Saturday, April 25, 2015

Are the Giants a Dynasty?

There have been quite a bit of talk and quite a few articles debating whether or not the Giants of the last few years are a dynasty.  Some have said that 3 titles in 5 years is enough to make a team a dynasty while others have argued that since none of them are consecutive and the Giants missed the playoffs in the in between years they cannot be considered a dynasty.  Apparently those at Panini/Donruss have made a declaration:

This is a 2015 Donruss card of Giants star catcher but check out the line under his name where you would typically see San Francisco Baseball Club.  This is a short printed parallel and I was lucky enough to pick it up for $5.26 delivered.

You may be surprised and my thoughts on the dynasty question.  At this point the Giants are clearly the team of the 2010s but I would not go so far as to call them a dynasty.  The down years in between (although one could argue that without a gruesome leg injury to the guy pictured above the 2011 result may have been different) really make it difficult for me to claim Giants dominance over the last 5 years.  If they can pick up a 4th either this year or next I will have a much different answer.

Do you consider the recent Giants a dynasty?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hall of Fame Auto - Pat Gillick

I have added my 4th new HOF Baseball auto to my collection with a 2014 Panini Hall of Fame Auto of former executive Pat Gillick.  Gillick served in the front office of the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners and Phillies and won World Series titles with the Jays and Phils.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the 2011 class along with Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven.

I have to admit that this wasn't a pickup that generated a huge deal of excitement for me, it was just knocking a name of the checklist and helping me reach my goal.  I do like the design of these cards from Panini and wouldn't mind picking a few more up.

When I turned over the card, I got a little more excited after reading the write up.  Gillick was a pitcher at my alma mater and helped lead them to the 1958 College World Series championship.  While I have a big USC football collection and a moderate USC basketball collection, I have never taken the plunge on a former Trojan as a baseball player collection.  There are tons to choose from in Randy Johnson, Mark McGwire, Tom Seaver, Fred Lynn, Bret Boone, Aaron Boone, Geoff Jenkins, Mark Prior and a bunch of others. Freddy Lynn is probably the closest I have come but I am really happy to have discovered that this former Trojan is a HOFer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

More Kraft

A few days ago I shared the 1993 Kraft Singles set that I picked up at my LCS.  As mentioned I also picked up the 1994 and it is time to share the second set.  As a reminder, I was able to get all 4 boxes (each year is separated out between AL and NL players) for $10 which I think was a nice deal.

The box for the 1994 set isn't quite as nice as the 1993 set.  I personally liked the play at the plate cartoon on the 1993 box cover.

The backs are pretty similar with 8 cards being shared and instructions on how to pop up the cards.

 I think this design is okay but I am more of a fan of the 1993 set.  Again there is no MLB license so the logos are airbrushed but we get the player and team names.  Also in similar fashion, the position player cards have one side with them batting and the other side either fielding or on the bases.  The pitchers just show 2 throwing action photos.  This group of 5 have 2 HOFers in Griffey and Eckersley with 3 other stars of the day.

 This group has 3 HOFers and a couple pretty solid players in Langston and McRae.  I really like the photo of Puckett in his batting stance, great photo.

 This final group showcases 2 HOFers for a total of 7/15 on the AL side of things. wonder how that compares to the NL.

   The NL isn't off to a very good start although in my opinion both Bagwell and Bonds should be HOFers, my blog so I will count them.  See anything off on Barry's batting picture?  Looks like an image reverse as I am not aware of any Bonds plate appearances as a right handed batter.

Almost an entire group of players whose last names start with G.  This also gives us 2 more HOFers and the NL will need a strong final showing the best the AL.

Speaking of finishing strong, here we have Larkin and Ozzie as HOFers and Piazza and Sheffield as guys I think deserve to be in so a come from behind win for the NL.  I went back and checked to see if there were any borderline HOFers for the AL and Juan Gone is the closest but to me he doesn't quite get there.

