Friday, January 31, 2020

Penny Sleeves To The Extreme

Got an unexpected package from Jon at Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts on Thursday.

As you can see, this is a return package from when I sent him a few things.

A really nice selection of '68s from all over the set.  Two-digit card numbers all the way up to the very end of the set.

The photos are typical of this time period.  Jackets under jerseys, blacked out "KC" hats on the newly relocated Athletics.

The "other" Tonly Gonzalez, a well disguised former Pirate, managers, and old school Sox unis.  And that funky coarse burlap pattern on just a few...

The bulk of them are miscellaneous common guys.  These are the more interesting shots.


Most of the rest are the "hatless generic shots from the year before in case they get traded" pictures.  Some of these guys look happy to be there and others appear a little confused.

And one rookie, because it's all about rookies these days.  Whatever.  Nice card though.

And this rare find ~ a Series 2 ProSet MusiCard!  I'm actually only filling out the hard rock bands in this set.

Thanks a lot Jon!  Now I can send you more stuff!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Preview Of 2020 Products

Was perusing the listings for new products the other day, and went through most of the major products to see what I might be motivated to get into this year.  This might actually be a heavy year for me and new products.  I'll show you what I mean.

When I look at the list of products scheduled to appear in 2020, I can eliminate several immediately, just because I know they don't coincide with what I like to collect.  Right off the bat, I can strike down pretty much anything Bowman, since I have no attraction to prospect cards, any of those non-licensed Leaf and TriStar things that are also rookie-centric, and most of the high end mojo-only type of products, since I'm sure I'd pull hits from the no-name rookies from the Diamondbacks, Rays, Padres, and Rockies.  (Nothing wrong with those teams at all, but they're just not in my collecting wheelhouse.)

So we're left with this list:

Flagship Topps (& Update)
Opening Day
Gypsy Queen
Panini Diamond Kings
Big League
Stadium Club
Allen & Ginter

Which ones will I Collect, Which ones lead me to Reflect and decide later, and which ones will I ultimately Reject?  Let's find out....

Flagship Topps

Mostly doing flagship so I can end on an even year.  Design is decent enough, and some of the Decade's... inserts may be interesting, at least the smaller (20-30 card) sets.  There are THREE insert sets that are 100 cards for series 1, and will probably be 250+ by the Update series.  I will not be bothering with the 1985s or Turkey Reds.  The Decade's Best may be too big to tackle too.  Just depends on how I buy this stuff.  Verdict: Collect

Topps Heritage

I'm almost disappointed that Heritage had to hit 1971 this year.  Though I've been jumping on A&G and Stadium Club the last few years pretty consistently, it'll be a nice diversion to hit Heritage for once.  Although I'm not sure how far I'll delve into it since the inserts will be exactly the same as they always are.  Then & Now, New Age Performers, News & BB flashbacks, and the Willie Mays 20 seasons.  Might be OK.  But I can't see not going for the '71 tribute.
Verdict: Collect

Panini Donruss

Hmmph.  Sorry Donruss.  If you can't even show me a base card in the sell sheet, I'm not interested.  I'm pretty sure they will be putting base cards in the packs, they just are too parallel-crazy and Rated Rookie Relentless that there just isn't any reason to show the crappy plain old base card.  They'll probably look like a mishmash of late 80's designs anyway.  Gotta push Rookies, Rookies, Rookies, and eyeball parallels.  Child please.  Verdict: Reject

Topps Opening Day

Normally, I'd only do Opening Day if there was a feature of it unique to the flagship set (omission of stupid foil, or a better version of the design, etc.).  Or that I've rejected the lame flagship inserts and only got the base set (like in 2018).  This year, that is not really the case.  The one motivation that I might have is some of the insert concepts.  Walk This Way!'s showing walkoffs (much better than those monstrosities in 2012), Mascots are always fun, Spring (Training) Has Sprung - an original way of showing pre-season shots, and The Lighter Side of Baseball - which should be cool, but are "limited print", so they won't be obtainable.  Verdict: Reflect

