Monday, February 18, 2019

Collector's Log: Stardate 198204.05

"When we last left our heroes" back in 1982, they (my friends & I) were sorting and underpricing our extras to sell in the neighborhood, and making room for the new '82 cards that were coming out.

Something a little different in school on the 26th, got to watch 'em rehearse the school play.  Even though I got into filmmaking in school, I was never interested in drama (stage or otherwise).  But it was better than pep rallies.  My lack of enthusiasm probably comes from about third grade, when I had the lead role in "The Little Prince".  I knew my lines cold from the second reading and it was going fine until I leaned a little too far in and bumped into the microphone.  The only memory of that experience is the entire crowd breaking up into laughter.  Guess that was the end of my acting ambitions.

My stepsister was over for the weekend again.  Her brother lost interest after a while, so he stopped coming.  I still laugh at my comment.

Anyway, the main highlight of this entry is the trip to the Hanover card shop.  I imagine we were sorting and making lists the day before, and then made the trip.  I didn't realize I had started my Pumpsie Green "supercollection" (he has a total of ten active career cards, and fifteen more post-career issues) that soon.  Got the brand new (and now rather ubiquitous) KMart MVP set.  That little set is nice and still stands out to me from all the other - mostly later - box set issues.  Also added some more '81 Fleer stickers - another one of the "original" non-standard issues that came out in that time period.

Not sure what that mining operation was all about, except kids thinking that shiny rocks are somehow valuable gems.

I can't believe I don't have the original entry for when I was presented with the collection from a nephew of my stepfather.  It was several hundred cards, most of which were 1970 Topps - which of course, is the design of the pending Heritage release.  They were generally in decent shape, but had been handled a lot, so there weren't many with four sharp corners.  But most of the stars were there, and in multiples.  I took the first starter set, and then passed it on to a couple of my buddies, and then kept what was left.  That's probably still the source of the row of dupes in my vintage monster box.  I would go on to round out the set in similar condition along with a batch of '72s from the card shop I patronized for 20 years when they closed up.  Both sets are now complete, but the high numbers are in better shape than a lot of the rest.

April brings us back to the Putt-Putt arcade and my killing it on several games.  Of course, there were no deals running that day to reward me.

(not my ticket)

Opening Day 1982 started off with a win for the Orioles.  Eddie Murray had a Grand Slam in the third inning.  In the inning before, the new kid socked one over the fence too.  He ended up with 431 homers in his career, so it was a decent run.
The dude in the middle was pretty good.
They got more packs of '82 Topps.  I had bought that set as well as Donruss, I think, so I was only building Fleer at the time.

Ran out of space in the entry, so I abbreviate "Twice" as "2ce".  I had so much better writing style back then. 😁

Next time, the Fleer build continues, one of the guys narrows his collecting focus, and we learn of things that will bring a whole new aspect to our collecting!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Winning Isn't Everything, But It Sure Beats Whatever's In 2nd Place!

I actually won something!

I casually put my 2¢ into CynicalBuddha's Almost the Easiest Super Bowl Contest on the Web this year with a heavy dose of cynicism.  I really wanted to see Saints vs. Chiefs play the game, but figured the Patriots would win because it feels like it's dictated by the league.  So I picked Patriots over Saints and guessed four field goals and a middle of the road total score number.

By gosh, my cynicism paid off.  I've had Brady on my fantasy team for the last two years, and he scores OK, but my team ends up dead last both seasons.  I've mentioned many times that he makes good decisions, and is an accurate passer, but nothing else justifies the idol worship that everyone seems to have for him.  So I'm not a fan.  But this time I got rewarded.

I actually skipped over reading the post when it was first put up.  I thought "I'm sure I didn't  come close."  It wasn't until a day or two after that I pulled it up and saw my entry highlighted.  "NO WAY!!  What the heck did I win?"  I didn't even know.  I hadn't looked at the prize post either.

Well, they showed up today.

I won't reproduce the images for the prize pieces.  He did that in this post.  The best part for me was the stack of Redskins I got on top of those.  I figured it would be some shiny serialized singles and a pile of base and inserts.  I was pleasantly surprised to find several higher end jerseys and autos among the Washington faction.

There were some regular and parallel rookies.  All of which I needed except three older ones.  Sweet!

A nice 2005 UD rookie piece of Jason Campbell...

A Momentum jersey (/99) and a serial numbered (/100) Prestige of Santana Moss...

A very deep blue and shiny Spectra jersey of ol' Hank, also numbered out of 99...

And a crazy shiny Unparalleled autograph of defector safety/linebacker Su'a Cravens (/199).

All told, I got some great additions to the Redskins collection.  The type of stuff I saw at a recent trade night at my local shop, but wasn't equipped to trade for.  Nice to get some anyway. Thanks CB!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Inserts Into The Sky!

Back when 2017 Topps Series 1 came out, I did a post on the escalating number of inserts that have been included with the flagship set.  I just updated those charts to include the complete offerings of 2017 and 2018, and now Series 1 in 2019 Topps.

It's not getting any better.

The truth is, since my post in mid-2017, inserts have just about DOUBLED in total quantity.  Instead of inserts totaling half the base set, they have now EXCEEDED it.

                    Base                Inserts
 2015           1100                   562
2016           1000                  574
 2017           1000                 1100
 2018           1000                 1203
                                2019           1000*               1500+???*      *-projected

In the original chart, you can see that since 2008, total inserts had risen and floated at about 600 plus or minus, for several years.

The same chart, updated for the last few years, shows the explosion.  The same 600 card level is now dwarfed by the totals for 2017 & 2018.

