Friday, March 24, 2017

Make Me Your Capitals Capital!

Was just looking for a couple cards in my box of Washington Capitals hockey.  I was on the Trading Card Database trying to fill some of their "Close To Completion" lists.  If you haven't been on there, these are lists of the last few cards in a set that they need scans of either both sides or sometimes just the front or back.

My Capitals team collection is one of the lowest priority (and around here, the lowest availability) of all the set, player, and team collections I maintain.  It is comprised of one binder containing mostly 70's and 80's O-Pee-Chee, and one three row white box.  The box starts with 1990-91 and is divided by top loaders by season from then until now.  Well sort of.

Since I haven't bought really any packs or boxes of current hockey since about 2011, and have only traded for a smattering of singles, the last several years are very sparse.  It's so bad, I can fit all the cards from each year since 2011 into single pictures.  (Note: the day after I drafted this post, I got a package from Trevor at the O-Pee-Chee blog Supporting the Minnow and he added fourteen cards to the lot displayed here, almost doubling my count!)

2012-13 complete inventory

2013-14 complete inventory
2014-15 (3) and 2015-16 (1)

That's it.  That's all I've got.  And you can see that, aside from a bit of a surge in 2002-03 from all the Pacific sets I bought tons of, the quantities steadily dwindle as the years go on.  (2004-05 is gonna be thin since it was a strike year).

So if you're a hockey trader and you have a bunch of extra Capitals cards, hit me up!  I have a decent amount of hockey available, it's just all from a lot earlier - late 90's to mid-to-late 2000's for the most part.  And I'm OK with trading baseball and football for them too.  I might be a little slow telling you if I have some of the 1990's and 2000's because I don't know the designs well and always get confused by the copyright date vs. the season, especially if there are no stats on the back.  But I'll learn!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Just Can't Win...

So I'm at the monthly card show just west of where I live and I'm looking at 2017 inserts.  I feel like I'm not quite far enough into buying packs or trading for that set to start outright buying of inserts, or even base cards right now.  So I almost walk away....

But then I get an idea.  90% of the time, the last few inserts I end up needing are going to be the biggest names - Jeter, Harper, Trout, Bryant, etc.  I can almost never pull them from packs that I pick out.  And not many people end up with them as extras.  I've postulated the theory that the big guys are "ghost-shortprinted" to some degree.  At least that's my observation.

So, why don't I get ahead of the game and pick up the Mike Trout 5 Tool insert while I can get it for 50¢ from this guy right now?  I know I need it, so this is my best chance to not have to pay or trade extra to get it, or have to type his name yet again on my want list site.

Boom! Done.

Alright, I'm being smart and thinking ahead.  Shrewd shopper.  Feels good.

So later I am making a deal with Matt from my trading group on Yahoo!.  I've got tons of singles from his Angels, Royals, and Reds team lists from the 80's thru the early 2000s or so.  A few hundred cards in total.  He's got a decent chunk of my 2017 base needs.  OK, so that covers the one team.  I kinda strike out on finding anything really useful from his trade list that he sends me.  So I suggest a couple rack packs of 2017 right off the hangers to make up the difference.

Matt actually goes way beyond and sends me not only a jumbo pack of flagship, but two packs of Heritage, and three packs of Opening Day!  The package shows up today and unfortunately, there weren't any super mojo hits, but I got a few cards for my rainbow team sets for this year, and a couple inserts I didn't have.   But as is my luck, I also got a few inserts that I've pulled already - including, you guessed it - Mike Trout 5 Tool!!! Grrrrr!

Reminds me of the old skit on Hee Haw.  "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all..."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Star Trek - The Retro Football Card Set Returns!

Back in 2011, I premiered my series of Star Trek characters in old football designs, inspired by another blogger who was very active back then.  This is the first in a "reprint" of that series.

September 2011
These are the premiere releases from my tribute to PunkRockPaint's Star Wars... The Retro Baseball card set.  I commented there that I was inspired to do a Trek football set but didn't want to copy his idea.  The response was that it wouldn't be copying, it would be an homage, so here we go...

