Monday, July 27, 2015

A Good Day for a Nice Cold Coca-Cola

It has been pretty hot here in Southern California over the last couple weeks and in addition to the higher temperatures, we are experiencing some pretty high humidity as well - very rare for So Cal.  My card room is the only room upstairs so when I get a chance to escape the craziness of the house for a while it is upstairs I go.  I am typing right now with sweat running down the back of my neck, despite a little breeze through the open window and the ceiling fan on full speed.

For the last several months, when I look down on my desk I have been seeing this:

 This is the wrapper from last year's Giants' AT&T Park card give away with a nice big Coca-Cola across the top.  What I wouldn't give for a nice cold beverage right now.  I decided I finally needed to get this post written so I can remove this tease from my desk.

As far as I can tell, the Giants started giving away team sets packaged like this in 2005 with Emerald Nuts being the sponsor.  In 2013 the sponsor shifted to Chevron and last year Coca-Cola joined the mix.  According to the list of AT&T Park promotions there isn't a card giveaway scheduled for this year which bums me out.  If you hear different please let me know.  The last 2-3 years I have bought a set right after the game and I have slowly been picking up the other team sets.  The 2010 set featuring a Buster Posey rookie was elusive for quite some time with the only sets on eBay having Buy It Now prices of $85-$100 which is too rich for my blood.  That may change in the not too distant future.

Here is the team set in numerical order.

The design on the front mirrors the 2014 Topps release.  The red Coca-Cola logo across the bottom right doesn't really detract from the photo, I kind of like it.  Outside of Joe Panik, who at the time of this set release wasn't even in the big leagues, Travis Ishikawa who was a late signing and Jake Peavy who was a later in the year trade acquisition, I think all the key players for the championship run are included in the set.  I flipped over the Joaquin Arias card to show the back (I am sick of looking at his photo - it bugs me) and as you can see only the card numbering differs from the Topps flagship release.  One thing that did throw me for a loop is the lack of a card #SF7.  At first I thought my sealed pack might have been missing a card but I can find no record of it anywhere.  So either this was part of the lame Mickey Mantle tribute, there was an error or someone got pulled late.

Regardless, I am very happy with this addition to my Giants collection.  Now off to get a cold drink!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Filling in Some Complete Set Gaps

One of my collecting goals I set when I got back into cards in the early 2000s was to have a complete run of Fleer, Donruss and Upper Deck sets and to go back as far as I could with Topps.  I did a solid job of seeking out the sets missing from my collection.  I have a complete run of Donruss which is part of the reason I have been pursuing the new Donruss set from Panini the last 2 years - the completionist in me requires it.  I almost completed Upper Deck but am missing the 1998 set, this is a set that isn't too abundant and in the rare case I run across one it has been cost prohibited to pick up.  I didn't do quite as well with Fleer and have a few gaps. Fleer got complicated as they didn't produce Fleer sets a few times and only went with Fleer Tradition but there were a couple years where there were both.  I decided I would collect Fleer Tradition only when a Fleer set wasn't produced.  I have filled in all the Topps gaps and continue to work forward and backward completing each new set and going backwards with working sets for 1970-1972 Topps, 1973 and up are finished.

Recently my LCS acquired a bunch of the small box sets and put them up for sale which made me curious about which Traded and Update sets I had and which ones I needed.  While I have been diligent about building the Topps Update set each year I never went back and acquired the Traded Sets.  Around the same time Sportlots auctions popped up for a few sets for a 25 cent starting bid and fairly reasonable shipping.  I went shopping and got these:

As far as I can tell, this is the only Traded Set that Donruss ever produced and it is highlighted by a Nolan Ryan card.  I have decided to keep my sets sealed, at least of the time being.

 The 1988 Fleer Update set features rookies of Al Leiter, David Wells, and HOFers Roberto Alomar, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio.  It also has Mark Grace on his first solo Fleer card - a pretty good group of players in this set.

