Friday, May 30, 2014

Inching Closer to the 1973 Topps Set

I am really hoping to finish off the 1973 Topps set sometime this year.  The one dilemma I will have once that is complete is which set to focus on next, 1971 or 1972.  I have want lists up for both but they are huge.  I am going to need to formulate a plan on how to get some bulk lots I need cheap but I am getting ahead of myself.

I recently picked up 2 more 1973 cards I needed, both high numbers.
This is the second to the last Rookie card I need with just the big one waiting in the wings.  Not any huge names here with Mike Garman having the longest career of the trio.

I also picked up former Giant Felipe Alou.  This card was tough to track down at a reasonable price, I wonder if there is a premium because he is a Yankee.  This is one of his last Topps cards in his career with only a 1974 and 1974 Traded cards after.

I am down to needing 4 cards, a Red Sox team card, 2 Checklists and the Mike Schmidt rookie card.  I probably shouldn't be but I have been surprised how much the Checklist cards are selling for unmarked.  I am not looking for mint condition but an unmarked is a plus.  My plan is to know off the 3 non-Schmidt cards then set up an eBay search with notifications to go full fledged for the final card.  With us not being at the half way mark of the year, I should be able to finish this one off but I just can't lose focus.

2014 Topps Archives 2 Box Break - I have been Bipped!!!

Yesterday I picked up 2 boxes of the newly released 2014 Topps Archives.  Seems lots of people are hit or miss on this product.  My personally - I really like it, that doesn't mean I don't have some ideas to improve it, but I like it.  I decided to build this base set, SPs and all, and decide on the insert sets after my breaks.  Quite a few base cards have and will be featured and I got tired of scanning so all I am going to show are my SPs, parallels, inserts and autos.

To mix things up I will start where I finished with box #2.  In box 2 I got 163/200 base cards with no duplicates.  2 of my dups go straight into my player collections (Willie McCovey and Rickey Henderson) and 3 into my Giants collection (Lincecum, Scutaro and Bumgarner).  I didn't do too well on the Giants as I ended up with 127 different dups.  If you happen to be interested in a 122 card starter set let me know!

 First up are the short prints.  In years past the SPs were typically different designs from the base set.  These 6 are all in the same design as the base set.  I was happy to get the Mays, now I just need to track one down for the Giants binder.  Topps seemed to change up the SPs as well, the last 2 years they were all fan favorites. With Kershaw and Verlander, it is obvious they changed it up. Also changed is the number.  Over the last 3 years the number of SPs has increased from 40 to 45 and now 50 - that sucks for a set collector!

 There are 2 different parallel sets of the base cards, gold and silver. The gold are numbered to 199 while the silver are /99.  I had one pack that had one of each which results in me beating the odds based on the wrapper statement.

 The most plentiful inserts were these All-Star cards featuring a combination of today's and yesterday's stars.  I remember pulling these from rack packs back in the day and am happy to see them included.

 The next most plentiful inserts are the deckle edge.  I am loving the old school photo of Cal and Jeter is always a nice pull. These are small in size that last year I believe.  Not a bad inclusion but I wish they had done something different - maybe tattoos or comics.
 This scan shares the 3 other types on inserts I pulled.  Two of the universally applauded Major League cards, a hockey-like card of Goldschmidt and a Stadium Club die cut wooden Firebrand card.  I will share my collecting goals for this set after box 1.

Now for the 2 hits:
 My first auto pull from this box was a Ron Gant card. I think Gant fits this set perfectly as a fan favorite auto.  In looking at the auto checklist I think this is a pretty solid pull.

Speaking of solid pulls, check out this Jose Canseco auto. It was my last hit pull from the 2 boxes and I really like it.  Outside of Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire and possibly Jose Abreu it could be the best auto.  I am thinking the A's would be the team to take if you were entering a group break.

Now back to box 1.  I got 164/200 base cards and fortunately when combined I pulled a full non-SP base set!  I am pretty excited about that.  Here are all the rest of the cards:

 Here are my 6 SPs including a couple of big names in Mike Trout and Jose Abreu. I am also glad the two boxes have different ones. The trend of the SPs being the same design as the base set continues.  Wonder what the rest of the SPs look like? Hopefully some day in the not too distant future I will have all of them and solve that mystery. After these breaks I have 12/50 SPs - long ways to go.
 Here are the parallels I received.  Very happy to get a Silver Giant /99.  Overall the guys I got aren't the greatest. I think I will set aside the Schmidt for someone but everything else minus the Scutaro could be had via trade.

