Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Meeting a Friend of the Blog and Landing a McCovey White Whale

A couple weeks back I got an email from fellow Giants fan, reader of the blog and all around great guy Jim aka mrhaverkamp.  Jim was heading down to Southern California from his home in Northern California (Giants country!!!) to visit some friends and was wanting to get directions to the local card shops I have reference on the blog and perhaps meet up at one of the shops.

We exchanged numbers and I gave him directions.  A couple days prior to when he was planning on being in my area he called and left me a message and as luck would have it I was down with the stomach flu.  I missed a chance to meet a couple fellow LA based bloggers at a card show a couple months back and I was worried I might miss another opportunity to meet the first person face-to-face that I was introduced to through the blog.

A day or two later I started feeling somewhat human again and texted Jim to let him know that I was available to meet and he got back to me and let me know around what time he would be at the shops.  I cut out of work at the right time and we ended up meeting at one of the shops.  We had a chance to visit and get to know each other for 30-45 minutes over sandwiches and soup talking cards and Giants, it was a great way to spend a long lunch break.  Lucky for me, mrhaverkamp came bearing gifts.

First up he gave me some 1970 set help:
 I have a copy of this McCovey in my Willie collection one and the Alston fill a set need.  I set a goal for 2013 to complete the 1970 set up through card 459 and this along with some other recent pick ups puts me 3 cards away.  Two are the Munson Rookie and Reggie Jackson so I am not sure I am going to make the goal this year but I got darn close.

Next up some 1973 set help:
 Dick Allen may be one of the most underrated players in history.  I am loving the background of the Kaline card, I am sure with a little research I could figure out where the Tigers spent their springs, obviously somewhere with palm trees.  Similar to the 70 set, I am working on 1973 as well with a 2013 goal of finishing up through 528.  I am 4 cards away from that goal with the biggest name again being Reggie Jackson.  With only a little over a month to go, this may also be a goal that is so close, yet so far away in 2013.

Finally, Jim handed over this card:

Holy White Whale!  Those of you not too familiar with the 1969 may not catch the rarity of this card. Maybe 20-25 cards in the 5th series printed the players name in white lettering as a variation.  The normal McCovey has his name in yellow like the team name.  This card has been on my McCovey want list from the start and I have run across very few for sale.  Those for sale were typically in very poor condition and priced well outside my range.  I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to have this in my collection.

Jim, it was great getting a chance to meet you and to get to know you a bit.  I thank you immensely for the cards and have a couple of things set aside for you already as a gift in return.  I need to seek out something to sweeten the package to help balance out the McCovey.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A "Thrill"ing Pick Up for the Giants PC

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to see this card on the bid board at the LCS and even luckier that it had an affordable Buy It Now price of $6 on it.  I am typically a bargain shopper and will typically toss a bid for a dollar or two in hopes of winning the card at a bargain basement price but I didn't think this one would last.

This is a box topper from 2013 Topps Archives celebrating Will Clark's amazing 1989 NLCS performance against the Cubs where he went 13-20 including several clutch hits.  This box topper is huge, I scanned a standard size card of The Thrill with it just for comparison.

I haven't seen too many of these pop up on eBay and I am still in search for the Juan Marichal card.  I like serial numbering on cards but don't get too excited about getting the first or last or jersey number of the player but maybe it is a little cool that this one is serial numbered 01/99 as the first one.

I am just glad to have this as part of my collection, now if I can just figure out the best way to store and/or display it!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Trip to Cooperstown - Part 2 - The Base

This is the second post showing off my wears from a fairly recent trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This time I thought I would show off the base cards that I picked up out of a few "bargain" bins that I ran across.

 I didn't spend time checking my list on my phone much on this trip but did quite well, I didn't purchase any duplicates!  This is a nice selection of Giants greats.  The Sweet Spot Mel Ott is numbered to 825 and offers up a pretty unique picture.  The John McGraw is an insert numbered out of 500.  I kind of wish the photo was a little darker - it seems quite muted, not the best design.  The Topps Super Teams card celebrating the 1951 Giants is pretty cool.  I recently scored a shiny parallel as well.  The 1971 Mays reprint is one of only a few I have in my collection, I have quite a bit of work to do to complete that set.  However, the Fan Favorites Mays was the last card I needed to complete the entire Giants run of Fan Favorites, completing one of my 2013 collecting goals.  Finally a card celebrating Bobby Thomson but not for what you may think. I celebrates him moving to 1st base so the Alou Brothers could share the same outfield - I think that is one of the neatest baseball stories, can you imagine 3 brothers playing together at the highest level?

