Friday, August 31, 2012

2012 Topps Archives Relics

This year's Topps Archive Set was a hit for me an many collectors.  I haven't been too aggressive at finishing off the SPs or the insert sets, something I plan to remedy soon. Each box of Archives had 2 autos of retired players but the relics were a lot harder to come by.  They were scattered in the hobby boxes and retail boxes but certainly were as common as most relics seem to be.

I wrote earlier about a trade to pick up the relic card of Brian Wilson - the Beard - with Mark over at This Way to the Clubhouse.  Picking up that card in a trade inspired me to go after the Giants team set and I was excited to see a total of 4 Giants in the set. I really like the design, it is one of my favorites of the year.  I scoured eBay and Sportlots looking for good deals and was able to pick these up:

 First up is Giants star 23 year old lefty Madison Bumgarner.  With the presence of some of the other Giants pitchers, I think Madison gets somewhat overshadowed.  He already has 34 wins to go along with over 450 strikeouts and an ERA right around 3.  The Giants locked him up for the next few years in the pre-season and I am glad he will be a part of our team for years.

 Next is the Kung Fu Panda - Pablo Sandoval.  The Giants third baseman is a two time all star (although he was helped along by some generous Giants voters this year and by having his manager picking the team last year) and a very solid hitter when healthy.  The last two seasons he has broken bones in his hands which has set him back but when in the lineup, he definitely produces.

 My final pick up in this set is the Freak, Tim Lincecum.  Timmy is struggling this year but hasn't been too bad over his last few starts.  Can you imagine the Giants lead over the Dodgers if he could just have flipped his 7-14 record around?  I guess their current 4.5 game lead would be well over 10 games.  His struggles are a little puzzling as he has finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting, including 2 wins, in each of his first 4 full seasons.  If he can keep up the better pitching the Giants will be looking good to make the playoffs and be a force once they get in.

Here are all 4 cards of the Team Set together.  I think they look mighty fine.  I really enjoy the old school baseball fields in the background.  I only wish Bumgarner and Lincecum had different scenes.  I also find it interesting that all 4 jersey swatches are different with 2 different colors and two different materials.  I am very pleased to have completed this team set.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mail Day - Vintage 50s Edition

Thought I would share some of my most recent vintage pick ups for the Giants collection.  This post will feature cards from the 1950s.
This first card is a vintage beauty of Alvin Dark from the 1951 Bowman release.  I really enjoy the look of these cards, this is one of my favorite Bowman releases.  I only have 3 of the 21 Giants from this set and doubt I will ever pick up the Willie Mays rookie card but I will continue to keep my eyes open for some of the other, more affordable Giants.

 Here is another Bowman card of Mr. Dark, this one from 1955.  I already have this team set finished so this is a duplicate.  Not sure what I was thinking but it is a pretty cool card.  Dark played for the Giants from 1950 - 1956 and later managed them from 1961 - 1964.  An interesting fact about Al is that he was the first NL shortstop to ever hit more than 20 HRs twice.  Expectations sure have changed with the SS position.

Here is a nice pair of 1955 Topps cards, another one of my favorite card designs.  The small action shot with the up close portrait works well.  Also included is a nice facsimile signature and the great looking, classic Giants logo in the corner.  I also enjoy the colorful backgrounds of these cards.  1955 is a good collecting year for me as I have all the Bowman Giants and am just short the Willie Mays card from this release.  It might be time to branch out and grow my 1955 Giants Golden Stamp collection or start looking for the Red Man cards. 

 This is my 5th 1952 Topps card. This set has the Mays Topps Rookie card, the Hoyt Wilhelm Rookie card and 11 other Giants from the High Number series.  If I ever complete this team set, it will be when I am a very old man.  That makes picking up a card from this series, even of a relatively unknown player like Monte Kennedy.  Monte spent his entire 8 year career with the Giants and split time as a starter and reliever.  He was a member of the 1951 NL Champion Giants.  A great addition to my collection.

