Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I'm Looking for Your Input!!!

I've been gone for...well, I'm not certain. It seems like a long time. I could say that I was burned out on cards and I just needed to get away for a bit, but that would only be half true. The reality was that I was burned out with everything - cards, school, work...life in general. I just hit a point where I needed to step back and recharge. Fortunately, my cousin/best friend/figurative brother made a point to come spend the weekend with me, and that did wonders. It's kind of magical what 18 holes can do early on a Sunday morning.

I'm ridiculously far behind on posting because of my need to step back. Don't believe me? Here's my pending post folder, and as you can tell, some have been pending for a while:

This is part of a larger problem I'm finding that I have. I recently began reorganizing my collection. I have almost everything physically organized, but I need a way to digitally organize everything. Here's the system I use now. First, I have been creating a checklist of 2016 releases and the Ranger cards that are in them:

From here, I create a Rangers-only checklist:

I try to note every card, parallels to inserts, that are included. Once complete, I note each card that I have with an "X" (as you can see above.

To accompany this, I have been scanning each card, front and back, which I keep in what I have nicknamed my "Ranger Cardboard Encyclopedia":

The image above is for the 2016 cards that I have. Each folder, when opened, looks similar to this:

Thus far, everything has worked out. However, I have spent a ton of time creating the checklists, and truth be told, I'm still working on 2016. I can't imagine how much time it will take to create 40-plus years leading up to this year. Nevermind the fact that it will get infinitely more difficult when I start building checklists for products that don't have the Rangers intentioanlly identified.

So here's my question. How do you keep a digital catalog of your collection? Do you use specific software? Have you created your own system? I would greatly appreciate your input! Feel free to create your own post on the matter and leave the link in the comment sections below!

Now, I can't end this post without sharing some cardboard! In building my 2016 checklist, I've come across a few sets that feature only one Ranger card. One of these is the Walmart Marketside Pizza set. Prince Fielder is the only card in the set, and I recently grabbed it for about $1.25 shipped.



Nothing special, but it completes a set!

I hope everyone is doing well, and I look forward to your help with organization!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Few Boxes of 2016 Heritage Minor Leagues

I've got to get this out: I hate the Blue Jays. For numerous reasons. I cannot stand them. Their fans are pretty awful - I've already received a handful of hateful/threatening tweets since the game ended just a few minutes ago. Stay classy, you keyboard warriors of Toronto.

Okay, I feel slightly better, but not a lot.

On to something that will make me feel better. This year, my box opening has decreased dramatically. This is due to a combination of being on a tighter budget and the fact that Topps products are becoming more and more disappointing.

However, when I saw that Heritage Minor Leagues would have an on-card auto and a relic card in each box, I knew that I was in. The best part? A box only runs about $50. So I set aside some money to purchase two boxes, as I thought that would guarantee a full set. Spoiler alert: it didn't.

I bought my first two boxes at my LCS in Lubbock. My relics weren't bad - at least I've heard of these guys:

My autos? Well, they were a different story. I haven't heard of either of these guys:

I also pulled a few of the blue-border parallels:

And I even snagged a peach-parallel (can we please call it something else???) numbered to 25:

However, the "big hit" of my two boxes was this:

The Tyler O'Neill "green bat" variation (thanks to eBay for the photo - I'll explain momentarily). So far, only three of these types of variations have been found. It's cool to pull one.

A few days later, I was back in DFW and I decided to stop in and visit with Duane of Duane's Sports Cards. After the initial hand collation of my first two boxes, I had only about 66% of the set. So I decided to buy another couple boxes.

My relics were decent:

I've heard of these guys, too. How about the autos?

Wait - another Jackson auto??? Okay, that sucks. What about the blue-border parallels?

That Blandino looks familiar...oh yeah, I pulled the same card in my first round. I also pulled a peach parallel (still sounds stupid):

Hey, that isn't too bad.

And I also noticed that one box had two autos in it. You may have seen the tweet:

Sweet! One of the "SSP" no team name autos of Phil Bickford!!!! I didn't realize Bickford was traded to the Brewers earlier this year, but this is still a sweet card.