 This next group features 3 different Carl Hubbell cards: a 1992 Cramer Baseball Legends, and UD Playball reprint and a Sportsflics Decade Greats card.  All 3 feature Carl in his throwing follow through and they are all slightly different.  The man looks as if was pretty consistent in his form which probably helped in his success.  The Mays card is a super thick card from Donruss Biography and celebrates Mays' 25 career HR.  There are tons of these and this is my second. This is not a set I will be going after an entire run of.  The Tom Seaver card may seem out of place but as a former Trojan I couldn't pass up a card of Tom Terrific in his USC uni and featuring the SC logo - very cool.  Finally a 1986 Sportsdesign card of the Dandy Dominican Juan Marichal.

 I am a sucker for Shiny and picked up these 6 shiny cards.  The first two are from Topps Tribute and celebrate the induction years of Mel Ott and Jon McGraw. These cards are executed so well and look so nice that putting together a set my be on my horizon, although probably quite distant.  The Mays card is a parallel from Donruss Sports Legends, not too exciting but I always enjoy adding new cards from Mr. Mays to my collection.  The bottom 3 are from Topps Archives Reserve.  I am close to my 2013 goal of finishing off the Archives Giants and Reserve just may make its way onto the 2014 goal list.
My last 6 pickups are for the Dave Parker collection I mentioned in my last HOF visit post.  All great representations of Dave in his outstanding Pirates uniform.

Overall nothing too rare but some very nice additions to my collection.  My next post will include some very cool oddball cards I was able to find on my visit.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Trip to Cooperstown - Part 1 - The Vintage and Relics

A couple months back I had a work trip to Saratoga Springs, NY for a few days and my wife was wonderful enough to allow me to tack on a couple extra days on the trip and take a quick detour over to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  It was my second trip, I went 2 years back, and while it wasn't quite the religious experience as my first trip, I still had a great time.  Many of the displays were the same although I did get a chance to see the new Giants World Championship exhibit (2 trips, 2 opportunities to see an exhibit celebrating my team as the champs).  There was also a vacant area that was between exhibits but it is still great to be able to see all the great memorabilia and walk among relics from the greats of my favorite sport.

In addition to the museum itself, Main Street in Cooperstown is cool with memorabilia dealers and sports card dealers lining the streets.  I, of course, had to pick up some cardboard goodies for my Giants collection.  My first trip focused primarily on vintage Giants as I had just started my quest to collect Giants.  This trip had more of an oddball feel to it.  I am going to split my purchases into a few different posts so I will start with my vintage and relic purchases.

I only brought home one vintage card, this 1951 Bowman Sal Maglie RC.
I got this at a store that shares the name with Boston Red Sox HOFer Carl Yastrzemski which happened to be the place where I scored most of my vintage last time.  The store had moved a block or two closer to the museum but still had lots of cool stuff.  The prices in Cooperstown are typically pretty high but this place seemed to be the most reasonable as well.  This card is far from mint but I usually don't worry about that and I love the Bowman cards from this era.

Next up are 5 relics I picked up at a couple different stores:

 This Topps Pristine relic of Jeff Kent is a nice looking shiny card and Kent is one of 3 Giants in the set.  I just got a second one in a package this week which I will be sharing later and I like the look of this set.

 Next up is an SP Legendary Cuts relic of Omar Vizquel from his stint with the Giants.  The set is title Destined for History and I do think Omar was a historic player.  I wonder how much HOF consideration he will be given.
 My last Giants relic is this Classic Seasons card of will Clark from 2005 UD Classics.  I feel like I have been picking up cards of Clark and Kevin Mitchell from this set forever and new ones keep popping up.  I have no complaints though, I think this is a nicely designed card.
 My final 2 relics are of Dave Parker.  I have started picking up cards of Parker but only those where he is donning the Pirates uniform.  This is my first time starting a player collection where I am not going after each and every card.  It is just that I remember Parker best as a Pirate and I love the uniforms of that era.  The SP Legendary Cuts card isn't overly exciting but I do like the Pirates P inked onto the wood, a very nice touch.
While the prior card isn't that exciting to me, I really enjoy this Diamond King Gallery of the Stars design.  It has 2 relics, a jersey and bat to go with a great picture of Parker wearing the bright yellow jersey and great hat.  Two very nice pick ups for the Parker start up collection.

