Monday, December 21, 2015

A Gift From Gavin

Last week, I got home and noticed that I had an unexpected package in my mailbox. Not knowing what to expect, I pulled it out and quickly saw that it was from none other than perhaps the most creative man in baseball blogging, Defgav, a.k.a. Gavin, from Baseball Card Breakdown. Gavin is one of my favorite bloggers because he always seems to have an incredibly unique point of view when he writes about cards, and I always learn something when I read his posts. 

Gavin was kind enough to send some cardboard my way for the holidays, all fo which I needed and am grateful to include. Let's take a look.

First up, a Luke Jackson base from 2015 Opening Day and a Colby Lewis base from 2015 Update. I love both of these guys. I'm stoked the Cobra signed another one-year deal to return to the Rangers, though I wish they would have given him at least two years. Jackson was the centerpiece of one of my old PCs, and I wish I was still working on it. The kid is a heckuva pitcher, has amazing hair, and has an amazing relationship with his faith. 

Next up, a Neftali Feliz Rookie Sensation insert from '15 Chrome Update and a Prince Fielder insert from '14 Chrome. I really wanted to love Feliz. He had an amazing fastball, but he just never seemed to care. Once he started getting rocked, he just didn't have that bulldog mentality to fight back so he just gave up. Fielder, on the other hand, essentially took 2014 off to recover from neck surgery. Evidently, that's what he needed, as he was a key addition to the Rangers playoff team from this past season. Stoked to have him back to somewhat normal.

Also included were these two Topps Gold Label cards, which I have never heard of. However, they are beautiful! Can't go wrong with a Pudge card, and it's nice to see a card of Kap as a Ranger. I think most people forget that he played here.

I've been eyeballing these two cards on eBay for a bit now. Fortunately, I have yet to pull the trigger on wither of them. Gavin must have known....These are what I believe are called "pulsar" refractors, at least that's what it seems everyone is calling them. DeShields quickly became one of my favorite Rangers. The dude can fly. Sadly, a bit before the Rangers selected him in the Rule 5 Draft from the Astros, I traded a printing plate of him that I pulled to Bru over at Remember the Astrodome. It is one of the few cards I traded away that I wish I would have kept. Then there's Chi Chi....everytime I say his name I giggle a bit. 

Perhaps that best part of the entire package was the quick sketch and card Gavin included:

I got a good laugh, and I have already put the card into a larger toploader (made for magazines). I truly appreciate the cards and the thoughts Gavin. I am putting something together to send back your way, but it may be after Christmas before I have it all. Thank you again, my friend.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

So, I Guess It's Time For Another Blog Post...

I can't believe it has been more than a month since my last post. The end of the semester got here and I buried my head in the books. I wanted to pull a 4.0 this semester, so I devoted myself to studying the material. It worked, for the most part - I received all "A's" with the exception of one "B", which my Theory professor was more than happy to send my way. I can't complain too much, keeping high grades in a PhD program is commendable, right? Okay, I apologize for the blatant call for reassurance. I'm really not that needy.

Okay, back to cardboard. When I last posted, I was talking about how I was noticing a trend of Joey Gallo cards appearing in my collection. Well, that still holds true. I snagged a couple more. 

This is the action photo variation from 2015 Heritage High Number. I've wanted one of these since they came out, but they were always priced well above what I wanted to pay. Fortunately, I found one that was priced at $3 last week, and I immediately scooped it up. The card looks better than the scan, and I think I may send it in for grading (which I will probably do with all of my Gallo rookie cards). I'll let you know what I decide.

This guy hails from the 2015 Heritage 1951 Collection. It's pretty awesome, based on its namesake set. This is the base version, which means...

It has a red back. I know there are other parallels (black, blue, green, and perhaps more), but this is the only I have gotten my hands on. Hopefyully I can snag a few of the others soon.

