Saturday, February 29, 2020

Diving Into The Darkness

Quick post today to fill in the empty spot.  I'm a day or so behind my regular posting schedule, but it took me most of the evening yesterday and some this morning to clear my desk so I could start on these:

Four boxes of 2020 Heritage.  The Retail variety.  I checked the ratios of the regular insert cards between Hobby and Retail boxes, and they were exactly the same.  Quite low, I think, compared to a few years ago, but I have yet to research that in depth.  (Stay tuned).  But based on that comparison, I figured I'm only really after a base set and the normal inserts, so all I'm missing out on is the Greatest Moments box toppers and maybe a jersey card.  $55 each instead of $98 is worth the sacrifice.  So I ordered from my favorite vendor near Baltimore on Thursday afternoon, got the shipment notification before I left work that day, and they were waiting for me when I got home Friday.  (Editor's note - they're $59 now.  Six left in stock.  Steel City wants $72 each).

Before I got to open one of them last night, I had to wade through the huge pile of Redskins cards I had amassed since the summer.  I sorted all the 2000's into piles and then went through my Word document list that starts at 2009, and then on to my printed list for the older ones.  Then after confirming that I had checked them all off, I put them in their proper vinyl case.  This morning, I filed away all the duplicates that came out of the horde - seen below in the criss-crossed pile.

Those stacks are mostly dupes except for the hockey.
After the cataloging and filing was done, (sometimes this hobby is real work) I did manage to open one box.  It took me five packs in until I got an insert of any kind.  What I ended up with wasn't bad though.

Actually pulled a gamer!  I can confirme that there are, in fact, Rangers in Heritage, because I got a Joey Gallo game-used.  Any Rangers fans still grumpy about the shunning in Series 1 can trade me for it.

The Clevinger is a Chrome and is for trade too.  I think I was the first comment on the Beckett post announcing the Chromification of A&G and Stadium Club.  I said retro sets and Chrome don't go together.  And I still say it.  Now the Stadium Club Chromes that were in the last couple year's packs were awesome.  I would go for those if they come out at more than four cards in a pack for less than $100 a box.  But I bet it won't happen that way.  Flagship Chrome has always been too pricey for my taste.

Anyway, I'm about to plow through the other three boxes.  Plus, I still really want to start showing what's in the Hoard of monster boxes, I just can't decide how best to do it.  So keep it here for that.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The First Of Four Is Fuji

Monday was a big mailday here at the Collective.  Got four packages, two of which are from bloggers.  The others are from guys in my Trading Bases group.

Today we'll check out the care package from one of the most famous bloggers, Fuji, as you can see from the return label.

He even seals the inner bag with a custom label.  Very nice!

Starts out the selection with a 1979 TCMA Senator - Roy Sievers.  The Washington theme continues throughout the package.

Redskins mojo!  Nice Rod Gardner game-worn jersey swatch from 2005 Upper Deck.  Always nice when they actually say it's really from an official game.

This one's from rookie prospect Devin Thomas, who had a thousand jersey cards, but didn't ever play in many games.  Nice looking card though.  I think I have one similar, but don't think it's blue.  Serial numbered to 399.

Here's Rod again, this time in a Rookie Retro Threads from Fleer Tradition, in the style of 1962 Topps.  But wait, there's more!

This isn't a second RRT card, it's the back of the Gardner.  Double the football pieces!

And finally, a really nice autograph from Skybox Autographics from the very end of the previous century.  Now that is a signature.  Not one of those initials-only scribbles you get out of a lot of guys these days.

Thanks a lot Fuji!!  I don't think I had any of these!

Monday, February 24, 2020

They're Just More Down To Earth

Did some damage to Robert's Jim Thome list, so I got my second delivery from him in the last month.  Let's dig in!

Two more for what I hope is not a decade-long quest to fill out the 100 (+150 later) insert set of Decade's Best.  These are my first ones from these particular eras.  I like that they mixed up the graphics to reflect the times.  And Ryan and Murray are nice pulls too!.

Still way behind on 2019 Update inserts, but this really helps.  Five more Perennial All-Stars.  This would be another plain player worship set if not for the stars and stripes.  At least there's not 100 of these.

Another step closer to completing last year's A&G [master] set, Teddy Ballgame.  Ginter knows inserts.