 The 1991 Fleer Update set, in all its yellow greatness has rookie cards cards of Ivan Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell - two guys I think belong in the HOF.

I wasn't sure whether to pick this one up or not as I only have 2 Score sets in my collection but since one of the two is 1990 (the other is their initial offering in 1988) I thought this would fit well in my collection.  The best cards in this set are probably Frank Thomas, he had a card in the base set so this isn't a rookie card, and hockey player Eric Lindros who took a stab at baseball around this time.

I got these four sets for $14.24 delivered, not sure if that is a good price but I am happy to have them in my collection.

A few days ago, my LCS had this for sale for $5, I needed it and decided to pick it up:

The 1987 Fleer Update set features Greg Maddux's rookie card along with first solo Fleer cards of Mark McGwire and Fred McGriff.  It also has a rookie card of former Giants 3B Matt Williams.

I was pretty happy with these pick ups, it gave me the full run of Fleer Update sets from 1987-1991 and inspired me to create a list of sets I would like to add to my collection, primarily from the Traded and Update sets.  I have posted the list on my Set Want List at the bottom and also copied it over to this post.  If you have one of these and are willing to trade it, let me know and we can work out a deal.

Complete Set Want List
1974 Topps Traded
1981-1985 Topps Traded
1992 Topps Traded
1994-1995 Topps Traded
1999-2002 Topps Traded

2005-2007 Topps Opening Day

1995 Upper Deck Traded
1997 Upper Deck Series 1 Update
1998 Upper Deck

1984-1986 Fleer Update
1992 Fleer Update
1993 Fleer Final Edition
1994 Fleer Update
1997 Fleer
1998-1999 Fleer Tradition
2005 Fleer Tradition
2006 Fleer

1989 Score
1991-1998 Score

Mid Year Collecting Goal Report Card

Due to my absence from blogging, I missed my usual mid-year report out on my collection goals for 2015.  I doubt there is much interest from my blog readers but it gives me a good chance to reflect and see where my focus should shift moving forward through the end of the year.  So here are the goals I set with some comments on where I am at:

1. Obtain all 2015 Giants base cards from all releases.

I am keeping up pretty well on this having all the base cards from these 2015 releases: Bowman, Bowman Chrome Prospects, Bowman Prospects, Diamond Kings, Donruss, Finest, Panini Prizm, Topps Series 1, Topps Archives, Topps Gypsy Queen, Topps Heritage, Topps Stickers, and Topps Tribute.

I have some work to do on Leaf Heroes of Baseball, Panini Father’s Day, Stadium Club, Topps Series 2, Topps Chipz, Topps Museum Collection, and Topps Opening Day.

Overall I am feeling pretty good about this goal and should be able to keep up with it.

2. Acquire at least 800 Giants base cards from years past.  My want list has about 2800 going back to 1948.  I have no idea if this is a realistic target, I will try and knock as many off this list as I can but want to set some sort of goal.

I am down to under 2200 cards on my base want list after quite a number of larger purchases.  This doesn’t include quite a few 2014 pick ups and all of my 2015 pick ups.  I am guessing I am close to 700 cards putting 800 well within reach this year.

3.  Concentrate my player collections on obtaining all the base cards of these players.  Certain player like McCovey, Vida and Lott will still get the focus of all cards including base.
Willie McCovey
Rickey Henderson
Vida Blue
Reggie Jackson
Dave Winfield
Ben Petrick
Dave Parker (as a Pirate)
Chili Davis
Ronnie Lott
Roger Craig
Dwight Clark
Chris Webber
Charles Barkley
Patrick Ewing
I have started making a few base card only want lists and added them to the bottom of my posted want lists.  I am using so I doubt it will be 100% accurate but should help in my shopping excursions.