But Gallo isn't the only player I've been grabbing lately. Before last season, the Rangers shipped lefty reliever Robbie Ross to Boston for Anthony Ranaudo. I don't know why, but I like him. His numbers this year weren't outstanding, but they weren't terrible. I think he has a bright future as a back-end starter, and I hope I'm right. Either way, I've been looking out for his cards, and I've managed to snag some for a very cheap price.

First up, this Future Stars gold parallel from 2015 Topps Chrome. This one ran me all of 50 cents, plus shipping. Numbered to 50, this is one of those cards that looks way better in-hand than it does in the scan,

This is the black refractor from 2015 Heritage High Number. Numbered to 66, it cost me more than the above gold refractor, but still came in at a whopping $3. It also looks better in-hand; as a matter of fact, I would venture to say this card is beautiful. Glad to have it.

So there it is, my first post in a month. Feels good to get something out there. Now perhaps I will stop losing guys deserve content, and I am glad to once again give it to you. So if you have any Gallos or Ranaudos, hit me up, let's make a trade and then I will have more content to post about!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I Think I See A Pattern Forming Here....

It's getting harder and harder to find Matt Harrison cards that I don't already have. I don't really look for Nick Martinez cards anymore, and I rarely buy a Rusty Greer card on eBay (I just can't bring myself to pay $3 to have a 25 cent card shipped to me...I need Greer cards in lots!). 

I've also stopped buying boxes. My budget just won't allow it. 

However, I still have the itch to add cards. And I have added a few. When I look at them, I think I see a pattern. My last post showed off a sweet Joey Gallo auto. This post is going to share a few more Gallo cards.

See the pattern?

Gallo is the Rangers' best prospect, and he didn't do too shabby when he was called up this year. Keep in mind - he really hadn't played above Double A when he was summoned. However, when you come up the same year that Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa do, you may be judged unfairly. It sucks, but it makes his cards affordable.

For instance, I snagged this guy for less than $3:

This is Gallo's photo variation rookie card. I like it quite a bit.

I was also able to snag this card:

Look strange? Here, compare it:

That is the standard base card from 2015 Heritage High Number on the right. The card on the left is the reverse print: the front is a matte finish, the rear is glossy. Now, I tried to get a copy of Mitch Moreland's reverse print and the card sold for more than $30. Rumor is that each card is limited to 10 or fewer copies, hence the reason for the price.

That being said, the seller had this card listed as "2015  Topps Heritage Joey Gallo RC #647 Rangers Reverse 1/1?" I felt that he had no idea what he had and contemplated sending him a message to let him know what the card was exactly. However, I checked his profile and saw that he was an experienced seller...he should know exactly what he is going to sell if that's the route he wants to take. Sounds kind of prickish, but I think it's fair to expect that of a high-volume seller.

Anyway, the card is pretty freakin' sweet. I'm happy to add it. And I think I'll get back to actively collecting Gallo cards. So, help me out and send me what you got!

Friday, November 6, 2015

An Introspective -OR- Where I Am Today

Just about 11 months ago, I decided to make a serious life change. I decided to quit my well-paying job and return to school to work on my PhD, which doesn't pay terribly well while you are in school. 

This meant that my card budget would be cut back. It was hard for me to do that. I didn't have much of a social life while I was working, so baseball cards were my "thing" - that thing I do that is just for me, to give me an escape. My social life - and budget - were cut drastically when I came back to school. 

Along the way, I was able to save up and buy a few boxes, clearly breaking my new year's goal of only buying one box of three different products. I also got rid of some of the less-essential parts of my collection.

I also noticed that a few blogs threw in the towel during the last eleven months. There were times when I thought I should be one of them. I have only been able to post five or six times a month. I would wonder if anything I wrote was of any value to anyone. 

But I kept stepping forward. Here I am today, writing about my recent journey. I don't know where I am going with my collection, but this blog has been rather cathartic for me. I love reading about other people's adventures, and I love communicating with other bloggers as well. 

So enough of that. Let's look take a look at a card that I didn't know if I would ever get:

This dropped with 2015 Topps Update. When I saw Gallo was on the list, I expected that his card would be through the roof. I put this card in my search on my eBay app and waited as I saw it regularly sell for nearly $20. That was a bit rich for my blood...that kind of money is generally reserved for Matt Harrison cards.

