Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday Weekly Contest

I have been slacking a little bit with a post World Series Celebration "hangover".  I still need to put together a fitting tribute to my team and close out last week's contest.  All in good time.

But it is Wednesday again and time for another give away.  Let's go with another positional list this week, the first basemen seemed like a popular topic so for this week's contest, post a comment with your list of your 3 favorite second basemen of all time from your favorite team.  If you don't have a favorite team, just list your favorite 3 second basemen of all time.   I will close it out on Saturday night and all the people that enter will be randomed on 3 times to identify a winner. 

I will share mine to get everyone started.

1. Robby Thompson - Thompson was a very solid second basemen on the teams of the mid 80s to mid 90s - prime time for my Giants viewing. He finished 2nd in the ROY voting to Todd Worrell in 1986, was a 2-time All Star and 1-time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner. I remember his first couple years he was Rob and switched to Robby once he established himself.  Lots of fond memories of seeing him play as I grew up.

2. Jeff Kent - Lots to like about Kent.  He has some of the best statistics of any second baseman in baseball history.  He had no issues standing up to Barry Bonds.  He is doing well on this season of Survivor, even getting the one person who recognized who he was voted off pretty early.  He wasn't too skilled at washing his truck but he was one of the best at his position.  I am very curious to see what happens when he is up for the HOF.

3. Joe Morgan - Yes he only played a couple years for the Giants and was on the downside of his career but I remember the excitement of the Giants getting the 2-time MVP and World Champion in the early 80s. He does have one of the more memorable Giants moments of the early 80s, hitting a HR to knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs - you have to respect that!

Let's see your top 3 for an entry into the Wednesday Weekly Contest!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Trade Post - Collector's Crack - Football and a Little Baseball Too

A few weeks back I completed a rare trade with a fellow blogger - Mark aka cynicalbudda at Collector's Crack - for football cards!  Football cards you say?  I actually do collect football cards although not as much as I used to.  I collect USC players and typically build a Topps flagship set starting with a Jumbo box.  Mark was able to help with both areas of my collection.

First up, he was able to complete my base set with these cards:
  I like the football design this year and glad they went a different route than the baseball.  Some really good action photos for the non-rookies, always a good feature with Topps Football.  It was pretty cool to finish off a set with a one-box purchase and one trade!

For the USC collection, I scored this:
A very nice auto of OT Matt Kalil, a first round pick for the Vikings this year.  My first auto of his.  I was trying to supercollect his brother Ryan back during his rookie year and have a pretty nice collection.  Good to see his brother drafted so high and even better to be able to pick up this auto in a trade.

And finally Mark threw in some Giants!

 These were some of my favorites.  The MVP cards finished off a team set as did the Cepeda UD card.  I had a parallel of the Alou card, nice to pick up the base.  I have very few MLB Showdown cards so this was a nice pick up.  And a very nice card of one of my top 3 Giants 1B of all time.

Thanks for the great football trade Mark!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vintage Set Collecting

I recently celebrated my success in completing the 1975 Topps set so it is time to start on a new adventure.  While I would love to have a set of every Topps flagship release in my collection, that probably isn't a realistic goal with my budget.  What I have decided to do is shoot for every set from 1970 forward.  My gaps right now are the sets from 1970-1973, I have every set from 1974 forward.  This doesn't mean I won't look to pick up cards from the sets in the 60s but I want to focus my purchases and trades on the early 70s sets.

I have been fortunate enough to pick up fairly big lots of cards from the 1970 and 1973 sets and have made some good trades on the 1973 set so I am going to start with the 1973 set.  My status of completion is 489/675, this includes the variation cards.  The 1970 set needs more work, I am at 390/726.  From a condition standpoint, I am trying to avoid major centering issues, significant creases, paper loss and ink, although a little damage to the back wouldn't be completely unacceptable.  By no means am I looking to put a mint set together, that just wouldn't be feasible for me.

I thought I would share some of my recent pickups towards these two sets.