I have been keeping up with my McCovey collection quite well.  I have picked up nice lots of cards of Petrick, Chili, and Webber. I have picked of at least of few cards of everyone else on the list as well so I am feeling pretty good.  I do have the base cards want lists established for most.  I have also done some good work on my Harold Miner collection that wasn’t even listed above. 

 4. Finish my 1970 Topps set which will include:
Paying off lay-away balance at old LCS for all but 17 off my want list
Tracking down the final 17 cards that include: Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson RC, Hank Aaron AS, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, Willie Mays, Al Kaline, Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan

I finished paying off the lay away from my old LCS and have the cards in my possession.  My want list is down to 15 cards including the big names listed above.  Having started looking at the prices of the cards I need, this is going to be an expense endeavor.  I need to decide if my limited budget will be spend here or elsewhere.

5.  Knock 150 cards off 1971 Topps want list (currently at 340/752)

I am at 441/752, I have added 101 cards - 2/3 of the way there, within reach.

6. Knock 100 cards off 1972 Topps want list (currently at 481/787)

I am at 489/787, I have only added 8 cards so far - lots of work to do.

7. Complete 1956 Topps Presidents set (currently at 29/36 with 2 on the way)

I am down to needing just 2 cards to complete this set, optimistic that I will be able to accomplish this goal.

8. Get all my base cards and inserts that aren’t part of sets or my player and team collections uploaded into Sportlots.  I just finished sorting and inputting about 5000 baseball cards that I have acquired since my move about 18 months ago and have a total of over 48,000 cards in the database.  I have tons of base cards from the early 80s to mid 2000s in a closest that I want to get input as well.  In addition to selling $20-$80/month in cards that I can turn around and use to buy new ones (almost like trading), Sportlots gives me a great database to locate the cards I have.  If you have needs by player or set, let me know and I can do a quick search.

I have added all the 2014-15 baseball cards into Sportlots and have a couple small stacks on my table.  I have changed my mind about all the cards in my closet, at least for the time being.  I do have a 5000 count box of football cards that need to be inventoried.  That is the next to do item for this goal.

9. Obtain at least 1 Giants card that will be the oldest in my collection.  I currently have 4 1933 Goudeys that are tied for my oldest card.

Thanks to Zippy Zappy, I now have a 1909 T206 card of Art Devlin.  Mission accomplished.

10. Make significant progress on my 49ers Vintage set collection and have at least 100 different cards by year end.

I have posted 3 team sets - 1968. 1971 & 1977 and have quite a few other cards that haven’t been posted.  My total collection is currently at 84 cards so this one is well within reach.

11. Update USC Football checklist with releases from the past 3-5 years (they are hit and miss) and obtain 50% of all base cards from 2014 and 2015.

Just finished updating my checklist - it was quite a chore.  I have picked up some of the base cards but haven’t really made a list or figured out how many - that will need to be my next step.

12. My first non-base focused goal will be to add 6 certified autographs of players new to my Baseball HOF collection.

This goal is complete.  I have shared 5 so far on the blog and will be sharing number 6 soon.  To keep an air of mystery I will save the name of #6 until I post the card.  The first 5 were Sparky Anderson, Rod Carew, Barry Larkin, Pat Gillick and Red Schoendienst.  I may be able to exceed this goal if I can pick up a few more at reasonable prices.

13. Maintain set building discipline, try not to collect every set that comes out

I think I am doing okay here.  I have built Topps Series 1 & 2, Topps Opening Day and Donruss.  I also bought the entire Archives set (minus SPs) but it was a pretty cheap pickup and I didn’t buy a box.  The purpose of this goal was to try and keep my box and pack purchases down.  I am pretty sure I am going to go after Allen & Ginter and of course will collect Topps Update and Donruss Series 2.  If I keep it to that, this would be a win.

14. Have fun with the blog, post 200-250 times during the year, hold a couple contests, comment more on the posts of fellow bloggers, continue to trade and send some “just because” packages.