When I returned to Lubbock, I stopped by my LCS and dropped off the Bickford and O'Neill to be sent into PSA for slabbing and grading. I don't care so much about the grades (I expect both to be 9's), but I love seeing a Heritage card in a PSA slab. I guess it's an OCD thing.

I also collated my new boxes to finish off my set. But wouldn't you know, I am STILL a few cards short. Most annoyingly, I need card number 107. I shouldn't need ANY base cards after buying four boxes. Ridiculous. Beyond that, I need three short prints: card numbers 203, 206 and 212. If you have any of those, let's talk!

Lastly, each box comes with two cards that offer chances at winning a day to "make your pro debut." Each card has a code that is revealed by scratching the coating and entering the code on the website www.topps.com/promotions. The card looks like this:

I had eight of these cards. I never win anything, so I threw the cards away. Then I decided, what the heck? I pulled the cards from the trash bin next to my desk and scratched them and began entering them one-by-one into the system. Loser after loser. On the sixth entry, though, I actually won! The system said I was a winner and then asked me to answer a few short questions about my love of baseball. Sweet!

So, what exactly did I win?

It appears as if I won either a hat or a pin! Cool deal! I seriously doubt that I will win the grand prize, so I will take whatever I do win and be extremely happy!

So, overall, I love the set. Heritage in all of its variations is one of my favorite product lines. However, this set is a major disappointment in its collation issues. I shouldn't have to buy four boxes to put a set together, and if I did buy four boxes, I should have the entire set! I was not so fortunate. Receiving the same autos and parallels was just a coincidence - or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Anyway, I am off to bed. Hope everyone is well!

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Nice eBay Mailday

Recently, Topps Heritage High Number hit the market. I love the Heritage products, so I knew I needed to grab a box or two. I did just that, but in the excitement of getting everything organized and put away (more on this in a later post), I forgot to create a post about what I pulled. In short: nothing terribly exciting.

So I decided to hit up eBay for some of the cards I did want. A couple came in a few days ago, and since I am in Iowa City, Iowa, for a wedding, I have a bit of free time on my hands to share with you what I bought.

First up, this guy:

You can't tell from the front....

...but this is actually the mini parallel version of the card. Only Desmond and Nomar Mazara had mini parallels in the set. Speaking of Mazara...

...I was able to grab this redemption for his Real One Auto. Topps hasn't indicated whether or not Mazara has signed these, so I am assuming that means that he hasn't. However, if the way the Rangers are playing the Blue Jays is any indication, he may have a few months of free time pretty soon.

That's it for now. I hope everyone is doing well!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Couple Things To Expand On From My Last Post

First, I appreciate the kind words that I have received! You're all too kind! But please remember, I grabbed a few cards from your needs or wants lists that were within my budget - there won't be any Mantles in the mail!

Lastly, I will never turn away free cards! However, I don't want you to feel obligated to send me anything - I certianly didn't have that in mind when I put together these packages. If you feel compelled to send me something, I ask that you first consider "paying it forward" - send a random package to someone in the blogging community that has made an impact on you! There is a lot of negativity in our world today - literally turn on any TV station - so this could put a smile on someone's face and offer them a brief reprieve from all of that.

Anyway, didn't mean to get preachy. Hope everyone is well!!!

No, My E-Mail Didn't Get Hacked

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how grateful I was for the kindness of fellow bloggers The Lost Collector and Jedi Jeff. It's nice to get random cards in the mail. I mentioned that I would be sending out cards to other bloggers. And that's what I've done. I visited a number of blogs and combed over want lists. Some packages have base cards for set needs, others have cards from "Most Wanted" lists. Don't get your hopes too high - as a grad student, I'm on a pretty tight budget!

If you received an email from me (that may have been a little cryptic), just know that the numbers in the email are USPS tracking numbers. If you click on it, you won't get a virus (well, from me anyway. I can't vouch for the USPS).

If you didn't receive an email from me, just know that I am sending more cards out soon. I ran out of shipping labels tonight, so I need to get some more.