 The Sutton and Swoboda are my only recent 1970 pick ups.  Nice scoring a HOFer in Sutton and the Swoboda came along with it.  The Niekro is another nice HOF addition, this time from the 1973 set.  It is off center about as much as I would accept and otherwise is in solid condition.

 I also found an eBay auction with pick 15 cards of your choice from the 1973 for a good price and upgraded to the 18 I needed for my set.  While there aren't tons of action shots in the 1973 set, the ones that do exist, like the Paul Casanova, are very nice.  I also like some of the posed shots like the Borgmann in front of what looks like a spring training backstop and the Timmermann and Dietz with the facade of their stadium in the background.

Here is the second half of that eBay purchase. Two nice action photos on the Amos Otis and Jim Fregosi card and great backdrops in several with my favorites being the Norm Cash and Rich Morales cards.  A pretty high percentage of the cards I still need are from the high number series and some stars so I suspect I won't be able to find too many of these set builder auctions to fill my needs.

Here is another nice card I picked up in a Sportlots auction. It has a pretty decent crease in the upper left corner but it is HANK AARON!  I was very happy to score this at a reasonable price.  The All-Time Leader subset is 8 cards deep and I only need the Babe Ruth and one of the Walter Johnson's to finish it up.

This is my most exciting recent pick up.  Nolan Ryan's card is typically the second most expensive card in the set after the Mike Schmidt rookie card.  I got it for $14 in a Sportlots auction which I think is a solid price.  The centering isn't great but otherwise it is in pretty nice condition.  In addition to the Schmidt, I do still need some pretty big stars, Clemente, Carlton/Ryan SO leaders, Aaron, and Mays.  In addition to the Ryan, the top cards I have are card #1 HR Leaders, Rose and the Gossage RC.

If you have extras of these that you want to trade let me know.  While I have some duplicates, most are fairly poor in condition and lower numbers.  I have tons of auto and relic cards and more recent releases if you are into those cards.  Also, if the price is right and I haven't blown through my monthly budget, I am always up for a purchase as well.

Friday, October 26, 2012

2012 Finest Box Break #2

I don't know why I do this to myself.  I went into my LCS a couple weeks back and there wasn't anything new out and I had the urge to bust some cards.  I had picked up a box of Finest before and didn't learn my lesson.  I was thinking of going after the base set with the second box and ended up scoring a boat load of duplicates in this second box break.  The only thing that may be able to save this is if I can turn some of these cards into Giants that I want.

If you need any base from this set, let me know and I can check my list.

Here are the inserts I pulled:
I am a fan of the two die cut insert sets.  The Heyward card just doesn't do it for me.  Over half the card is the team logo, I would prefer some other design element or a bigger player photo.  All 4 are for trade.

Here are the Refractor Parallels:

A few Rookies mixed in but nothing as exciting as the Yu Darvish green in the last box.  Again, all for trade, Reds fans and Blue Jays fans should enjoy this group.

Speaking of Reds' fans, I got an autograph of rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco.  I like that this is an on card auto, wish we saw more of that.

 The last card is an Orange parallel relic/auto of Chris Parmelle. It is serial numbered 59/99.  Wish the player excited me more but to be honest, outside of him being a former first rounder, I don't know too much about him.

As stated before, all of these are for trade.  I have to refrain from going into the LCS unless I have a better plan of attack on what to buy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Trade Post - Classic Card Collector

I recently made a great trade with Brian over at Classic Card Collector blog.  Brian reached out to me with an offer of 50 or so 1973 cards from my want list and a few of my other set needs.  We quickly worked out a deal where I sent a big box of his set needs for the 73s and a few other of my set needs.  Here are the highlights of my package.

