Monday, April 24, 2017

A Change of Address

A quick post today. During the past few weeks, I have been finishing papers to submit for conference, studying for my qualifying exams, taking my qualifying exams, moving to a new apartment, and studying for the oral defense of my qualifying exams.

So...I've had quite a bit on my plate.

I managed to send out a few PWEs and packages a couple weeks ago and again last week. I did so with no expectation of anything in return. However, should anyone feel inclined to send something my way, shoot me an email (judsonmeeks AT gmail DOT com) and I will be happy to send you my new address. 

I hope to get a new post of substance up soon!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Gypsy Queen Box #2

Following up on my post from yesterday, I have a second box of Gypsy Queen to share. I did pretty well in Heritage earlier this year, but this box may have topped it. 

For the past three weeks, I have been toiling away at finishing a couple research papers. The big academic conference in my field, AEJMC, has an April 1 deadline for paper submissions, so I was trying to get my papers in. I finished around 3 p.m. and decided to stop by my LCS to grab a box to "reward" myself for, essentially, doing my job.

I was beat, so I took my box back to my apartment to open rather than opening it in the shop. I got home and sat down at my desk to dig in.

Right of the top, I pulled a purple GlassWorks boxtopper of Nomar Mazara! These are numbered to 125 and they are absolutely stunning. Good start! More after the jump!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Questioned Answered

Last month, I wondered aloud why Aroldis Chapman was featured as a Yankee on his 2017 Heritage base card, but as a Cub on his Chrome and mini parallels. 

Well, fear not: the blogosphere's most loved Sooz came to the rescue and gave a reason. 

According to her,
"It's the timing of when the cards are due to the printer. The chrome and parallels have to be there much sooner than the base cards. There is essentially a late form that goes out for the base to get free agent signings and offseason trades. So Topps tries to capture it when they can."
Sooz is definitely an authority on the subject, so this answer is good as gold for me.

Thank you, ma'am, for your insight!

2017 Gypsy Queen: Box 1

I said I wasn't going to do it. I swore to myself I wouldn't. I made a promise to myself that I had enough self-control not to do it.

But I did it.

I broke down and bought a box of 2017 Gypsy Queen.

After seeing the cards, I couldn't resist. They just look so great. I'm attached to GQ - it's the first set I built when I got back into collecting - so this set pulled on my heart strings.

Back to the story. I bought the first box - that's right, I bought more than one - last week, a couple days after release. Let's take a look and see how it was.

Right off the top - see what I did there? - was this GlassWorks boxtopper of Stephen Piscotty. By far and away, these are the best boxtoppers of any product I have opened since I got back into collecting. This scan just doesn't do it justice. 

My first box had plenty of parallels. Here are the missing backplate parallels I pulled:

These are...interesting. They are easy to find, as they stand out like a sore thumb. They're unique, I give them that. But I still don't know how I really feel about them.

I also pulled a couple purple parallels numbered to 250:

Not bad players! You've got a guy who rakes and then there's Giancarlo incredible was Mad Bum's two dingers on Opening day?!?!?! 

I also pulled a green back variation:

These aren't numbered, but I think they are numbered to 50 (or so I believe - I could be completely wrong). 

The final numbered parallel I pulled was this black and white parallel of Kevin Gausman numbered to 50:

Beyond parallels, I pulled two variations. First up, this Marcus Stroman no nameplate parallel:

Mr. Stroman will appear again in a later post in a much more impressive fashion.

I also pulled this capless variation of Francisco Lindor:

Not too shabby.

As promised, my box had two on-card autos:

I guess my autos could have been worse. One knock - the machine that loads these into packs seems to have put a crease in them. They don't look like they have been folded over, but it does look as if they went through rollers that had too much pressure. You can't see them in the scans, but trust me - they're there.

The set got rid of the minis this year. I know there are some people who have a problem with this, but I'm not one of them. Those things were nearly impossible to store in any way. However, there is a "mini" insert set called "Fortune Tellers." I put "mini" in quotes because they are closer to tall boys than minis. Anyway, I really dig this set. I was stoked to see that there are three Rangers in it. I happened to pull the Cole Hamels in this box:

So freakin' cool, man!