 No dups for this insert set.  The checklist I saw shows 30 of these.  Liking the throwback design and already having 12 of the 30, this is an insert set I will go after and complete.

 I am loving this Buster Posey deckle edge and will need another for the Giants binder.  There are 40 cards in this set so I am 25% of the way there.  Pretty cool design, I dig the black and white a bit, so I think this set will also be one to go after.

The checklist I saw shows 5 Major League autos but only 4 inserts.  With these 2 different ones added to the two from the other box I believe this insert set is complete!  There are 20 different of the Hockey design and I now have 2 including one of the top gets in Abreu.  The basketball inserts from last year were too costly. I really like the design but will only go after this set if a nice reasonably priced lot drops in my lap.  There are only 10 players on the Firebrand checklist.  I did not get the most desirable players.  Again I will take the wait and see approach on whether to finish this or not.

Finally my 2 hits: 

I was pretty happy with this first auto pull.  A pretty popular player with a great signature on a really good looking card.  I am not a Yankees fan but I don't mind having this card in my collection until someone pries it away with a great offer.

 I promised you a Bipping in the title....
How about a 1/1 Magenta Printing Plate autographed by none other than Bip himself. Pretty cool card.  I am trying to decide if I should get the Bip and Jose up on eBay to recoup some of my box cost and generate some funds to go after the SPs.

Overall I am pretty darn happy with the breaks.  I have the base set done, no SP or insert dups and some pretty darn good autographs.  Again, could they do more with the product, definitely. However I am a big fan of it in its current state.  If you have any of my needs that aren't pictured, drop me a note and let's trade.  My want list will go up with gets the checklist posted.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rickey and Reggie

I haven't been posting as much as usual lately due to a variety of factors - I have been watching a lot of Giants games via MLB.TV, spending more time with my wife in the evenings, busy with the kids and I have been trying to get a little more organized.  Fortunately, my buying of cards that fit into my collection really hasn't slowed down.

I thought I would share a few of my recent Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson cards.  Up until the past year or so these 2 player collections have been somewhat dormant but I am having fun picking up their cards lately.

 First up are some Gypsy Queen minis.  I was happy that both guys had regular and variation versions and I was able to grab all 4.  I also recently got a good deal on the green version of Reggie's 2013 GQ card.  This one is serial numbered 72/99.

 Speaking of serial numbers, here are 3 recent Rickey pick ups that are all serial numbered.  Once again Topps did a nice job with the base cards in Museum Collection.  The green parallel Rickey numbered 141/199 look great with that green A's logo on the card.  The middle card is from the dark days when Rickey was on the Dodgers.  I contemplated skipping these Rickey cards for my collection but my desire to get as many player cards as I can won out.  The Topps Gold parallel is numbered 1580/2003.  Finally the Playoff Honors card commemorates Rickey's 1990 MVP and is numbered 1188/1990.

I was able to snag this Standing O parallel insert of Reggie from the Panini America's Pastime release.  This one is 16/25 and is on a nice thick card stock.  Reggie certainly earned a few Standing O's in his career.

Last but not least is a nice bat relic out of 2001 Fleer Futures.  I think this card has a solid design and I am glad to add a little piece of Reggie's bat to my collection.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Contribution to Modern Sportscards with Rickey Henderson

As you may know from some past blog posts, I am a big Rickey Henderson fan.  I grew up in Northern California and while I was a Giants fan it was hard to not be electrified by what the best lead off hitter in baseball history brought to the game.  I went to quite a few A's games in my youth and my Rickey collection was started right around the time as my Willie McCovey collection.  I think it is time to tell my story about an impact I had on some of the recent baseball card releases.

About 3 years back the All-Star Game was held in Anaheim and I went to the Fan Fast for a couple of days.  I went one day solo and one day with my oldest son.  On the second day I was there I found out that Rickey would be signing autographs for free the following day if you had a ticket to the Fan Fest. I decided to plunk down some cash and go for one more day.

