Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Collecting Goals Review

I like making lists and setting goals.  In year's past I have made pretty long lists with lots of specific targets.  I found that fairly satisfying and a good way to keep some focus but I changed things up in 2017.  I kept this list pretty short, below is my original post in orange with some commentary after each of the paragraphs.

1. Complete Giants base cards for 2016 & 2017 - In my 2016 year end recap I shared how poorly I did with the 2016 Giants base cards.  I have hit up Sportlots to put a dent in it but still have some work to do. I want to stay better on top of 2017.  My one caveat, I am not going to actively pursue some of the higher end base cards from sets like Immaculate or Flawless.  For the sake of this goal, I want to get anything that isn't severely short printed or serial numbered under 100.

I always enjoy trying to get all the Giants base cards so this is a pretty regular goal.  With respect to 2016 I did a pretty good job  I still only need 9 cards and 7 of those are Elite Extra Edition cards /999.  I haven't even tried to track these down as I am not someone that typically goes after minor league sets. These have ended up on my checklist but I am not really counting them so I put myself at 2.  One is a dreaded Joe Panik Topps sticker #226 that I haven't been able to track down via Beckett, COMC or Sportlots after numerous attempts.  The other is a relatively easy pick up.  Not bad at all.

I was pretty meh on my 2017 base cards and trying to stay on top of them. I put a little focus during the last couple weeks to get the list down to 29.  Most will be easy to pick up, I just need to figure out a way to keep shipping down (my latest trick is to stick to 4 cards/buyer on Sportlots - you can usually get shipping for unde4 $1.50)  I plan on spending a little more time, maybe even this weekend whittling this list down, hopefully under 20.

I give myself a passing grade of a B- on this one, good not great and within striking distance.

2. Complete my 1971 Topps set - At the time of this post, my want list contains 34 cards including Mays, Clemente and 20 high number short prints.  This is a set that is within reach and I actually have 8 of the non-SPs in my COMC account ready to be delivered.  With some focus this could be knocked out by mid year.

Woo Hoo!  My birth year set is done.  I finished up this set in June and I am so happy to have it complete.  I just leaves the dreaded 1972 set as the obstacle left in my goal to have every Topps set since my birth.  Those 72 hi numbers are a beast, I am going to need to luck out and find some mid to lowish grade cards for a buck or two somewhere - maybe the National in a couple years when it is back in Chicago - in order to get this thing close enough to set a completion goal.  Don't expect it to be listed in my 2018 goals.

Knocking this goal off by the midpoint of the year earns an A+.

3. Complete my 1969 Topps set - I just posted about my start of this set quest and my want list stands at 41 cards.  The biggest hurdles will be Mickey Mantle, Nolan Ryan, Willie Mays and the Reggie Jackson rookie.  Crazy as it seems, I already have Willie and Reggie's cards in other parts of my collection (Giants collection and Reggie player collection respectively) so it will be the second time seeking out those 2.

The news here isn't quite as good.  I did make a pretty big dent in the 41 card want list, it is now down to 8 cards.  Of the big 4 listed, I only knocked Nolan off the list. In addition to the 3 biggies I still need the Bench 2nd year card, Don Kessinger, a Bobby Cox RC, Ron Santo and Ted Williams.  I have been hoping to track down one of the big 3 for a steal of a price but that hasn't happened yet.  You can rest assured that this set completion will be on my 2018 list of goals and will be accomplished. 

I am giving myself a B+ on this goal - I knew it was a stretch and did a little better than I thought in 2017.

4. Purge my collection of extra sets and unwanted base - I have put in a ton of time already this winter organizing my cards.  I am close to posting what excess cards I have hoping some of you can use them.  I have resigned myself to the fact that some will end up either at a Goodwill store or in the trash but I am hoping some of you out there can use some.  I have also starting to put together Super Trader packages for all the team to move some extra cards as well.

Well I sucked at this goal.  I have a draft post that has been ready for months and I haven't pulled the trigger.  It lists my extra sets and sets I have a pretty decent surplus of that could be traded.  I sent 3-4 flat rate boxes out after building decent sized stacks of cards for every team - the rest are sitting on a card table in my hobby room.  With something I have teased once or twice, this is going to become both more necessary and more monumental.  I bought a decent sized collection off a collector 3-4 months back and am just a fraction of the way done going through all of it.  I will share some details in January.

This goal unfortunately results in a failing grade - an F.

At this point I think that will be it.  I will still seek out other Giants cards and cards for my player collections.  I haven't decided on what sets I will build (flagship for sure but I don't know what else) or how I will build them (buy boxes/packs or full sets on eBay).  I have recently updated my Set Want List page with all the sets I have been thinking about building.  I am sure all parts of my collection will get some work but my plan outside of the 4 goals above is to go with the flow.  I hope it works out for me! 