And a nice eight piece array of 2011 Heritage cards.  I had these listed on my wants as short prints, but looking at the database, there are apparently only a few actual shortprints throughout the set.  This is like the third batch from this product that I've received in the last few weeks.  I was wondering why they seemed to be so easy to come by.  Now I know.  Too bad they didn't continue that trend into later years.  Or at least get on the A&G or Gypsy Queen program where the short prints aren't a big deal because they show up only slightly less than regular base cards.

Thanks again, Robert! 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Collector's Log: Stardate 198209.16

We pick up in 1982 in mid-September.  School is back in session, as is after school neighborhood baseball, and card trading.

I mentioned before that "3 hits" was just our rotating game of a pitcher and a couple fielders at the backstop in front of my townhouse rotating postitions after each batter hit three.

The evolution of my timepieces:

Those were the days when most people wore a watch instead of carrying a multipurpose device in their pockets.  I slowly migrated to a pocket watch in the late 90's, and didn't have a cell phone until years after they became popular.  At least my pesky stepsister couldn't get a hold of that!
Picture of pocket watches are my actual items.  My old wristwatch looks almost exactly the same too, and they're all still in my top dresser drawer.  My current phone is the Samsung Galaxy 7 as shown.  The flip phone is as close as I can remember.  How quickly we move on, eh?


I paged through my '81 set and still have no idea who the last two cards were, so here are the Mike-Mayer brothers instead.  (Pronounced MIK-ka-my-er)  Trademarks were a bitch back then, even though there wasn't anyone else who could show logos.  Every team except the Rams are in full blank helmet glory.

Not sure what Billy did in Baltimore that day, but it probably involved his dad taking him to a card shop or something.  Though the one Mr. H used to frequent was north of DC, not Baltimore.

Lisa didn't come around to trade much, and I guess that's why.  1969 Topps were ANCIENT to us back then, I'm sure.

This was a heck of a deal though.  I had several Brocks available when I got that lot of 1970 from my stepfather's relative, so this was a no-brainer.  That "$5" may have been current Beckett value.  Somehow, I still need a Palmer single scratchoff today, though.  Must have traded it before I started collecting him in earnest.  Which makes sense since I just got his rookie the previous Christmas.

Not a card thing, but an interesting exploration of the composition of a baseball.  Something like this:

And then the next day...  Well, some kids did social things, and I did stuff like that.

Next time: The MLB post season!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Big Mailday Coming, But Not Now!

Got an envelope in the mail a couple days ago from Topps Now!.

You might have seen where I had ordered one of the Washington Nationals Now! championship team sets back in November.  It came with an autograph from one of several players that would be shipped at a later date.

Could this be my long awaited prize?  Oh please let it be Strasburg, or Scherzer, or even Kendrick. (My luck, I'll get the guy I have the least enthusiasm for, Corbin).

Open it up!

Yep, single trading card inside.  Along with this folded card.  Drum roll....

Ugh.  It's an ad for the new season of Topps Now!.

The upside is, it's a Mike Trout card.  Looks a bit like they twisted the sidebar of the flagship set and ran it along the bottom edge and up the right side a little ways.  The back has that cool embossed logo effect. Any Trout collectors, hit me up.  I don't really need to hold on to this.  The only other Now! cards I'll be getting is if the Nats or O's win another championship, or one of my player collection guys comes out of retirement.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Blogger Tech Chapter 1: ASCII Me How To Type That

Being a professional computer technician since the mid-90's, I know a lot of keyboard shortcuts and little Windows tricks that the average user may not be aware of.  I threw one out in a recent post about typing custom characters.  Figured I'd give a little lesson to those that didn't know about it already.

There are certain custom characters that you can generate with a keystroke.  They are called ASCII characters.  It is a finite set of letters, numbers, and symbols that are handy in a lot of computing and writing applications.

This is the chart of ASCII characters.  I modified it slightly to fill in a few codes in the first column that Blogger generates instead of the listed Beep codes, carriage return, and a couple other functions.  Save the picture and print it out on a full sheet of paper.  I always keep one of these near my keyboard.

So how do you make them work?  It's simple, but there is a certain technique to it.

Say I want to type about a Ronald Acuña card.  You'll find the accented "n" is number 164 on the chart.

Hold the ALT key, and then type out 1-6-4 but don't use the number keys above the letters, use the number pad over to the right side of most keyboards.  Your NumLock should be ON.  As soon as you are done with the three digits, let go of the ALT key.  Your symbol should appear!  Sometimes adding a leading zero will assure the proper character is output.  Most of the time I just use the three numbers.

Here is a quick video lesson that illustrates this well.

