Saturday, April 27, 2013

Group Break - The Daily Dimwit - Gypsy Queen Case Break

I was able to jump into The Daily Dimwit Gypsy Queen case break and grab the Giants, this is only the second case break I have ever been in on, I believe the other one was a flagship Jumbo box case break last year.  I didn't end up with any hits but did score a bunch of nice cards.

First up are the base cards, I got an entire team set minus Will Clark.  I am thinking Sam overlooked Will the Thrill in my stack as he is not an SP.  I didn't go back and watch the videos but in the end I didn't care too much as I happened to pull his card in one of the 6 packs I have purchased since the release.

This is a great selection of Giants both new and old.  I have to say this is my least favorite Gypsy Queen design of the 3.  I built last years set plus the inserts but didn't go after 2011 as the price was just too high for boxes.  I will share my decision on if I will build the 2013 Gypsy Queen set at the end of the post.

The Lincecum and Mays are SPs and I ended up with 2 extra Mays cards if anyone is interested in a trade.  The only card I need to chase is a Buster Posey alternative photo card which appears to be going for big bucks right now.

On to the minis:

I scored quite a few minis, especially out of the alternative photo mini boxes.  The Zito black border is /199.  I am definitely going after the regular minis and if I can pick up a few of the black and green parallels on the cheap quickly, I will probably chase those two parallels as well.

To me the highlight of this year's release are the inserts and fortunately the Giants were well represented and I was able to score 1 of every Giants insert in the case break:
I am a fan of all these designs, with the exception of the blue border parallel - just a little too over the top for me.  The Collisions at the Plate inserts are outstanding, probably the best insert set in the last few years.  The Dealing Aces is pretty nice and I was happy to see 2 Giants in the set (and one wasn't Tim Lincecum thank goodness).  The Glove Stories is pretty nice celebrating Gregor Blanco's perfect game saving catch, I really like the stitching around the photo to give it a glove look.  Finally the No-Hitters inserts, while somewhat like the Dealing Aces at a quick glace, which I like as well celebrating the no hitter that Blanco saved.  An A+ to Topps for these inserts.

I also decided to donate my extra Giants back to the group in exchange for some random cards from others.  I got a nice stack of about 25 cards that include a couple inserts, an extra McCovey for my player set and this card:
A great looking card for my Vida Blue player collection.  I am not sure if it was intentional or not but thanks to Sam for throwing the right card in my stack.

Overall a pretty nice break, a little disappointed that I didn't score a hit but that is the gamble with group breaks.

So for my decision on Gypsy Queen this year.  I have decided to NOT collect the base set.  Part of this break was Sam randoming off 3 sets that came from the case and I decided since I didn't win the set, I am not a huge fan of the design and I am a little annoyed that the SPs are mixed in and not at the end I am not going to collect the set.

You may not realize this but it is a pretty big step for me.  Last year I collected almost every set that came out.  I have already decided not to collect Gypsy Queen, Topps Stickers and Panini Triple Play that have come out this year, mainly just trying to cut back.  I will buy a few packs to test them out and look for some Giants but I am not going to dole out the cash to buy them.

Thanks for the great break Sam. Let do an Allen and Ginter one as well!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wednesday Weekly Contest Results

I am a little behind in naming a winner, sorry about that - you all know about best intentions.  This will also probably be the last contest until I get settled after my move, we can start up again with Short Stops.

In all there were 26 entries.  There was a tie for the favorite Third Basemen with 2 players each getting 4 votes:

Mike Schmidt

and Scott Rolen

There were four players tied for second with 3 votes each - Adrian Beltre, George Brett, Ron Santo and Vinny Castilla.

Now for the contest results, here are all 26 entries put into
 Random #1......

Random #2....
 And the final Random results in....
 Captain Canuck as the winner.  Congratulations!  Let me know which of the prizes you are interested in and I will try to ship it out next weekend.

Thanks to all of you that entered and I appreciate you sharing your favorite 3B of all time.

The State of My Life... and How it Impacts My Blog

Big changes are coming to the ARPSmith household over the next couple months.  As you may recall, we had a little girl, our 3rd child, back in early December.  She is a sweet and wonderful little girl and we couldn't have ordered a better baby.  My boys love her to death and are wonderful with her.  We are very happy and baby girl has definitely completed our family.  If that wasn't a big enough change (my middle son just turned 6 so we were out of the baby mode), we received another twist that is impacting our family.