 I received over 50 cards for my 1973 set and decide do share my favorite 18.  I this first group we see some great action shots.  The Luis Alvarado has been featured in a couple different blogs and I love it and am very happy to have it.  A great picture of Belanger turning two and Bob Oliver completing a play at first base with an Oakland A hustling down the baseline.  Dick Selma's card features him making a pitch to a Giants batter (maybe Dave Kingman?).  A great celebration card of the Big Red Machine.  The bottom 3 have great backgrounds with a spring training field, a stadium and a batting cage in the background - great stuff very common in the 1973 set.  Finally a nice action shot featuring HOFer Willie "Pops" Stargell.
 This next group also features more great photography.  Rich hand is deliver a pitch to a player in a beautiful yellow unit.  Dick Green, how was a pretty solid fielders, seems to be making an error.  Blomberg has a nice picture of old Yankee Stadium in the backdrop as Boccabella showcases a spring training field.  Great action photos on the rest with a Giant fielder attempting a play on Darrel Chaney, a great play at the plate on the Pat Corrales card and Sal Bando hitting a ball in the error - my guess is that it was a pop up based on his head angle.  I like the backdrop of the Jimmy Howarth card, it is one of my favorite Giants in the set and until I picked it up last year for my Giants collection I had never heard of the player or seen the card.
 I also received some huge help on my 2012 Topps Update insert sets. Here is a group of 8 Blockbusters inserts.  Glad Topps included a new insert set in Update.  This one is decent but I have to admit, some of the trades features don't reach Blockbuster status in my book.
 Back from Series 1 is the Golden Greats inserts and from both Series 1 & 2 are the Golden Moments.  Glad to knock 4 of each off the old want list.
 And some minis!  I really like the Future Stars addition to a few of the young stars in this insert set.  I also enjoy the mix of retired players and current players.  A very solid insert set, I am a mini fan.

The final cards in my package were 3 SPs from 2010 Topps 206 (inching ever closer to that set), a Giants gold parallel of cheater Melky Cabrera (yes I still collect him even though he is a convicted cheater - he is a Giant and the uni is more important than the name on the back) and a deckle edge insert for the Archive set (another one I am inching closer to).

Brian - thank you so much for the great trade and all the help on the sets!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Weekly Contest

Here we go with another installment and of course we have to go with a World Series prediction contest this week.  I am going to keep this contest open until the first pitch of Game 3 on Saturday evening.  If the Giants have proven anything, the first few games of a Series really don't tell the entire story.

So here are the predictions you need to make with points, just want to weigh the MVP a little higher since it is a tough prediction to make.

1. Who will win the World Series - 2 points
2. How many games will the Series go - 2 points
3. Who will be the World Series MVP - 3 points

Tiebreaker - Total runs in the entire series

Good luck and Go Giants!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

World Series - Here We Come!

As you can probably imagine, I am pretty excited about the World Series.  I had seriously written off the Giants in both the Reds' series when they went down 0-2 and the Cardinals series when they went down 1-3.  Both the Reds and Cardinals have very good teams and being down that far to a very good team is not a good recipe for success.

To celebrate the Giants return to the World Series I thought I would share a few relic cards I have picked up over the past few weeks.

 Here are two relics from 2012 Allen & Ginter.  I think these cards look sharp with black borders around the mini cards.  In Aubrey Huff we have the player on the playoff roster with the least level of contribution to the Giants NL Pennant.  He has been atrocious since the 2010 World Series but I still have a soft spot for him due to his huge part in the Giants' first World Championship in my lifetime.  Matt Cain hadn't been his dominant self in the playoffs until last night but has been solid.  He had an amazing regular season and I expect his dominance will continue in his two starts in the Series.

 Brandon Belt has done a decent job in the second half.  I believe he hit around .300 post All Star break and is one of the better defenders in the league.  I enjoy how he comes off the bag right as he catches the ball on close plays.  Sometimes it appears he comes off early but the replay typically shows he was on the bag when the ball hit the glove.  I love the old style logo in this manupatch.

 Here are a couple Tier One Relics serial numbered out of 399.  Decent design, I do like the fairly large picture of the players.  Last year I bought a box of two of this stuff but this year I stayed away. It is fairly costly and the hits I got were not good so instead I picked up a couple of my favorite players. Brian Wilson is doing his best to support his teammates and I actually think his "act" helps out the team and keeps them loose.  Lots of talk about chemistry and how strong it is in the Giants dugout and clubhouse, I have to think The Beard has a lot to do with it.  Outside of his clutch grand slam, Buster has been a little off in the playoffs.  I think he will shine on the World Series stage and step up for the Fall Classic.

