Friday, August 26, 2016

Box Break - 2014 Panini Hall of Fame - Box 2

Time to share my second of two boxes from a late 2015/early 2016 purchase of a pair of 2014 Panini Hall of Fame boxes.  If you missed the first one, you can find it here.

I will start again with the base cards, again with 2 cards numbered to 75 and one to 50.  Some pretty good star power here with 2 of the hardest throwers ever and a great hitter from early in the 20th century.

I got a pair of Diamond Kings, with the Bert Blyleven serial numbered 47/75.  Still a fan of this design.  The Crusade cards are nice as well and to me the Bench with the red surrounding it looks pretty awesome.

I ended up with 2 Elite series cards in this box with the Gibson being a parallel /25.  I was pretty excited to get a player collection guy in Rickey Henderson for my Dominator card.  These are great looking cards.

Now onto the hit portion of the box, I got an extra one in this box and it contained something a little sparkly in it:
A Wee Willie Keeler Gem Stone numbered 10/10!  Keeler had a 19 year career.  He spent 5 years each with Brooklyn and Baltimore along with 7 years with the Yankees and just 2.5 with the NY Giants.  Since any logos are missing on this Panini card and there is no indication of which New York team he is depicted on, I declare this a Giants card and make it a part of my Giants collection!

I still have the 2 HOF Autos to go...

First up is HOF Starter/Reliever Dennis Eckersley.  I love the look of his wind blown hair in the photo on this picture.  As I stated in box 1, I really like the design of these cards.

My final card of this break was a little bit of a disappointment as it was a duplicate auto from one I got in box 1, former Red Sox LF Jim Rice.  I like Rice a lot, back in the 80s I started player collecting him but stopped as I was going after too many players to keep track of.  This auto is actually serial numbered 01/46 so technically it is a different card but I was hoping to score at least one auto in these two box breaks that didn't already reside in my collection.

Regardless of not picking up a new to me HOF auto, I was pretty happy with this break.  These were priced pretty well and it never sucks to pull HOF player autos.  I am hoping that some sort of HOF release happens this year as well.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Nice Going Away Gift From Royals and Randoms

Shortly before I moved, Josh over at Royals and Randoms dropped me a note to see if I had moved yet or not.  He said he had some cards to send over my way.  Luckily, my family hadn't moved yet but I was already working in KC.  Josh swung by the house (I think it might have been when the movers were there) and dropped a bubble mailer in my mail box.  Josh moved near by me a while back and we never got a chance to connect face to face.  With my move being unexpected and my travel to KC almost immediate once I got the new job, I never imagined I would be leaving the area so quickly.

The package was waiting for me right before we took our trek across the country and it was filled with some excellent stuff, take a look.

First up are these oversized 1997 Strat-O-Matic cards:
I didn't know that this set existed and love the fact that the cards have the player photos on them.  I should take some time to figure out if a checklist exists that might show what is out there.  I haven't had the urge to pick up Strat-O-Matic game cards that don't have photos but really like these.  Very cool oddball.

Most of my blog focuses on baseball cards and much of my player collecting attention focuses on my SF Giants collection.  Josh is one of the great bloggers who helps feed my USC Trojan collection and included 5 relic cards in this package:

All 5 of these are of star players where they were at USC and despite a pretty expansive USC relic collection, I needed 4 of these 5 in my collection.  I can't remember a time that a random group of cards so fit my needs.  My favorites here are the Lee and Jarrett cards, USC has a pretty awesome lineage of great college Wide Receivers starting back around the time of Keyshawn Johnson where there are at least 1-2 star WRs on the roster at a time and Lee and Jarrett are two of the best I have seen.  I would say only Mike Williams is on par with them.

 Josh also include a couple non-card items that I really like:

I have no idea where he tracked this down but it is a pull string for a ceiling fan with a Giants branded baseball as the pull item.  I have it up on my ceiling fan in my new card room and it adds just a perfect touch of Giants to the middle of my room.