Anyway, everything you see here is for trade. well, everything except the Hamels. That's for me.

Keep your eyes open for a post about a potential second box of GQ.

Okay, there's definitely a second box. Post coming soon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's In The Details...I Think...I Hope...

Just a warning: quite a few of my upcoming posts are centered on 2017 Topps Heritage. It will be one of the few (maybe the only) sets I put together this year, and I am chasing the parallels for Rangers players. So it will be featured...frequently.

One of the first parallels I was able to snag for a decent price was this Sam Dyson bright yellow back parallel:

One of my biggest criticisms of '17 Heritage is the parallel selection. The bright yellow is pretty hard to spot, as there is a slight variation in the base print cards. It is easy to confuse the lighter printed base cards with the short printed bright yellow backs, which are reportedly limited to a print run of 25. 

Just so you can see what the base back looks like, here's one for comparison:

So...yeah. Not a lot of difference there.

I just hope I didn't get duped with a lighter-printed base card.

(For the record, here's the front of the card)

Hope everyone is well!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Trade Time!!!

This week has kicked my butt. I was doing the math yesterday and I realized that I had only gotten roughly 11 hours of sleep since Tuesday. It's the time of year where most of the mass communication academic conferences have their conference paper deadlines, and I have been trying to finish up a few papers for these conferences. All of this boiled to a head yesterday when I was at a bar with a group of classmates who were celebrating their recent employment. I flat out fell asleep. And not the "dozing" type of sleep - the kind of sleep that promotes a healthy snore.

Once my friends woke me, I headed home. I walked in the door with the intent of going straight to bed, but then I remembered that I had a few bubble mailers I haven't opened that I received earlier in the week. So let's take a look at one!

Recently, I noticed that Chris, a.k.a. The (Pedestrian) Collector was busting a few boxes of 2017 Heritage. I left a comment asking if we could work something out if he happened to pull any Rangers. Lo and behold, he pulled a Cole Hamels Clubhouse Collection relic:

I admit it: I'm a sucker for relics, especially when they aren't just plan white swatches. Even better, this year's relic cards are of the vertical orientation, rather than horizontal. I really dig it.

That wasn't the only card that Chris sent me, however. Also included was this:

I'm generally not a fan of the buybacks that Topps seems to be regularly inserting now. It was a big deal last year - why is it necessary to do it two years in a row? That being said, I have always loved Mitch Williams. The guy is just downright funny. So this buyback is actually a welcome addition!

But wait - there's more!

Chris also sent this along:

This Yu Darvish Career High relic hails from 2015 Topps Series 1. I mentioned above that I like relics, but this particular design was and is one of my favorites. Don't ask me to explain why - I can't. But I have always really liked these.

Chris - thanks again for the trade! I really appreciate it, and I hope it is just the first of many!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Something I Just Noticed

In all the excitement around my hot hand with 2017 Heritage, I missed something. I make no bones about my distaste for most things Topps - I'm no fan of the exclusive licensing with MLB because I think it makes Topps lazy. I've pointed out easily correctable problems in the past to support this. However, in my excitement, I gave Topps too much slack. I found something that makes no sense.

Below is the base card (a short print) of Aroldis Chapman:

In the card, Chapman is featured in a Yankees uniform, very clearly from 2016. No problem there. But let's take a look at the Chapman Chrome card:

What? Why the heck is he in a Cubs uniform? I spent some time thinking and came to the conclusion that the Chrome cards most likely require more time to manufacture. This could have meant that the card design had to be submitted before Chapman re-signed with the Yanks (December 6th, if I'm not mistaken). That still seems like more than enough time to get him in the proper uniform, but I'm willing to give Topps the benefit of the doubt.

Until I saw this:

This is the mini parallel for Chapman, printing on normal stock, just smaller. Again, Chapman is sporting a Cubs uni, rather than the pinstripes of New York. So what in the actual hell gives?

My guess: Topps is trying to milk the Cubs' World Series championship for all it's worth. They want to feature him Cubbies blue to sell more cards. I mean, there is no other explanation, is there?

