Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Beginning to Breakdown a Heap of Cards

Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown recently celebrate his 1000th post on his blog.  Let me just say that is a helluva lot of posts.  My hat is off to you Gavin because that takes some dedication.

To celebrate, he held a contest giving away a medium flat rate box of cards.  Thanks to the ineptitude of the Red Sox and Tigers' pitching staff, I came away as the lucky winner!  A week or so later, a heavy box of cards showed up at my door step.  True to his word, the box was filled with cards. Close to 2000, I'd say.

Thanks Gavin for all the wonderful cards!

I have not gone through every card but I will do my best to capture the essence of the package.

First up we have 2017 Topps Archives.  I really liked the sets they chose to recreate this year, with 1992 Topps probably being my #2 favorite set overall.   If, and when, 2008 Topps makes it's appearance in Archives, I'll be all over it.  Anyway, I put collecting the '92 cards on the "maybe someday" list but now I'll have to see how many more I will need.  

Here are a few random singles that made up a portion of the box.  There was a nice amount of cards from the 90s and 2000s that I've never seen so I'm excited to go through them all.

They weren't all a decade or two old.  Gavin included a good assortment from cards from the last few years.  Anything pre-2016 is likely absent from my collection and even 2016 has quite a few set needs.

Hot rookies! I feel like the buzz surrounding Benintendi has cooled off whereas Judge is grabbing the headlines launching baseballs into space.  These are both great cards to have.

 Since you've made it this far, it's time to treat you with an autograph.  I do not know much about Tony Oliva.  He appears to have been an excellent player who would likely be in the Hall of Fame were his career not derailed by injuries.  AL ROTY, 8x All-Star, Gold Glove Award winner, and 3x batting champion.  He's also a 2x World Series Champion with the Twins as a coach.  Quite the baseball resume.

There was a small lot of Rays, which makes me wonder whether Gavin had/has a Rays PC or was PC certain Rays players?  I'm guessing it is the latter.  Included is one half of the Mariners hair sensation, Taylor Motter.  Motter's bat has struggled lately but he still brings speed and defense.

Gavin caught wind that I was trying to build up my Padres collection and since he is a Padres fan himself, he was happy to spread the Padres love.  New, old, Tony Gwynn, you name it, it might be in the box.  If Tony Gwynn and/or the Padres do not move into the Top 2 for my player and team collections, I will be very surprise.

I'll need to buy a new pack of mini card sleeves as there are a lot of Mariners and Padres minis.  I know some people aren't a fan of the minis but I sure am.  

If the Padres don't overtake the Mariners for the #1 spot in my team collection, it will be because the box contained many Mariners cards.  I can say with confidence that at a minimum 90% of these cards will be new to my Mariners collection.  Looking through these cards is a nice trip down memory lane of all the Seattle studs (Harold Reynolds, Felix Hernandez, Alex Rodriguez) and duds (Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Stephen Pryor).  

The box was not all baseball. I collect a little bit of everything, sports and non-sports, and this box fills that niche.   

I minored in U.S. History and these Heritage cards are right up my alley.

I think this marks the first Olympics cards to enter my collection.  These are from the 1992 Olympics.  I'll have to check for some cards of the Dream Team. 

A handful of college football cards.  Seeing these cards makes me upset that Panini has an exclusive license.  Upper Deck produced some nice cards.

I majored in Political Science and I'm a politics junkie.  I have a few of the 2016 Decision cards so I'm ecstatic to receive more.  I think the guy behind the Bench Warmers cards is the brain behind the Decision set.   

Speaking of Bench Warmers--there were a bevy of beautiful babes.  Out of all the cards I collect I probably won't start collecting these so they are up for the ogling, I mean, taking.  

You won't catch me listening to contemporary country music so you likely won't catch me keeping these around in my collection (any country music fans interested?).  I do not mind older country such as a Hank Williams.  For modern stuff, I will take some alt-country like Ryan Adams or Wilco though.  