The first ever football set design (1935 National Chicle) for the most important characters - the captains.

As soon as I saw Rockne's head, I knew which character would go there...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Collating, Checking Off, and Storing My New Cards From Steve

Steve from Collating Cards commented on a recent post that he had an Andrew McCutchen insert from 2014 that I needed.  We worked out a trade and here's what showed up yesterday.

One of those 1997 Team Timber inserts that I don't think are real wood, but are a "simulated wood-grain stock" with UV gloss coating on the fronts.  They even curl like wood.  This one is, appropriately, Chipper Jones.  These remind me a little of the Lumber Yards from 2002 40 Man.

Moving on to the present century - that's still a little weird to say after discussing 1997 - we have some 2014 inserts, starting with the Cutch, accompanied by a World Series Heroes Johnny Bench.

Also from 2014, the seemingly never ending MLB Debuts, which are interesting in that they depict certain players on their original teams, which are sometimes nowhere close to where you are used to seeing for that player.  No big surprises here, though it's been a while since Grienke was in KC.

And finally, some more inserts from last year's Topps.  Ichiro's countdown to 3000, which is magnifying his year(s) in Florida compared to Seattle, since they highlight a lot of the hits closest to the target number.   Also, Topps seems to have moved to making inserts of other companies' products, like these Team Franklins....

...Or their own stuff.  First it was these Fire, and this year we have the Bowman Then & Nows.  Not to mention the Rediscover Topps with the backs that are blatant advertising.  C'mon Topps, you promised us great new things with your exclusive contracts, and all we're getting is marketing.

Now, to give credit where it's due, these ARE artsy and colorful.  And this year's Five Tools are an extension of this theme (though putting pitchers in them shows that the Topps suits don't know baseball very well), but I don't need to see the same thing again next year.

Anyhow, thanks again to Steve for a nice selection of list hits!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Free Spree on COMC - from APSFYT

In celebrating a landmark post count, (which he technically is still reaching for - I'll let him explain), Jon at A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts is holding a contest.  He is offering $15 COMC credit to the winner chosen at random-izer, and a prize for last place too!

Well, almost...

Monday, March 13, 2017

WE ARE THE BORG, but it's really not about us

Okay, so I've realized my vision of the look of this blog.  But I got to thinking, are there readers who are wondering why this looks like a Star Trek Fanblog, and not one about sports trading cards?

The gist of it is, I am a fan of both.  And that's why I draw the connection to collecting cards and the Borg Collective.

Now I admit, I have a couple Star Trek uniforms in my closet (that haven't fit me for years).  And I've seem most of the shows and movies with all the classic casts.  I still use LoQtus as a login name on several sites, and my email address is a Klingon word + my initials.  I've used it for decades.
But there hasn't been a Trek show on TV since 2005 (except in reruns), and the reboot movies are OK, but just not the same.  So my Trek fandom has waned somewhat in the last several years.  My card collecting, however,  has continued to accelerate almost to the point where I don't do much else if I'm not working or eating....

For those of you that were either born closer to 1987 and missed most of the Star Trek shows and movies, or who don't watch TV, or don't like sci-fi at all, here is the quick version of who the heck these Borg people are and why I sometimes will shout orders at you like I'm taking over your life.

Trek fans can skip to the next section....

The Borg race was introduced into Star Trek: The Next Generation in the second season episode "Q Who?".  They are humanoids with artificial enhancements (sensory equipment, weapons, tools, etc) grafted into their bodies.  Hence the name Borg, a short version of "cyborg".  They are unique individuals, but are built for certain tasks within their "Collective" group.  They are all connected to each other in this Collective, or "Hive Mind".  They do not think or speak as individuals, but rather send audible messages speaking as one voice, which usually begin with "Resistance is Futile...."  They exist to "assimilate" other species' beings, culture, and technologies into the Collective.  Their goal is to achieve "perfection".