I thought I would share the offer so you could see, once again, what it took to get this set in the mail.
 This ad shows some proof of purchases from Kraft Singles and that each family was limited to 5 each. Think anyone stocked up on these back in 1994?

Looks like in addition to the Kraft Singles points it was about $2/box.  So just shipping would have been close to $8 for the 4 boxes I received so my 4 for $10 makes me feel even better.

Doing a quick search it looks like there was a similarly constructed 1995 set along with a cut out from the box set in 1987.  I may need to track those down to complete my Kraft run - the collector in me is an odd duck for even thinking that.

Friday, April 17, 2015

COMC Delivery

I recently posted about the final 2 Future Stars That Never Were cards I purchased from COMC to finish off my insert set.  As you probably know, COMC has moved to a flat rate $3 shipping charge so I always like to purchase and bundle a decent group of cards together to have delivered to keep the impact of the shipping at a minimum.  When filling out this order, I decided to focus on some of my player collections and figured I would show off the rest of the cards in one post.

First, here are the 3 Chili Davis cards I acquired:

I don't remember what I paid but the Lead Buy Back /20 was a score that made me quite happy.  It is my first Leaf Buy Back, I have yet to track down a Giant from the set.  The middle cards is an SP card from 2012 Topps Archives.  I bought an auto of this card prior to even deciding to start a Chili player collection and I have a copy of this in my set.  This card only set me back 65 cents.  Usually when looking at COMC for cards for my player collections I look for hits, serial numbered cards, short prints, inserts and parallels.  The final Davis card fits into the final category and I think the photo fits nicely with the die cut design.

Next up are the Harold Miner cards I picked up:

The Z-Force is from the 2012-13 Fleer Retro set and is the Super Rave parallel numbered 27/50 - a great find.  The two Ultra cards come from the same set, the colored version being the base insert and the black and white one is the Platinum Medallion numbered 092/100.  The middle card, also from that set is the Flair Legacy Row 0 insert numbered 091/100.  The lower right card is the final Fleer Retro purchase from this group and is the base auto card.  The bottom left card is a newer release, the base card from 2014-15 UD March Madness Collection.  Finally the card I am perhaps most excited about in this entire purchase is the Classic card in the bottom center.  This is a card that wasn't in my collection, wasn't on my checklist/wantlist and I had never seen it before.  A great addition!

The largest number of cards in this purchase were of Ben Petrick:
 These are all Bowman or Prism Parallels.  I really like it when the International parallels feature flags in the background and the top middle card does not disappoint.  The very middle card also features Mike Piazza on the other side and is oddly die cut.  There are 17 different variations of Petrick's 2000 Prism card and I was able to add these 4 that bring my total up to 9.  I guess that puts me just over half and may initiate a sub goal to actively seek.

 Here are some other non-hit cards I picked up.  The Fleer Tradition card is the glossy version.  I really like the look of the Skybox card in the center.  It is a short printed card to the regular base card, they both possess the same card number.  The Fleer Focus is the green parallel and numbered 250/322.  The two minor league cards are pretty sweet as well.

 I was able to track down 3 very affordable relics that weren't yet part of my collection.  I know there are tons of legitimate concerns about the authenticity of relics from the card companies but I still enjoy picking them up, particularly when they come for a buck or two each.

The final cards to share from this COMC purchase are these 6 certified autos of Ben Petrick. All of these were pretty cheap and new to my collection.  I am a big fan of the Bowman's Best one at the bottom of the scan but I was happy to pick up all of these.  My Petrick collection has grown to 128 different cards of the 307 I have on my checklist.  If I can acquire 26 more cards I can get over the half way point, another sub goal to consider.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An Action Variation of the Face of MLB

I am really not sure how he got anointed the face of Major League Baseball or even what that means but I am happy that Buster Posey is getting the recognition I feel he deserves.  As a 3-time World Series Winner, ROY winner, MVP, batting champ and even the catcher in 2 No-Hitters including a perfect game, I believe his early career exploits are unparallelled in the history of baseball.