Now the Beach Boys I can get into.  I've seen boxes of these for cheap on Blowout and I've been tempted to buy a couple hoping to get a Mike Love autograph.  

 I get e-mails from Topps advertising their newest card of the day and the Garbage Pail Kids make an appearance at least once a week.  The new GPK cards aren't shocking or grotesque like the ones from the 90s.  Yet the cards still find a way to be relevant with clever titles.

A manufactured patch card from Captain America during his pre-superhero days.  At least I think that's when it is from. I don't keep up with Marvel.

Getting close to the end. Hang in there!  Here we have two 2004 Topps Retired Signature Edition cards.  One of Bill "Between the Legs" Buckner and the other of Vida "I've got more WS Rings than Buckner" Blue.

Gavin does an excellent job with his custom cards.  

*takes a deep breath* Last and certainly not least, the crown jewel of the box, the icing on top of the cake: a Wade Boggs autograph on one of Gavin's Simpsons customs.  Not only that, it is stamped 1 of 1!  When Gavin said that this was the mystery card prize it took me no time at all to decide that this was the one I wanted.

A unique card featuring the Hall of Famer from one of the best Simpsons episodes.

Phew! This box of cards will keep me busy for weeks trying to input all of them into my collection.  I'm only having slight anxiety at trying to figure out where I will store them all as I ran out of room in my shoe box house months ago.  Tough problem to have, right?

Thank you again to Gavin for your generosity and the thought you put into this package.  I truly appreciate it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day 6: Dancing to Cards and Music

30-Day Challenge: Day 6

  • Card: A card you spent more than $10 to get
    • 1993 Topps Batman The Animated Series - Autograph #NNO Danny DeVito
  • Music: A song that makes you want to dance
    • Here We Go Magic - How Do I Know

Initially, I was going to post about a single card purchase that was over $10.  I didn't find any single card purchases I wanted to show off, so I thought about another way of going about it.  There is nothing preventing me from showing off a card that was part of a larger purchase.  Loophole!

Card is actually 1992 Stadium Club Batman Returns #2

I spent more than $10 to buy this Batman card but it was part of a lot.  For $20 I purchased a complete set of 1993 Topps Batman the Animated Series.  Included were several bonus cards, including this Danny Devito autograph on a Stadium Club Batman Returns card.  I don't recall knowing that this card was part of the original lot so it was a complete surprise when I found it.

1993 Topps Batman The Animated Series #22

At first I thought my autograph was obtained through an aftermarket request since this card is completely different from the animation cards (see above).  According to my research at the time, the autograph card was randomly inserted into packs for Batman the Animated Series with a print run of 2000.  

I have no proof the autograph is authentic but according to my untrained eye, it appears to be real. There is no Topps autograph guarantee on the card itself.  To be safe, I would like to have the autograph authenticated by PSA someday.  

Dr. Mantis Tobaggan

A complete set with a bonus autograph card of Dr. Mantis Tobaggan himself? What an eBay score!

To celebrate a most wonderful eBay score, it always makes me want to dance! 

The music video for this indie-pop song, directed by Sean Pecknold (brother of Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold), tells the story of an older man who is forced by his jealous wife to get rid of a robot.  Perhaps the wife is jealous of the robot's primary skills: dancing and philosophy.  The man takes the robot out to the desert for one last escapade where they can  time to the desert where they can dance outside of a watchful eye.

All robots should be programmed to dance.  

Friday, June 16, 2017

Stupid Sexy Kershaw

I didn't have allergies of any kind (food, medicine, etc) until last spring when iI started to wake up congested with a runny nose. I honestly thought I just had a cold because what else could it be?  After this pattern of waking up congested continued for several weeks, it dawned on me; I developed allergies.  I did not know that was possible to happen as an adult.

I have not had myself tested for allergies but I'm 99% sure it's the pollen that makes me allergic.  I take over-the-counter allergy medicine, which does the trick, leading me to believe my suspicious are correct.

