Monday, December 29, 2014

Looking Back: 2014 Collecting Goals

It's that time of year to start looking back on how I did in terms of my Big 5 Collecting Goals. In case you don't remember, they were:

1. Complete the 2013 Topps Chrome Anthony Rendon Auto Rainbow.
2. Complete the 2013 run of Nelson Cruz cards.
3. Add a certified Bryce Harper auto to my collection.
4. Make significant contributions to my 2013 Heritage Manager's Project.
5. Add 50 followers to my blog.

At first glance, 2014 was a complete failure. However, make a few tweaks, and things are okay.

First, instead of the Rendon Auto Rainbow, insert the Luke Jackson 2014 Bowman Rainbow. This rainbow consists of 30 non-autographed cards (paper, chrome and refractor) and 14 autographed cards (chrome and refractor), totaling a whopping 44 cards. Of these, I am missing only four non-autos and three autos, a total of seven cards.

In other words, my 2014 Bowman Luke Jackson Rainbow is roughly 85 percent complete. I think that counts as a success, especially when the cards that I am missing are numbered to five or less.

I didn't get close to finishing the complete 2013 run of Nelson Cruz cards. Sadly, I just lost interest since he was mashing for the Orioles. However, I did pick up the Matt Harrison PC, which saw significant progress on the 2014 and 2013 Topps print runs. I'm going to give myself a B on that one.

The pursuit of the '14 LJ Rainbow was costly. So costly, in fact, I couldn't afford a certified Harper auto. I don't see this one happening anytime soon as grad school is going to force me to scale back, meaning that I will have even less money. I failed this one. If anyone out there has one they would consider trading, let me know!

My TTM's this year were focused on autographed baseballs. I didn't get a single card closer to completing the 2013 Heritage Manager's Project. I will carry this one over to 2015.

Lastly, I wanted to add 50 followers to the blog. I was at 55; I currently sit at 92. I still have two days to hit 105!!! I only need 13 more!!! If you help me get to 105 by Thursday morning, I will give away a prize! I don't know what yet, but I will find something! So please help me out!!!

1. Complete the 2014 Bowman Luke Jackson Rainbow: NEARLY COMPLETE. A-
2. Complete the 2013 run of Nelson Cruz cards. SOLID B.
3. Add a certified Bryce Harper auto to my collection. MISERABLE FAIL.
4. Make significant contributions to my 2013 Heritage Manager's Project. IN PROGRESS - NO GRADE.
5. Add 50 followers to my blog. IN PROGRESS - NO GRADE.

Overall, I think my effort in 2014 was worth a B-. There were quite a few things I could do different, but there were also quite a few things I did right.

What do you think? Am I deserving of the B- minus, or would you grade me differently/ What would you change? I appreciate any and all feedback!!!!

Christmas Additions And Big News

Seemingly like everyone else, my collection saw some new additions this holiday season. I grabbed a few cards for the Nick Martinez and Matt Harrison PCs. Let's not waste any time:

These three come from this year's Topps Supreme. We have the Simply Supreme Green parallel, as well as the Supreme Styling base and Green parallels. There are a ton of these damn parallels, it seems. Combined, all three cost me less than $10.

I was also able to snag the 2013 Bowman Chrome black refractor, numbered to 15. The card below it tricked me. When I saw it pop up on eBay, I saw "2014 Topps Platinum" and I bought it for the price of a couple blasters. It was the missing piece in my 2014 Topps Matt Harrison Rainbow, other than the acetate parallel.

However, what I did not see was the word "Mini" in the description. It was there; I just missed it in my excitement. dammit. Oh well, I needed it...I just didn't want to spend that much on it.

Perhaps my biggest addition, literally and figuratively, though, was this guy:

You can't tell by the photo, but this thing is huge: I haven't measured it, but I'm willing to bet that it is roughly 30" by 20". My cousin knows Witten through work with his charity, and he gave this to me out of the blue on Christmas night. Witten is probably my favorite sports figure, so I was pretty damn excited to get this, especially since it is a photo from the greatest play in NFL history (my opinion, of course). Here's the video:

I hate the Eagles, so this was pretty awesome.