I am having fun but am not sure I will reach the number of posts I desired.  I have a couple contest ideas coming up, made some trades and need to do a better job on the just because so I am okay but not great on this goal.

There you have it, I am feeling pretty good, time to make some shifts and see how many of these goals I can knock off.  Happy collecting!

Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Topps Series 2 - Complete

During my blogging absence, I kept up with some of the newer releases and as I do with every Topps Flagship release I picked up a Hobby Jumbo box. It wasn't a great box, I didn't complete the base set and one of my missing cards was the Kris Bryant rookie.  The hits were fairly weak as well.  Lots of work to do to complete the set along with the insert sets but I went right to work and am happy to report that I have finished.  This is probably the earliest I have had the Series 1 and 2 sets complete in a collecting season which is leading me to strongly consider chasing Allen & Ginter this year.

Right after sorting my cards and recognizing the missing Bryant I went onto Sportlots.  There were 7 cards on the site and 6 of them were selling from $7-10 however there was one listed at the lowest price allowable on Sportlots - $0.18.  I tossed it into my shopping cart and with the $0.75 shipping I ordered the Bryant rookie for under a buck delivered.  I wasn't sure if the card would actually get sent but a few days later it came in the mail.

I next focused my attention on the insert sets and found a different Sportlots seller with most of the inserts at $0.18.  I finished or came close to finishing off the Eclipsing History, First Pitch, Heart of the Order, Highlight of the Year, Stepping Up and Til Its Over sets.  I few singles from other sellers and all but the 2/Jumbo Box - 1/Hobby Box Baseball Royalty set of 25 cards.  I had gotten 2 in my Jumbo including Jeter (very nice!) and sought out some good deals on Sportlots and eBay and just yesterday got the last 2 in the mail to complete the final insert set of Series 2.  This Baseball Royalty set is very nice, my favorite of this release so I thought I would show it all off together:

Great looking set, huh?  I would have liked to see an appearance by Buster or MadBum but it is hard to argue with any of these players.  I really like the design and they are nice think card stock.  Topps has been doing a nice job with these tougher to find inserts and it seems like there is enough production for people like me to finish up the set.

In addition to the set, I have made good progress on the Giants.  I still need the base cards of the 4 rookies but have completed the gold parallel set and have the last 3 rainbow foil parallels on order.   I have picked up dups of some of the inserts but still need a few - check out my 2015 Giants want list if you want to make a trade.

It is nice to put this set to rest so quickly!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pretty Solid Bid Board Wins

My lack of blogging over the past few weeks didn't really stop my card collecting and acquisitions.  I have been able to pick up some really cool stuff and thought I would start with my recent bid board pickups from one of my LCSs.  I was able to pick up all of the cards in this post for $5.75.  Let me know if you think I got a good deal.

I have been spending some time organizing my Trojans collection lately and it is great to pick up some new Trojans, especially since these all feature the players in their Trojan uniforms.  Here we have 2 former Trojan greats along with a rookie TE from 2015 Contenders.  I like the theme of the Old School Colors of the veteran players.  These were solid pick ups but the other group of cards I am about to share excited me, especially at the price:

How about some low priced HOF vintage!  These cards aren't mint but are all in fairly solid shape.  I needed the Palmer card for my 1972 Topps set but the rest were just great additions to my collection.  I have contemplated collecting a Topps base run of Joe Morgan several times before.  I have his rookie card and perhaps a couple others already in my collection and these 4 cards probably solidify that as a future pursuit.  I think the Seaver may be a condition upgrade for my 1971 Topps set.

I try to get out to the LCSs once a week if possible just in case a vintage board such as this one pops up and I was glad to catch this one.  So what do you think, decent purchase?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Zippy Zapped Back Into Blogging

There has been quite a bit going on at the ARPSmith household and I decided to set the blogging aside for a little while, my mind just wasn't in it.  If you have any interest at all with some of what is going on, read the next few paragraphs, if not skip ahead to the killer cards Zippy Zappy from Torren' Up Cards sent my way a little ways back.