I got there about 30 minutes before the doors opened and there were tons of people out front of the Anaheim Convention Center.  When the doors opened I raced to the signing area for Rickey and still ended up quite a ways back in line but still within reasonable reach to get an autograph.  I quickly struck up some friendships and exchanged Rickey and collecting stories with my neighbors in line and Rickey showed up pretty much on time.

Word started to spread that Rickey was being Rickey.  He was on his cell phone, not engaging with the fans and worst of all had declared he would only sign the ticket stubs from the event.  Several people around me has some impressive pieces of memorabilia that they wanted signed (a game used batting helmet, a poster with about 30 or 40 players where Rickey was one of the final signatures he needed, etc.) and they got pretty mad.  I had brought a rookie card of Rickey and was disappointed as I didn't have an autographed card of his in my collection.

As we got closer to the front, Rickey got off the phone and started having fun with the fans.  He also loosened his signing standards a bit, now 8 X 10s were in play.  We saw him sign a couple oddball things but saw more turned away. I didn't see one card getting signed so I got my ticket stub ready.  Finally my time came to walk up on the stage and I decided I might as well go for it.

I approached Rickey and said hello.  I told him I had been a fan of his since his rookie year and had been collecting his cards since the mid 1980s.  I acknowledged that I heard he wasn't signing cards but was hoping he would make an exception as I was one of his biggest fans.  He looked up at me, smiled, shook his head a little from side to side and said, gimme the card.  He signed it and thanked me for being a fan.  The kid and his mom behind me quickly asked, since you signed his card will you sign mine.  Rickey looked back at me and in a joking tone said "See what you got me into, if I sign a bunch of cards, I won't have any value to the card companies."

I saw my in and tried to educate Rickey a bit.  I told him that he had very few cards on the market and quite a few collectors who chased his cards and paid top dollar for them. (If you aren't aware, Rickey hadn't had an certified autos since 2006 and most of his cards were 1/1s or very limited runs /5 or /10)  I told him that he should have his representatives reach out to Topps and that they were the only licensed card company right now.  I told him that based on his collector base, his popularity and the rarity of his signature out in the market place he should be able to command top dollar for his autos.  He looked up at me, smiled, nodded his head and said, "I may just have to look into that".

Wouldn't you know it but starting the next year, Rickey started showing up with autos in products and now he starting to have more and more autos in new releases.  Odds are, something was already in the works but I like to think that I am responsible for Rickey starting to sign for card companies again.

Here is that autographed rookie from the Fan Fest that was my first auto card of Rickey in my collection:
I saw him sign it personally so I don't have any concerns about its authenticity but just in case you were wondering...
There were authenticators on site that put a sticker on the back to prove authenticity.

I also picked up this card that has Rickey's signature on it, it was my first certified auto from a card company.
Not too exciting but I could afford it and it added to my Rickey collection.

A couple weeks back I stopped by my LCS, picked up 4 packs of Gypsy Queen and pulled a Jeff Bagwell printing plate.  I put it up on eBay for a $60 buy it now and it was quickly gobbled up.  I added a few bucks to it and picked up this beauty:
I beautiful on card autograph of one of my favorite players of all time.  I think this card is just great looking.  The picture looks to be from early in Rickey's career and is one of my favorite cards in my collection.  It is great that I could finally benefit from my inspirational talk with Rickey on getting back into the hobby.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bring On Topps Archives...

With the exception of a few Super Veteran inserts, I have put my Topps Series 1 set to rest and completed all I plan on completing including that pesky Before They Were Stars insert set.  I have finished off the base set and picked up quite a few Opening Day inserts but still have a sizable list to go.  I am slowly but steadily chipping away at the Donruss set thanks in large part to the bid board at my LCS.  If the past two years hold true, I will finish up my Heritage SP set sometime around Black Friday. 

2014 Topps Archives is set to be released sometime next week and my set building focus will shift once again.  This is a release that seems to polarize collectors.  True to form from the last couple years, the base set will consist of 50 cards from 4 different Topps designs from the past (1973, 1986, 1989 and 1980) then 50 short prints for a total set of 250 cards.  I want to put you all on notice that I will be collecting the set so if you happen to buy a few packs and pull some SPs, keep me in mind for trades!