I will continue to show off the other items I acquired on the trip over the next few days.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Giants Team Set Completion - 1957 Topps

I can honestly say that when I started my quest to seek out as many Giants cards as possible, I had little to no hope of finishing the 1957 team set.  It is a 25 card set, which isn't too many cards but the team set included a few high numbers including a tough to get Giants team card. The real limiter however was the Willie Mays card - actually for most Giants team sets Mays is the limiter (I am not sure how Yankees fans deal with the Mantle effect, it would drive me nuts).

The Mays challenge was dealt with earlier this year in an Epic trade you can read about here.  I have finally but the finishing touches on this team set and wanted to share my final pick ups and the overall team set.

I picked up the Gail Harris card prior to my move an shortly after getting the Mays in the trade and this brought me to within 2 cards of the team set.
Recently I started looking for the last couple cards on eBay and was able to find this high number double print of Max Surkont at a very reasonable price.  Doesn't this guy look like he is about 60 in this photo?
This left me with just 1 card to go, the high number, high valued team card. I looked on several sites to see if I could score one at a reasonable price and struck out.  The cards on eBay were going for Buy It Now in the $35-$60 range and I couldn't even find an auction with a low starting point to battle to the end.

Finally I found a lot of 9 cards from the 1957 set.  Most of them were in pretty rough shape but the Giants team card was included in pretty nice shape.  I got the entire lot for $16.50 which I was pretty happy about. Here is the team card:

If you are interested in trading for a 1957 card, here are the others from the lot, protect your eyes a couple of them are very rough:

Here is the 1957 Topps Giants team set in all its glory:
As you can see my pages also have a "card that never was" of Jackie Robinson.  I picked that up from Bob Lemke.  He has a great blog and makes his own cards.  He used to sell them but recently decided not to - apparently people are selling them for very high prices on the secondary market.  I picked up a few Giants and several USC Trojans several years back and am very glad I did as they are great additions to my collection. 

Well there you have it.  I had a goal of finishing 5 sets from the 60s this year, never imaging I could complete a 1950s set.  Still have a little more work to do if I am going to meet that goal but so happy to have this team set complete. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

2013 Topps Chrome Update - 4 Pack Break

Topps has done a few funky things over the last couple years. Of the top of my head I can think of:
  1. Topps Mini cards being only sold through for the last couple years
  2. Last year's update to Topps Heritage being sold as a factory set only on
  3. 2011 Ginter Glossy cards serial numbered to 999 sold only in factory sets on
  4. The hidden cards in the actual box in this years Ginter
I am sure I am missing a few of the gimmicks but recently another one came out with the release of 2013 Topps Chrome Update.  Today I picked up 2 boxes of cards at Target priced at $14.98 each that included 5 packs of Topps Update and 2 packs of Chrome Update.  I completed my base set of Update with a Jumbo box purchase but was able to pick up a couple needed inserts and a couple nice other cards in that break.

These are the 4 biggest highlights in the update packs minus the Puig rookie (didn't feel like scanning it):
 The Scherzer is an SP, I got a couple decent Emerald parallels and a really nice Gold parallel.  All these are for trade if you are interested.

Now on to the packs of Chrome, the real draw to the product for me:
 The first pack was kind of exciting to me as when I opened it up I saw the back of the Posey Postseason Heroes insert.  Posey is the only Giant in the update base set and this is the only Giants insert so pack 1, 1 Giant down, 1 to go. The Myers RC was also a nice score.
 Pack 2 was heaving on the Dodgers but it contained 1 of 2 Puig rookies.  I am guessing this is a pretty good score.  The Puig I pulled in the Update pack has the same photo as this chrome card.

 Pack 3 produced 3 great rookie cards (including the other Puig) along with an insert of last year's Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.  Very good pack and one to go.

The 4th and final pack was probably the least exciting but I did score a black parallel of Alfonso Soriano numbered 87/99.

Overall I got great value out of these boxes.  The set builder in me is a little torn. I would love to put the entire 55 card Chrome Update set together.  On the plus side I knocked off most of the high value cards which helps.  On the minus side I spent $30 and am only 24% of the way to the set (13/55).  I would have to buy 7 more boxes with perfect collation to get the set that way and that isn't going to happen. I think I will make a want list, see if Sportlots gets some cheap commons up that I can jump and try to trade with anyone who may pick up a box or two.