 Just like the mini Ginter relics, I am a fan of the Gypsy Queen relics as well.  I got this in a trade with a reader of the blog, David.  A great pickup and a sweet card.  I like the action photo on the card.  Bumgarner wore down at the end of the year and in the playoffs.  I am hoping the rest he has gotten recently will pay off in his Game 2 start.

Finally a trio of players the Giants will depend heavily on in the series.  The Ku Fu Panda has heated up and is playing All Star caliber ball right now.  Vogelsong is the Cain from 2010 in the playoffs this year.  Can't wait to see how he does in Detroit.  Not sure what Lincecum's role will be but it is looking like he will pitch out of the bullpen since Zito and Bumgarner are set to pitch the first two. Gotta think Vogelsong and Cain will follow them and we should see the best of Zito/Bumgarner then Vogelsong and Cain if it goes 7.

I am going to have some kind of prediction contest posted tomorrow so please check it out and enter to win. 


Trade Post - Toddfather and O No Orioles

Time to showcase another 2 awesome trades with fellow bloggers that helped build my Giants collection.  While my roots in card collecting come from set building, I find myself getting more and more joy out of filling in gaps in my Giants collection to the point where the two are close to equal.

The first trade was with the Tim over at Home of the Toddfather. Tim just did his first group break recently and it was a lot of fun and I scored a nice minor league auto from Topps Pro Debut.  In this trade I got a variety of Giants and I will show some of my favorites:

First up are some base cards.  The Aurilia was particularly sweet as it finished off that team set.  It was one of my Baker's dozen cards and I was very happy to get it.  The Bonds 1999 Opening Day card was actually the first time I had seen this set.  Surprisingly I hadn't gotten any of the Giants in past trades.  The foil is a little challenging to read but I still like the design with the photo of the player being the highlight.  Also scored a Skybox card of my favorite closer Robb Nen.  Brian Wilson was inching closer to Nen in my book but Nen still tops the charts for his time with the Giants - just a dominant closer.  Also scored a Russ Ortiz, he is imfamous for being the guy Dusty Baker gave the ball to in the 2002 World Series with Dusty thinking the Series was over - oops.

Also scored some inserts. Yes I am idiotically going after the Bonds Home Run History cards - actually just the ones for his days with the Giants that start at HR number 177. The 194 is my 3rd earlier one and both are welcome additions, 133 down, 454 to go!  I really like the Ultra inserts and this Hitting Machine Bonds does not disappoint.  I have been giving some thought to 2013 collecting goals already and Ultra cards may be a part of my collecting focus.

 Finally some Giants parallels.  Both of these cards are my first Giants parallels from the respective sets.  The Schmidt is the red foil parallel and is serial numbered 0595/2006 - very cool. I am shocked that the Noah Lowry card is my first Giants silver parallel from 2006 Fleer.  I opened quite a bit of this back in 2006 and somehow avoided Giants parallels all together.

Thanks Tim for the great trade, I really appreciate the new Giants!

The other trade I want to highlight today is one with Ryan from "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog.  Ryan has also started doing group breaks.  His breaks have been filling up fast with some cool products so I haven't been able to get into one yet but I am hoping I can in the future.
The centerpiece of the trade were some Allen and Ginter minis, another favorite of mine and in consideration for the 2013 collecting goals.  I was able to pick up 6 new ones for the collection from the first two years of the release.  I also really like Ryan's business card he included.  I keep hearing these Vista Print ads with cheap business cards and maybe I need to design some as well.  Very cool!