Here are a couple 1958 Topps cards of some versitile players with multiple positions listed.  Lockman has a solid career spending all but one season between 1945-1958 with the Giants and taking part in the 1954 championship year.   Kirkland was somewhat of a journeyman, playing with 4 teams over 9 years after getting his start with the Giants.  He ended his career playing in Japan.  The 58 team set is nearing completion with the base and All Star Willie Mays and two commons remaining.

Two Mike McCormick pick ups from 1958 and 1959.  McCormick won the Cy Young for the Giants in 1967 during his second stint with the Giants.  He was a 4-time All Star going to both games during the 1960 and 1961 seasons.  Mike still works running a Fantasy Camp for the Giants and is one of the greats from those late 1950s and 1960s teams.

Two more 1959 pick ups. This is a set that needs a lot of work.  A couple years back when I started collecting Giants, I originally planned on not collecting cards for the sets I had already complete with 1959 being one of those sets.  After picking up these 3, still have 9 cards to go including 3 featuring Willie Mays.  Wait, you are thinking "aren't there 4 cards with Willie Mays in the 59 set?"  You would be correct, my final card to show off is this beauty.

Everyone knows about this great catch versus Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series.  This is one of my favorite cards of all time showing the over the shoulder catch, the turn and throw.  Very happy to have this card in my collection.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trade Post - Night Owl

Recently I got a nice little package from Greg over at Night Owl Cards.  He is always happy to rid himself of this Giants and I am always a willing recipient.  I always get a clever note about being happy to rid himself of the evil Giants and I suppose they are feeling more evil than ever after the recent sweep.  Let's take a look at the cards:

 First are some Ginter minis from this year.  Greg sent me a 2009 Ginter black border mini a little ways back.  He seems to be lucky (from my perspective) in pulling Lincecums which seems to benefit me.  The Belt was the first retail parallel I had seen then I picked up a big lot in a Sportlots purchase.  By the way, all those trade bait minis have been traded.  This is a pretty good trio right now for the Giants, Lincecum is seeming to be back close to his old self, Pagan is on fire and scored in all 3 Dodger games and Belt seems to be doing a little better as of late.

Greg also included a trio of 2012 Bowman card including Cy Young long shot (but he deserves to be in the conversation) Madison Bumgarner.  The Molina was on my Baker's Dozen list, it was a card that until recently I didn't have on my Giants want list.  Bengie has a card in the Series 2 set with the exact same photo (this is card #4 in the set from Series 1).

Thanks for another great trade Greg, it is nice to have a place to unload my Dodgers too.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trade Post - Reader David

A little while back a reader of the blog, David, reached out to me with a bunch of set needs (Archives, Topps Stickers and Gypsy Queen) for trade.  It was around the time I was on vacation and doing a lot of travel for work so it took me a little while to connect back with him.  Unfortunately, many of the cards he had for me from the original email were gone but fortunately he put together a nice trade package including some other goodies.  Here are the highlights of the trade.

This was all that was left from the original list he sent me.  I am still very appreciative to get these and move both these sets closer to completion.  I already had a Moonshots McCovey for my player collection but needed this one for my set.  I am down to needing 3 inserts to finish off my Gypsy Queen set and still need about 30 stickers for that set.  With my new pursuit of the Topps Chrome set, I now have 8 different 2012 sets I am in pursuit of (with at least Topps Update coming up later on) and I really need to put some attention on putting some to rest.

Speaking of other sets needing some work, David included some Ginter cards I needed in the trade package as well.  I love the inclusion of HOFers like Kaline and Bench in the base set. Not a huge fan of the landscape cards but I actually think the Panda one looks nice, still need one for the Giants team set.  I am inching my way forward on this set.  Still need 44 base cards and quite a few of the inserts.

David also included these 1973 cards that I needed for my set.  The landscape cards in this set are typically some of the best and the Rudi and Agee cards don't disappoint.  The action shots in the Kirby and Lindblad cards always seem to stand out to me as well.  This set is coming along quite nice I have 430/660 of the cards and many of those are from the final series.  I only have 6/132 from the high numbers.  I am going to put some effort over the next few months of finishing all but the final series then slowly pick away at the high numbers.