While not the greatest design choices, I am happy about the 1973 inclusion, it is the next vintage set I should be completing.  I have a special place in my heart for 1980, it was the second set (after 1981) that I ever completed and has one of my favorite cards of all time in the Rickey Henderson rookie.  I am fine with 1989 and not surprised about it after the minis from the flagship set.  I think the 1986 set is the biggest travesty, why not go back to a more classic set like 1975 or even something like 1968.

Beckett has a nice preview of the set here.  It features an awesome Rickey Henderson auto - I sure hope it isn't short printed as I would love to hunt one down.  The Major League inserts look like fun but I haven't decided which insert sets I will chase.  Several of the insert sets last year were so rare that it was virtually impossible for me to go after them.  I am looking forward to cracking a couple of boxes very soon.

I can't have a post without pictures so I thought I would share some of my "hits" from Gypsy Queen and give a status of my Giants acquisitions since I am not going after the set. 

All 3 Giants Autos. I shared the Williams from my Group Break and picked up the Mitchell and Kickham on eBay. I love that Williams and Mitchell are in this set.
Hunter is starting to heat up this year and am glad to have his relic.

This reverse negative of the Say Hey Kid was a great pick up for $10 delivered and a card I honestly thought wouldn't make it into my collection.
Probably my favorite card from 2014 Gypsy Queen - lovin the Jumbo relic.
From a Giants perspective, I have completed the base set but still need 2 of the 3 reverse negatives (Posey and Marichal).  I am down to needing 2 base minis (Vogelsong and one of the Mays versions - kneeling).  I am not going after the parallel mini sets but do need to score a McCovey Sepia parallel.  I have all the regular autos and won't be chasing the mini Kevin Mitchell /10, the Cain/Jered Weaver dual /10 or any of the parallel autos.  I still need the Lincecum relic and I believe a fellow blogger told me he would be sending the Cain my way.  Now that I have one Jumbo, I would like to finish of the team set by picking up the Posey.  All pretty realistic goals which I am proud of, in the past I was never happy until I had all cards but I have changes my ways.

Bring on Archives.

Monday, May 19, 2014

McCovey Monday #52 - 2011 Topps Update Rainbow

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1200 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 don't think I have shown these cards off before and I am too lazy to check.  Based on my recent track record of posting I am lucky to even have a post.  However, even if I have showed off these cards before, they feature one of the best photos ever on a McCovey card and maybe ever so enjoy.

 This is a Willie McCovey card out of 2011 Topps Update.  This was back when they had some SP parallels of HOFers and former stars. I was a big fan of that, much better than some of the recent sunglasses or celebrating cards.  Willie was the SP that shared a card number with Prince Fielder - I think that is a fairly decent comparison which seems to be what Topps tried odo doCheck out the photo on this card with Willie Mac sliding into home against HOF catcher Johnny Bench.  This is a fabulous card and amazing picture don't you think?

Next up with the Diamond Sparkle parallel. This looks pretty cool with the player in the background fading some and the trio in the foreground kind of pops.  Apparently this parallel is more available and affordable than the base card.

Another parallel, this time the Cognac (liquifractor).  I also like the look of this card but the Diamond one above seems to pop a little more.  Looking back I can't believe I completed the entire Giants team set of these Cognac parallels, as I recall they were only released in Update but went back through all 3 series.

The final card of this rainbow is the Blue Hope Diamond parallel.  This card is serial numbered out of 60 and was a pretty challenging pick up back in 2011.  This card is really a nice blend of the two above in my opinion with the blue shading.

Here is the rainbow in all it's glory:

This is not the biggest rainbow but one of my favorites in my collection.

For the Price of a Blaster

Between some auctions on Sportlots and the bid boards at my LCSs, I have picked up quite a few vintage HOFer cards.  I have given some thought to making a list of non-Giants and players I don't already collect and going after their Topps runs of cards. I haven't taken the plunge yet but I did jump on several player lots on Sportlots recently.  These cost me a total of $20 including shipping, let me know what you think.

 I scored an 18 card lot of Johnny Bench cards with the highlight being the 1975 Topps All Star card.
Almost half of these would go towards my Topps project if I do start it but there are a couple of really cool oddballs that I am happy to have.