However, this one was listed for $9 buy it now and free shipping. I was more than okay paying that price for the card. So, after pressing the button and waiting about a week, I received this card. 

If I had one problem, it would be that it's a sticker auto. But it is what it is, and I'm glad I have it. 

Are there any cards from Update that you absolutely have to have?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Four Down...One To Go

In June, I noted that I had yet to add any of my Top 5 Most Wanted cards to my collection. Shortly thereafter, I added the Jon Daniels auto from the 2012 General Managers autograph subset.

Shortly thereafter, I added another card from the list in this 2013 Topps Heritage Matt Harrison mini.

A couple months passed. I swung a huge deal with an eBay seller and was so excited about the deal, I forgot to mention that the #1 card from the list was included.

Well, it's time to add another. This one...I was afraid I would never find this one.

Feast your eyes on....

2014 Topps Matt Harrison acetate parallel numbered 10 of 10!

I've been watching for this card since well before it was put on the list. Never saw one. Was pretty sure I would never see one.

Until last week. It hit eBay at 99 cents, so I put in a max bid that I knew would cover it - when you think you will only have one chance at a card, you make sure you don't lose.

So, with about an hour to go, the auction was still at 99 cents. I got my hopes up that I would sneak this one out for cheap. Then reality kicked me in the shin and bidders started running it up, all the way past....$16. Still not a bad deal. 

Sometimes, you just get really excited for a card. You know that no one else will probably give a damn, but that card means the word to you. For me, right now, this is that card.

Monday, October 12, 2015

On Trajectory To Another Project

Ah, the forced title created to make a pun on part of my collection...never gets old.

I was looking through my trade bait a few days ago, and I noticed something. I had seven cards from the 2014 Topps Trajectory relic set listed. I located them in my trade box and took them out to look at.

Short story: I decided I really liked the cards. 

I don't what it is about them, but I like them. I know that Topps refuses to verify what game or event the jerseys were worn at, but that doesn't mean the cards can't be cool, right?

There's just something about them. So I decided that I needed to have a copy of every one!

<Drum roll, please>

Introducing, my new project: the 2014 Topps Trajectory Relic set!

This set boasts more than 80 cards. Naturally, I need to have every one of them! However, my collection is currently set to the base set, not including gold parallels numbered to 99 or the jumbo relics (though those would be sweet!). 

Here's what I am beginning with (pictures only):

It's late, so I'm not going to go through the trouble of detailing all of these. However, if you have a card that will fit in this project and you are wondering if I need it, you can check my project needs page

So what do you think? Like the cards? Love 'em? HATE 'em? Lemme know!

PS - Nick over at Dime Boxes is going dark for a bit. In case you haven't already, go give his blog a read. It is infinitely cooler than mine and has all kinds of cool stuff. After you've read, leave him a note to let him know you were there. Hopefully, he won't leave us permanently! 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Is This Thing On????

I'm just checking because I haven't heard much from anyone after my last post. Sure, Brian left a comment, but until he starts blogging again, he's on my sh*tlist.....I'm so mad at him right now, I haven't even taken a moment to tease him about is love of softball (you didn't think I forgot, did you Brian?).

So here's the deal. In my last post, I said that I wanted to start trading for the remaining Matt Harrison cards I need. I even went so far as to say that anyone who traded with me would get one entry per Harrison card sent my way to my upcoming contest.

What's the contest, you ask? Well, I am working on it. Not sure what all will be included, but one thing that will definitely be an autographed baseball with TriStar verification.

But I decided to expand the game a bit. Matt Harrison is clearly my number one PC. However, I am going to add Rusty Greer to the mix. So for every Matt Harrison and/or Rusty Greer card you send me, you will receive one entry until December 1, which is when I will draw a winner! All I ask is that you send me cards I don't already have! That simple!