This new change isn't bad, at least long term.  I just got a new job with my company.  It is a lateral move but it has a much broader scope of responsibility and it much more visible that my old job.  My goal is to get promoted to the executive level in the next 1-3 years and I think this job will help me get there.  The big change is that the job requires us to move.  It is only 90 miles away but that is hours of commute in So Cal so we are picking up the family and moving at the end of the school year.

This is something we somewhat anticipated at some point in the future but it came along pretty quickly.  After some initial sadness and disappointment my boys seem to be on board and somewhat excited (most of the time).  My wife has been wonderful despite some serious downside for her.  She is a middle school teacher and currently has what most would consider a dream job (small school district with few budget concerns, high paying for a teach and a classroom overlooking the beach) and will have to leave her job.  Her disappointment is somewhat balanced out by the fact that she most likely will take at least a year off of work after the move.  This should be great for the family allowing her to spend more time with our baby girl, help the boys acclimate to the new area and a new school and take some home pressure off me as I dive into my new job.

I started my new job last Monday and will be spending the week at a Residence Inn new my new office while my wife plays single mom back home. She survived the first week but it is going to be tough on her to make it through the next 8-10 weeks of this until the school year is over and we make the move.  It sucks for me to be away from my family but the burden is much worse on her.

So what does that mean for this little old blog?  Well I really enjoy doing this and have been at it for more than a year.  I have become friends with a bunch of fellow bloggers and some that just read my blog.  I have met tons of trading partners and have had more fun with this hobby then I could probably imagine.  I drafted a few posts last weekend before taking off for the new job thinking I could just keep going as normal but have quickly found out that it just won't work.  My personal internet access is limited to my iPad which is a little challenging to post with. I don't have any cards with me to scan so new posts are tough.

My plan is to do as much as I can on the weekends (which probably won't be a ton) until we get settled in our new home.  Trading will need to slow considerably and posting will probably do the same.  I will still be reading posts and trying to comment perhaps a little more than normal.  With my wife leaving her job I suspect my monthly spending budget will be impacted but I actually think that will allow me to appreciate my collecting more and spend more time looking through my binders.

I am excited with what the future holds, for my family, my career and my blog but the next few months will be a little tumultuous.   Since this is a card blog I figured I would show a few cards I have accumulated over Giants Player of the Game today and 2-time Cy Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum for you to enjoy.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2013 Collection Goal Status - Player Collections

One of my goals in 2013 was to place some focus on some of the non-Giants players I collect.  These collections haven't gotten a ton of attention in the past couple years as there have been so many Giants cards released and I have gone overboard in the number of sets I am collecting.  I posted my first Rickey Henderson post back at the end of January and since then I haven't done a great job of adding Rickey cards.

Here are the 4 newest additions to my Rickey collection:

I really like the look of the Sport Kings card, for an unlicensed card it really looks sharp.  The Spring Fever cards looks really nice in the A's colors.  The Cooperstown card is pretty boring without a photo but when it features my players, I tend to warm up to cards like this. Finally a Ginter mini with an A&G back.  Four solid pick ups but more than a quarter into the year and I am way off pace:

2013 Rickey Henderson Collecting Goal - 50 new cards
Cards added in this post - 4
Remaining cards to reach goal - 41

My Vida Blue collection has gotten a little more activity and I have added one more card to the collection:

If you have a yearning desire to see the front of this card (I actually find it quite appealing) you can check out my last Vida post. I featured the back in this post because the red Candy Crofts back is what makes it unique to my collection.  At almost half way to my goal, I am ahead of pace to meet my goal.

2013 Vida Blue Collecting Goal - 25 new cards
Cards added in this post - 1
Remaining cards to reach goal - 13

I have two other player collections that I have yet to introduce so let's put an end to the procrastination. At this point I don't have want lists posted on the blog, if you have some of their cards for trade, let me know and I will check my have list.

The Willie McCovey, Rickey Henderson and Vida Blue player collections are really easy for me to recall the origins of.  Dave Winfield is a little of a mystery to me.  He never played on my favorite team like McCovey or Blue nor did he play on the other local team like Rickey.

I started collecting him after he moved to the Yankees but have always appreciated his Padre cardboard the best.  I do recall wanting to add another player collection in the 80s and giving thought to players like Jim Rice and Mike Boddicker (had a lot of his cards already and he was pretty good for a stretch) before settling on Winfield.   My collection today consists of just short of 700 cards so it is a fairly decent sized collection however there are tons of cards of his from recently releases that should be fairly easy to obtain.  I am going to set a goal of 40 new Winfield cards in 2013 and here are the ones I have collected to this point:

I nice trio of Triple Threads parallels, I actually still need the base card so that should be an easy pickup.  The Cooperstown card is a little too close cropped to be perfect but I really enjoy the very early in his career Padres photo.  Just like the Rickey above, the Sport Kings card is a work of art I am very happy to have in my collection.  Finally a sweet Manupatch celebrating Winfield's #31 being retired by the Padres.  Manupatches are a mixed bag for me but I am a huge fan of this set.