An finally...
 A cool little figure of former Giants 3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval.  At times I question how these figures compare in likeness to the actual player.  There is no doubt this one is spot on as my 9-year-old son came into my room, picked it up looking only at the face and said "Cool, Pablo!" and set it back down.  This is my first figurine of this type featuring a Giant and will have a nice place on my display shelf.

Josh, thanks so much for the going away gift.  I am been pulling a few nice Royals and live in Royals town now so I will get you a return package out one of these days. If there is anything specific you are looking for to fit into your Royals collection, let me know.  There is a pretty solid LCS pretty close to me.

Monday, August 22, 2016

McCovey Monday #86 - Two 2013 Panini America's Pastime Front-Row Fabrics Dual Relic Booklets

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.

My last McCovey Monday post showed off a booklet that I have had in my collection for a few years.  Today I am showing off my 2 newest McCovey booklets, 2 versions of the same dual relic.

The first is what I would consider the base version of the booklet as it is numbered the highest, 57/59.  Not only does it feature Willie Mac but it has a nice big jersey swatch of Juan Marichal.  This is a pretty solid design with some seats and a brick wall in the background and nice large pictures in the foreground.   What I really like is the home plate shaped relic piece.  Also the jerseys appear to be of the old fashion material type.

Here is the inside and outside of the first:

Here is the second booklet, this one is numbered 11/25:
There isn't much difference in the cards that I can detect.  The home plate and player names of the front of the booklet are a different color.  The numbering is of course different and in the case of these two relics you can see some different wrinkling in Marichal's jersey and some different stitching in McCovey's.

I was able to score the booklet /59 for $5 plus shipping which I thought was a great deal. The one /25 put be back less than the price of a blaster.  There is a version /15 out there that I will keep my eyes open but don't plan on breaking the bank for it as I am quite happy having these two in my Stretch collection.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hall of Fame Auto - Travis Jackson

During my time away from blogging and as I prepped for and made my move half way across the country I still spent my typical monthly card stipend but instead of focusing on base cards and set building, I sought out some higher end cards.  One area I focused on was autographs of Hall of Famers.

I set up some eBay searches for some of the old time Giants Hall of Famers as a starting point and one of the first I picked up was this beauty of HOF SS Travis Jackson:

The cut auto here is a pretty nice representation of his signature - nice and bold, decent sized and pretty well centered.  I am curious as to the purpose of the "No pictures" written about his signature, maybe this was a note back to a fan after a request came in for an autograph and picture.  The card design is fine, allowing the auto to be the star with hand printed numbering right above the nameplate that also gives Jackson's birth and death years.  As you can see the card is encased in a one touch with a Panini sticker sealing it.

A little about Jackson's career.  He played his entire 15 year career with the New York Giants debuting in 1922 and retiring in 1936.  He was primarily a Shortstop playing 1326 of his career 1635 games at the 6.  He also played 307 games at Third Base and a game at Second Base and two in the Outfield.  Jackson was a career 0.291 hitter with 135 home runs.  His OPS was 0.770.  Based on some advanced defensive metrics that didn't exist during his day he seems to grade out as one of the better Shortstops in the league.  His HOF plaque starts off with "Premier defensive shortstop who swung productive bat, known for outstanding arm and exceptional range afield".  His defensive prowess earned him the nickname of Stonewall.  He received MVP votes in 7 of his seasons.

Jackson was enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame by a Veterans Committee vote in 1982.  He had never gotten higher than 7.3% of the vote by the Baseball Writers.  In reviewing his stats he seems like a borderline HOFer to me but when you see quotes like:

"The greatest bunter I ever saw. " - Casey Stengel 
 “In all the years I watched him, playing with him and against him, I never saw him make a mistake,” - Rogers Hornsby
when reading his HOF page, maybe there is something to this guy being in the HOF.  If you weren't aware, each HOFer has a page on the National Hall of Fame website and they usually contain some cool stuff.  In the case of Jackson, you can watch his 6 minute and 34 second induction speech from back in 1982. 

