my liking.

  • WILDCARD: Update blog layout

I think my blog design is rather plain looking so I'd love to update it.  It might take a lot of work, thus the wildcard.  I don't have any expectations of finsihing this.  It will be a nice surprise if I do.


This card is unrelated to my resolutions but it was the first new card for me in 2018.  Only $0.99 for a rookie card numbered out of 99.  That deserves a documentation.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Looking Back at My Favorite Cards of 2017

2017 was the the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. From my father passing away at the beginning of the year to my son being born almost exactly 9 months later. Cards have been a big help in finding a way to escape and relax when needed.

Card-wise, 2017 was an interesting year. I purchased more new basketball hobby boxes (1) than I did baseball (0). I also bought more old hobby boxes than I did new.

However, most of my favorite cards were singles I purchased.  Opening packs can be fun (and that's why I still buy retail packs often) but it's nice getting cards I actually want.  I'm finding that more often than not, boxes are a disappointment.  Since singles were a main focus of my collection this past year, here are 5 of my favorite cards from 2017.  

2017 Topps Now

Topps Now cards tend to get into a rut whether it be blasé photos or subject matters.  This card features one of the most interesting photos I've seen and captured a crucial moment in the World Baseball Classic.  Sadly, once the regular season hit Topps fell back into the rut of walkoff this, walkoff that.  I don't think they can track all 30 teams while coming up with exciting Topps Now cards all the time.  They did try better in 2017 and I hope they can do even better in 2018.

2017 Donruss - Gray Border SN199

I liked the simplicity of base Donruss but the borders were a bland white.  I don't know why Panini didn't copy what it did for football, which was make the borders color coded.  The gray border parallel set looks better than the base.  I briefly considered putting together the parallel set until I came to my senses.

2017 Topps National Baseball Card Day Seattle Mariners

This card is from the stadium giveaway for National Baseball Card Day.  This set actually features photos from the 2017 season as evident by the 40th Anniversary patch on Paxton's arm.  The 40th Anniversary patch didn't get much cardboard love this year thanks to Seattle's sparse appearance in Topps Now.  The stadium giveaway cards are tough to find so I'm glad I found a set on eBay when I did.

2017 Upper Deck Marvel Spider-Man Homecoming - From Queens to Screen Single Autographs

I have not watched the new Spider Man nor do I plan on watching it. Hannibal Buress is one of my favorite comedians, which is the only reason I have this card. He's hilarious on Broad City and his stand-up is great, too.  I never thought I would see him on a card, let alone his autograph.  A definite score for me.

2017 Panini Black Friday - Rapture SN10

Klay Thompson is one of the best players to come out of WSU.  It's not too often WSU gets cardboard love so I tend to jump on those cards when I can.  I'm missing two cards from this mini-rainbow.  The 1/1 card, which I will probably never get and the base card, which I have never seen.  I find it curious I've seen multiple parallels of this card on eBay but never the base.  An unsolved mystery for sure.

There are plenty more cards from 2017 that I loved but I simply do not have the time to show them.  

Happy New Year to everyone in the blogosphere!