Now take a look at my trade bait (frequently - it's still a work in progress!) and let's make a trade!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Disaster (Somewhat) Averted...So Let's Look At Some Cards!

Last you heard from me, I was typing a late night post from my office because my computer crashed.

Well, I am officially typing from home now. But not on the same computer. It's officially dead.

Nope, the old computer is gone. And it isn't a bad thing. I hated that thing. So, after having someone look at it, laugh, and then tell me in computer nerd jargon (no offense) that it was dead, I just went and bought another one. A cheap one - I have a nice desktop in my office, so I wasn't about to spend a ton of money on a new one.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to have recently moved almost everything blog related to an external hard drive, so I didn't to do much recovery.

So here we are, typing away on a new machine. But no one cares.

Let's look at some new cards!

I sold off a few more cards that I didn't have a place for and added some that fit better. First up:

Not really collecting Yu, but I snagged this card for 99 cents. Can't beat that, so I happily added to the collection.

This Refractor-y relic numbered to 25 is of the future of the Ranger's franchise, Joey Gallo. He didn't have a ton of success a the major league level this year - a lot of strikeouts but a few MONSTER home runs - but he hadn't played above Double A before he was called up. Some players need to progress to develop their eye at the plate. No worries there.

But here's the belle of the ball, in terms of my most recent pickups. This is the 2008 Blue Refractor Auto of Matt Harrison from 2008 Bowman Chrome. In terms of autos, this leaves me needing only the red, superfractor and printing plate autos.

Which leads me to something I think can be very interesting. I need quite a few Harrison cards. However, most of them are base cards or parallels (many of which are non- or high-numbered). I'm tired of having to buy all of my needs - I want to trade for some. So I'm going to have myself a little contest.

If you have a Matt Harrison card that I need (and don't have), take a look at my trade bait and let's make a deal. For every card you trade me, you will receive one entry into my contest. On December 1, I will draw a name as the winner of the contest. What will you win? Not sure yet. A blaster, cards from my trade bait - anything is possible. However, I will make one guarantee. The winner will receive one autographed baseball that is certified.

So that's all you have to do! Send me Harrison cards and get entered to win a prize pack that includes an autographed ball!


Thursday, October 1, 2015


Well, a disaster for me. 

This week has been horrible for me. I had to have a "Come to Jesus" meeting with my students because they, as a whole, were not performing to even the most basic standards. Then, yesterday, someone keyed my truck. The truck is black, so the scratch really jumps out at you.

But Murphy was really waiting for me today....

I was finishing up a paper for one of my midterms when my computer gave me this screen:

From here, it just continually loops from the black and white startup screen to "Windows is starting..." 

So here I sit in my office, nearly midnight, just submitted my midterm (just in time!).

So what exactly does that mean?

Well, first it means that I need to figure out a way to salvage all of my photos. I had everything neatly organized on my computer's hard drive.

Second, it means that I may be out of commission for a bit until I can find a new computer. I hope I can find a cheap one because it is going to cost about $400 to get my truck fixed in the areas with the scratches. 

So, anyone care to donate to a Go Fund me page?! Hahaha

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Where To Go From Here" -OR- "Stuck In A Rut (Again)"

Nothing feels worse than apathy. And that, my friends, is pretty much exactly how I feel right now.

When it comes to cardboard, I've been snatching it up (for the second time) since about 2012. It started with me grabbing anything and everything I could get my hands on. So much had changed since the early 1990's (when I stopped collecting) that I just couldn't wrap my head around it.

Then things started to slow. I lost interest. I had jumped in the deep end, flew too close to the sun - pick your phrase - in short, I just took on too much too fast. I had to step away for a bit to let the urge and desire to collect to wash over me again. And like a rising tide, it did.

Since then, I have refocused on a few things. I stopped trying to build every set that was released. Instead, I focused on flagship, Ginter and Heritage. I also decided to put more effort into my player collections. My Matt Harrison PC is still a thing of beauty (in my eyes), but we'll see how I feel when his first card in a Phillies uni is released. Besides that, most of the remaining cards are either pricey, MIA, or a combination of the two.