Anyway, on to the big news. For the last three years, I have been working in the oil and gas industry. If you know anything about it, it is a very fickle beast and job security is an illusion. I've worked hard and earned my position as vice president of land services of my company. However, in an effort to secure a better future, I made a big decision.

I received a call last week asking if I would be interested in returning to Texas Tech to get my PhD while working with a team to research energy communication. More specifically for me, I will be looking at the interplay between energy communication and policy. This will open many doors for me in the future, from teaching to lobbying to consulting. (I already have an offer to teach at Creighton when I am finished, so there's that)

What that means for this blog: well, primarily it means that I will have less time and money for a few years. My PC's are going to rely heavily on you, my card-collecting friends, to grow through trades. I will still try to open a box here and there, but I am going to be cutting back. My posts may fall to one per week. But I will still be able to read all of your outstanding posts, so please don't think I am disappearing!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and I look forward to hearing more about your incredible holiday pickups!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

You May Have Heard Crickets Coming From My Blog...

...Because I've been kind of quiet lately. Work has been overwhelming, so I haven't had a lot of time to post anything. I also have some big news to share, but that will have to wait a few days.

Anyway, though I haven't posted anything lately, I have still been reading and buying. I do try to read every post that comes up in my feed, so if you've written something, I've probably read it.

In terms of buying, I've stuck mainly to my PC's and assorted projects. For instance, I knocked off a couple cards from the Nick Martinez PC:

I snagged this black refractor auto from 2014 Topps Chrome. It's numbered to 100.

I also snagged this Supreme "Simply Supreme" auto, numbered to 50. Sooooo many of this autos.

I also added to the Harry PC:

This is the 2013 Allen & Ginter no number mini variation. These were limited to 50 each. At least, that's what Topps tells us.

I snagged the 2014 Bowman Draft auto of Ti'Quan Forbes for the Bowman Auto Project:

But not all cards go into a PC or project. Sometimes, I just have topick one up because it's cheap:

This Jorge Alfaro red ice parallel from 2014 Bowman Draft. These are not numbered to 25 like every other Bowman product. I don't have the card in front of me at the moment, so I forget what it is numbered to.

That's it for now. I probably won't post very much between no and the new year, so I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah! (Though I will be back at least once to share my big news!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Let's Take A Minute To Talk Signatures

I received a card in the mail today that got me thinking about signatures. More specifically, I was thinking about the vast discrepancy between legible and non-legible signatures. I'm starting to get annoyed with crap. By crap, of course, I mean signatures that we can't read.

Then I was looking through today's post from View from the Skybox, and a card he showed had a beautiful signature:

Photo Credit: View from the Skybox
This signature, from Brian Bannister, is beautiful. It is obvious that he took his time signing, and though it isn't perfectly legible, it is highly believable that the signature reads the name. Now, let's take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum:

Will Myers, a.k.a. Mr. Squiggles. I have no idea how one is supposed to get Will Myers out of that. If I were to send it in, how could it be authenticated??? It's garbage!

Sadly, even a player from my own PC has a poor auto:

That's supposed to read "Luke Jackson," though all I see is "ZJ".

What's to blame for this epidemic? Could it be the card companies?

Each year, the players that have autograph clauses in their contracts are required to sign thousands upon thousands of cards (Don't believe me? How many different card products has Jose Abreu signed for this year), and they have a very finite amount of time. The faster they sign, the faster they get the cards out. God forbid we wait on redemptions - I've already read and heard how much people hate those.

Could card companies scale back autos? Well, probably not. Autos are one of the main reasons people purchase cards. If autos aren't as prevalent, the products probably don't sell as well.

So, what's the solution? I don't know. I do know that I am tired of receiving a shitty auto when I pay $100 for a box of cards.

And if you're wondering, here's the card that got me thinking about all of this:

Luis Ortiz Jr., the Rangers 2014 #1 draft pick. Clearly, Ortiz has taken his time in signing, and for a Ranger fan and card collector, it is much appreciated.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Damn, Check Out The Acetate On That One!