...much like we collectors live to assimilate every card of a particular player, team, set or subject.  We're just generally a little friendlier about it.  And being part of the blogiverse (or is it still blogosphere?), we use technology to communicate about products, trades, players, and trends.  So merging the two worlds made a lot of sense to me.  I've even got a few sets of Trek cards in a binder too.

Anyway, it's nice to finally have this site up to speed, with all the functions like blogroll, links to my wants and email address (can't figure out why my profile link doesn't show), full post history, and followers.  Every now and then the theme comes in handy for expressing ideas.  But I'll usually write most of my post in a normal collector voice.

Let me know what you think of the improvements!

Stay tuned for future posts where I'm continuing a series of custom Trek cards I started a long time ago.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Collective Gets An Upgrade

Been noticing that my previous incarnation of this blog didn't have a lot of the functionality of most of the other sites I read.  So I took a leap and dove into Blogger's Theme upgrade.

The title is going to change into a more Borg-ian image when I get a chance to muck something together.

The colors are still evolving.  [Update: I've changed it a few times today already.]  I want dark and sinister but readable, and still have the photos stand out.

At least I have the "older posts", blogroll, and link functions.

Let me know how it looks on your devices.

Check back all week to see the evolution.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

A Leader Of A Different Color

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Obama or the US presidency.

The other day, I got (another*) specimen of the card below that was on my want list for 2003 Topps.  I've had quite a time building this set.  Let's just say Topps learned its lesson about UV coatings on this one.  It started with a box of Series 1 that was so stuck together, most of the cards came out with "snow" on them.  I sent it back to the dealer, who was very gracious and sent another.  The second one wasn't as bad, but still had some frosty ones.

I also noticed that some of the "special" cards in the set seemed to have two different colors.  The regular player cards are mostly a deep shade of dark blue, with some slight variation.  But the League Leaders, post-season, and All-Stars seemed to come in both dark blue and this other shade of turquoise.  I've started to keep both versions in my set.

I suspect that this may be a "factory set" thing, or something like a parallel set.  Haven't seen any documentation about it though.

Then, I get a third variety with this card #339.  It's a shade smack in the middle of the other two.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over...?
The top one actually has speckles of the darker blue as well as the "snow spots".  Is this just a really radical printing variation between two plants?  Or is it just another consequence of Topps discovering they used the WORST UV COATING EVER?.

Anyone with a viable theory, post a comment.

* See previous post about list gremlins.

Monday, March 06, 2017

5 cards in exchange for 100

Robert at $30 A Week challenged us writers to post 100 words on cards he sent.  Somehow I missed the connection between the two until I saw the posts of others just now.   Now I get it (and I’m already almost halfway done.)

What I got was five short prints from 2014-15 MVP.  I got the whole base set for basically nothing as well so it’s consistent. 

Some top names – which is usually the case for short prints.  At least hockey SP’s aren’t usually as painfully scarce and expensive as baseball.  With these, I only have 59 more to go!

Friday, March 03, 2017

Enhancing Defenses To Repel Gremlin Attacks

I don't know how it happens. 

I like to think my level of organization is very high.  But time after time, I get cards in the mail and check 'em off my want list site, go to put 'em away, and the same card is sitting in the box or binder already. 

I make thorough lists from reliable sources.  I try vigilantly to check them off before putting them away.  And it should be easier for me since my computer is in one room, and my collection is in the other.  So I open the packages and set them by the computer, check 'em off and then have to actually walk them over to the adjacent room.

But still, it happens.  Or, it's the other way.  I get down to the last card in a list, get it, and then go through the set just to make sure, and find several numbers missing.  WTF?  I often hear other collectors call that a Gremlin Attack. 

How do I cross off numbers that I don't actually get?  Or did I cross them off and then put them in the wrong pile and trade them away somehow?  Who knows....

This just happened this past week with three sets that I thought I had finished.  Had two of them on my Priorities page on my website (new link at left or here).  That's where I put the most important cards I'm looking for at the moment.  But it turns out they weren't the sole survivors.