I also got some Giants in the deal.  The Krukow is from a box bottom.  Krukow was a pretty solid pitcher for the Giants and had one spectacular year winning 20 games and being in Cy Young contention.  Now he is on the Giants announcing team with Duane Kuiper and he is one of those guys that you love if he is your team's announcer and hate otherwise - I love listening to him.  I also got 4 different Kraft cards.  These are kind of cool as there are pull out tabs.  The tattoo will stay on the paper, if I get one I promise it will not be of Bob Brenly!  A couple Christy Mathewson cards that are always welcome and a recent parallel card of Ryan Vogelsong.  A nice eclectic group of Giants, just like I like it!

David was also kind enough to include this book on Willie Mays. Looking forward to reading it.  I read his big recent biography last year and I am interested in seeing how this compares.  This was written at the tail end of his career and in my experiences, there usually are quite a bit of differences based on when they are writting.

The last card David included was sitting inside the book. It is a little odd shaped and I have no idea how he came across this card.  It is an autograph from the Giants mascot Lou Seal!  Very cool oddball card that I have never seen before.

Thanks David for the great trade!!!

Card Shop Visit

There is a card shop pretty close to an office I visit periodically for work and I recently stopped by to check it out.  One of the nice features is a pretty big dime box of cards.  I didn't have very long to search so I just looked through a couple rows and found these goodies:

Some of these cards were picked up as trade bait as you can see by the 4 Dodgers cards.  I thought a Jim Abbot RC card for a dime was a good score.  I had picked up the Schmidt and Parker cards in this dime box before, don't know what I was thinking but they were hard to pass up.  I have been contemplating starting a Dave Parker collection in just his Pirates uni but have taken the plunge yet.  Not sure why I got the Gwynn other than I always liked him as a player and I like Ultra inserts.  I thought I needed the Tolan for my 1970 set but I already have it, it is in pretty good shape so I need to see if it is a condition upgrade.

Next up are some actual set needs.  The top 3 were in a bin of $3 each or 4/$10.  Some pretty good scores in my opinion.  The bottom 4 were in $1 each or 12/$10.  The Cobb and Gehrig have a little pencil writing on the back but at that price I couldn't pass them up.

I picked up these 1972 cards:
 The top 3 were in the 12/$10 bin while the Yaz was in the 4/$10 bin. I haven't officially started on the 1972 set, I want to get either the 1970 or 1973 sets complete (not to mention the last few cards of my 1975 set) before officially taking the plunge but I have started to accumulate a fairly nice collection of star card from 1972.

Here is the rest of my 4/$10 pick ups:
 Wasn't sure if I need the Killebrew or not for my set (I don't) but I love that card so an extra one is not a bad thing.  Freddy Lynn is another player I have thought about collecting for a while.  Picking up the Kaline and Roberts for $2.50 each was a nice pick up in my opinion, HOF vintage that cheap I couldn't pass up.

Here are the rest of 12/$10 cards:
Thought I might need the top 2 for my 1970 set but I don't.  A 1971 Billy Williams for a buck was impossible to pass up.  I thought one of the many Dodgers collectors out there might like a Charlie Hough auto card, although I did cut off the right side of the card in the scan and there is some damage.

I also tried to pick up some Giants cards but only found 3 and out of those 3 I only needed one:

I needed the Boof Topps HTA card.  Already had the Accardo and Lincecum although maybe one of those Dodger collectors would be drawn to a trade for the Podres half of the card.  The Boof and Accardo were dime box purchases while the Lincecum was in the dollar bin.

My last purchases were some contest grab bag lots that were 2/$20.  These grab bags guarantee 1 RC card, 1 Relic and 1 Auto.  Also 1/10 have prizes that can be pretty nice.  I won an Al Kaline GU/Auto prize once in one of these.  No big prize during this visit but I was pretty happy with what I got.