Other than "this sort of thing just happens," the only other culprit I can think of is that two years prior, I started spending a lot of time working in my yard.  Maybe all the weeding triggered something in my immune system? I'm not bothered while working out in the yard, even now, so it's hard to say.

This allergy season I had been trying to go at it alone but after sneezing throughout the day I decided I finally needed to start taking allergy medication.  While at the store Thursday evening I found one thing I am certainly not allergic too: opening up baseball card packs.

I was surprised to see these packs in the store because Series 2 was only released on Wednesday.  It's usually at least a week before new products show up in my grocery store.

I still do not care much for the 2017 design but Kershaw was calling out to me.  Stupid sexy Kershaw.

At $2 a pack, I bought two packs hoping for a nice rookie or insert.

Former Mariner Jabari Blash is currently trying to find his bat in AAA.  

Severino is pitching really well for the Yankees so far.  5-2 with a 2.75 ERA.  His strikeouts are up and his walks are down.

The two rookies of the pack.  I'm now happy when I see Padres cards.  Renfroe looks to be a mainstay in the Padres lineup for the future. 

The rainbow foil parallels are a slightly tougher pull than the gold parallels at 1:10 odds versus 1:7 odds. Nice and shiny in person.

The one insert of the pack is from Topps Salute.  This insert has no coherent theme with rookies, veterans, and legends all mixed together.  The only thing I like about the insert set is the photos of players in special game jerseys.  I think this is a Mets alternate uniform so if it is, this photo gets a pass from me.

That's it for pack 1.  Onto pack 2!

None of these names are jumping out at me.  I must not be paying enough attention to baseball this year. I can't blame it on these guys being from the NL either because there are only two NL cards.

I love the First Pitch inserts.  However, Ty Pennington is known for being a dick and Guaranteed Rate Field is a terrible name.  This card gets a huge thumbs down from me.

Speaking of terrible names, I'm worried that the Mariners will get a new, horrible name.  "Safeco Field" will cease to exist following the 2018 Season as Safeco has decided to let the naming rights expire.  We will get Amazon Prime Field? Starbucks Grounds? Costco Field with $1.50 hot dogs and soda? Windows 95 Stadium? Only time will tell.

I just pulled his base rookie so why not his 1987 insert rookie!

B-B-B-Bonus C-C-C-Card! It's a bronze stamped 1990 Topps Buyback.  A first round draft pick, Morris had a mediocre seven-year career in the Majors. I'm sure much as been said about this design already so I'm not going to rehash it.  I don't even know if I like or hate the design.

Nothing marvelous in these two packs but they scratched the itch for some new product.

Any and all of these cards are up for grabs! Just let me know.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Day 5: Playing Loud

30-Day Challenge: Day 5

  • Music: A song that needs to be played LOUD
    • Self - Trunk Fulla Amps
  • Card: A certified autograph card of one of your favorite players
    • 2012 Topps - Golden Moments Autographs #GMA-FH Felix Hernandez

Note: this song contains liberal use of the word "mothafucker." Do not play this song loud if at work or near children.  

I first heard this song on local community college radio, KGRG 89.9.  I would listen to it in my 1971 Chevy, wishing I had more than a paltry single speaker.  With a song about having a trunk full of amps, it only makes sense that this song should be played loud.  I can feel the bass pulsing through my body as I imagine what it's like to play this song over a properly decked out sound system.

The lyrics wouldn't come close to winning a Grammy in the "Best Songwriting" category but that's part of what makes the song so fun.  It's a silly, carefree song.  The song is even better when played loud.

2012 Topps - Golden Moments Autographs

The loudest player on the Seattle Mariners is no doubt Felix Hernandez.  He plays with such passion that he is always cranked up to 10.  A loud, home crowd is the ultimate motivator for Felix.  That makes his pitching more electric to watch.

His autographs are not cheap and the ones that are on the lower end of the price range are not the best looking cards.  When I was looking at buying a Hernandez autograph I wanted it to be worthy of display.  At $25 on COMC, this was a suitable entry-level autograph of King Felix.