 Next up are 9 Lou Brock Topps cards and a nice mix of Topps cards.  I think a large part of my appreciation for Brock comes from my following of Rickey Henderson.  In the early 90s the two were jointly discussed and even featured on a number of cards together.

 I also scored a 9 card lot of Lefty Steve Carlton. I really enjoy his transformation from the 1971 card to the 1976 card, from clean cut to almost hippyish. I have picked up a few other Carltons and this adds 6 Topps cards to my collection including the run from 1976-1980.

Finally a 9 card lot of Roberto Clemente.  I really only sought this one out for the top row and I was happy to get the lot.  The two 1969s are not in the greatest condition, both are creased, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick these up.  The oddball cards are cool too, I am tempted to break up the puzzle.  Clemente probably wont make my list if I decided to go after the Topps runs, primarily because I never saw him play but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate him and am very happy to have his cards in my collection.

So what do you think, better than a blaster?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Trade Post - Like Having My Own Card Shop

This post is on a nice trade that goes back a couple months at least. I had gotten fairly caught up on trade post but find myself falling behind again.  Check out the nice cards I got from Like Having My Own Card Shop

This trade originated with these 4 cards I needed to finish my 2013 Chrome update set.  I was surprised that I was able to complete this set fairly inexpensively.  Some luck on the Value Boxes I picked (most of the big name players and no dups), some great trades like this and a couple sellers on Sportlots with reasonable prices.

Daniel was also kind enough to include a nice batch of Giants:

The Aurilia from 2002 Fleer Tradition is a Glossy parallel serial numbered /200.  The other 5 cards in the top 2 rows are also parallels that I needed.  I particularly like getting the early to mid 2000s gold parallels like the Worrell, I would love to finish up all those back sets.  The Lofton card has a great photo in my opinion and the Alou is a clear acetate insert. The Gypsy Queen mini was a very welcome addition, I still need 7 cards for that parallel set and would love to finish it but these cards are pretty hard to come by.  Finally the 1992 Donruss Cracker Jack minis were the first I have of these, there is a Will Clark to finish off the team set that I need to track down.

Daniel, thanks for the great trade and the great cards!

The Good Type of Bowman

I recently shared my 2014 Giants team set of Bowman that I picked up as a lot on eBay.  I am not a huge fan of the set but there is a type of Bowman that gets me excited - vintage Bowman.  Bowman issued sets from 1948 - 1955.  I have actually completed the 1955 set and try and pick up the Giants from the other sets when I can.  The vintage Bowman cards are some of my favorites to chase.

 First up is a pick up from 1949 of Willard Marshall.  The deep red background stands out on this card and I like the Orange highlights on the hat and jersey.

Next up is a trio of 1950 Bowman cards.  This is one of my favorite Bowman releases with the great color.  The Bill Rigney is up first and the great background makes this an amazing card.
Here is a nice portrait of Leo "The Lip" Durocher who was the manager of the Giants during this time period.
 Finally a card of Monte Kennedy.  This is a set I would like to finish up some day and it really isn't out of reach. Fortunately it is pre-Willie Mays so there aren't any cards that are completely out of control from a cost standpoint.  I have 2 other cards in addition to these and there are 15 total Giants in the team set.  One third of the way there!

This is another impressive set, 1952 Bowman.  I really enjoy the contrast of the green lockers in the back and the player in the front.  The facsimile signature is a nice addition to this Max Lanier card.

In 1953 Bowman released cards both in color and black and white.  This post shows off 3 of the colored cards.  First up is Al Corwin.

Next we have Don Mueller...

And finally Jim Hearn.

I also have the black and white of Larry Jansen.  I all I have 1 of the 3 B&W and 7 of the 9 Color cards. Another team set that is probably within reach.

The last Bowman set with recent pick ups is the 1954 set.  I am not a big fan of the color block that is in place to encapsulate the signature.  I would prefer that the auto just go over the picture myself.  I now have a dozen cards from this set with these additions.  I still need 3 cards to complete this including the Mays so this one may not get done for quite some time.

First up is Alvin Dark...

 Followed by Henry Thompson...

And finished up with HOFer and my most recent pick up Hoyt Wilhelm.

I hope this dose of Vintage Bowman helps those of you who dislike recent Bowman releases get a nice escape from all the 2014 Bowman posts.