The number of insert sets included with flagship & update have been rather steady since 2015, hovering between 20 and 25.  Topps could cut this number down a few more if they would have made the Salutes and the 80's tributes separate products like they should have been, but then the tributes would have competed directly with Archives and Heritage and become totally pointless.

The average cards per insert set has also leveled off at just over 50.  This doesn't really show the real story, though.  It's the first few largest sets that have been growing.  With a few exceptions, 100 and 150 count inserts were commonly the highest per year, with only one or two examples in a typical issue.  The last two years, the largest sets have been 250.  And in 2019, we already have one that will be at least 300.

The insanity doesn't end there, though.  Oh no, my friends.  The other development that has made the potential totals increase exponentially - INSERT PARALLELS!

In 2015 and 2016, Topps made First Home Runs and MLB Debuts - in three different colors or foils.  So a true master set may technically consist of all three colors.  This adds another 210 cards to 2015, and another 160 to 2016.  (They didn't repeat the MLB Debuts in Update.)

Then, in 2017, they added Blue, Red, Gold, and maybe even Silver as parallel sets for the inserts.  The Gold parallels were generally serial numbered to ten, so I didn't count them in this survey.  That's just way too scarce.  And the Silver only shows up once in the list on TCDB, and I haven't seen any, so I let them go too.  Blue & Red were enough to triple the numbers by themselves.

2018 even surpassed those numbers.  Blue, Black, Gold, and Red appeared.  Reds were again numbered to ten.  Golds went up to 50, and Black was /299, but from what I've seen, this is not consistent.  Some inserts sets have both blue and black unserialized parallels, like the LIM's above.

So basically if you add up all the parallels to the regular inserts, the 2017 totals go from
1100 to 1392

for the unserialized colors, and then if you add in the ones that are serialized to 299, 50, or 10 you are at a grand total of

2018 starts at 1203 (again on top of only a 1000 card base set), and goes to

when you add the unnumbered parallels.  If you go for all the serialized ones too, you'd have to put together
4902 cards!

I've gotten used to storing my flagship sets and inserts in a two row shoe box.  I think I'll give up before I'd ever think about amassing the entire master set and having to put it in it's own 5000 count monster box!

And I would guess that it's just going to continue into 2019.  The numbers will probably be even larger.

But guess what?  Now Topps isn't putting as many inserts into their packs!  I don't know how the ratios compare between the same packaging for this year versus the last few, but you're going to have to buy more to get the same numbers - which have now increased again!  Whether it's boxes and packs, or just dropping cash at dealer secondary market tables, it's going to cost more to finish the Topps set.

Set collectors are in the minority.  There aren't many customers that are willing to do this.  So why is Topps bloating these out so much?  What part of the collector audience are they thinking that they're attracting by making more and more parallel inserts and making them harder to get?

I know I'm not it.

Well, maybe just for my couple collected players....

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Leading Ladies Of Sports Broadcasting #11

And now the final card in the series.  Maybe I'll make a checklist for fun.

I don't watch a lot of NFL Network because I see a lot of it being just hype and rhetoric to support the few teams that they seem to favor all the time.  But every now and then I'll tune in, especially when I see this analytics angel.

Cynthia Frelund was born and raised in Okemos, Michigan.  I still can't believe she's almost 40 years old.

She got her BS degree in Biology in 2005, then moved right on to Northwestern for a Masters in Predictive Analytics and an MBA in Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Finance.  That's quite a foundation.  She's like the Numbers Geek's Dream Girl.

She worked at the NFL in Finance Strategy a couple years after a stint as a Financial Analyst for a private company.  Then went to Disney/ABC Television, not in front of the cameras, but in Business Development.

Then in 2012, Cynthia moved to ESPN as an Associate Director of Technology Development.  She later became a Producer of Next Generation Content, and finally got on screen as their Predictive Analytics Analyst in 2015.

In 2016, she came back to the NFL to her current roles as Predictive Analytics Expert on Gameday Morning, Fantasy Live, and podcast Game Theory and Money.

Frelund keeps in shape by running marathons (20 so far) and teaching Pilates classes, including at her own facilty.  She's involved with Bright Pink, a non-profit that aids women in the prevention and early detection of breast cancer.  She's also an animal lover and includes pics of her beloved bulldog Bodhi on her Instagram.

There is little information about her personal life on her social media pages.  She's very private about that.  All this and maybe single too?

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Spot Of Tea And A Look To The Stars

More progress on the Astronaut / Space binder this past week.  Another eBay arrival.  This time it was from across the pond in Great Britain.  Seller grahame_ing has what appears to be all the different non-sport sets from Brooke Bond Tea.

Here is a scan of my Race Into Space set all paged up.

These sets all have corresponding album books that the cards can be attached to.  I'm still looking for an empty book.  Don't actually want to paste the cards in it, but there is a lot of background info in the book.

The cards are standard mini size, but the stock is rather thin.  Kinda like '81 Donruss.  I got them in five stacks of 10 folded in a blank piece of paper in a plain envelope.  They were perfectly fine and it made for cheap shipping, even from overseas.

I love the detail in so many of these artist renderings.  The scans don't do the color justice because they're scanned through the plastic pages.

The set is from 1971, so some of the text is very speculative about future NASA projects.

Above are the backs for the last five cards.  One is about basically what amounted to the Space Shuttle that wouldn't fly for another ten years or so.  It's really interesting that they must have planned to do a lot of this stuff so far in advance.

These are really cool, being vintage-y and still so affordable.  Too bad they didn't do American sports.  But if you're into history or nature, check out the set site and then find them online.  (See links above)