I guess my last question is this: why didn't Topps just feature him in a Cubs uniform on the base card also and wait until High Number came out to put him in pinstripes? That's their normal procedure, so what gives?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Last week, I purchased a couple boxes of 2017 Topps Heritage. I love Heritage and plan on building the set, but these boxes were really good to me. So good, in fact, I decided to buy a couple more boxes with the money I made on eBay selling the hits from my previous two boxes. 

I was hoping that I would pull an auto this time around, especially an Andrew Benintendi player sample auto (it seems that a few of the "Player Sample" cards that are given to the player to distribute to family and friends worked their way into the pack-out machine - I have theories about this, but that's for another post). Here is an example that I pulled from eBay:

You can see the words "Player Sample" where "Topps Certified Issue" should appear. The same thing happened in 2014 with Ernie Banks Heritage autos:

I've wanted one of those since I first saw them, but have yet to find one when I had the money. Anyway, this conversation is pointless, because the odds of me actually pulling a specific card are slim to none. I'm no statistician (ahem, P-Town Tom), but I believe those odds to be accurate. 

So I walked into my LCS. The owner knew I was coming and had set aside a box for me. When he handed it to me, I noticed that he had one on the shelf. In the past, I've had some pretty crappy boxes that he has selected for me (no fault of his, of course), so I immediately had some doubts. I asked him if I could have the one on the shelf, and after a good chuckle, he handed it to me. 

I pulled up a chair and ripped the cellophane off the box. Underneath the box lid was a box topper, a three-card ad panel. No big deal, so I ripped the first pack on the right. In it was this guy:

A '68 mint insert featuring Miggy Cabrera!

These are certainly gimmicky cards, as they are rare (notice the serial number 06/15), but they don't feature a true relic or an autograph. It's still a cool card, especially when I saw that a few have already sold in the $80-$90 range! I'm not in this hobby to make money, but when I can pay for my box with one card that doesn't fit my collection, I'm all over it!

I continued ripping packs until I stumbled across my hit:

Clearly not an auto. However, it is at least numbered and Cespedes isn't exactly a slouch. I'm sure that someone will eventually have interest in it.

I returned to opening the other packs and had determined that was all the box had to offer, not that I was complaining! The Cabrera card is definitely cool and made up for the box! But then, in the next to last pack, I found this:

The Mike Trout action photo variation! Awesome! Of all the photo variations, I think I have pulled the best two (Kris Bryant last week, Trout this week). That made for one heckuva box!

I sat and chatted with the owner and his employee for about 15 minutes, but all I could think about was the final box. It haunted me. I was certain that if I didn't buy it, it would have the biggest pull of my life - but in someone else's hands. Finally, I broke down and bought it.

I'm opening packs and finding nothing. Fortunately, I noticed this guy:

Another action variation, another superstar. I don't think I am biased when I say this, but I think I pulled the three most desirable photo variations in the set! Crazy!

I'm getting down to my last few packs and I haven't found anything else. The thought that I just purchased a box that failed to have the promised hit began to enter my mind. Then I rip a pack and notice a fat card. I instantly think to myself, "I've pulled another '68 mint!" I slowly remove the cards in front of it until I reveal the card. In a near shout, I let out two words:

"Holy f*ck!"

Now, I used to cuss like a sailor, but I have made an active effort to cut back recently. In fact, it has been quite some time since I've used that four-letter word. So what prompted it, you ask?


By far, the biggest card I have ever pulled!

The relic isn't anything special - just a plain grey swatch - but the auto is on-card AND it's numbered to only 25! Oh, and did I mention that it is Mike freaking Trout? I've never pulled anything close to this!!!!

I was shaking uncontrollably. Fortunately, I had a bro date with my best friend to go see my number six-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders baseball team take on the number four-ranked Arizona Wildcats. I put the card in a one-touch magnetic holder and packed it away carefully and went to the game. Tech DESTROYED the Wildcats 13-1, by the way. However, I now sit in front of my computer sharing the story of my greatest pull with you. 

