Thursday, December 22, 2016

Box Break: 2016 Topps Archives 65th Anniversary Edition

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I had to run to the grocery store to grab a few things for our family dinner. In my town, that means I had to run to Walmart, as there really isn't much competition.

I decided to check the card aisle to see what was available. I noticed a box of Archives, and I was hooked when I saw the term: "1 guaranteed auto per box."

I grabbed a box and almost choked when I checked out, as it was priced at $24.99 (I did not pay attention to the price on the aisle). 

I was even more upset when I opened the box. Of everything I pulled, only two cards warrant a discussion, and only because one was the auto and the other a "parallel."

Let's start with the parallel:

I didn't think to scan the back, but it is a red back parallel numbered to 50. I'm sure somebody is a Cruz fan, but I'm not one of them.

As for the auto:

Nothing against Scott Hatteberg, but I think I would have preferred a Chris Pratt auto (see what I did there?).

Needless to say, I only purchased one box of this. It is what it is, I suppose. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

LCS Black Friday Box: 2014 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks

Still trying to catch up on my posting. Last month, my LCS had a Black Friday sale. I was home for Thanksgiving, so I missed it. However, I made a point to visit when I returned to Lubbock. The only box he had left over was a box of 2014 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks. I'm not much for logo-less cards, but I couldn't pass up the deal. 

The box had a good bit of color. I snagged three colored prizm parallels: 

I've heard of Castellani, but the other two are foreign to me. I looked up Norwood, and I now feel sorry for the guy. He shares a name with a European footballer (i.e. soccer player) who dressed up in blackface for a team party. Not a great look.

My box also had four autographs. 

I've definitely heard of Derek Fisher. This is a base Prizm auto.

This is a Purple Prizm auto of Royals backstop Chase Vallot. Never heard of him, either.

This is a blue pulsar auto of former Dodgers' farmhand Grant Holmes. I've actually heard of Holmes. This card probably had a lot more value before he was traded to the A's.

And the final auto:

Another Grant Holmes! This one of the red prizm variety. It was a Holmes hot box!!!

Not bad for what I paid for the box. It was a fun break. All of the cards shown in this post are officially up for trade!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Topps Sent Me a Christmas Gift

You may have seen a few of these posting up on Twitter and other blogs, but I'm going to go ahead and share just in case you haven't.

I checked my mailbox earlier today and found a Christmas card from Topps.

Included with the Christmas card was an actual card. More specifically, a Topps NOW highlight card:

Naturally, the card would feature the Cubs, the Yankees....

...and the Red Sox. Nice to see a nod to Ichiro included, also. 

Now don't get me wrong, Kris Bryant represents just about everything that brought the Cubs their first title in more than 100 years. And I understand acknowledging Big Papi, as this was his last season. And Ichiro is, well, inhuman......

I don't hate Gary Sanchez, I really don't. What he did this year was incredible. But aligning that with the other three moments featured on the card isn't quite right. To me, the other moments represent a culmination of events: careers for Ichiro and Ortiz and an entire century (and more) of waiting for the Cubs. 

So, you ask, what would have been more appropriate for the card?

Well, including this guy would have been my first choice:

Of all of the people retiring, I'm not sure many represent a true history of the game in the way that Mr. Vin Scully does. The man has made some of the most iconic calls in the sport's history. Scully represents the final tie to times of old. With him gone, the sport has lost it's history's keeper, essentially.

I didn't sit down to criticize Topps for their card design; the thoughts came to me as I was typing. In reality, I think it is a very kind gesture by the company to send out these cards to everyone who purchased a Topps NOW card. We often spend a good bit of time complaining about Topps, but on occasion, they get something right. This is one of those times.

Thanks Topps!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

So I'm Superstitious...

No reason for this post other than to move my post count to 667.

That was a close one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Some PSA Goodness

I turned in my last final a couple of hours ago. I turned in grades for the class I taught a bit earlier in the day. What does that mean? I'm officially done with the semester!!!

Well, I have a bunch of research to do over the break, but that's the life of an academic. Always trying to plan ahead for tenure.

Regardless, this is the first opportunity I have had in a while to post. So I'm not going to miss the opportunity.

A wihle back, I threw some cards into my LCS owner's PSA order. I got them back a couple weeks ago, and I was stunned.

First up, I included this Phil Bickford team omission auto from '16 Heritage Minors:

The guy had some promise, but was suspended for the first 50 games of next season for his second failed drug test. C'mon, man....I hope he gets his act together. Drugs lead people down bad roads.

Next up was this Tyler O'Neill green bat variation from 2016 Heritage Minors:

I don't know much about O'Neill, other than that he is supposedly one of the Mariners' top prospects. ranks him as #2, behind Kyle Lewis. This leaves me in a dilemma: I want him to do well so the card increases in value, but, as a Mariners prospect, I also want him to fail miserably (relax, I don't really want him to fail...I just don't want him to succeed against the Rangers).

Next up, Jon Daniels GM Signature card from 2012 Topps:

This is one of my favorite cards in my collection. I wanted it for a while before I finally got it. When I got back into collecting, the first auto I pulled from flagship was the GM auto from now-former DBacks GM Josh Byrnes. It was one of the pulls that brought me back to the hobby.