 I did kind of go with the flow in 2017 and picked up some great stuff.  However I think you might see a bigger list of goals in 2018 to give me some focus.  With all the different areas I collect, I am thinking of setting 1 or 2 goals so I don't leave something behind.  We shall see as I haven't really started the goal list yet.

I will say that 2 of my long term goals were accomplished in the last few months. One was the aforementioned purchasing of someone else's collection.  The second was picking up an autographed Barry Bonds card.  It isn't certified by the card company out of the back but it is graded with a PSA/DNA certification and the back has Barry's hologram for certification as well.  I really like this card.

Another thing I alluded to in the closing comments of my goal setting post was a lack of decisiveness on what sets I would collect in 2017.  In hindsight I went a little crazy.  Though packs and box purchases I put together Donruss, Diamond King, Gypsy Queen and Topps Fire.  Through buying full sets I bought Topps Series 1 & 2 (plus insert sets), Topps Update (plus insert sets), Topps Archive, and Stadium Club.  More than I would have expected but I am warming up to buying full base set on the cheap via eBay.

Although my Collection Goal grades don't reflect it, I give the year a very positive grade of an A - it is a hobby and I have tons of fun.  I hope you met some of your goals and are ready to help me disperse some of my surplus cards in 2018!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Go Trojans!

Tonight my Alma Mater, USC, is taking on  Ohio State in Cotton Bowl.  This is a pretty good match up with my #8 Trojans going against the #5 Ohio State.  I believe this is the 2nd time the Trojans have gone to the Cotton Bowl - I remember a pretty big victory over Texas Tech not long after I graduated.  This is actually a pretty typical Rose Bowl match up with the Pac 10 (now 12) champ playing against the Big 10 champ.  These teams have matched up in the Rose Bowl 7 times (USC holds a 4-3 advantage) and 22 times overall (USC holds a 12-9-1 advantage).  I have been wearing my replica jersey all day and have my boys pumped up to watch the game.

I am usually a pretty big rah-rah guy but I don't have a great feeling about tonight.  USC has only lost twice this year but it hasn't been that good of a season.  The defense has been consistent in a "bend but don't break too often" fashion, they seem to give up a couple big plays each game.  The offense has been consistently inconsistent. They will have drives where they are unstoppable then drives where they make stupid penalties or have questionable play calling.  I am by no means a football expert but the offensive play calling isn't good.  They preach balance and too often go with play calls to balance out the attack instead of just riding what works.  They have a great QB in Sam Darnold but he has struggled at time, when he is rolling pass the heck out of the ball.  They have a great RB in Ronald Jones, feed him the ball over and over when the running game is clicking.  The root of the offensive problems, in addition to the play calling, really comes down to offensive line play. My worry tonight is that the Buckeyes with Urban Meyer will devise a game plan to exploit the offensive line.

I thought I would share a pair of Trojan cards from one of last year's starts, Adoree Jackson, with a nice little story.

So I won the autographed card in an eBay auction, thought it was a nice looking card of the 1st round draft choice.  I love it when the photos still feature the Cardinal and Gold.  I would never pay a premium for numbering like 100/100 but it is kind of cool when it works out that way.  The price was reasonable and I was pretty excited.

I was a little surprised and definitely bummed out when the top card was the one that showed up in my mail box.  Again some quirking numbering being 01/25 (first vs. last in the print run) but where was my auto.  I logged on and checked eBay then dropped a note to the seller. I was expecting some back and forth with him wanting the card I had back but nope he told me to keep it and he would send the right one.  Within just 2-3 days I had the second card in hand and was pretty darn happy with the twofer.

If you have no skin in the game, put out some good vibes for my Trojans.  Fight On!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 2002 Topps Ring Masters

Since 2006, in addition to the Topps Flagship base sets, I have been collecting most of the insert sets as well.  I little while back I decided to fill some gaps in my collection and pick up the Topps insert sets from 1993 to 2005.  While I do have all the base sets in that range, this was a period where I didn't do a ton of collecting.  Most of the sets have been picked up in factory form or bought complete without opening many or any packs.  I have been slowing making some progress on these although they seem to have taken a back seat to some other areas of my collection over the past few months.

This insert set is from 2002 Topps and is 10 cards in size.  These were inserts at a rate of around 1 per hobby box and actually a little more frequently in retail packs according to  The players featured in this set are players who had earner a World Series ring during their career.

These cards are on a nice thick card stock and are one of the better inserts during this Topps time period in my humble opinion.  Here are the fronts of the entire 10-card set.