But other than that one, I haven't focused a lot on player collections. I started a Mitch Moreland PC, and though I haven't uploaded any scans, I do have quite a few cards. My interest in the Nick Martinez PC has waned. I don't think I have purchased a card for his PC in two or three months. Rusty Greer...neglected. Oh yeah, I also have a Martin Perez PC. Forgot about that one. In my list and in my collecting habits.

So here's the conundrum I'm facing. Current products are getting so expensive that set building is out of the question. And let's face it - nothing really jumps out and says "Collect Me!" anyway. Modern player collecting is fun, but again, the parallels and prices can get prohibitive. After all, I do have OCD, so missing cards (especially those damn 1/1's) drives me crazy. But I do want something that will allow me to collect for years to come, and something that has some meat to it, so to speak. Lastly, I want something that will facilitate more trades with other bloggers and readers. I haven't been doing much of that lately (and that is my fault).

With that being said, one of the people I most admire is the Junior Junkie. His dedication to collecting The Kid is amazing. I would be lying if I didn't say that I have looked at his list on more than one occasion as inspiration to keep going.

If I'm going to start talking about collections I admire, then I have to give some credit to "Mouschi," the most insane Jose Conseco collector around. Not only is he a supercollector, he also goes above and beyond in creating his own Conseco cards. His quest for everything Conseco landed him at Conseco's home for a private signing!!! That led to him sharing the cover of Beckett with Conseco and Joey Gallo. 

And those aren't only two. Daniel, proprietor of it's like having my own cardshop, has an amazing D-Backs bobblehead collection. William (the good man that inspired me to start blogging) has an AWESOME collection of Hall of Fame autographed baseballs. Fuji has awesome flea market finds. And I wish I could be half the writer that Night Owl is. 

I got off on a tangent, but what I was trying to say is simple. All of these gentlemen have amazing focus in their collecting and/or blogging efforts. I want more of that. Instead of having a bunch of player collections with a couple hundred cards each, I want something massive. Currently, Rusty Greer would be the largest (in terms of total cards), with slightly more than 800 total cards. My next thought is Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. A quick Beckett search comes back with more than 8,000 cards. Ummmm....maybe that's too big. 

Anyway, at this point I am rambling. What do you think? Does anyone have any advice for me? I could definitely use it right about now.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Beauty For The Matt Harrison PC

Additions to the Matt Harrison PC are starting to come in at a much slower rate. I've acquired most of the base cards, so it seems that the only cards remaining are the expensive ones. However, I'm able to snag one of those at a decent price. Such is the case with my newest addition.

This is the 2008 Bowman Chrome Orange Refractor auto. I've seen it pop up on eBay here and there, but it always seemed to be listed around $100 (or more). However, this one was listed auction style starting at 99 cents.

I put in my max bid and waited...and waited...five-day auctions seem to take forever.

No matter. At the end of the auction, I was the winner. Best part - I only paid $12 and change. And shipping was free! 

So here she is, in all her orang-y glory!

Hope everyone is well! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Foray Into 2015 Bowman Chrome

Today, I decided to give in and buy some 2015 Bowman Chrome. After thinking about it, I decided to that I should get a jumbo box and a hobby box.

And I did just that. I started with the jumbo box.

In terms of refractors, I had some decent luck with color. The best was the gold Brett Lawrie, if only for the low numbering.

Strangely, this was the first auto I pulled. It hails from 2014 Bowman Chrome. My guess is that Williams didn't sign his cards in time to get them into the product and redemption cards weren't available.

The next auto was this purple refractor of Senzatela. Never heard of him, but it seems his cards are selling well. Sweet deal.

Isael Soto...never heard of him either.

Pedro Severino. A name I have heard....I thought. Pretty sure I'm thinking of Louis Severino.

This gold refractor auto of Sergio Alcantara was by far and away my best hit of the box.

With that, I decided to move on to the hobby box. And it was a bit of a dud.....