Lastly, I sent in my Cole Hamels Real One auto from '16 Heritage:

Anyone see the problem with this?????

For some reason, the grader at PSA decided that Cole Hamels was demoted and listed this as a Minor League Real One Auto.

I just double checked, and PSA still has it listed with the error. eBay 1 of 1, anyone??? But seriously, is there an eBay market for PSA errors?

Anyway, back to the main story. The thing that shocked me about this order? All of my cards came back Gem Mint 10s. That's kind of crazy, right? I'm definitely not complaining.

Well, that's it for now. It is officially almost 2 a.m. my time. I am going to do a few things to clean up my desk and then I am off to bed. I hope everyone is well!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cards From P-Town!!!!

I'm WAAAAAAY behind on posting. Grad school has been eating me alive, so when I get home, I haven't really been doing much in the way of collecting...and that includes posting here. I'm trying to rectify that, but I make no guarantees.

A while back, before the Cubs won it all, our good friend P-Town Tom of the now former "Waiting 'Til Next Year" blog sent me a stack of Rangers cardboard, which I am more than grateful for (if you're interested, you can go here to learn about the new name of Tom's blog).

Tom also indulged me on another project I have wanted to do, which I haven't forgotten about, Tom! I promise!

As I'm currently sitting in my advanced theory class, I don't have a ton of time today. Therefore, I'm going to share the cards that Tom sent over without much detail. Tom, I apologize - but know that I am really thankful for them!!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

My First Twitter Trade: I Now Have A 2016 Allen & Ginter Unannounced Mini!!!

A couple weeks back, I took my search for the 2016 Allen & Ginter "Skippers" mini insert of Rangers manager Jeff Banister. I've been watching on eBay and have even made a few bid, but all cards were out of my price range. So I asked the Twittersphere to help me out. 

@CRyden33 came to the rescue. A few messages back and forth and we agreed on a trade that was more than fair. I went home for the holiday, and when I returned this guy was in my mailbox:

That's one handsome card!

I super stoked to have this in my collection. The SSP unannounced minis always seem really hard to get, so I am glad I found someone willing to make a trade.

I hope everyone have a relaxing Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's That Time of Year: My Annual Collecting Crisis Has Arrived

In what seems like an annual event, I once again find myself in a collecting funk, so to speak. I honestly don't know what is to blame for it this time because there are so many possible culprits. For instance, I have been at school studying, teaching and conducting research until at least midnight on an almost daily basis. I'm finishing up coursework this semester and will begin my dissertation in January. I'm trying to figure out if I want to teach or consult, or perhaps a combination of both. Beyond that, I still stress about my father's health. Speaking of stress, this election didn't really help. The campaign was truly divisive, and what's going on in the streets is just as, if not more, concerning. So yeah, I have a few things on my mind.

But I find myself now evaluating what I want to get out of collecting. I know I really enjoy sets like Heritage, Allen & Ginter and Stadium Club, so I think I want to continue building those. But other parts of my collection are no longer interesting to me. For instance, I think I am ready to jettison my Joey Gallo PC. Also on the chopping block:

My Texas Rangers Stadium Give Away (SGA) bobblehead collection. For whatever reason, I just lost interest, almost overnight. Another odd collection that I am ready to get rid of?

My Funko Pop! Marvel bobbles. No. More. Interest. I know these aren't baseball related, but they were definitely part of my collecting habits.

I don't want this to seem all doom and gloom for me. While I may have lost the itch for a few things, I have found myself enjoying different parts of my collection. For instance, I have been attempting to scan, front and back, every Ranger card that I have with the hopes of have a "Ranger Cardboard Encyclopedia," of sorts. This project is definitely fun, but it involves a lot of work. It makes me realize how many cards that I don't have. 

Furthermore, I also enjoy getting my sets into binders. It definitely makes my OCD more at ease when everything is in order. As I am learning for myself (but I've been hearing from y'all for a few years now), pages and binders can get pricey. But it feels that the project is well worth the work and cost.

I also feel excited to continue building my Rusty Greer and Matt Harrison PCs. 

So there's my crisis. I am looking to jettison some things and add some things. I guess I just need to figure out where to start. 

PS - If you have any interest in the above-mentioned items (Gallo, bobbleheads, Pops!), let me know. I'm ready to move 'em out!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grabbing a few Big Names for my 1969 Topps Set at Duane's

Earlier in the month, I was home for a wedding and decided that I wanted to stop by Duane's Sportscards in Arlington. Among other things, I wanted to grab a few cards for my 1969 set, as I felt that I was neglecting it.

Duane's always has a large selection of vintage, and usually the prices are pretty good. They may cost a bit more than eBay, but I'm happy to pay a little more to help out a card dealer that I know.

Anyway, I snagged four cards, all of players that are pretty well known. As I am currently sitting in class, I'm just going to post scans of the cards and who is portrayed on them.

First up:

Don Sutton

Phil Niekro

Juan Marichal

And lastly, Joe Torre.

So that's it for now. Hope everyone is having a good day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I'm Looking for Your Input!!!

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

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

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

From here, I create a Rangers-only checklist:

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

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

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

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

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

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



Nothing special, but it completes a set!

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

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Few Boxes of 2016 Heritage Minor Leagues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My relics were decent:

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

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

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

Hey, that isn't too bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what exactly did I win?

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

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

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