With these 6 pickups and the goal of 40 new cards, I am off pace a bit but I have a feeling this goal will be met my year end.

2013 Dave Winfield Collecting Goal - 40 new cards
Cards added in this post - 6
Remaining cards to reach goal - 34 

The final player collection I will be setting a goal around this year is none other than The Straw that Stirs the Drink, Reggie Jackson.  I started my Reggie collection after the Winfield one and its origins are even more fuzzy to me. I read a couple baseball books that featured Reggie and he played for the Oakland A's when I was very young so I am thinking those two facts helped inspire me.  He also wears #44 like my favorite player Willie McCovey (and me in Pony Baseball for a couple years).

My current Reggie collection is about half as big as my Winfield collection at just over 350 cards.  There is a lot of low hanging fruit and I could go bananas on Reggies if I wanted to but he is probably the lowest player on my personal collecting totem pole so I am going to set the Reggie goal at 40 as well.

 A nice trio of Reggie cards I pulled from 2012 Panini Cooperstown, the High Praise insert set is one of my favorites.  The bottom 2 cards are parallels from high end Topps sets, don't know if you can see it well in the scan but the Museum Collection is numbered 102/199.  I think the Museum Collection design is one of the best and love seeing Reggie in the A's uniform.
 Another Manupatch picked up on the cheap. Not as big a fan of this set as the retired numbers but I guess the 1977 World Series is something that does come to mine when you think of Reggie.
 Finally a nice bat relic from Playoff Pieces of the Game.  I think this is a solid design and was happy to add this card to my Reggie collection as I don't have too many relics.

2013 Reggie Jackson Collecting Goal - 40 new cards
Cards added in this post - 7
Remaining cards to reach goal - 33

So there you have it, my 4 player collection outside of my Giants collection. If you are running low on Giants in our trade packs and want to throw in some extras, Winfield and Reggie may be something to consider. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Box Break - 2012 SP Signature Edition Baseball

I stopped by the LCS a few days back trying to decide how much, if any, 2013 Gypsy Queen I wanted to pick up this year.  I entered The Daily Dimwit's case break so I figured I would pick up a pretty nice stack of Giants. Sam was also going to build some sets and random them off so I thought I would wait until that drawing to pick up much.

In the end, I went with 2 packs of Gypsy Queen which netted me a couple of Cubs minis, inserts of RA Dickey and Joe Morgan and a few base cards.  I have been a fan of Gypsy Queen in the past but for some reason this year's design isn't doing it for me. I certainly want all the Giants but outside of maybe a couple more packs here and there I will probably refrain.

What I did decide to buy was a box of 2012 SP Signature Edition baseball.  This is the product I have typically referred to as a sticker dump by Upper Deck.  I am pretty sure they just looked to get rid of all the baseball auto stickers they had laying around the warehouse.  Not the best set ever but I really wanted to open something and there were a couple compelling reasons (at least ways to justify it in my mind).

First, I had just picked up the McCovey on Sportlots (see this McCovey Monday post) and the set was fresh in my mind. Second, the price point had come down a ton since first release.  I believe this box was selling for around $120 when it came out and I picked this one up for $54.  Finally, my LCS has indicated that there have been some great pulls recently including a Sandy Koufax and 2-3 Derek Jeters.  So in a moment of weakness I took the plunge.

This box consists of 3 auto cards, 1 of which is a multiple signature card.  I will share my pulls in the order they appeared in the box:

The first card is an auto of injured Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz.  I scanned both the front and back to show off the entire design.  The front has no picture of the player, just a silhouette of a generic player, the name, team and career years circle the silhouette and the bottom right corner shows a baseball diamond with the players uniform number on it.

The back shows 1 line of career stats, a little biographical info on the right and the Congratulations! info authenticating the autograph.  Not a very inspired design and with the McCovey and this pack my thoughts that this was mostly a quick auto dump were confirmed.

Next up was a "Prospect" auto.  I am not too sure how much of a prospect Jonathan Meyer is for the Astros.  He is a third baseman who played in High A ball last year and hit .272 with 8 HRs and 57 RBI.  This year he is in AA.  He was a 3rd round draft pick and played High School ball in Simi Valley, CA which is real close to my company's head office.  Almost the same design, the jersey number is missing and replaced by a baseball and the career years are missing replaced with Prospect.