Gypsy Queen

Ever since GQ went to the pastel greens and blues (and every other clashing color) scheme a few years ago, I've been put off by it.  The 2020 version looks like they're coming back around to a classier and more refined (formal?) design theme.  I'm encouraged, but it doesn't quite draw me back in yet, especially since I think I'm doing so much otherwise already.  Keep going in this direction GQ crew, and I may be back soon.  Verdict: Reject

Panini Diamond Kings

Another one that I'm waiting to hit just the right intersection of enticing design and lack of competition.  Even though it's logoless, I've kept an eye on DK for a few seasons, but haven't pulled the trigger so far.  Will keep this on the "hopeful" list for the future.  Verdict: Reject

Topps Big League

I dove into Big League last year and liked it a lot.  Still finishing up the last few inserts and a whole bunch of the base cards.  The next incarnation has gone to a 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee looking graphic scheme that is nice and straightforward compared to 2019's crooked stack of photos base cards, but it's lost its luster.  The other inserts contain a lot of white frames and space, and fall short of the visual richness of the other two Big League products.
Verdict: Reject

Topps Finest

The example photo was a quick "photoshop" hacking of the closest image that appears in the sell sheets for finest.  Topps did a Donruss in that they never show a base card in the promo sheet, but instead thought a Gold Refractor parallel was a more worthy illustration.  So I removed the gold color.  Finest is another product I've never bought at the box level, but have monitored for cool designs for several years.  Have yet to jump on it, and it's not happening this time either.  Verdict: Reject

Stadium Club

I've enjoyed the last couple Stadium Club releases, and will probably do some more in the future years if they keep up the quality.  Think I'll pass this time though, since, like Heritage and a few others, the format is largely the same and the current design is OK but not earth-shattering.  Again too, if I wasn't adding a couple extra sets this year, I might jump in.  Verdict: Reluctantly Reject

Allen & Ginter

A&G is quickly becoming my favorite new product.  Well, let me rephrase that.  Since I got a big box of several base sets really cheap a few years ago, and then came into another monster box of A&G and GQ from various years for peanuts, I've loved adding several different A&G sets to my wants.  There have been a few aesthetic lows in the base designs, but overall, I like the general look of this set more than any other.  And whichever team comes up with the insert concepts should be promoted and take over the decision making for all Topps products.  I wasn't really planning on getting into A&G for a third consecutive year - I had generally been hitting the even numbered years between 2014 and 2019.  But I just saw the 2020 base design in researching this post, and I am actually impressed again.  It's a bit more squarish and sharp-edged compared to the schemes they've used since 2014, which had more frills and curves, but I still like it.  It's well balanced and fills the entire space.  And the inserts are phenomenal again.  9 Ways to First Base, plus catchers and various animal and city subjects.  While not quite as inspiring as the last two issues, these keep up the level of quality and variety.  I"ll just have to see how I feel about it when it comes out late in the calendar.  Verdict: Reflect

Topps Chrome

Chrome, like Opening Day, to me is a duplication of the flagship set, only shiny.  Shiny by itself, has never been a big draw for me personally.  Only an epic design that is improved by the "metalization" would attract my money.  If they make the side graphics in all silver, these might look good.  Hard to tell from the image.  But the biggest detractor of Chrome is the price point.  For what you pay per pack and only getting around four cards, I can't justifiy it.  I'd almost have to find it in bulk and just build the base set.  Unless the price goes way down (whick I doubt because that technology has to cost something), then I'll pass.  Verdict: Reject

Topps Archives

It's too early to know which vintagey designs Archives will be using this year.  It's the only product on the list that doesn't have presale sell sheets out yet.  Probably fine, though, I've felt like Archives is redundant now that there has been Heritage for so long along with the yearly "tribute" 250+ card inserts for the late 80's set that now clog up flagship.  When they made the shortprints unattainable back several years, that turned me off and I haven't looked back.  The Fan Favorite type player autos are nice, but that's the only real draw here for me.  Verdict: Reject

So I've culled the list down to Flagship (& Update), Heritage, and maybe Opening Day and A&G.  Collecting three current sets is actually on the heavy side for me.  Last year it was four - Flagship & Update, A&G, Stadium Club, and Big League, and I haven't completely finished any of them.  2018 was F&U, A&G, and Stadium Club.  2017 was much lighter than that.  So 2020 should be a collecting year that sees a bit of a diversion over to Heritage, and possibly the last flagship set I'll build.  A&G and SC will continue to be on my radar, but I'm thinking my older wants may take more of a focus after that.