I stare at the card now and mumble, "my precious...", as I try to determine what to do with it. I've always wanted a Trout auto. With what these cards have been going for, I can sell it, buy a Trout auto and still have a good chunk of change left. The flip side is that the card I will get wasn't pulled by me. I won't have the same emotional connection with it. But come on...that's good money for a piece of cardboard

What a wonderful twist to find myself in.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A New Addition From '16 Heritage

I've always been fascinated by the coincidences in life. There are so many that, when you really think about them, life becomes really interesting. Naturally, since I'm talking about it, I can't think of any general examples. 

One coincidence that I can think of occurred yesterday. I purchased my two boxes of 2017 Heritage and had a pretty decent haul. Once I got back to my apartment, I found a package in my mailbox. When I opened it up, I found this:

This is a gold parallel Clubhouse Collection relic of Cole Hamels from '16 Heritage High Number. What makes this a coincidence is that I thought this card was lost in the mail and had essentially given up on ever receiving it. However, I got it today.

Okay, so maybe that isn't a huge coincidence. But I needed something to say other than "Hey, look at my card!" Regardless, I appreciate you sitting through all of this and bearing with me. I hope all is well!

Friday, March 3, 2017

My First 2017 Heritage Fix

Though Heritage came out Wednesday, my LCS didn't get any in until today. It's only two days, but it felt like forever. Heritage is one of, if not my favorite release every year. I was initially a little hesitant because the '68 set is one of my least favorites, but Heritage turned out okay. Anyway, let's get to what was in my two boxes.

First, let's take a look at the guaranteed hits. Every box promises a relic or an auto. Both of my boxes had relics. And they were boring at that:

Joe Mauer and Rick Porcello. Could be worse, but could be better. Had that been all I pulled, I would have been pretty upset.

But they weren't. I pulled better cards!

The first box offered up some good cardboard. First up:

This Odubel Herrera blue border parallel. These are limited to 50 copies each, or at least that's what I've read. Not a bad start!

Next up:

The Clayton Kershaw action image variation!

But the best card of the box was this guy:

The Andrew Benintendi rookie photo variation! These are short printed, as the base card features Benintedi and another player.

Heckuva a box! There's no way the second box could be better, right?

Boom. Right off the bat (no pun intended) was the Buster Posey '68 3D box loader! These fall about one per case.

From there, I pulled this:

The Bryce Harper color swap variation! But it doesn't stop there!

Though it looks gold, this is the base refractor of Wilson Contreras! Such a great box. How could it get any better?

Well, I think adding in a Kris Bryant action photo variation would certainly make the box better!

Though the "hits" were duds, these were by far the best two boxes of Heritage I've opened in a while! The relics are up for trade, but everything else has been listed on eBay to help me recoup some of my money. I'm going to sort everything this evening, so I should have a wantlist and trade list listed soon!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Harry Mail Day!!!

My collecting habits have really slowed lately. I bought a box of '17 Series 1 and massively underwhelmed. I didn't pull any color parallels (other than three golds and a few rainbows) and the auto was forgettable. It was probably the biggest disappointment since I returned to collecting. I'm somewhat excited about Heritage, but even then, I have mixed feelings as I hate the '68 design.

Nonetheless, I still have a few saved searches on eBay that I check daily. One of which is for my main PC, Matt Harrison. The cards that I don't have tend to be lower-numbered parallels, so it isn't often that something pops up that I don't have. However, this week was different. This caught my attention immediately:

This is the copper rose parallel of the 2013 Tier One Crowd Pleaser auto. This card has alluded me for a few years. As a matter of fact, it is the card I was waiting for (redemption wise) and gave up on (receiving the Johnny Bench Museum Collection auto as a replacement). So I don't know if the card was recently fulfilled or if it was one of the few that was actually signed initially. Either way, it doesn't really matter - all that matters is that I have it now.

Perhaps this is a sign of things to come this year for the Matty H PC. One can hope, right?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Topps Redemption Update and A Plea For Your Help!

I've been waiting for an eternity for a Nomar Mazara base auto from 2016 Stadium Club. This was his first MLB auto, though he had a few minor league autos. Regardless, I grew tired of waiting and requested a replacement.

Recently, the Topps redemption processed was supposed to be sped up by merging the redemption website with the primary site. That was not the case with my replacement this time; it took more than two months (maybe even three) before I received the replacement.