Finally the best hit of the box, a dual signature of Billy Williams and Alfonso Soriano.  It is always nice to pull a HOF auto.  This one is from the Franchise Focus subset and features a top Cubs player from the 1960s and 2000s. It is serial numbered 03/35.  This design isn't too bad in my opinion of a card without pictures but in reality isn't the picture supposed to be what the card is all about?

If anyone has an interest in any of these 3 cards, I am sure I could be persuaded to trade them so drop me a line.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My 2013 Heritage Journey

I was on the fence about 2013 Heritage and whether or not I would collect the set this year.  I am somewhat fond of the 1964 design, I especially like the orange backs, but I wasn't sure if that was enough.  I went to Target and bought a blaster and after opening a few packs I started to think that just maybe I would go after the set.  I stopped by my LCS and decided what the heck and bought a hobby box.  It set me back $77 and I was thinking I would probably need 2-3 more boxes and an outlay of cash to build the set and I just wasn't sure I wanted to invest $200 more dollars into the set.  In the second to the last pack of my hobby box, out popped this:

I quickly threw it up on eBay and ended up recouping almost all the cash I spent on the entire hobby box.  That got me a little more excited about the set so I decided to go in for another box since the first one paid for itself.  There were no amazing pulls and quite a few duplicate base cards but at least all the SPs were different from the 2 boxes.  Another blaster and a few random packs were purchased and I found myself a long way from the set with a huge pile of duplicates.

I had a relapse and decided to head back to the message boards and read some Sports Card Forum posts about people building the set and made a couple big trades.  My stack of duplicates, while still substantial did grow shorter and my want list shrunk.  I started seeing some blog posts pop up with a couple bloggers building the set and was able to work out a trade with Charlie from Lifetime Topps Project.  He sent me 31 base cards in a trade, here are some of my favorites:

To go off track on the Heritage and complete the trade post, Charlie was able to help me with some 2012 Ginter inserts (I still need 14 of these dang code breaker cards so hit me up if you have some from my want list):

And 2 sweet Giants minis (the Ross is an A&G back):
Back to the Heritage.  As anyone who has ever tried to put a set to Heritage together, the difficultly comes in getting all 75 freakin short prints.  As I mentioned my 2 boxes had all different SPs and I had also picked up a few in trade and in my packs and blasters that helped.  Then I got very lucky and won an eBay auction to pick 15 SPs from a list of about 35 for $17.50 plus $3.25 shipping.  This is a very low price and got even better.  I let him know that I needed 20 from his list and he threw them in for another $1.50 so I got 20 SPs for $22.25!  The Harper pull, the trades and this purchase really put the set within reach for much less than the $300 in packs I thought it would take.

Oh yeah, my last 3 pack of cards from target also yielded this:

It is a Bazooka mini of none other than Mike Trout.  I do believe I will be putting this up on eBay soon to cover some more of my costs.

I am down to needing just a very few base cards and 23 SPs.  If you picked up some random packs and have a couple SPs laying around check my want list and lets make a trade.  I am still trolling the message boards as well because I really would like to trade my way to the end of this set.  I also need some of the Giants as well.

I have realized I have very little willpower when it comes to set building - so far I am after the flagship, Opening Day and Heritage.  I have decided to sit out Gypsy Queen and I hear Triple Play is out for year 2 pretty quickly as well, let's see if I can skip at least a couple releases.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Group Break Goods - The Daily Dimwit - 2013 Topps, 2011 Limited and 2005 Topps Chrome

I am a little behind on this post but back when Series 1 Topps flagship was released Sam from The Daily Dimwit hosted a group break featuring a box of Series 1, a box of 2011 Leaf Limited and a box of 2005 Topps Chrome.  I jumped in on the Giants and ended up getting our hometown Angels as my random team.  I seem to get the Angels fairly often which works out well as my boys like the team.

Here are the goods from the break:
 I'll start with the flagship base. I have probably shown some version of each of these at some point already but hey I scanned them so you get to see them.  I believe I got the entire team set or darn close - too lazy to check.  In looking at these cards again, I do think the Giants has some pretty nice photography in this set with the Posey, Crawford, Theriot, Lincecum along with a couple of the celebration cards.  A very nice looking team set.
I was also lucky enough to score a Posey emerald parallel and 72 mini along with this Panda insert.  This was a nice start to my 2013 Giants collection.

Next up the Chrome:
 I scored 2 Giants that I needed and also pulled...
a trio of Angels including a very nice Jered Weaver draft pick card.  Pretty good score for a secondary team.  Sam also included this Barry Bonds card although he is featured in a Pirates uniform - sorry to whoever got the Pirates - I can send it your way if you really want it.