Nothing too exciting on the rookie front and I wasn't super excited to pull 2 non-certified autos of managers (although it was nice to get two autos instead of one).  However, when I saw the Bench card, any disappointment quickly evaporated.  I really like the design of this card and I don't have too many Bench cards.  Took a quick look at the checklist and there is a Bonds card in this set I am going to have to track down.  Very happy with this pack.

 My second one wasn't too bad either.  A Mike Mussina RC, could be worse.  Wonder if he is a HOFer?  The Crawford auto wasn't too exciting but I was pretty happy again with the relic card.  This Heyward card is super shiny and numbered to 99.

A pretty good day at the card shop.  During my next trip to that office, I am hoping to have some more time to dig through the dime bin, I have found some great cards there in my few visits.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012 Topps Chrome Break and Trade Bait

Dropped by the LCS yesterday on the way home from work and picked up a couple of boxes of 2012 Topps Chrome.  I am always excited when Chrome comes out and always debate whether or not to build the set through breaks and trades.  Obviously my plan with buying 2 boxes was to go for the set.  As far as base cards, this break of 2 boxes was about as bad as it gets for a set builder.  Check out these stacks of cards:

Here is an angled view, interesting selection for card #1.

And here is a full side view. The stack on the left is the set I am trying to build, the one on the right are the duplicates.  The only bright side is that I did get duplicates of 5 of the 11 Giants in the set.  I also did pull a Bryce Harper RC and 2 Yu Darvish RCs.  So only 101/220 cards, let the trading begin.  I will post a want list soon, if you buy a few packs, check my list and lets make a trade. Not really wanting to drop the cash for any more hobby boxes although I am sure some retail packs are in my future.

Everyone knows that the refractors are the best part of Chrome so here are my autos and refractors (and 1 insert) from box #1.

 The Dynamic Die Cut cards are pretty nice.  I was thinking of maybe going for the set until I realized there are 50 cards to the insert set and at 1/box I think I would rather focus on the set and some Giants refractors.
 Auto number 1 is Drew Smyly of the Tigers.  Smyly was a second round pick of the Tigers in 2010 and has made 15 starts this year going 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA. He is the Tigers #5 prospect in their system.
 The second auto is Orioles pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada.  It is the Sepia Refractor parallel serial numbered 09/75. He is a 31 year old former Japanese League pitcher who is on the Orioles AAA team.  He pitched in one minor league game and blew out his arm and is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery.

 Here are the regular refractors, nothing too exciting here.  I guess the Trumbo is the highlight although I like the Escobar and Weeks sliding pics.

 Here are the Xfractors and color parallels.  A little more star power here.  Really digging the McCutchen blue refractor 187/199.  The Gonzalez is the Sepia version, 43/75.

On to the next box.

Here are the autos and insert:
 Mesoraco was a 1st round pick back in 2007.  He has appeared in 52 games this year with the Reds and is hitting .210. He is still only 23 and at the beginning of the year was the #14 overall rated prospect in baseball.

Jarrod Parker has started 21 games for the A's this year and is 8-7 with an ERA of 3.48, not too bad.  I have seen him pitch a couple times and I think he has a bright future.

Another one of the cool die cut cards.  I do really like these and see there are 3 Giants I can chase.

Here are the refractors:
A little better mix of players with some stars like Ichiro and Longoria.
I was really happy here with a black refractor Vogelsong and Melky (cheater) Cabrera and Tim Lincecum Xfractors of the Giants collection.  The Gold Longoria and blue Jones are nice too.

Finally, I picked up two loose packs and pulled this card:
I was pretty happy with that.

All right, everything but the Giants are for trade.  If you have some base needs let me know, odds are if I have one, I have two. 

NOTE: I have now put a base want list on my set want page

Monday, August 20, 2012

McCovey Monday #18

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1100 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards every Monday.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

Decided to share another nice McCovey pickup that I got on eBay recently.