Due to his prices being high, my Buster collection isn't as robust as I would like it to be but I was able to pick up this 2015 Topps Heritage action variation at a very reasonable and surprising price.

I think it is a great looking card and coupled with the Madison Bumgarner I got in my group break, I have both of the Giants action variations.  When I see how great these action shots look in the old designs it makes me wish Topps would deviate from the photo styles of the sets when they put together these Heritage sets.  A full set of actions shots in a 1966 design would have probably enticed me to build the set.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Perhaps My Most Challenge Insert Set is Finally Complete

Have you ever started down a path collecting a set or going after a card quest and regretted it, maybe even gave up?  For me that has happened a few times.  Last year's Topps Archives is an example.  I still have a want list up with the SPs but they are not real easy to find on the secondary market and when they do appear they are way too expensive.  One of the most challenging sets I have actually completed was the original back parallels to the Cards Your Mom Threw Out from 2010 Topps.  This set spanned all 3 series and ended up being 174 cards (yes I completed the regular and original backs totaling 358 cards).

Back in 2005 I decided that in addition to building all the Topps Flagship sets, I would chase the insert sets as well.  Until 2014 that Original Back set was the biggest obstacle had faced but I feel that 174 card set was trumped by a 30 card insert set titled Future Stars That Never Were.  The concept was to take a rookie or 2nd year card of past superstars and redesign them with a Future Stars designation.  If I recall, you only pulled one or two of these in each Jumbo box and they didn't appear much on eBay, Sportlots or COMC and when they did, the prices were super high.

At the release of 2015 Topps, I still needed about half the 30 card set and that bothered me.  I considered abandoning it but I was on a 10 year run of finishing insert sets.  There had been a few cases where I punted however (the Bonds, A-Rod and Mantle Home Run History sets come to mind), but in the end my set quest gene and the fact there were only 30 stinking cards in the set made me continue the quest.  I found a few reasonably priced cards and after a short time and some cash outlay I was down to 6 cards.

I was at the 6 card mark when I sold my Henderson Alvarez Heritage Throwback card, and decided that in addition to the sweet Willie McCovey auto I purchased, I would try and finish the set.  I found a Willie Stargell card for a little more that I wanted to pay but pounced.  I hadn't seen a Chris Sale for weeks and then a saved eBay search showed 2 pop up on the same day.  I was able to get one for a very reasonable price and was down to 4.  Around the same time the same seller listed 2 of my needs, Randy Johnson and Don Mattingly.  I used the Buy It Now feature and was excited that I was down to 2 cards.  I signed onto COMC and found the last 2, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, and thought I was done.  However, this challenging set threw me one last curveball.

When the package arrived from the Johnson/Mattingly seller, the card that came out was a Topps Supreme Daisuke Matsuzaka.  I contacted the seller and found out he sent my cards to Taiwan and a card to me that was destined to go to the far east.  I got a refund and returned the Daisuke.  The seller told me he had requested my cards back.  My confidence was shot but I decided to wait it out.  My patience paid off last week when my COMC order with the Mays and Aaron and the package with the Johnson and Mattingly arrived on consecutive days to complete the set.  After this long, arduous and costly quest complete I thought I would show off the set in its entirety.  I suspect you will share my feelings that some of these designs work and other are pretty bad - but I am stoked my set is complete.

So here it is in its entirety:

Feel free to share your thoughts on which designs you think are the best and worst.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Player Collection Catch Up - Dave Winfield

One of my goals in 2015 was to place a little more focus and pick up some cards to grow my player collections.  I have made varying degrees of progress but decided it was time to post updates for some of the players to gauge my progress.  In this post I will share some of my more recent Dave Winfield pickups. 