 Ryan also included this very cool Barry Bonds insert from the 2000 Topps release.  What a great design. The Gold pops off the card and shines.  The die cut across the top following the Hands of Gold script is a great touch, I am a fan of die cut cards.  Great picture of Barry with his shades down getting under a fly ball, the shades are a must with a card this bright.  The only nit picking I would do on this card, it would have been nice to have a left handed glove on the card for Barry since he is a lefty but regardless, this is an awesome card.
I typically don't focus much on the card backs but really liked this one and wanted to share it.  Bonds gets a bad rap for his defense that I don't feel is completely earned.  I think much of it stems from the Sid Bream play but I saw a recent interview with Jim Leland who wasn't critical at all of Barry on that play. He was playing deep and the throw, while not perfect, wasn't that far off line and was close enough for a lunge and near out at the plate.

You can see from this card back that Bonds won the Gold Glove 8 out of 9 years and according to the Topps author compares favorably to Willie Mays with regards to his defense.  I wouldn't go that far but do believe Bonds was one of the better fielding outfielders of his era.

Thanks Ryan for the great Giants cards!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why is this Giants Collector Buying Yankee Cards?

Several times I have shared my enjoyment with the auction section of Sportlots.  I have picked up tons of Giants vintage cards, more recent inserts and GUs and vintage cards for my sets.  The prices are pretty random, some cards go super cheap while others go much higher than I would expect.  I have found a decent chunk of my monthly card budget going away from eBay and towards Sportlots.

This recently pick up is one of the reasons:

This is one of the 42 Yankee Memorabilia cards produced by Upper Deck in 2008 as part of their year-long love fest with the team in pinstripes.  I actually think these are pretty well designed cards even though they aren't for my favorite team.  So as the title says, why did a Giants fan buy this Yankee card?  Two reasons:

1. About a month back, I shared a quick book review of a book featuring Ron Guidry and Yogi Berra that I really enjoyed.  Guidry seems like a great guy in the book, very down to earth and likable.  Plus, this card goes great with this card I pulled a few years back:

I think these look great together and I am happy to have them as part of my collection.

2. It was cheap.  Can you believe that I scored this Guidry card for $3.74?  Bidding started at a quarter, someone bumped it to 50 cents so I raised my bid to 75 cents.  There were no other bids so add $2.99 in shipping and it was mine for under 4 bucks.

In addition to celebrating my new addition and its perfect pairing, I want to go off on a tangent and talk about card values for a bit.  A few bloggers have shared how much more enjoyable trading in the blogging community is so much more fun that trading in the Forums.  The primary driver of the dissatisfaction is the over reliance on book value.  Let's look at these two cards as examples.

The Guidry has a Beckett value of $50.  I was able to buy one of under $4.  I did a quick eBay search and the cheapest one there is would cost $21 shipped with a buy it now.  The cheapest recent sale on eBay was for $9.24 shipped.  COMC has one for $13.24 without delivery.

The Berra has a Beckett value of $30. The first issue I have here is curiosity as to why Berra's card is only 60% of the value of Guidry's.  Guidry had a very good career including one of the most dominant seasons ever by a pitcher however his career pales in comparison to Berra's. Yogi is a sure fire Hall of Famers with World Series records and has is easily one of the best catchers in baseball history.  The cheapest Buy It Now for sale is $27.95 shipped and the cheapest recent eBay sale is $10.50 shipped.  COMC has one for $28.99 without delivery.

All the data clearly shows that Berra should have a higher book value than Guidry but is just isn't the case.  Just some additional evidence that the entire way that Beckett prices is completely out of whack. We as collectors have to take all this into consideration if we run into a shop or seller that bases everyone on book value.

However, despite all this grumbling about values, I can gladly say that this Giants Collector is very happy to have these two Yankee cards in his collection.

McCovey Monday #24

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.

 Since it is October, I thought it would be great to feature a card featuring Willie McCovey with Mr. October, Reggie Jackson.  I also have a player collection of Reggie but I haven't put a lot into it over the last few years.  Regardless of the hobby focus, Reggie is one of my favorite players.  Let's take a look at the card.

This card is a dual bat card from 2001 Fleer Platinum.  It is a parallel to the Classic Combinations insert set and is subtitled Bay Area Bashers.  I love that this features Reggie in his Oakland A's uniform and it doesn't get better than the green sleeves and green and gold cap.  I am a huge fan of this card and the insert without the bat pieces.  This card is not serial numbered but is supposedly limited to 25 copies.  I would guess that is about right as this card was very challenging to track down and it was pretty pricy once I found one and pulled the trigger.