This card was in the 2007 SP Legendary Cuts product and is an insert set titled Legendary Signatures.  As you can see, this one is numbered 09/25.  On the back, it is card number WM2, there are 2 other versions WM1 which is also serial numbered to 25 and WM3 which is numbered to 15.  This if the first of these that I have picked up but based on the design, I am going to be on the lookout for the other 2.  This McCovey photo has been used quite a bit but with its inclusion on the left side of the card and him looking to the right it seems like a perfect fit.

This set has 100 different cards with most players having 2 or 3 different versions.  The checklist is pretty impressive with most being HOFers (the exceptions being Bo Jackson, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Kirk Gibson and Will Clark).  Torre and Gibson are the only players without more than 1 version.  Some of the cards are serial numbered as high as 199 and as low as 15 (McCovey and several others have /15 cards).

This one set me back just over $27 shipped so I am pretty happy with the pickup.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ginter Gold Border Minis - Pick Ups and Trade Bait

I was trolling the Sportlots auction site a couple weeks back and saw a lot of 2012 Ginter Minis - the gold border parallels that come in retail packs.  I have made a couple trips to Target and they only have had blasters and single packs so I haven't really had a chance to get any.  I did pick up one in a trade with Night Owl but other than that these had been elusive.

This lot on Sportlots was for 22 different and after a little bidding war I picked them up for $5.75 shipped.  The reason the lot was attractive was due to the inclusion of these:

I was glad to see 4 of the cards as Giants and jumped on the lot.  Nice additions to the Giants collection and probably enough to inspire me to go after the entire parallel set.

My gain can also be your gain.  I have a bunch of extras now for trade from a bunch of different teams.  I would be willing to do a small trade with just one of two of these in a PWE or a bigger trade, whatever floats your boat.  I still have a bunch of Ginter base and Giants needs so if one of these looks good to you, I am sure we can make a deal.  Here are the goods:

Let me know if you need any of these and lets make a deal.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trade Post - Broken Lumber Blog

A couple weeks back, Jeremy from Broken Lumber Blog, dropped me a note letting me know he has some of my set and  Giants needs and looking to strike up a trade.  It didn't take long to make it happen and I thought I would show off the goods. First up, set needs.

The Luebke was the last base card I needed to complete my Gypsy Queen set.  Yeah!!!  I love completing sets.  The two inserts brought me close to finishing that off two, down to 3 inserts to put the set portion of Gypsy Queen to rest.  I really need to get to work on those Giants minis.  Jeremy also included a couple Ginter cards, still need a ton of this year set but I have been traveling too much to really finish up any deals.  I suspect with Gint a Cuffs, there should be plenty of surplus Ginter around.  Finally a Smoltz insert from Series 2, down to 5 Series 2 inserts to finish that off.

Next up some Giants:

These were some of my favorites that Jeremy included.  I still remember the shock the day I heard the Giants got Barry Bonds and you have to love the capturing of his press conference in that Fleer Atlantic card.  The two vintage were upgrades for me, both of my originals were in worse shape.  Livan Hernandez was a solid pitcher during his stint with the Giants, glad to add a card of this.  The Quentin isn't a Giants card, it somehow snuck into the scan.  I have always been tempted to crack a relic from Ginter, wonder what the story is behind this one?

The Posey leaves only the Lincecum variation card left in that team set and I added 3 nice minis.  Jeremy threw in the Panda card right at the end as it came out of a pack he just ripped.  Very cool!

Finally Jeremy include two unopened packs of 1988 Topps UK Minis. Having never had the chance to open these before I quickly tore into them.
 Pack 1 packed some star power with 2 HOFers and 3 MVPs.  I was excited to see the Giants logo but already have the Mitchell.   There are 2 Giants I need from this set so I guess it would have been great to pull one but hard to argue with this selection of players.
 Pack 2 also produced 2 HOFers but the remaining 3 players, while solid players in their own right, didn't quite live up to the MVPs of pack one.  Regardless there is a great selection in this set and some fun packs to rip.
And you can't forget the gum!  Yum!!!

Jeremy, thanks for the great trade!