And so ends my career of thinking up catchy post titles.

But seriously, I got this 2014 Topps Update acetate/clear parallel of Nick Martinez today in the mail. Just thought I would share it.

...and back.
Numbere 4 of 10, this is my lowest numbered Martinez thus far. I'm a big fan of these cards, and I hope one of Matt Harrison hits eBay soon. assuming there are any left to be sold of course.

Black Friday Additions, Part II: COMC Purchase

COMC was offering free shipping if you purchased a certain number of cards from their site over the Black Friday weekend, so I decided to to take advantage. Unfortunately, free shipping evidently meant wait two weeks to get your cards, so I'm just now getting them up to share with you.

First up, I decided to knock out a few cards from my 1979 Ranger Team Set. It was one of the few years that I didn't have a single card from, So I needed to rectify it, and I did so with these:

I always forget that bobby Bonds was a Ranger for 130 games during the 1978 season. Though this card is from the '79 set, he had moved on to Cleveland for that season. We always connect his son, Barry, with the steroid era, but Bobby could have a case for the Hall. He had five 30 homer, 30 stolen base seasons and ended his 14-year career with 332 homeruns and 461 stolen bases. He only hit .268 though, so one can understand why he isn't enshrined in Cooperstown.

Anyway, I didn't mean for this post to be a Bobby Bonds post. Let's see some more cards.

I grabbed a few for the Nick Martinez PC:

All three hail from 2014 sets. There is the Topps Chrome base auto, the Pro Debut base auto and the Update camo parallel. All three were had for less than $2 each. Fun fact: next year, Topps will replace the camo parallel with a snow parallel.

A snow parallel. Let that sink in.

Anyway, the majority of my purchase went to my Matt Harrison PC. The more and more I read, the more and more I fear that his career is over. Only one pitcher ever tried to make a comeback after having the surgery he had, and he never made it out of the minors. I hope Harry can break the trend.

Most of these are base cards that I needed, so nothing really exciting to talk about:

2013 A&G Base
2013 A&G Base Mini
2013 A&G Mini Ad Back
2013 Bowman Blue
2013 Bowman Orange
2013 Bowman State
2013 Bowman Chrome Base Refractor
2013 Bowman Chrome XFractor
2013 Heritage Pitching Leaders
2013 Topps S1 Pitching Leaders
2012 Topps Walmart Blue
 But here's the card that I really wanted, the one that made me go to COMC:

The 2014 Topps cyan plate! I had been watching this for a while, but the price was too high (in my opinion). I went back to check on it on Black Friday and the seller had cut the price by more than half, so I had to act. Now, it's in my Harrison album!

So that's what I spent my Black Friday money on! All of these cards with free shipping ran me all of $19 and change. Heck of a deal in my opinion!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Post Three...No, FOUR Days In The Making

I intended to post this Monday. But then I got snowed under at work and I put it off.

So I intended to post this Tuesday. And I found myself still digging myself out from under Monday's work load.

Finally, I get to post this today, Thursday afternoon, after spending all morning in Dallas Friday, after spending yesterday in Dallas and in meetings, then in Wichita Falls this morning. You better enjoy and appreciate this sumbitch.

Like just about everyone else, I took part in various Black Friday deals. For whatever reason, it took me much longer to get my cards. Oh well, no big worry. I can't complain when I get to add these guys to the collection.

For whatever reason, I've fallen in love with the Trajectory insert set from this year's Topps flagship product. So I added some to the collection:

Elvis leads the way with the wood relic, followed by a Pudge bat relic and Vlad jersey relic. For the record, I received the Vlad relic in a trade with The Dutch Card Guy. I don't remember where the Rodriguez came from, so if you sent it to me, take credit in the comments! I grabbed the Martinez auto for all of 99 cents! It makes a welcome addition to the Martinez PC!

Speaking of the Martinez PC, I grabbed a few more cards for it. Here they are, in all their glory:

2014 Topps Chrome Base
2014 Topps Update Black
2014 Topps Update Gold
2014 Topps Update Walmart Blue
2014 Topps Update Base
2014 Topps Supreme Supreme Stylings Purple
I picked up all of these via Sportlots with the exception of the Update Black (it came off eBay). I snagged the Supreme Stylings for $3!