Of course, should events take a major turn - like allowing other companies licenses - I may chuck all these plans and jump into a lot more current products in the coming years.  We'll see.

Which products do you plan on building this year?  Which ones do you look forward to every season?

Monday, January 27, 2020

I'm Smiling Behind The Mask

Contacted Robert of $30 A Week Habit blog about moving some vintage his way.  He responded with a very wide selection of great stuff in return, so we made the trade.  Check out what I got...

Robert is a major Maple Leafs fan, so hockey is a big part of his collection and apparently trade bait too.  Very nice to knock off some of these goalie inserts from the early 2000's.  I have a small collection of goalie GU and autos aside from my sets and Capitals.  They are the most interesting players in the sport just for their gear, not unlike catchers to a slightly lesser degree.

Robert said he would be fine with whatever portion of the stack of vintage I felt like sending.  I said it's all shipping since he included these two game used  jersey cards (and a big batch of Heritage SPs later).  I know these don't sell for more that a couple bucks, but it's still cool to get them, especially when they're from a defunct team and a former Caps goalie.

What's even more fun than gamers?  Minis!  This chap from the UK is part of the World Leaders inserts from '08 A&G.  He looks a bit worried, though.  Hope it wasn't anything more serious than Harry & Megan trouble back then....

RMitch also crossed off two more in my life quest to complete the 2012 GQ black minis... well as the set copy of the latest A&G insert with Jim Palmer.  Completes the set/PC pair.

I was just browsing on COMC and SportLots while on phone duty at work (don't say nothin') for these Award Winners and the Storied World Series that have lingered on my lists from 2017.  Lo and behold, Perez showed up that same evening.  Love that.

Some real nice 1968 Topps to start off my set build after I officially published my list on the site just the other week.  The O's RS card is a much better upgrade to my original.

And as promised, a huge lot of 2011 (I always have to look - even though they're in a unique box) Heritage short prints.  This set has the "default" friendly configuration of all the SP's being at the end after #425.  I was able to convert my "Have" list of about twenty to a "Need" list of twenty three.  (Also need most of the Jackie Robinsont story variant SP's as well).

Big Thanks to Robert as I look forward to many more fantastic trades like this!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Collector's Log: Stardate 198208.26

Resuming the series on my collecting exploits back in 1982.  Except for Christmas, I've been slacking for about six months on these.

Let's pick up the log entries from late in August....

Gaithersburg is about a half hour south towards DC.  I'm trying to recall what shop this might have been.  Might think of it later...

Picked up this fine '56 for my EH player collection.  I have most of my EH cards scanned, but can't find a post showing them all off.  Maybe I never did it....?

Nice to have the original and the Archives copies.  Bonus Yankee box set card at the bottom.  These were joined later by the '55 Bowman and corresponding Archives copy.

I ended up with the entire ROM series - 75 issues.  Not that they're worth much of anything.  There was another series produced later by IDW that I've never seen.  Based on a toy, the comic outlasted the toy by a large margin.

Only have a few Star Wars comics from the 70's.  Now they would have been worth something.  Ah well, story of my (collecting) life.


Hard to tell which Kessingers I got this time.  It's not the '68, since that one was obtained just back on the 24th of June.   Must have been a couple somewhere between these two.

I can also only guess as to the Angels I got for my buddy Mike.   Probably from the new crop in 1982, but it couldn't be that many for a lucky buck.