Despite being a sticker autograph, his signature remains one of my favorites in the collection.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Day 4: College Memories and College Players

30-Day Challenge: Day 4

It's time to jump back into the 30-day trading card challenge.  As always, I am simultaneously doing to the 30-day music challenge.  Here are the topics of the day!
  • Music: A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about
    • Stars - Ageless Beauty
  • Card: A rookie card of one of your favorite players
    • 2013-14 Panini #161 Kelly Olynyk

I'm at a point in my life where if there is someone I want to forget about, they have been forgotten.  I would rather forget about moments than people.  (although I don't think there is someone who I would rather forget).

This song by Stars evokes heartache from a time during college.  Without getting into the details (this is a card blog, not my Livejournal), all I can say is that the love lost cut me deep.  Even though this song reminds me of her, I harbor no ill will.  Thus, I don't care to forget the person this song reminds me of but I would like to forget the moment associated with it.


Attending law school was a similar experience to attending college.  Thrust into a new environment, having to form new social circles, all the while trying to conquer the challenge that is the first year of an experience like no other.  One of the ways to form a bond with new classmates was to coalesce around a common interest: Gonzaga basketball.

2013-14 Panini

One of my favorite players is Kelly Olynyk who played at Gonzaga during my time there.  He's a tall center at 7 foot even who is not afraid to shoot from behind the arc.  At the beginning of his college career he was small for his size but the way he played I knew he had something going for himself.

After his sophomore year, he took a redshirt year to develop.  It paid off as Olynyk returned a completely different player.  He hit the gym hard and filled out his frame.

Olynyk in his junior year
All grown up

Olynyk not only had a radical physical transformation before and after his redshirt season; he played remarkably better his junior year.  His stats were up all across the board.

Season PPG FG% FT% RPG
Freshman 3.8 50.0% 59.6% 2.7
Sophomore 5.8 57.4% 61.8% 3.8
Junior 17.8 62.9% 77.6% 7.3

His play propelled Gonzaga to it's first ever #1 AP & Coaches Top 25 ranking and Gonzaga's first #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

After declaring for the draft following his junior year, the Dallas Mavericks drafted Olynyk in the first round before shipping him off to the Boston Celtics.  Without the Sonics, the Celtics are my favorite NBA team so I could not have been happier that Olynyk would get to wear the Celtic green.  His rookie cards all look wonderful.

2013-14 Panini Court Kings - Art Nouveau Jerseys

With his combined his play style, skills, and teams played for, Olynyk is one of my favorite players.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Baseball Prognosticating Champion

If you are a baseball fan and you're not participating in Sport Card Collectors's MLB Pick 'Em Promo, then you are missing out.  Once a week he asks you to select the winners from five different baseball games.  At the end of every month he tallies up the person with the most correct predictions and awards various prizes.

For the month of May I tied with three others for the most points and thanks to the randomizer, I came out on top!

The first prize was a 24-cell card sorting tray.  Normally, I'd show you a picture of it as it is surprisingly large so it's worth a photo.  However, my phone straight up died a couple days after taking the photo.  The tray should be useful next time I open a hobby box.

I haven't had time to get my phone looked at but I am not optimistic at recovery.  The phone (an LG V10) is unfortunately not well manufactured.  I've read numerous stories of peoples' phones dying in a similar manner.  The phone is only a year and a half old to make it all the more frustrating.

Here is something that will cheer me up though; my next prize!

A 2017 Gypsy Queen autograph of Astros closer Ken Giles!  The Astros are a division rival so I can't show too much excitement...  Only kidding.  Giles has 15 saves on the year, which ties his career high that he has achieved the past two seasons.  It's only the beginning of June so I certain he will rack up more saves, especially with the Astros piling up wins.  

This is a nice card to have in the collection.  

SCC also threw in a card thickness point gauge card.  I had actually wanted one of these because they look very handy.  It can be be so tough to eyeball the right size for penny sleeves and toploaders.

Thanks for the great prizes SCC!