A pretty solid cast of characters.  In addition to earning rings, Topps made sure they had a solid level of success in the regular season and playoffs to earn a spot in this set.  I wouldn't have minded this one being doubled with an expanded checklist.

Here is the back of the card of the best closer ever.
Nice to knock another set off the list, may need to dust the cobwebs off the want list and see if I can put a few more insert sets to rest.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Welcome to Cooperstown to the Two New Inductees

Wow, posts two days in a row!  Work is super slow this week so I took off a little early today and decided to post a welcome to the two newest members of the Hall of Fame.  A little over 2 weeks ago, Cooperstown welcomed two new baseball legends into the ultimate baseball museum with Alan Trammell's and Jack Morris' Veterans Committee election.  Personally I am excited about the induction of both, I feel my childhood era of the 80s is underrepresented.  Both players failed through 15 years of baseball writer elections and were considered by most as borderline HOFers.  While I understand and appreciate those that advocate for a smaller HOF with only the elites, I am a fan of a bigger HOF that celebrates a broader spectrum of baseball heroes.

I have put together a solid collection of autographs of Hall of Famers and quickly decided to add these two newbies into my collection.  I did a quick eBay search and found copies of one of my favorite autograph sets for each player.

Alan Trammell - 2003 Donruss Signature Series Legends of the Summer Auto

Jack Morris - 2003 Donruss Signature Series Legends of the Summer Auto
They look really nice together, don't they?  I think it is fitting that these two Tigers legends who both debuted in the 1978 Topps set are enshrined together.  I remember watching both with admiration play for the Tigers (and Morris later with the Blue Jays and Twins) play in All-Star games and playoff series.  Congratulations to both players on being recognized for their Hall of Fame careers.

That brings my Hall of Fame Auto collection up to 94 different players.  I sense a 2018 goal of reaching 100 as a strong possibility. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Santa Sure Was Good To Me

I have decided to poke my head up out of hibernation for a post this evening.  What might you say awoke this sleeping bear after about a 3 month rest?  I got my Secret Santa goods today in the mail.

They might have been a day late but boy it was worth it.  I was lucky enough to draw friend of the blogging community and active twitter Bosox guy Mark Hoyle as my Secret Santa.  Apparently he sent a package to my old mailing address in CA.  He tried rerouting it and it is apparently sleeping somewhere in Kansas trying to find its way to me.  Mark, being the great guy that he is, got another package sent my way and it has to be the best backup gift I have ever received.

 The package contained a variety of Giants items from Gypsy Oak, according to Mark he is a friend of his named Jeff.  I believe I have seen a couple items posted in blogs or on twitter but this is the first time I have gotten a chance to hold any of his creations in my hands - Jeff is one talented dude!

I am going to go biggest to smallest in terms of what I show.  Check out this awesome Christy Mathewson piece.  It is patterned after a vintage Allen & Ginter card and printed on very heavy stock.  The crease and notches you see on the card were designed to feel authentic as well. This is an amazing piece.

 The back is even done up nicely with a sticker and stamp along with some art work.  I placed this standard card sized Willie Mays net to it to show off the Mays and to give you some perspective on the size.  The Mays is great looking as well.

 Next up are a pair of post card sized photos of Mel Ott and Willie Mays.   These really show off the artistic style of Gypsy Oak and are both beautiful pieces.

I also scored a pair of tobacco card replicas of Bugs Raymond and Roger Brenahan.  These are also a very nice design with perforated edges and nice crisp colors.

The final items are this foursome of Giants HOF greats, Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Christy Mathewson.  These are little minis, maybe half the size of the tobacco cards.  There is a perforation in the middle, you can bend them in half if you would like.  I have already paged these up and gotten all these into my vintage Giants binder but had to break up the set a bit.  The Willie Mac made its way into the player collection binder.

Mark, thank you for the amazing gift and the effort to get it to me with the mailing mix up.  If memory serves me correctly, I gifted you last year in the Secret Santa and I think you one upped me this year.  I will have to make it up one of these days.

As for my blogging future, I suspect I may be doing posts more frequent than quarterly but my days of trying to blog daily (never really reached that for a consistent period anyone) are probably behind me.  It is a variety of factors including a job where I have to be in the office every day (used to work at home 1-3 days/week before moving to Kansas), the kids getting older and more demanding (not bad just takes away from "free" hobby time), a large hobby purchase I made that is taking forever to go through (hope to share real soon and probably the primary source of the 3 month break) and a focus on trying to get healthier as I approach the big 5 - 0 (trying to get up early to go the gym each day which requires me to go to bed earlier, hence less hobby time).