Not a bad daily schedule.  Start and end with creative classes.  In case you can't translate, here's what it means:

1st period - Drawing & Painting - learned from an established local artist. 
2nd - French - My accent was decent, but my vocabulary has all but faded away.
3rd - Algebra II - Mrs. Thomas was a trip.  Did well in math (as far as I went).
4th - Contemporary Issues - My least favorite classes were history and social studies type things.
Lunch - Usually bought what they were serving - which was only one or two choices.  Nowhere near all the options and packaged add-ons they have today.  Probably had those milks in a plastic bag that you stabbed with the pointed straws.
5th - English
6th - Chemistry - with Mrs. Vaughn.  Beehive hairdo and glasses, but she was really cool.
7th - Filmmaking - (8mm and VHS video.  I had this class from 9th grade on, but never became the next Stephen Speilberg.)

"3 Hits" was a game we used to play at the backstop.  You would get up to bat and after three hits, you would rotate out to pitcher or outfield.  Some of us would get our three in ten pitches or less, but sometimes someone would take forever.  Easier than playing a game with only three or four people.

The last note is about an episode of the detective series starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers called Hart To Hart.  The show was about two millionaire jet-setters who always managed to find mysteries wherever they went.  Their exploits ran for five seasons, and then eight tv movies.  They still run on the Hallmark channel according to Wikipedia.
The blog 1207 Consecutive Games has a post all about the episode.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

My 2¢ On The Class Of 2020

The Baseball Hall Of Fame inductees have entered the era of the 90's, which means to me that a lot of the names that will appear on the ballot are guys that I don't have much of an attachment to or a great level of knowledge about.  I see them on plenty of cards, but didn't watch a whole lot of baseball at that time (that I can remember now), so I have a very small frame of reference to who did what and how well.  There are a few names on the "old-timers" list that may spark a more heartfelt response, but the more modern guys just don't register that strongly with me.  It parallels my feelings about the cards, really.  A lot of us have or will be turning toward vintage more than current products and it's because the old guys were just regarded with more reverance.  I imagine it's because you're younger back then and had a much greater sense of awe about great players.  Then you grow up and start working and see that a certain percentage of them are spoiled babies and have more attitude than talent.  And you pass them in age, so they become young whippersnappers earning many times what you ever will.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here are my thoughts on the current class.

Derek Jeter

Even though I'm an Orioles fan, I like Jeter.  Ok, a lot of it was the hotness he dated, but that's another article.  He was never in the sports news for mouthing off, or being obnoxious towards other players, fans, non-fans, reporters, or anyone else.  He had a consistent career and won several championships. 

He had a few quirks, like the hand to the umpire at the plate.  Not sure if he originated that, but he was known for it.  Was it that he was such a superior player that he could order the ump around like that?  I never quite understood that whole dynamic.  They have clocks for batters now, and he was telling the ump "Hang on a sec while I settle in here."  Uh, Okay......

Larry Walker

Not a whole lot to say about Walker.  I'm sure his numbers qualify him for election.  I basically consider Walker and Todd Helton to be a set.  Whenever I would go to Sporcle and do sports quizzes, I'd always answer with both of them consecutively.  Big hitters in purple uniforms.  Nothing bad to say.  That's really all I got.  I've probably got a lot of his cards to trade in the hoard I posted about last time.

Ted Simmons

Another guy that I really haven't studied.  I remember as a kid seeing his cards come out of packs (not quite as old as the one above) and saying "He was pretty good."  He and Garry Templeton were the two guys on the Cardinals (before I knew much about Keith Hernandez) who were the stars besides Lou Brock, who was really from the previous era.  Catchers are always more noteworthy, so Simmons had the advantage in that respect.  He also seemed to me to be more likely to be seen away from the ballpark riding motorcycles and smoking cigarettes than a cleaner cut guy like Johnny Bench.  Mostly just because of the hairstyle.

Marvin Miller

This is the guy that was the Director of the player's union who brought about free agency.  No question he is an integral part of the story of the sport.  It's gratifying that they recognize people that impact the game in other ways when they come along.

So that's my big review of the HOF class. 

A couple notes on non-inductees:

Surprised a couple guys got immediately axed for lack of votes their first year - Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett, Alfonso Soriano.  Figured those guys would hang for a few years just because they had some star power - at least that I saw. 