So there it is. A post that took me four days to write that has very little content. Life's a b*tch like that sometimes. I hope everyone is well!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Have You Ever "Accidentally" Created A Player Collection?

I know some of you have, because I've read about them in your blog posts. It finally happened to me, and I just realized it. Let me introduce you to my newest PC: Nick Martinez.

Martinez filled the last hole in the Rangers' injury-riddled rotation last year, taking up the fifth spot. To say he was a darkhorse for that role would be an understatement - he wasn't even invited to big league camp for Spring Training initially. However, he impressed management with a good fastball (generally keeping it around 94 mph), good command and an ability to eat innings. 

His year was rough, however. He finished the season at 5-12 with an ERA above 4.50 (4.55, to be exact) and walked 55 while only striking out 77. He did go 140 innings, something that was very much needed for the team last season considering the injuries it had. 

Now, at first glance, these numbers would suggest that he isn't a good pitcher. I would argue that it shows he has room to grow. Before last season, Martinez had never pitched above Double A (AA) ball. In four seasons in the minors, Martinez put up 23 wins against 16 losses, compiling a 3.26 ERA, striking out 302 and walking 107. Not bad for a collegiate second baseman and sometime relief pitcher. These numbers should show that Martinez, with continued, gradual work will be able to be a consistent third or fourth man in the rotation.

Anyway, you didn't come here to read my analysis of the player. You came here to look at cardboard. 

This PC snuck up on me. Martinez has quite a few autograph cards (49 certified autos in Topps products alone) and they are relatively cheap. I was browsing eBay one night and ended up buying quite a few of them. The first three arrived today:

This is his first Topps auto, a 2013 Heritage Minors Real One Auto. Picked up for less than two dollars.

The 2014 Topps Chrome Refractor auto, numbered to 499. It came along with this guy, too:

The 2014 Topps Chrome Blue Refractor auto, numbered to 199. I got both of these for less than eight bucks.

I love all of them. I love that I can get his cards cheaply. I love that Martinez will most likely gradually grow into a legit number three man. 

Keep your eyes open...there will be more to come.


Nick Martinez PC

HYPERLINK indicates that I have that card. Non-hyperlinked cards are cards I need.

Heritage Minors Blue 70 /1
Heritage Minors Plate 70 /1
Heritage Minors Real One Auto Black NM /50
Heritage Minors Real One Auto Red NM /10
Heritage Minors Real One Auto Orange NM /5
Heritage Minors Real One Auto Blue NM /1
Heritage Minors Real One Auto Plate NM /1

Topps Update Target Red Parallel
Topps Update Platinum /1
Topps Update Plate /1
Topps Chrome Refractor 65
Topps Chrome Orange Refractor 65
Topps Chrome Purple Refractor 65
Topps Chrome Xfractor 65
Topps Chrome Blue Refractor 65 /199
Topps Chrome Black Refractor 65 /100
Topps Chrome Gold Refractor 65 /50
Topps Chrome Red Refractor 65 /25
Topps Chrome Atomic Refractor 65 /10
Topps Chrome Plate 65 /1
Topps Chrome Rookie Sepia Refractor Auto NM /75
Topps Chrome Rookie Gold Refractor Auto NM /50
Topps Chrome Rookie Black/Silver Refractor Auto NM /25
Topps Chrome Rookie Red Refractor Auto NM /25
Topps Chrome Rookie Atomic Refractor Auto NM /10
Topps Chrome Rookie Superfractor Auto NM /1
Topps Chrome Rookie Plate Auto NM /1
Topps Pro Debut 10
Topps Pro Debut Gold /50
Topps Pro Debut Silver /25
Topps Pro Debut Red /1
Topps Pro Debut Plate /1
Topps Pro Debut Plate Auto PDANM /1
Topps Supreme Auto SANM /50
Topps Supreme Auto Sepia SANM /35
Topps Supreme Auto Purple SANM /25
Topps Supreme Auto Orange SANM /15
Topps Supreme Auto Red SANM /10
Topps Supreme Auto Black SANM /5
Topps Supreme Auto Supreme SANM /1
Topps Supreme Auto Plate SANM /1
Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Sepia Auto SSUNM /35
Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Purple Auto SSUNM /25
Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Blue Auto SSUNM /20
Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Orange Auto SSUNM /15
Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Red Auto SSUNM /10
Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Black Auto SSUNM /5
Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Supreme Auto SSUNM /1
Topps Supreme Simply Supreme Plate Auto SSUNM /1
Topps Supreme Supreme Stylings Auto Blue SSNM /20
Topps Supreme Supreme Stylings Auto Red SSNM /10
Topps Supreme Supreme Stylings Auto Black SSNM /5
Topps Supreme Supreme Stylings Auto Supreme SSNM /1
Topps Supreme Supreme Stylings Auto Plate SSNM /1