As has been the case recently, Topps did go out of their way to send an additional card as a "sorry" for the delay. This is what I received:

This is a base auto of Erik Johnson from 2014 Bowman Inception. If I'm not mistaken, Johnson is with the Padres now. Not a bad card, but definitely no complaints as it was free.

The card that Topps sent to replace the Mazara auto is...well, you decide:

Nomar Garciaparra red ink auto numbered 45 of 65 from 2014 Topps Heritage. I have a love/hate relationship with this card. I love it because it's from Heritage, my favorite set. However, the red ink signed over the dark ink of the jersey makes the signature very hard to see. It is what it is, and I have to say that I think it is probably better than the card it replaced.

Now on to my question. Next month (March 16 to be exact), I will be flying in to Boston for a conference. The conference is in New Hampshire, so I will be there the morning of evening of March 17 through the evening of March 18. However, I am traveling alone. I'm one of those people that don't like to do things alone. Is there anyone in the Boston area that would like to meet up and show me around a bit? I want to see as many of the historical sites as possible, and getting a tour of Fenway is a must. If you are interested and available, let me know!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

And It's All Over!!!! Contest Results and a Question

My second Card Cave contest has officially reached it's end. The votes have been counted...

...and zman40 of Autocards just absolutely runs away with it! Zman, email me your address (judsonmeeks AT gmail DOT com) and I will get your prize pack in the mail this week!


The post that announced my first card cave contest also asked y'all how you organized your collection. I have a similar question now. I've noted that I scan in all of my cards in my collection, but in terms of a running checklist of my cards, what I have isn't working very well.

Here's where I would like your input. I know many of you talk of a self-made checklist, which I assume is made in a program like Excel. If this is true, what columns does your checklist have? I'm assuming year, manufacturer, set, card number, I off base here? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Time is Now!!! Make Your Pick!!!

A couple weeks ago, I resurrected my card cave contest. The rules were simple: create a post giving us a tour of your card cave via a blog post, I post the link and a poll and the winner gets cards.

There was only one real rule: The Lost Collector is disqualified from this contest (and all other contests indefinitely - waiting on an arbitration hearing) for claiming Pudge should go into the Hall with a Yankee cap on. Blasphemer!!!!

(This is in good fun - I consider AJ one of my best blogging "buddies").

I happy that people enjoy creating these posts - I certainly enjoy reading them! I refrained from reading any of them until this morning, and I am blown away at all of the cool stuff everyone has!

So, without further ado, here are the entrants! Give their posts a read and then vote in the poll on the top right!

Voting closes on February 9 at midnight Pacific! Feel free to share this post and encourage your readers or social media followers to come vote!

Good luck to everyone! All of these are incredible!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Don't Forget!!!

Don't forget about my new "Card Cave Contest"! All you have to do is create a post giving us a tour of your "card cave"! Post the link in the comments here and that's it, you're entered! Even if it is an older post, post it in the comments and you will be entered!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Post That Has Been Waiting For A While

Back in August, I posted about how my one-bedroom apartment is not conducive to a baseball card collection. I asked for input on how everyone stores their collection, and this turned into a contest, asking other bloggers to post about their card room. Finally, I asked my readers to read these posts and vote on their favorite.

P-Town Tom won the contest! He was slightly more excited to win my contest than he was to see the Cubs win the World Series (at least, that's what I tell myself). Tom's room is great, as were the other contestants. This was probably my most popular post!

A few weeks later, I asked Tom a series of questions about his "card cave" (see what I did there?!). I did so with the intention of starting a new series on my blog. That didn't happen - at least, not yet. I would love to do it, I just haven't had the opportunity.

Regardless, I want to share that information with you now! Also, be sure to read all the way through. I have information about a new contest after Tom's tour!!!

Your name: Tom Olson

Blog Handle: P-town Tom

Your blog (with address): Waiting ‘til Next Year…  (

A little bit about you:  I’m a high school math teacher and coach of a junior high girls softball team in the fall and varsity boys baseball in the spring. I’m very much a numbers guy and a bit of a neat freak. I’m more of an introvert with my personal life and sure-fire extrovert at work. I love pizza, craft beer, being active and anything that has to do with baseball.  No kids, but my loving wife and I share a house with three cats.