Speaking of trades, the Soriano and Cabrera are up for trade. Also if you need some 2013 Topps Update drop me a note. I have tons of extra base and a few inserts I could trade your way.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mailday - Best. Patch. Ever.

A couple weeks back I got into a little bidding war on a redemption card that was up for auction on Sportlots.  For those of you who haven't used Sportlots, the auction bid has to stay stagnant for 3 days before you win.  There is no timeline on when an auction ends.  Another potential buyer and I kept going back and forth and one upping each other but I finally prevails.  I thought it was kinds silly but I ended up paying $2 shipping to get this:
This came in a PWE in a top loader which kinda annoyed me for $2.  I also paid $13.50 for the card.  I didn't closely watch the Museum Collection release this year.  I have picked up a Lincecum relic on the cheap and several base and parallel cards.  When I got this I wasn't sure what the card would look like or what the print run would be.  I looked on and saw there was a regular version of this card along with cards numbered out of 25 and 5.  I figured this had to be the 25 version so I figured I would get a nicely signed card from my favorite current Giant with 3 jersey swatches.  If I got lucky, maybe I would get one of the swatches with a little orange on it.

Well imagine my surprise when I got a package from Topps today from FedEx and opened it to find this:


This is by far the best patch now in my collection.  Each of the windows has a swatch from a different part of the jersey and each contains 4 colors.  The middle swatch seems to contain part of the word baseball and the third shows most of the San from the city name.  There are gold accents all around the card including the sticker and this wonderful card is numbered 3/5.  My wife cards little to nothing about cards (other than her complaints that I spend too much) but even she appreciated this gem.  I still can't believe I picked it up for $15.50 delivered.

I have to think that if the seller had redeemed it himself and sold it on eBay he would have scored quite a bit more and I am certain I never would have even seen the card from a search much less own the card.  A very nice mail day.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Donruss Elite

I have always been enamored with the Donruss Elite inserts. The were first released in 1991 Donruss and were a very rare pull despite having a very high serial number by today's standards /10,000.  Donruss included these inserts for 8 years. 

I believe I have a couple Rickey Henderson and Barry Bonds Elite cards in my collection but recently picked up 2 Matt Williams Elite inserts.  This first one is from that inaugural 1991 set.  There were only 10 cards in the set. 2 of which are autos of Ryne Sandberg and Nolan Ryan. 

I think this has a pretty nice design, especially by 1991 standards.  The marble border is pretty cool, I like the big shot of Matt in the field with The Elite Series across the top and his name along the bottom.

The back has the serial number printed largely across the top. The bottom corner shows the card number 8 of 8.  There is a nice little write up showing the Giants streak of RBI champs and an explanation that Dick Perez created the marble design.  Personally I could have used a little more Giants hype.

In checking out the values in Beckett, I was surprised a little that Williams books for the lowest amount at $25.  I totally get why Bonds, Brett, Canseco, Dawson and Henderson are higher but a little surprised that Doug Drabek and Cecil Fielder out book Williams.  Another reason why I should pay little to no attention to book value.

The other pick up from the same Sportslot auctioneers is from 1995.

This is a pretty nice design with the die cut borders and shiny silver. This time we see an action batting photo of Williams.  The die cutting almost gets me there but I am still a little more of a fan of the 1991 design.

 The back again displays the serial numbering prominently across the top.  Matt is numbered 53 in this set but this is actually an extension of the prior sets from a numbering perspective.  There were only 12 cards made in 1995 but they kept the numbering going.  Again a nice little write up and this time a second picture of Williams.  These were an easier pull due to a lower production run by Donruss.  You scored one of these inserts in each pack of Series 1 and Series 2 Donruss in 1995.

There is a pretty nice checklist in 1995 and again Williams is alone at the bottom in book value.  The other 11 are: Jeff Bagwell, Paul O'Neill, Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Barry Bonds, Kirby Puckett and Fred McGriff.  I might argue that Williams should be on par with O'Neill and maybe McGriff but I wouldn't put up that hard of an argument.

Very happy to add these two "rare" cards to my collection.  If you have any Elite cards, I would love to see a post and/or link to them in your blog.