1998 Donruss Brian Hunter to kill the set?  Nope!

Still need these: 23 Clemens  133 Orie  268 DeJean RC   351 MVaughn Hit List    367 Jeter Hit List   378 Mussina UTs

Jeter.  Always Jeter....

This set had two different sole survivors on the Priorities page.  I had first listed the Jose Mesa card, but then figured out that I had skewed the numbers and it was actually this Matt Morris rookie card - which I ended up getting from two different people.  But that still didn't finish the set.  Sifting through, I find I'm still missing these:

5 Walker Star Power  21 Scharrer Draft Pick  38 Belcher

Really?  Messed it up TWICE!

And these two were what I had listed as the last two 1993 Donruss.  Somehow, even though you might think it's easier to do in a large set like this, I still didn't have these in the box:

141 Nagy  466 Cox  559 Ripken  631 Fletcher  729 Edens

Could'a swore I had Cal....

And even this one.  Beckett had a partner for a good while, until I got that one.  He then stayed on the list by himself until he finally showed up in a trade.  Went to put him away, and "Gah!" he was already there.

Watch out for gremlins this week.  They're on a roll!

Let me know in the comments if you have any way to keep them in check....

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Musical Interlude #5 - Reach out for that dream ... card.

Taking a slight step back from the metal intensity I introduced the last time.  (There's plenty more of it on the way.)

This particular song was not one of his hits, but it stuck with me for a long time.  It's about dreaming of love, but always falling short of catching it.

And somehow somethin' always seems to escape me...
And I find myself holdin' on to nothin' more than a dream...

This was, of course, high school, and the prime years of my geekdom.  A self-proclaimed social pariah, my friends were all younger than me, so I hung out with them in my neighborhood playing sports - and collecting cards - even into the years when my peers from school were starting to party and date.  I would catch a proverbial glimpse of "fitting in" with the cool kids, or get a smile from a nice girl, but never really knew what to do about it.  I found an outlet for the frustration with louder and more intense metal music.

Billy Squier can be considered the main precursor to my hard rock and metal tastes.  A "gateway" artist if you will.  His was the second concert I ever saw.  September 12, 1984 at Merriweather Post Pavilion near Washington, DC.  Still have the ticket stub:

Still have most of my metal show stubs too.  Maybe in a future post I'll scan 'em and show 'em.

Well, my fellow geeks of the cardboard variety, we have dreams and frustrations within our hobby too.  That collecting goal ...that "white whale" ...that completed set ...master set ...rainbow ...or just that one elusive oddball or superstar card.  Sometimes it's scarcity, sometimes it's expense, sometimes it's just sheer volume that makes us yearn for the day that we'll hold one particular piece of pasteboard with somebody's picture on it. But until then, we go on through life waiting and watching....

So every day I'm out on the streets tryin' to make some sense of it...
You know sometimes it feels so close that I can almost reach out...
But it always slips away...

I keep tellin' myself..."I can't stop tryin'...not ever"...

Back when I first started collecting in 1978-ish, it was a major accomplishment to finish a whole entire set of cards from one product.  I finished 1979 Topps football, and then 1980 baseball in the first couple years.

I remember that last card I needed to finish my first set.  Shafer Suggs from the Jets. I allegedly made a really bad trade for it.  I can neither confirm or deny.  But I guess you could say ol' Suggs was my first "white whale".

Now, it's routine to finish several sets a year.  And start new ones constantly.  Not to mention dozens of player collections, two team collections, and other things.

Before I took the usual hiatus in the early 90's, current products were the only thing I dealt with.  Vintage was nice, but not yet accessible, and there wasn't the multiple decades in between yet with all the different eras. Now, I have cards from just about each decade in the 20th century and beyond.

I thought I may never have the real cards from the turn of the century from my New York Giants picture, so I got some reprints for my project binder.  (This is something for a future post by itself).

But now I'm actually on the way to having them all.

So now my current "white whale" is a little more ambitious.

If it's the final thing I do I'm waitin' for you...