Why/when did you get into collecting?  Once upon a time there was a ten year old boy who was invited to his best friend's birthday party.  Each guest was given a brown paper bag fun of trinkets from the local dollar star as a party favor.  At the bottom there was a rack pack of 1988 Topps. His first baseball cards.

Fast forward one year to the summer of 1989 and the same boy now has a bedroom full of 1989 Topps and Donruss; he has declared his favorite player to be Ryne Sandberg.  His sister has claimed Andre Dawson and has a slightly smaller collection.  Dad is working on the 1989 Fleer set and chuckles at the F-Face Billy Ripken card.

Mom? She likes the higher end Upper Deck set and has nearly a handful of Griffey rookies stashed away.  Mom favors Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams... something about long hair and tight pants.  In short, the house is more or less one big baseball card storage box.

It was something the whole family did together.  How cool is that?

What do you collect? I have always been a set builder, but I try to only build one current year set every year. There are no self-imposed limits on older sets.
I also have official player collections of Ryne Sandberg, Kerry Wood, Dan Vogelbach, Kosuke Fukudome, Brooks Kieschnick and Karl Olson.
Lastly, the Cubs are my team and I’ll keep one copy of every Cub card I can find.

Show us your card cave! Please label pictures with numbers, then offer a brief description for each picture.
Below are pictures of what one sees when they first enter the 12.5' by 14' room.

There are bobbleheads on the shelves in the upper left corner and baseball movies on VHS within the black shelving unit on the floor. Hugo likes to steal my little stuffed dog wearing a Cubs shirt, which is right next to my Chicago Bear wearing Joe Maddon glasses.

This is the other half of the exterior wall which contains the garden view window. My card sorting table is in the foreground, which contains many stacks of basketball cards from an inherited collection. (Anyone want some basketball cards?) You can get a better look at the table here. I spend a lot of hours on the green two-seater, as you can probably tell by the cushions.

For the record, the stop light works! I also have some ivy along the ceiling of the room to give it a little of that Wrigley feel. If you look closely along the baseboard on the right you can see a blue speck. That's one of my wife's Dove chocolate wrappers that we give the cats to play with. Simple pleasures.

Here's a shot of the closet, which is pictured in the right of the above two pictures.

 There are lots of baseball related things hanging on the wall I could point out, but instead I'll point out the hanging black cape, which I've used to dress up as "Math Man" on a couple of occasions. I'm a nerd, I know.

On the left are all of my non-Cubs cards. Binders of complete sets and monster boxes of others. There's a shoe box on the top, which houses all of my favorite non-Cub cards and just below that is the shelf where I keep cards that need to be sorted into my trade box for specific bloggers. It's pretty empty right now, because I made a concerted effort to get things in order before the school year started. Go me!

The right half of my card closet is all Cubs cards. My Sandberg binder, the FrankenSet binder and many others are housed here. On the the shelves above the binders are my Cubs monster boxes, which contain all of my unique Cubs cards including vintage, junk wax, modern cards, autos and relics. The very top two shelves are where all of my packaging supplies are stored.
One of my summer projects was adding in three wood shelves to each side of my Card Closet. I'm much happier with the usable space I have now.

The green chest contains more completed sets and all of my basketball and football cards from early collecting days. It's actually the mother in-law's toy chest from her childhood. On top of those are two 2,400-count boxes of cards to be dispersed among my blogging brethren. The trade boxes! They're not in the closet because I'm in and out of them so frequently.

The above shot shows my Brandon Hyde (1st base coach of the Cubs) jersey and my homemade bat rack, which I'm really proud of. One of the bats was what my mom and her siblings played with when they were kids and the one on the far right is my fungo for when I coach spring baseball.
The door is flanked by the recliner and bat rack on one side and this corner on the other side. Hanging from the ceiling is my Fear the Fleer entry for Thorzul's Nightmare on Cardboard 2013 contest, which I couldn't part with.