Some notable characters that I use all the time:
║  ¢ - cent symbol  (ALT - 155)  25¢ each                                                               ║
║  ½ - half  (ALT - 171)  2½" x  3½" slices of crack                                              ║
║  ¼ - one quarter (ALT - 172)                                                                                 ║
║  ° - degree symbol (ALT - 248)  Turn the card 90°                                          ║
║  √ - check mark (ALT - 251)  Great for checklist cards on want lists           

Évëñ   ┬╫○ûg╫   │┬$   Ä  ╘│M│┬êD   $é┬,  You can do a lot with these symbols.  They also work in most Office programs and other Windows applications.  Some of the characters might come out different in certain places.  You just have to experiment.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

We're All Animals!

Was gettting my fix at my favorite local card booth inside an antique mall last week and saw some Allen & Ginter minis called Horse In The Race.  I had just seen them in somebody's blog posting a day or so before.  I looked it up on my phone and it turned out to be from Nachos Grande blog.  He only needed four more to kill the set, and they were there, so I snagged 'em up.

Chris sent me some A&G in return, some of which also depict our friends with tails and bad table manners.  Oh, and some ballplayers too.

My absolute favorite mini insert set from A&G (like, ever) is now complete!  (Though they coulda put a pitbull in there).  These two fuzzy people finish it out.  Still have three other mini insert sets to kill in 2019.  Is it me or does every other Instagram hottie have a Frenchie or a big shepherd dog?

Here's another 2019 insert, but full size.  One more down in the 100-card zodiac sign series.  This one of the only slightly less hairy Noah "Thor" Syndergaard.  I'm glad he's got the nickname, because it's a lot shorter to type in a wantlist than Syndergaard.

Moving back six years to a better manscaped Clayton Kershaw in 2013's 100-card insert Across The Years.  These are nice looking, but I couldn't remember what the theme was until I looked on the Database.  It's common birthdays among sports figures.  I would have said to put them in order by the calendar, but then the names would have been all mixed up (and God forbid they NUMBER these instead of using stupid initials!)

And finally, a cosmic flavored insert also from 2013.  Only related to the recent "Egg" A&G card by the shape, this is a minor planet that was only recently discovered in a remote region of the solar system.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hanging 'Round My Trade Bait Pile

Figured I should add scans of the trade bait from the two hanger boxes I got last week.  I really only netted one card from both hangers - a 1960's Decade's Best '69 Mets team.  Oh well, $20 for the cause I guess.

We'll start things off with the two Chrome Turkey Reds.  Nice to get Acuña for trade bait.  (That's Alt+164 on your number pad to make the ñ)  I can never understand the logic in chromifying older style cards.  Metallize 90's designs, not the vintage stuff.  Though I guess a lot of those used foil and mirrorboard all the time anyway.

Some very popular names in these turkeys, I mean, Turkey Reds.  I think these work better as oversize cards like they were originally.  The names are too hard to read when the frames are shrunk to regulation size.  A lot of these look like the photographer took the player out to a golf course with all the trees and unmarked grass.  Those aren't baselines, they're cart paths!  At least Altuve has a stadium behind him.

Ooh, big name Yankee on useless reprint set du jour.  Moving on....

A couple more '85s for those inclined to quest for them.  I think Topps was rooting for the Astros in the post season last year.

I didn't notice the "RHYS" in the background until scanning these.  Otherwise, I actually like the look of this series.  These are #4, 5, 12, and 30.  Which lead me to say "There are frikkin' thirty of these things?!!"  Bryce Harper's original Highlights set in 2017 Update was only 20.  Looks like all the guys since then (which I've completely ignored) have had 30.  Geez, these guys only play for like a year, how do they get 30 highlights in that short time?  Hype machine in full throttle, I guess.

Anyway, if you need any of these (and any from the previous post), hit me up.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Hoping Bigger Is Better

I took the same route jumping into 2020 Topps Series 1 as I did for 2019 Update.  Bought one Jumbo box from Charm City Cards.  It's so nice to have a dealer about an hour away - I ordered on Thursday afternoon (don't tell the boss) and it showed up Friday.

Won't show the base cards, since you can see them multiple places these days.  I'm confident that I'll get a complete series out of the box.  It's been proven true by the reports I've seen so far.  One trader said they were one card short, and then found a few laying on the floor including the missing culprit.

Let's dive in.  Do you wanna see the "hits" first?  Of course you do.