First up are some cards from Winfield's playing days:
 The top left card is a Blue Jays commemorative card celebrating there World Series win.  The back has Dave's ALCS and World Series stats in addition to his season stat.  The top middle card is a Topps Traded card that I don't ever recall seeing until I purchased it which is odd for me and a Winfield card.  The Score card is a sweet one celebrating Dave's 3000th hit.  The Topps card on the bottom left is very Studio-like but comes from Topps American Pie.  The Stadium Club features Winfield in a pose he only successful executed 19 times in his career but is a nice looking card. This one is the parallel World Series version.  Finally this scan has a nice Kellogg's card that I have in a set but not in the Winfield binder.

Most of Winfield's more current cards have him in either a Yankees or Padres uniform which makes sense since he spent 17 of his 22 years on those two teams.  Four of these cards fit the bill with the exception being the Topps 60 year card with him on the Angels celebrating Dave's 6th place spot on the list of Most Home Runs by a Player with 3,000 Hits (behind Aaron, Mays, Palmeiro, Murray and Musial).  The Baseball Heroes design is a favorite of mine, if I ever came across a base set or a couple boxes at a reasonable price I think I would jump.  The Yankee Stadium card and Yankees Classic card both bother me - I hate all the love the Yankees get with special sets.

Here are the final 4 cards of this post with a pair of Gypsy Queens at the top and a pair of shiny reprints on the bottom.  I really enjoy the Gypsy Queen design and look forward to its release each year.  I believe it comes out soon and I am not involved in a group break to pick up the Giants.  If you know of anyone doing a group break with the Giants available please let me know.  Archives Reserve is a favorite of mine and both of these shiny Winfields are great additions to my Dave Winfield collection.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Krafty Pickup

I was recently at my LCS as was searching through a box he had that contained small box sets from the 80s and 90s.  I saw a few Topps Traded sets, some of the Fleer and Topps box sets that came out during the same time period and a few other random things.  The box said 3 for $10 and I had a few minutes to kill so I decided to take a look.  I wasn't sure which of the Fleer box sets I have (reminder to self - need to make a list) but I saw 4 boxes that I was sure I didn't have as I have never seen them packaged this way before.  I will share 2 today and 2 soon.

 These are the front and back of 2 boxes that contain the 1993 Kraft Singles set.  These two boxes each contain 15 different player pop-up action cards, one box is of National League players, the other American League players.  These cards were licensed by the MLB Players Association but not MLB so we get some nice airbrushed photos.  None of these cards have been popped and I don't plan to at this point but the design is pretty nice on both sides of the cards so I thought I would share them all with you.

 I'll start with the American League, as you can see Kraft has nice bold numbers on the front to 30 starting with the AL players.  If you pull the tab, the picture on the front pops up as it is perforated.  The front size shows nice full body action photos that I assume will look good popped up.  Flip over the back and you can see that Kraft did not skimp, each player has another full body spot with the same blue/white background.  The player names are easy to read and you get the team stated on both sides and the position on the front. I assume the position on the portion that pops up is so that you can set them up in defensive positions.

This first group has a nice collection of players with 2 HOFers, 1 who should be in the HOF, an All Star catcher and a Fan Favorite inspirational pitcher. Even with the airbrushing, these are great looking cards.

 Here are cards 6-10 in the set, again great players but I am surprised to see 3 first basemen.  I like how the 4 position players have one photo featuring them at bat and one of them either in the field or on the bases.  Again, this group has 2 HOFers and 1 who should be in the HOF.  While Fielder and Mattingly are not HOF worthy, they are both great players belonging in a set like this.

The AL set finishes off this portion of the set with a bang - 4 HOFers!  My first thought questioned the inclusion of Ventura as I assumed that George Brett was manning the hot corner but upon further review, it looks like Brett is listed as the 4th first baseball.  Outside of the logic of 4 1B, I really like the player selection on the AL side.