I took a quick look at the checklist for this set and it is very impressive. There are only 11 dual bat cards in the set:

#1 Yogi Berra Bat/Bill Dickey Bat
#2 Yogi Berra Bat/Roy Campanella Bat
#3 Roberto Clemente Bat/Vladimir Guerrero Bat
#4 Eddie Mathews Bat/Chipper Jones Bat
#5 Willie McCovey Bat/Reggie Jackson Bat
#6 Phil Rizzuto Bat/Derek Jeter Bat
#7 Frank Robinson Bat/Brooks Robinson Bat
#8 Mike Schmidt Bat/Brooks Robinson Bat
#9 Mike Schmidt Bat/Scott Rolen Bat
#10 Ted Williams Bat/Bill Terry Bat
#11 Ted Williams Bat/Tony Gwynn Bat

I would love to get a copy of the Ted Williams/Bill Terry card but suspect that one will be out of my price range.

Hope you enjoyed another look into my Willie McCovey collection.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012 Topps Update Jumbo Box Break & Trade Bait

Now that the contest is complete, I can share all the goods from my 2012 Topps Update purchases so far.  I picked up a Jumbo box, a Jumbo pack and a few other packs over the span of a couple visits to the LCS.  I also scored a Blaster from Walmart. I am not going to bore you with pics of all the base cards, there have been plenty of those out already - the price to being late to the party in getting my posts up.

For the last several years, my LCS owner sets aside a Jumbo box of Series 1, Series 2 and Update when they come out.  With the exception of Update back in 2010, the Jumbo box completes my base set and I just need to trade for or purchase the inserts and Giants.  This set was no different, I was able to complete my set.

What I am hoping to do is work some trades with some other team collectors that can help me on my want list or some other Giants that I might need.  So let me show everything I have for trade.

First up, the gold parallels. These are numbered to 2012 and cover all 3 series.  With regards to Giants, I only got 1 but I remedied this by buying the entire team set (minus #92 which features Tim Lincecum as a leader).  All of these are for trade and I tried to scan them by team.

Here are the gold sparkles I pulled, I only got 1 Giant - Hunter Pence. I haven't pulled the trigger on any purchases so if you have any Giants from the Update set, let me know what we can work out.
 I am trying to put together all 4 insert sets but I did end up with a few duplicates.  My needs are listed under the Set Want List tab above.  Would love to make a trade for some of these, big or small.

These are some random cards including a nice black border (just wish it were a better player).  I will probably hold onto Mitt, he has a good chance in Indiana and I figure I might as well enter the contest.  The Granderson is an SP parallel.

Here are a few other random cards that are for trade as well. I picked these up after the above scans were done.  Some more golds and another black border as well.
I wasn't lucky enough to pull any Giants in the Walmart parallel packs but I was lucky enough to pull a Bryce Harper with the Rookie Logo.  Again, all are up for trade.

My blaster yielded a Prince Fielder Logo Patch Blockbusters card.  I actually like this design a little better than some of the other Manupatches from past years.

Here are my 3 hits from the box.  First up is the contest winning card of Warren Spahn.  Very cool card and it is HEAVY. If you are looking for one of these and your shop is selling packs of Jumbos, be careful of searchers.  It was pretty obvious picking up the pack that there was something heavy inside.

 I scored an All-Star relic of Joey Votto of the Reds, who the Giants dispatched of in the LDS.  Sure would have liked to score a Giant, there are a few in the set, but my luck is never that good.

 My last hit was an auto of Jesus Montero, the future star of the Mariners.  I think his stuff has taken a hit since he was traded from the Yankees.  I actually have another auto from him from Topps Pro Debut.

 As mentioned before, all of these cards are for trade.  I would love to knock a bunch of the inserts and Giants off my want list before having to his Sportlots for some singles.  Check out my lists and lets make a deal.