 The "Go Cubs Go" is a hand painted sign from Grandfather. A scratching post for the cats is in the room... you know, because of cats. Of the two cabinets on the wall, the right one is the fuse box and the left one looks like this:

 My wife bought this cabinet at a garage sale and re-purposed it to store some of my collection. I use it to keep dust off my favorite bobbleheads, autographed baseballs, pictures and ticket stubs.

Lastly, we have the
television stand which I completed about a year and a half ago. It houses baseball singles organized in boxes, a couple of binders, DVDs, books and bobbleheads. I absolutely love this piece.

We've come full circle!  I really enjoy spending time in my man room. I could be sorting cards, ripping packs, building trade packages, or perhaps just kicking back with Gus and watching the Cubs.

It's my place to get away from the real world and be a care free kid again. 

Show us your favorite piece of memorabilia in your card cave! I have plenty of autographs on cards, baseballs, and bats, but that’s not what my mind went to first. I have an old bat my mom played with as a kid (mentioned previously), which was what I thought of first. But I took a stroll around the room I found something else that means more to me than a bat I never swung.

This was my parting gift from my college baseball coach after I played four years of baseball at Eureka College, a Division III school from Ben Zobrist’s home town. Sure, as a team we went 31-119 over four years, but it was so much fun. I went from middling bullpen arm to closer by the end of my freshman year. I lost most of my sophomore year to arm surgery. I was the #2 starting pitcher my junior and senior years. We had spring trips, crazy superstitions, and probably more fun than was allowed. I look at this framed picture and the memories just come racing back.  Good stuff.

Show us your favorite card! This card takes me back to the days before adulthood. It was part of my very first peoria chiefs team set. I loved that set, had it in a binder, and had every player's name and face committed to memory.  Eleven year old me was an autograph hound and back then I had no trouble collecting autographs, but I was only after the players. A card with Pete and Harry didn't really draw my interest.

Sometime in the early 1990's my family attended a cubs game at Wrigley Field. I'm still not sure how he did it, but my dad was able to secure a brief moment of time with Harry Caray. My dad had the card with him and Harry's pen reads, "Holy cow! Harry Caray".   Every cub fan knew of Harry Caray.  I was so stoked.

It didn't strike me until much later to ask Pete Vonachen, the "father of minor league baseball", for his autograph.

Fast forward a good ten years or so . . . I was still single, but I had started my career, and I was attending Peoria Chiefs baseball games at a huge clip.  My sister, who was an intern for the Chiefs, would help score my friend and I tickets. We would usually go down to the park, have a couple of adult beverages, look at the talent (on and off the field) and then finish the evening in downtown P-town.  Sometime during the summer of 2002, when I briefly re-entered the hobby, I asked Pete for his autograph. I would always say "hi" to Pete on the concourse.  Even though I was just another fan to him, he was one of those people who I have always held in very high regard: he brought baseball to Peoria and he managed to keep the game I love in Peoria!

It's hard to top a card which has ties to myself as a young collector, my dad, the Cubs, the Chiefs, and Pete & Harry.

Identify two or three of your favorite pieces in your card cave!
I am really proud of the items I have made with my own two hands.
A)    My television stand (link to blog post)

B)    And my coffee table (link to blog post)

Do you have anything else you want to share with us? Please do so here!
Nope, but thanks for the opportunity share what I did!

Thanks, Tom! Your collecting room is amazing. My personal favorite is your piece from your playing days. Really cool!

Now, for the contest!

There were quite a few people who didn't see the post until after the deadline when I ran the original "show us your card cave!" contest. Therefore, I am going to run it again! (Sorry Tom, as defending Champ, you have to sit this one out) Those of you that entered before, you are free to enter again! You can even use the same post if you like. For those of you that didn't participate before, now is your chance!

All you have to do is create a post giving your readers a "tour" of your card cave. When you are finished, post the link in the comments section below! This time, I will leave the contest open though Midnight (Central time) on February 1. Then I will create a post with all entries and open up voting to my readers so they can select their favorite room! The winner will receive a prize pack from me that will be determined based on your favorite baseball team! I promise the prize won't suck!

So there ya go. Let's see those card caves!