One of the distractions that pulled me away was getting a new puppy.  We got Thunder from a rescue center about 5-6 weeks ago and he has already tripled in size from 5.5 pounds to 17 pounds.  He is starting to calm down a bit and the potty training is taking hold.  For the first couple weeks he was waking up 2-3 times/night so I was hitting the sack early taking away from my hobby time.  For the last couple weeks he is staying quiet in his crate throughout the night which is nice from the sleeping and time perspective.  He is turning out to be a great dog and good with the kids - I am pretty excited about the new addition to the family.

Another fun distraction was a nice 4-night vacation to Cambria.  Cambria is a small town on the central coast of California.  We rented a beach house right across the street from the ocean and it was amazing and so relaxing.  We took our 2nd tour of Hearst Castle, saw some resting sea lions on the beach, saw some whales off the coast and sat on the patio watching the sunset each night with the tide crashing in.  The kids has a blast playing in the ocean even though the water was cold and it was pretty windy.  It was just what we (and especially me) needed - 5 days and 4 nights of relaxation and just getting away from it all.

On the job front, things have been stressful.  My boss "retired early" in February under duress.  We moved about 2 years ago for me to move into this job and it really hasn't been easy. The boss was difficult to work for - she was in over her head and struggling medically as well.  The combination caused inappropriate behavior and inconsistency to be the norm.  Her departure was the right thing for the business and pleased me personally, the work environment has dramatically improved.  One of my peers and I were put in place as co-leaders and really made some nice progress.  In everyone in the office's mind (including me) I was the obvious choice to succeed the boss but the process to name a successor has drawn on for over 5 months. 

I found out on Monday that I didn't get the job, they recruited someone from outside our area of the business.  On paper I am much more qualified but the leadership team decided they wanted a fresh look and a new leadership team.  I got feedback that my interview went as well as possible and that the work I have done in co-leadership was very strong - they just wanted a new perspective.  From a business perspective, I get it - from a personal perspective it sucks.  However it appears the work I have done the last few months could/should pay off - my boss is creating a new position and strongly encouraged me to apply (which I did).  From an HR perspective they have to post and interview for the job but the description was written in a way that not many people outside of me would be qualified.  I am hoping they make a quick decision but think good thoughts for me if you can.

Strangely I am more in limbo now than I was a week ago but my stress level is much lower and I feel more at peace than I have in months.  I think Tom Petty was onto something when he sang "The Waiting is the Hardest Part."

My mind just wasn't in writing, even about cards, with my mood being what it was but I have had some time over the last 2-3 weeks to do some organization of my cards and card room.  I have gotten all my Giants and Player Collection cards into their respective binders, organized some supplies, got some cards into top loaders and started a couple longer term projects.  I am finally updating my USC Trojan football player checklist (up to Polamalu alphabetically) and I am sorting and inventorying all my relic and auto cards that don't fit into my various collections.  My plan is to send some out in trade packages and list the rest on Sports Card Forum to see if I can get a few bucks for them.  I have only done the Baseball Relics to this point and have 240 that I would like to move.  I am hoping to finish a few organization and cosmetic things in my room then share some photos of my collection on this blog.

All right, so you are caught up on the major events in my life, time for some cards.  I got an amazing Zippy Zapping a little ways back and when I was inventorying the cards and putting them into the binders I quickly came to the realization that this amazing trade package had to be featured in my reentry post.  Here are the goods:

The package started with the familiar note know well throughout the blogging community.

I got 3 cool Sega-Card Gen cards complete with translations.  I struggle to determine if the reason I like these cards so much is due to the design or just because they are rare and from a foreign country.  Not really sure either way but I do really like these cards.

 What is a package from Zippy Zappy without some prospects, I was super happy to add all these to my Giants collection - how about a gold refractor and all those black border cards!
I also scored some of the better know Giants as well.