This is another great pickup for both my Giants and my HOF Auto collection.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Just For the "F" of It #7

My collection of Just For the "F" of it cards continues to grow but I have gotten behind on my posts.  I have taken more of a liking to buying singles or sets as opposed to breaking wax which has made my budget go further with cool singles that I collect just for the "F"un of it.

For long time followers, you may remember that my second JFTFOI was an autograph card of a famous competitive eater.  While I am still a Joey Chestnut fan, my newest favorite competitive eater is Matt Stonie.  I was pretty excited when I was watching some Youtube breaks and saw Stonie included in the 2016 Leaf Sports Heroes sets so I waited patiently on eBay for a low price and added this to my collection:

The reason Stonie has risen to the top of my competitive eaters list are his entertaining youtube videos.  My sons and I enjoy watching his videos together with some favorites being his hard boiled eggs challenge, his Cinnamon Toast Crunch challenge and the Burritozilla conquest. Check them out.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Box Break - 2014 Panini Hall of Fame - Box 1

I bought 2 boxes of 2014 Panini Hall of Fame quite a ways back, definitely before my move.  As I was organizing and packing up I caught some scans of the cards with a plan to write up some posts while traveling back and forth between CA and KS but that never happened.

I figure that since the cards were scanned and I love me some Hall of Famer cards, this could be another better late than never post.

If you aren't familiar with this product, it is one of those 1 pack/box deals.  All of the cards are of Hall of Famers, there are tons of parallels and many of the cards are serial numbered. Also each pack/box guarantees two Hall of Famer autographs.

First up is what I guess would be considered the base cards, although there are several different parallels with different colors.

These really didn't scan too well, they look much better in hand.  Nothing too exciting for me here but  I am a fan of the design.  Of course being a Panini product we don't get any logos but to me probably only the Duke suffers much from this.

Next up are some Diamond Kings inserts.

These look fantastic in my opinion. They have some great detail in the facial features and look enough, but not too much, like a painting.  From a player standpoint, I wouldn't say these are my favorite HOFers but I am a fan of the Walter Johnson card.

Here are 3 other insert sets.  If I am not mistaken, the Crusade parallel has been used in other sports as well.  A very regal design.  I believe the Stengel is the unnumbered base and the Ripken is a parallel but I haven't found the box these are in yet so that is just a guess since the numbering for the Crusade cards is on the back.  The Elite Series and Dominator were in prior Donruss releases and I enjoy both designs.  The Banks card is my favorite here, great photo with him smiling while signing a baseball.

Finally my two autos:

I would characterize these two hits as solid but not spectacular.  I was hoping to score some autos that I didn't already have in my collection but that wasn't the case. I think I may now have multiples of both.  I do really like the design from this set with the head shot hovering over the museum and the auto are on card.  These will most likely stay in my collection.

Overall a good box and if I recall the price point was nicely discounted over the original release price. Stay tuned for what Box 2 has in store.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Only 2016 Topps Chrome Pack Purchases

I really haven't had that huge itch to bust packs, at least packs of new releases.  I shared my National Baseball Day card purchases a few days back which included 2 packs of 2016 Topps Chrome.  I was at Target a couple days ago and 3 hangers of Chrome were staring me in the eye and I had to pick them up.  It was fun but in the end I was bummed I spent $30 on these when I could have picked up some Giants needs or vintage set needs (or heck maybe even a T206 card - a little foreshadowing) for that price or less.

I have a lot of catching up to on the blog but want to mix in some of my newer stuff as well so I figured why not show off the goods:

Hanger 1
 2 Dodgers, 2 Blue Jays, 2 Mets and Zero Giants... Bummer.
 I have to say the inserts look pretty darn nice.  I like the stained glass look of the Future Stars and the Perspectives cards look amazing in Chrome.  I think I may try to put together the insert set of Perspective cards.