Ha! Fooled ya!  While this is counted as one of the hits in the box, it's a manufactured "Sleeve patch" which should NEVER be classified as a "relic".  Hey, decent looking card item, but doesn't count as a "hit".

Speaking of deG deMoney:

deGrom hot box!  Black parallel insert.  Looks a little better than the plain one Night Owl got, but it's so dark it looks like it would fit in with this year's Heritage.  Parallel inserts are almost as annoying as fake hits, in that all they are is an insert you didn't actually get if you're trying to build them all.

Now this is an actual "hit".  Of course, it's a Rockie Rookie (hey that's fun to say) that I've never heard of, so it's trade bait.  Nice looking card with the team color theme throughout though.

But all was not lost:

YESSS!!!  I'm all in on the Nationals World Series championship stuff.  I want all the parallels to all the World Series Highlight base cards.  Never figured I'd get lucky enough to pull a jersey of them too, so I'm really happy about this, white swatch and all.  Although when I looked closer, it says right on it "Item is not from the 2019 World Series".  *sigh*  Even Topps can't find the blue jerseys from the Postseason.

Anyway, on to the shiny.  Actually got two silver packs (which were blue wrappers) in the box basically unannounced.  Pulled some nice names.

Got this guy too.  Night Owl loves his Turkey Red insert, which is arguably the same photo with the crowd left in the blurred background.  Well, he and Clayton above are going to Night Owl so he can enjoy this one too.  All I can think of is "Get a haircut!"

As for the regular '85s, I did pretty well pulling names again.  Not that I'll be after these though.  I used to dismiss the 1985 design and pure junk wax, but it's a lot cleaner than most during that time.  It's kinda grown on me.  But not enough to pursue 250 of them.

I might add the Nationals team set from these to the WS cards.  So both of these are keepers.  Matty is for another collector I know who just gathers his cards.

The Decade's Best are the one large set I might go after this time.  At least all the "award winners", "batters", "teams" and things are all in the same series.

I'm aware the insert ratios have dropped through the floor in the last couple years, so I'm only sort of OK with pulling six of these from one jumbo box, but only managed two different decades' subjects.  Not a big problem, but would have been nice to see a mixture of the eras.  That Astros card may cause a bit of controversy these days.  Anyone see the interview with AJ Hinch on MLB?

These aren't bad either, and they're only 30 cards big.  Will keep Soto either way.  Already have a request for Devers, but I'll have to see how easy they are to trade for first.

Here is my slightly oversize (3¼" x 4½") box topper Turkey Red.  At first rip, I thought I got Aroldis Chapman, but it's Matt.  Can't say I'm too familiar.  Are you interested, Fuji?

Got one of the contest cards with Mr. Retail Highlight insert set Hoskins.  Cool looking card with the layers and the throwback uni.  I can pair this with the four HHL's I got in the hanger boxes earlier for anyone who's a fan.

Topps Choice.  Which apparently means Topps chooses to reprint current players on an old design for a FOURTH incarnation.  I've run this point into the ground, but again, isn't Heritage, Archives, and this year's '85 tribute set enough?  Nope, must have a generic reprint insert set every year too.

Not to be outdone in it's uselessness, here is card #1 of the Topps NOW review inserts.  They basically say, "Here's what you missed out on, and have no chance to ever get cheaply again."

Now, the parallels.  These are the gold foils that are exclusive to jumbo boxes.  I pulled a couple of these in the first few packs and thought they might be the new incarnation of the golds, just shiny now.  But nope, these are a new flavor.  They actually look pretty nice - better than they scan.  The gold looks like gold and the blue tint isn't really there.  More in a moment...

These are the regular foils.  Astros and Sawx, par for the course.  If it was against just about any other team, I'd have felt bad for Verlander losing another postseason.

The rest of the foils were all Giants.  I can see why they might make a lot of the playoff teams, but the Giants?  Guess it's just luck of the draw.  Are you still around ArpSmith?  I got the regular Davis horizontal in the previous pack. 

These are the regular "golds".  Again with the Giants.  Yelich isn't a bad pull.  Could package this one, the Choice '91, and the shiny '85.  But look at these closer.  The "gold" is really a tan color.  The scan is actually accurate and unaltered.  Somebody got some chocolate in the peanut butter.

So that's all that came out.  You'll hear about it if I don't get a whole base set, but I probably will.  And there's a good stack of dupes, especially since the whole base contents of two hangers will be added to them.  Happy trading and let me know what you need here.