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?