Finally the Limited, only 2 cards but I am pretty happy.
The Kyle Crick is numbered to 199 and he is one of the Giants top prospects.  I had another version of this card to 249 so I was happy to pick this up. I also scored the hit of the box with an auto of former Angels' Center fielder Devon White.  As I recall he was one of the top defenders for a number of years and I was pretty happy to pick this up.  I would trade it if someone is really interested but I do think I will probably keep it with my collection.

Thanks for the great break Sam!!!  Looking forward to showing off my Gypsy Queen group break goods soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Top 20 Recent Vintage Purchases - #8 1962 Topps Frank Robinson All Star

The #8 card in my countdown is this sweet looking 1962 Topps All-Star card of Frank Robinson.

I am a huge fan of the 1962 wood border and also a fan of Frank Robinson. I recall the days in the early 80s when he was managing the Giants and hearing stories of him winning the MVP in both leagues.  How did someone with his talent end up getting traded in the prime of his career?

Prior cards in the countdown:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Topps Screwed Up Big Time - And It Benefited Me!!!

Most everyone has heard of the Topps Silver Slate Redemption program this year.  Basically you send in a bunch of wrappers and you get a pack of 5 blue cards back while supplies last.  This year I bought my usually Jumbo Series 1 box from my LCS and fairly quickly bundled up my 10 empty Jumbo packs and sent them to Topps.  You can imagine my frustration when 4 or 5 days later I get my envelope back from the Post Office for insufficient postage.

I considered not even mailing them in thinking that I would be too late but ultimately decided to slap on some additional postage and give it a try.  Boy am I glad that I did!  My 10 Jumbo packs were supposed to net me 1 pack of 5 cards.  Well I didn't get 1 pack, I didn't get 2 packs, I didn't get 5 packs, nope I got 10 packs of cards back from Topps!!!

I scanned them by pack and thought I would share all 50 cards with you:

My favorite card is probably the Moustakas from this group - he is my 3B in my fantasy league

2 Phillies but for me a pretty boring pack

That's more like it - 2 Giants and a Yu with the Rookie Cup

Another Giant and a parallel Jimmy Rollins 07/10.  The parallels are really nice cards with frames reminiscent of UD Masterpieces parallels

Way too my New York!

A sweet throwback, a rookie cup (also a member of my fantasy team), a hot rookie, a parallel 06/10 and a cheater.  Pretty exciting pack.

Loving the sweet Padres throwbacks and way too many Dodgers

An Auto!!!  These really aren't the nicest design, wish they had incorporated the blue or silver somehow.  It is serial numbered 072/114.

My third parallel, this time 02/10 and a nice Buster league leaders card.

And the final back with a nice Ryan Howard and a couple of sliding player
So what do you think?  I was pretty happy with the haul.  I doubt I will be able to complete a Giants team set but getting 4 of them was pretty nice.  I am not sure what I am going to do with the rest of these, I may end up selling them on eBay or Sportlots to recoup some of the cash layout so far this year on Series 1 and Heritage.  I may also be persuaded to enter into a trade or two.

I don't have the opportunity to do this much but Thank You Topps!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top 20 Recent Vintage Purchases - #9 1959 Topps Orlando Cepeda

The card coming in at #9 is the 2nd of 3 Orlando Cepeda cards in the countdown and is the oldest of the group.

The 1959 design is a popular one with collectors and this Baby Bull card doesn't disappoint.  I like the green border and have always been a fan of the lowercase names and Giants logo on these cards.  I would like to see more than a portrait shot when possible but the youthful smile makes for a great card image.  Another Sportlots auction winner and I got a pretty good deal on this one as well.

Prior cards in the countdown:

Monday, April 8, 2013

McCovey Monday #36 - 2012 SP Signature Edition Auto

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.

I finally scored a new McCovey card for my collection.  Take a look:

I am always happy to add another McCovey auto to the collection but this is far from the most appealing card in the collection.  I actually don't mind the design too much with the coloring, the baseball diamond in the background, the small diamond in the bottom right corner with his jersey number, etc. however there is one glaring issue with this card - WHERE IS THE PICTURE!  I struggle with an entire set without pictures and hope that Upper Deck's recent re-entry into the baseball card market will give us something more inspiring that this.  (I am also bugged by the fact that the first baseman silhouette shows a right handed first baseman while Willie Mac is a lefty).

Again glad to have a new McCovey but let's get some photos onto these cards moving forward.