Let's see how the NL does:
 This first group of 5 doesn't contain any HOFers but these guys were all stars in their day.  My favorite, of course, is Will the Thrill Clark although the front picture seems like he just popped a ball up.

 The HOF pace picks up with 3 in this grouping.  I love the picture of Delino DeShields casually fielding a ball, looks like it was some sort of pop up or maybe he is just playing catch.  The AL cards were primarily blue while these are green - I think both work just fine.

Finishing off the NL set is a group with just 1 HOFer but I would characterize 2 as should be in Gary Sheffield and Lee Smith.  I am still pretty happy I was able to get an autographed ball from Smith and a chance to chat with him a bit at Spring Training this year.

I will share my other set - a 1994 Kraft set in an upcoming post.  I am really happy with this pick up.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Cardboard Gods Have Been With Me Lately

I have shared a couple of my early 2015 collecting success already on the blog.  Loyal readers will remember my awesome Nolan Ryan pull from a Jumbo Box of Topps Series 1 and the resulting contest.  On Opening Day I shared my great pull from a box of 2015 Topps Opening Day and while not as valuable as the Ryan it was a great, unexpected hit out of a product where hits are quite rare.

This is the story of another great pull, this time out of 2015 Heritage.  I entered into Nachos Grande's Heritage break and figured that would be it this year.  I am trying to scale back a little on the number of sets I am seeking out and Heritage didn't make the cut. However, I had a strong urge to break a little so I hit the local Target and bought a blaster, a hanger and a couple of packs just to satisfy the urge.  Nothing seemed to stick out to me until I was watching one of the Nachos Grande recap videos and Chris was super excited about a throwback jersey card.  The card looked familiar, at first I just assumed I had watched the full break and remembered the card for some reason.  Later that day I was thumbing through my short stack of Heritage and was shocked to see the same card:
I had no attachment to this card and quickly did an eBay search.  I saw one that had sold for $249.99 and another that was listed at around $300 and sold for a best offer.  There was another one for sale with a Buy It Now of around $280 and that was it.  I decided to post my card for $299.99 or Best Offer.  After a couple of days I only had a couple watchers and no offers so I lowered it to $229.99 or Best Offer and in under an hour got two offers - $209.99 and $165.  I declined the lower offer and sat on the higher for about 24 hours.  When nothing else came in, I took the offer.

I have sold a few high end cards on eBay and have regretted not turning the funds into something of big significance.  I would just pick up a $3 card here and an $8 card there.  This time I decided that I wasn't going to let that happen.  I did a search for a card that has been long elusive for me, a 2001 Topps Archives Willie McCovey auto.  I have a story behind this card.

Not too long after its original release, I went searching for the McCovey auto on eBay.  One day I saw one for a $65 Buy It Now and another for $70 OBO.  I put in an offer on the second for $60 that was quickly accepted - I was so excited.  Several days after paying for it the card still hadn't arrived.  I reached out to the seller and he indicated he had been delayed in shipping the card but would get it out in a few days.  I checked eBay and saw the $65 card was still available so I told the seller I would be okay with a refund and figured I would buy the other one.  He assured me he would be sending it.  To make a long story a little shorter, after several back and forths he finally indicated he wasn't going to be able to send me the card but by the time he issued me the refund the other card was sold.

I have been looking for one since then and hadn't seen one for under $100 ever.  Even if I had money to burn, my stubbornness wouldn't allow me to pay that much more than I should have had the card for.  Finally, more than a decade later, I can celebrate having this amazing card in my collection:
 Here it is, a rookie card reprint autographed on card by my favorite player of all time, isn't it beautiful?  I was able to pull this card in for $78 delivered, not the same price as before but close enough for me.  This was my top McCovey want and now it is time to scour my want list to pick another card, something I haven't had to do since probably 2002.

The rest of my funds from that card sale went to finishing off my 2014 Topps insert sets, my 2015 Topps insert sets and scoring some Giants needs from 2015 releases.  I hope my run of luck continues!