So there it is. Keep an eye out!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sharing The Love

I've received two surprise packages during the last two weeks.  First, AJ over at The Lost Collector sent me what I am certain to be a complete team set from 2016 Topps Bunt (you know, the digital cards that are now physical cards). However, he also included this beauty:

This is one of the TTMs that AJ received back from Juan Gonzalez (which he talked about on Beckett Radio, because of course he did...). I was surprised to see that Juan-Gone signed. He's been kind of a d*ck in recent years, even refusing the honor when selected for the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2013 (though the Rangers Hall of Fame Committee placed in the Hall in spite of his objections in 2015). Either way, I was stoked for AJ when he received the cards, and blown away when he decided to share one with me.

Thanks AJ!

A couple days ago, I received a package from the Jedi himself, Mr. Wilk from 2x3 Heroes. He crushed a decent chunk of my set needs for 2015 Stadium Club Gypsy Queen and 2016 Heritage.

Pudge from GQ....

Pineda from Heritage....

And CJ Wilson from Stadium Club. I think he is wearing the shirt ironically, considering he couldn't actually throw strikes for the Rangers. He always dabbled around the strike zone....it was painful to watch. Of all players who have left the team over the years, he's the one I miss the least - and it's not even a close contest.

Anyway, I was and am extremely grateful that AJ and Jeff sent me cards for no reason other than to be kind. I love that about the blogging community, as I have received similar packages from other bloggers over my years as a blogger.

So I am going to return the favor. During the next two to three weeks, I will be sending out some care packages filled with cardboard. The cards may be from needs lists, wants lists or PC lists. If I send something to you, it's because I specifically remember getting something from you in the past. If you have sent me something in the past, feel free to comment below - I know that someone sent me a huge stack of '15 or '16 Heritage and I cannot for the life of me remember who! - I want to know about it.

I expect nothing in return. If you feel compelled to return the favor, then pay it forward - send some cards to someone who has sent you a random care package. Let's end the summer with a bang!

Thanks again everyone!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Time To Give Topps Some Praise

Back in 2014, I purchased a redemption for a 2013 Tier One Matt Harrison auto copper rose parallel numbered to 25. I assumed that since version 1 of the card was already live, I wouldn't be waiting very long before I received it.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I was reading my blogroll and saw a post from someone (I'm sorry, I can't remember whose post it was and therefore can't give proper credit!) talking about an email they received from Topps discussing the changes coming to the Topps redemption program. Long story short - the company was abandoning the old site in favor of a new integrated system with their current www.topps.com website.

I never received the email, but decided to check out the new site. A few minutes and questions later, I was looking at my "Outstanding Redemptions" page, with only one redemption staring back at me: the 2013 Tier One Matt Harrison.

One f the perks of the new site, at least according to the company, is a smoother process for requesting redemption replacements. I decided to try my luck and requested a replacement. For the record, it is WAY easier to do this now.

As soon as I made the request, I began to worry. I made a similar request in 2014 for the same card for Nelson Cruz. The card I received was a base auto of a no-name prospect from 2011 Bowman Chrome and I had to fight to get Topps to send me a equal replacement, which turned out to be a 2012 Bowman Draft Chrome Joey Gallo auto. EDIT: I just went back to look at the card, and I hate myself. More on this at the end. 

Anyway, I waited a couple months. A couple weeks ago, I noticed that the card shipped and saw what the replacement was. I was pretty excited about it. I received the package today. Inside, I found this letter:

Nice, a bonus card as a gift for the lengthy delay!

Okay, so I'm not exactly breaking the bank with this one. But it's the thought that counts, and I appreciate the gesture from Topps. Doesn't hurt that it's from my favorite set since I got back into collecting.

But here is the replacement card, and I am fairly certain it's "equal" to a Matt Harrison auto numbered to 25. Okay, maybe not. You be the judge.

Holy freaking crap!!!! 2013 Museum Collection on-card auto of Johnny Freakin' Bench!!!!!!

Yeah, this is definitely equal! This card is a beauty! I'm not going to remove it from the top loader. Rather, I'm going to send it to Beckett as is and have them slab it. I'm pretty excited to add this to my collection!!!! Thank you Topps!

And now, more to the story: As I mentioned, Topps sent me a card that I didn't feel was an equal replacement. At the time, I was correct. However, I now wish that I would have kept the damn card:

2011 Bowman Draft Chrome Refractor auto of Trevor Story...selling in the neighborhood of $150 now. I think I'm going to be sick.