The reason the hangers call out to me is the 5-pack of pink parallels.  A few good players but no Giants.

Hanger 2
2 Cubs, 2 Rangers, Zero Giants... Bummer
 Some more awesome looking inserts and a refractor of one of the more over-hyped players this year.

 Some more solid players of the Pink variety but still nothing of the good guys in Orange and Black.

Hanger 3
 Yeah!  My final hanger produces my one and only Giant!
 Double the pleasure with 2 Perspectives cards in this hanger and speaking of pleasure, Nina Agdal is not hard on the eyes at all.
 More pink card and again no Giants. I was hoping for at least one but as a consolation prize, the last hanger spit out this:
Not my favorite player but an nice looking on card auto /25 from a hanger.  A pretty awesome hit and most likely the end of my Chrome pack purchases for the year.

Outside of the Samardzija and the Perspectives cards these are all up for trade.  If you see something you want, drop me a note.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trade Post - Dawg Day Cards

Well before my move I posted a lot of 1981 Topps Thirst gum wrappers.  The lot had quite a few that fit into my various collections and I decided to post the rest to see if anyone was interested.  Luckily Cleveland Browns collector and blogger Angus of Dawg Day Cards dropped me a note.  There were 3 Browns in the set so I shot them his way and he set back an amazing lot of cards in return.

Here are the goods:

Vintage oddballs for my Giants and player collection are pretty high on the top of my list of favorites.  These discs have different backs advertising different products/stores (and in the case of Vida's Crane disc a different front). These helped fill some gaps in my collection and one day I hope to have each of the varieties for these players.

One of the items that just may surpass vintage oddballs are OPC cards and check out what else I got in return from Angus:

I only scanned the backs as the fronts are identical to their USA counterparts.  I was excited when I turned these over and saw the bilingual write ups.  My want lists for Giants OPC cards are pretty lengthy from 1965 to 1976 and knocking these off that want list sure felt good.

A belated thanks Angus for such a great package of cards!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My April T206 Addition - HOFer Rube Marquard

One of the goals I set earlier in the year involved adding some New York Giants T206 cards to my collection. My goal was to attempt to add one per month for the year to add to my small collection.  I had previously shared January, February and March pick ups and while I am a little behind in my goal, I still have a nice card from April to share.

I was able to pick up my first T206 Hall of Famer, Giants pitcher Rube Marquard:
While this card is graded a Poor 1, I picked it up because it fit right into what I am looking for in my T206 cards.  I want them to display well and this one does just that.  The creases you can see in the scan do little to detract from the card and they are actually less visible to the naked eye.  I am so excited to have this Rube card in my collection as I am thinking the Mathewson and McGraw cards just are too far out of my price range right now - this can be my HOF representative.

The back of the card gives some evidence to the poor rating with much more visible creases and some sort of ink symbols on near the top.  Now that this card is posted and logged, it is time to do some bargain shopping for my T206 cards.  I am still shocked that after feeling even one of these was out of reach a year or two ago, I now have 9 in my collection!

Monday, August 15, 2016

McCovey Monday #85 - 2010 Topps Sterling Dual Auto Relic with Adrian Gonzalez

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 haven't done a McCovey Monday post since January but I had scanned this card back around the first of the year to show along with some other booklet cards in my McCovey collection.  While I do have a few new cards to show, this one is pretty awesome so I decided to go with it.

Even though I prefer my McCovey cards with a Orange and Black flavor to them, I have to admit this card pairing him with current Dodger but former Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is pretty nice.  Gonzalez played 5 full seasons with the Padres while Willie Mac played 2 and parts of a third and both will most likely be remembered for their time with other clubs.

I bought this card back around 2011 and think I got a pretty good deal if I remember correctly.  My one complaint is that I don't have a good way to store and/or display this card.  It is way too thick to go in my McCovey binders so I have it in a plastic snap case right now in a box of other oversized cards.  I scanned this and the other booklets I had while getting my collection organized for transit.