374 Topps Base
374 Topps Rainbow
374 Topps Purple
374 Topps Limited
374 Topps Gold /2015
374 Topps Factory Sparkle /179
374 Topps Snow Camo /99
374 Topps Black /64
374 Topps Pink /50
374 Topps Framed /20
374 Topps Clear Acetate /10
374 Topps Platinum /1
374 Topps Plate /1
374 Topps Mini
374 Topps Mini Black /10
374 Topps Mini Red /5
374 Topps Mini Gold /1
658 Heritage Base
658 Heritage Gum Stained Back
658 Heritage Blue Bac
658 Heritage Black and White
UJRNMA Triple Threads Unity Relic Base /36
UJRNMZ Triple Threads Unity Relic Base /36
UJRNMA Triple Threads Unity Relic Sepia /27
UJRNMZ Triple Threads Unity Relic Sepia /27
UJRNMA Triple Threads Unity Relic Emerald /18
UJRNMZ Triple Threads Unity Relic Emerald /18
UJRNMA Triple Threads Unity Relic Gold /9
UJRNMZ Triple Threads Unity Relic Gold /9
UJRNMA Triple Threads Unity Relic Sapphire /3
UJRNMZ Triple Threads Unity Relic Sapphire /3
UJRNMA Triple Threads Unity Relic Ruby /1
UJRNMZ Triple Threads Unity Relic Ruby /1

67POBCC Heritage Boxloader '67 Punch Outs
65 Heritage Nick Martinez Base
65 Heritage Nick Martinez Gum Stained Back
65 Heritage Nick Martinez Red Back
65 Heritage Nick Martinez Grainy Front/Glossy Back

Monday, December 1, 2014

My First Sportslots Foray

After seeing numerous posts about sportslots from many (if not most) of the blogs I read, I finally decided to make the dive and spend some PayPal cash on some PC needs. For whatever reason, I never really thought about buying anything from this site until I found one card I've been looking for:

This is the 2012 Heritage Minors Real One Auto Black Border of Luke Jackson. I had been looking for this card for a couple months and finally found it on sports lots. I looked at some of the other cards this seller had, and ended up buying roughly 20 Rusty Greer cards from him as well, all at .18 cents a piece. Can't beat that. Here are a few of them:

This is one of Greer's first "pro" cards, hailing from a Charlotte Rangers team set. Dude looks like he needs to be driving an ice cream truck. Creepy!

The scan didn't come out great, but this is a beautiful card from Flair. I', a big fan of their work. Too bad they didn't make it!

However, this is my favorite Greer card of the bunch, hailing from the 1995 Leaf Limited set. The red and white stripes and the blue bar at the top make me feel all warm and fuzzy and patriotic inside. The "Texas Rangers" script is reminiscent of the Constitution, too.

AMERICA, F*ck Yeah!

Lastly, I am making some changes to my team set project. Nothing major - I'm just re-doing the link locations in my Photobucket account so that things are more organized and into albums rather than just dumped into the "Upload" library. I have everything fixed through the 1979 set, so give me the rest of the week before looking at what I have if you want to work out a trade!

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!!!