On the Golden Era Ballot, I hope Gil Hodges makes it in soon.  Would also like to see Minnie Minoso and Luis Tiant show up at some point too.  Not sure if their numbers would compare, but they're two of my favorite players, especially El Tiante.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Disperse The Hoard #1 - First Score

This is the first in what should be a long series of posts to generate trades out of the 15 monster box hoard that I purchased this past fall.  I will be dividing the stock by product and showing what is available in as much detail as I can without counting, scanning or typing out every card.

I will accept trades first and foremost.  And with the total cost being what it was, I will NOT be demanding equal value for each and every card offered, especially base cards.  The goal is to move enough volume and not replace it with the same volume to my collection, while still recovering enough value to make it worthwhile for each of us.  Hopefully, I can get some nice cards out to you for less than normal return, but still get some higher value items for myself.

Team and player collectors rejoice!  I can fill large lots for starters or go from want lists to fill your needs.  I'll be posting lists of star players that I know appear in large quantity across products and years at a later time.  After you see a few posts about the stuff I have, you might have a better idea that I can hit a lot of what you lack for your team or player(s).

One caveat I should mention.  There may be a limited number of low serial numbered parallels or scarce inserts that may or may not appear in these posts which may get sent off to COMC to recover some of my initial purchase.  I'll try to reserve those after all trading is done.

I will also accept cash and will price cards well below guide and try also to get under current market pricing, which I define as eBay and COMC.  Sales will always be secondary to trades, but if you don't have anything for me and can really use some of the hoard stuff, I can deal.

There were six boxes of baseball, which I've gone through and put in order by year and product, and consolidated most of my extras with them.  The bulk of the products are from 2000 to roughly 2008.  There are a few newer batches too, and one box of older stuff. 

Ironically, the first offering will be from the other part of the lot - the football.  The football hasn't been sorted through yet, but seems to be from about 2010 to 2017 or so.  I had been jonesing to go through the largest single product lot for a while and finally did it last week.

I have (what's left of) four and a half rows in a 5000 count box of 2015 Score football cards.  This pic was taken after I got what I wanted out of the box, so this is the true quantity available.

This is the base design...


White borders, team colors, tons of rookies at the end.  440 cards in the base set.  I have most every one available except Tom Brady and any Ravens.  Also missing a couple of the big rookies like Mariota here, Winston, Stefon Diggs and Todd Gurley.

Also have a couple of the short print photo variations in both plain and parallel camo patterns.  Inquire within.  Have these parallels of regular cards as well...

That green one on the bottom row is serial numbered 2/6.  That row may go to COMC unless someone really needs those particular guys.

Some nice players in these Scorecard parallels.  Pardon the glary picture.

But the best stuff to me is in the inserts.  The majority of the insert sets come in regular, yellow, red, green and black bordered parallels too.  I am building sets of some of the yellows and reds, but the remainders are available. 

The stacks above these All-Time Franchise singles are complete eight card sets.

The horizontal Franchise inserts are nice too.  Yes, I've taken out one of each of the yellows and reds on these too, and still have all this left.

The Gridiron Heritage set has a diverse lineup.  HOF'ers and guys like Dan Hampton and Doug Flutie too.  One complete set of 25 available.

They separated the Team Leader cards from the base set.  I could make multiple sets if I wasn't short Ravens and a couple others.  The Raiders have the coloring on the lettering and stripes instead of the corners and edges of the card.  A strange quirk.

Sophmore Selections highlights second year stars like Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry.  There are also Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel.

The Great Outdoors are a little scarcer.  Only three regular dupes.  And these come in the camo pattern parallels instead of the primary colors.  Steeler fans?  Sorry about the blurry shot.

Also a bit harder to come by, these die cut trifectas - Ground Gainers, Precision Passers, and Playmakers (no dupes), are die-cut threesomes of RBs, QBs, and receivers on the same team.  There are 18 sets in the complete run.

The parallels give you a better idea of the player selections.  Some of these may go off for sale.

So anyone want to jump in?  Let me know what you need.  And keep an eye out for the next Dispersing The Hoard Post.  It won't be such a huge lot, but may be a product more to your liking on the baseball side.