Regardless of storage issues, this is one of my top non-vintage McCovey cards in my collection.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

National Baseball Card Day 2016

Yesterday was National Baseball Card Day and I thought it would be a good day to take my boys to the only LCS in my new area.  It is a pretty nice shop aptly named The Baseball Card Shop and has a pretty solid inventory of baseball, football and basketball cards and some oddball stuff as well.  As part of NBBCD, they were giving out a free back of cards and an extra special card if you spent $10 or more on Topps products.  The guys in the shop were nice enough to give each of us a pack and a copy of the special card so I figured I would start by sharing those cards.  Each pack has 6 cards and I was hoping to pull the Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner.  The card guy let me look through the packs as the top card was visible but unluckily no Giants on the top.

The first pack I picked had Bryce Harper on top.  While Bryce isn't having a very good season, he is pretty hot in card circles still.

Some decent star power in pack #1.  Altuve is hitting around 0.360 this year and Trout is having his typical monster year despite his team stinking up the joint.

For my second pack, I picked up one topped by Kyle Schwarber.  I am not really sure why but he is a fairly big name rookie despite being hurt for most of this season.
I was super happy to hit the Posey in this pack, it has a great picture as well in his full catchers gear and mask in hand.

My final pack I picked the super rookie from the hated Dodgers Corey Seager.  While I can't stand the guy based on his team affiliation, I do know he is a really good player.

No luck in pulling a MadBum but getting 1 of my 2 most wanted players in 3 packs of a 50 card set is pretty solid hobby luck.

Oh yeah, the free give away was a Kris Bryant card so we got 3:

I picked up some other stuff at the shop. I got each of my boys 2 packs of the 2016 Topps Series 2 flagship set.  Nothing notable in those packs.

I got myself 2 packs of Chrome...
 I was happy to pull the Samardzija but really nothing else for my collection.  I do have to say that the perspectives set looks amazing in Chrome.  My 9 year old screamed out a "Wow!" when I opened the pack.

I also picked up 2 packs of Ginter...

A couple of Giants in the 2 packs but I had already picked up the team set.

I also got 1 SP in Gomes, an insert of The Numbers Game (an insert set I really like), an insert of the Natural Wonders (an insert set I already bought), a couple minis and a hit!  A Missy Franklin relic.  At first I thought the relic was missing, upon touching it, it looks like it is a piece of her swim cap, pretty cool!

I dug through a couple boxes of 1972 Topps cards and picked up some cards for my set:

 I thought $10 for 25 cards was a solid deal and it inches me closer to the set.  For those of you that have completed this set or are close, any tips on the high numbers?  They are fairly scarce and super costly everywhere I have looked.

Finally I bought a box of 2016 Donruss Optic.  For some reason I was drawn to the product.  Here are the highlights of my box:

I believe there a couple hot boxes in each case where each pack has a numbered parallel in each of the 20 packs and I was lucky enough to get one of those boxes:
The Cueto was my Giants highlight in this group of inserts that are all numbered /299.  It was also cool to score an Ichiro card in this group.

These cards are a little more rare with the top row being /199 and the 6 with the dark blue border being numbered /149.
My two lowest numbered cards were this Jankowski /99 and the Burns /50.  No huge scores on the serial numbered parallels but it was cool to open each pack with some shine and color.

In addition to the numbered parallels, each box promised 2 autos and I was extremely happy with my pulls:

It isn't every day you pull an auto of a Hall of Famer, at least not in the ARPSmith household. This Kaline auto is a great addition to my HOF collection and while a already have one auto of Mr. Tiger in my collection, there is always room for another.  My other auto is a nice blue bordered Rated Rookie auto of Giants outfielder Mac Williamson.  The card is numbered 62/75.  Over all I have to rate this box extremely high and it made my National Baseball Card Day a success.