 So what was the primary highlight of the package?  Was it this autograph of Giants All-Star SS Brandon Crawford?  Great card but no.

 Was it this card of a hottie?  Nope, she is adorable but not the highlight of this package.

 How about this well loved 1955 "Color TV" Bowman.  Nope, great card featuring some catchers gear in one of the most unique and awesome vintage designs.

The best card and highlight of the package had to be this 1909 T206 Art Devlin card - I joined the T206 club!  For 2 years I had acquiring a card from this set as one of my collecting goals, this year I gave up hoping my luck might change and it looks like my reverse psychology must have worked.  I am so excited and thankful to have this card in my collection - thanks for the amazing Zippy Zapping and for the inspiration to start up this little blog of mine again!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Petrick Collection Continues to Grow

I recently posted about a few Ben Petrick pick ups for one of my newer player collections and shared my desire to surpass the 50% mark.  JediJeff from the blog 2 by 3 Heroes commented that he was 45 cards behind me and that he needed to get going.  Sorry to tell you Jeff but after a recent Marketplace shopping spree you are even farther behind.

If you don't know Petrick's story, this ESPN story can get you up to speed: (thanks Josh!).  It is a very sad story and one I can somewhat relate to as my Grandma suffered and passed from Parkinson's as well.  With Petrick being so young, the story is even more sad.  My way of honoring him and my Grandma with my card collection is this collection.

Here are my recent pick ups:
This group is all minor league cards prior to Petrick rise to the Major leagues.  Even back in the late 1990s card companies were putting out silly parallels.  The Baseball America cards are only different based on the presence of the 4 diamonds and silver/gold foil in the bottom left hand corner of the cards.  The 99 Just card is a gold border parallel.  While I do consider these silly, they also offer up the chance to build a stronger and larger player collection. 

This group features cards from Bowman products.  The top left and right are Bowman Chrome International parallels, I have always been a fan of this parallel set.  The top middle card is a refractor.

 Here is a nice group of Pacific cards.  I don't believe I ever opened any Pacific cards during the time they were released so these are always new to me.  That top center Prism parallel is one of 14 different parallels of the base card.  I now have the base and 8 of those parallels, I think that would be a fun one to finish although some of the rarer versions can carry a premium price.  The tiny card is a Card Supial, I believe it was designed to fit in a pouch of a bigger card.  As far as I can tell, Petrick only has the small version.

The top left card is the Gold Back version, reminds of the red letter backs of 2007 Topps - not really a fan of this parallel approach but as a player collector I must go after all cards!  The top right card is the batting average parallel to the top middle base card and is numbered 075/238.  The Fleer Futures card is a Black Gold parallel and is numbered 465/499.  The Fleer Mystique is actually a base card but apparently they were all numbered, this one 0048/2000.  Fleer was a little serial numbered crazy back in the day.

I also picked up a few Upper Deck cards including the duo up top of a base Black Diamond card and its die cut partner.  All of these cards bring the shine but I think the HG Stars of the System at the bottom wins my award for the favorite in this group.

Finally the last group from Topps and a couple oddballs.  I recently learned from Lifetime Topps Project  that these two parallels (HTA & Limited) were two of only three parallel sets from the 2002 Topps release - I still need the gold border.  Can you imagine a world with only 3 parallels!?  I have always been intrigued by the Topps Stars cards, another product I have never cracked.  I like both of these cards with the bottom left card being a gold parallel to 034/499.  The MLB Showdown reminds me of how few Giants I have from this set in my collection. The Vanguard card looks very nice and is a high quality card.

This group of 37 cards puts me over the halfway mark with 165/308 or 53.6%.  I think it is time to set up an eBay search for some of the more rare cards and see if I can add some "quality" to my quantity although I must say that Ben Petrick's career seemed to parallel a few years with some really nice base cards.  Happy collecting!