The Strasburg was the best of the base refractors, and the Santana blue refractor was the only colored refractor in the box.

The autos weren't much better (if they were better at all....)....

Juan Meza....

and Miguel Castro. A Blue Jays hotbox, and I've never heard of either of them.

As I opened the next pack, my exact words were:

"This is the worst f*cking box of cards I've ever HOLY SH*T!!!!"

Naturally, as I'm bad-mouthing the box, I pull the best Bowman card I've ever pulled. This Mallex Smith (helluva name, kid) red refractor auto.... numbered 5 of 5. eBay one of one, y'all!!!!

I really wish I was a Braves collector! I've listed the card on eBay to help me recoup the costs of my boxes. A part of me hopes it doesn't sell so that I have an excuse to keep it in my collection! Either way, how cool is that?!?! Any Braves fan tell me if he's any good?

So that's it for my boxes. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Stumblin' Down Memory Lane - My Take

Fuji had a post this morning in which he walked us down memory lane. He shared a couple memories of him and a friend visiting Hawaii and Mexico. If you haven't checked it out, do yourself a favor and click the link and go read it. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Take your time.

Finished? Okay then.

I wanted to take you down my memory lane. Back to my very first trip to a professional baseball game.

I'll admit upfront that while I remember it as if it were yesterday, I can't remember if it was 1992 or 1993. So, forgive me for that.

Either way, my dad was in town visiting (long story short, my parents divorced when I was 7). I watched every game on tv with my grandfather. My dad knew this and decided to take me to a game. 

Prior to leaving town, we went to Walmart and purchased a baseball and a Texas Rangers pen in hopes that I would be able to get an autograph or two.

The entire trip o Arlington, I remember asking "How much further?" At some point, I got the inevitable response, "If you ask again, we're going home."

After what seemed like a three-hour car ride, we finally arrived at Arlington Stadium, the first home of the Texas Rangers. Here's a look from inside the old park:

Image from
You can't see them in this photo, but all of the outfield seats were aluminum benches. Aluminum plus Texas summer heat equals a very painful evening.

Anyway, we made our way in and immediately went to the first base dugout where the Rangers were signing autographs. Player after player came up and passed me by. Adults were in front of me and none of the players could see me. For whatever reason, my dad couldn't get them out of my way.

I started getting upset, and if I remember correctly, I almost started crying. Finally, another player walked up and began signing for fans. After about 30 seconds, I heard in a very thick Texas drawl, "Y'all step aside and let the kids up here." 

And with that, the seas parted, I stepped forward and Nolan Ryan said to me, "Hey kid, how ya doin?" I was too shocked to say anything other than "Thank You" when he handed my ball back to me, shining with his signature in the sweet spot.

I don't remember anything else about that game. I don't remember who the Rangers played or if they even won the game. All I did the entire time was look at the ball in disbelief. 

We left that day and my passion for collecting autographs was born. The best part is that I still have that ball:

Sure, it's faded (I didn't know the importance of pen selection back then), but it's still my favorite ball in my collection. This isn't just an autographed ball. This ball is every memory I have from the ballpark as a kid. Sure, it wasn't at every game I went to, but it was at the first game I went to.

So that's my trip down memory lane. What's yours? I hope you take a moment to post and share!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

New Additions to the 2010 T206 Auto Project

I haven't posted much lately. I have a lot of things going on - school starting, new class that I'm teaching, new research I'm trying to get in order - and my free time has been very little. However, I have managed to snag a few cards here and there.

I made a small dent in my 2010 Topps T206 American Caramel auto needs. Check them out below.

Dallas Braden (Texas Tech alum! Wreck 'Em!)
Franklin Morales
Joey Devine
Joel Hanrahan
I really love these cards. Most have been fairly inexpensive so far, but that has to change at some point. The set includes names like Madison Bumgarner and David Ortiz, so I know that I am going to have to fork over some cash if I want to complete the set.

What do you think? Love 'em or hate 'em? (You won't hurt my feelings if you don't like them, trust me)

Hope everyone is well!