I still love the hobby, still love our blogging community, still appreciate the kindness and generosity of all of you.  I know I don't owe you an explanation and heck most of you probably don't even care but just thought I would include an update and hopefully you will see a few more posts in the not too distant future.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Just for the "F" of It #11

Time to show off another card I picked up just for the fun of it.  Today's card is a great looking card of 2017 Hall of Famer Tim Raines.

My Hall of Fame collection primarily consists of autographed cards, especially of the modern players and I do have an autograph of Raines in my collection.  However, when I saw this card pop up on Sportslots in an auction I had to bid and ended up bringing it home for $4.

This 2005 SP Legendary Cuts Glory Days set is one of my favorites.  I have contemplated trying to build either the insert set or base relic set several times.  It is a checklist that is 50 deep and it is a dozen years old so it would be quite an undertaking.  I really like the design with the color photo and sepia tones to the card.  This Raines card is great looking with the Expos uni and great looking blue jersey swatch.

Have you ever gone through with trying to put together a relic set?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Basketball Book Review - Tall Tales and Short Shorts

I believe this is my first book review of a basketball book.  Most of my sports reading focuses on baseball books but I saw Tall Tales and Short Shorts - Dr. J, Pistol Pete & The Birth of the Modern NBA by Adam J. Criblez on the new release shelf at my local library and decided to pick it up.  I am very glad I did.

This book tells the story of the NBA during the decade of the 1970s.  This is an era, outside of what I learned in Bill Simmons, The Book of Basketball that I knew very little about.  I was born in the early 70s and never paid attention to the NBA until the Kansas City Kings relocated to Sacramento in 1985.  In addition to Simmons' book, my other basketball reading has consisted of a book about Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, a couple books about Charles Barkley and that's about it.  These were all in my 1980s-1990s basketball wheelhouse.

This book has a chapter about each season starting with the 1969-1970 season.  Each chapter talks through the regular season of each team in the NBA.  Some only a paragraph, others maybe 2-3 but each team got a little love and the author shared who some of their top players were, news about the team, how they fared during the regular season and at times intertwined a few social items that were going on outside of basketball that either paralleled the NBA or gave some insight into how America operated at the time.

Each chapter would then go into some detail about all the playoff series match-ups.  Almost every game got at least a brief mention with some of the more memorable games having quite a bit of depth to the story.  Rightfully so, the NBA finals got the most coverage with quite a few details about the star players, how the series unfolded and who the eventual champ was.  These chapters ended with a full listing of the year's standings, a list of each playoff series with results, the All NBA first and second teams, the league leaders in key statistical categories and finally the NBA MVP and Rookie of the year winners.

There were also 3 other chapters interspersed that shared some details on key figures and turning points in the league.  The first talked about Pete Maravich and the second Julius Erving.  Each player was covered in some depth from their childhood upbringing through their college careers.  These chapters really gave some good insight into how they were shaped as players and what they brought to the league.  The final chapter was about the ABA and NBA merger.  The ABA was referenced a little during some of the season chapters but this chapter went into the formation of the league and the journey that the ABA went through that ultimately led to the merger.   There is a final chapter that talks about some of the key players and teams in the 1980s and 90s.

I really enjoyed this book and learned a ton.  There were star players in the 1970s that I had never heard of.  We all have heard of Wilt and Dr. J and Pistol Pete and Kareem.  There are tons of other well know players as well.  However, the All NBA teams were littered with players I had never really heard about.  I felt like the amount of information in the book was just the right amount. There are several story lines that could support an entire book on their own but I got just enough out of the book to understand how the NBA was in the 1970s and gain a greater appreciation.

If you are a sports fan and someone who likes basketball I think this would be an enjoyable read.  I am not the passionate fan I was in the late 80s and 90s but I still follow the sport on the periphery.  Even at that level of fandom, I found myself really appreciating this book.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Complete Set Showcase - 1993 Topps Commanders of the Hill

I have been slowly working my way forward on completing Topps insert sets throughout the 90s and early 2000s.  Originally I thought this set fit in with that quest when I picked up the Bill Swift card for my Giants collection but this was a stand alone set.

I saw this complete set pop up on Sportlots as an auction and was able to pick it up for just a few dollars.  Here is a summary of the set as found on
This 30-card standard-size set issued by Topps features pitchers of the American and National Leagues. The cards were available for an additional 25 cents per pack with the purchase of a fountain coke at military installation snack bars and food courts only, through the PX/BX. Each pack contained five cards.
Pretty cool, a military release.  I wasn't aware of any military only releases outside of the 1991 Topps Desert Shield parallels.  I scanned the entire 30-card set and examples of two of the backs.  The set showcases each leagues Cy Young winner, Strikeout leader and then each team's ERA leader.  I found the set pretty cool as it reminded me of a few fairly solid pitchers like Charles Nagy, Bill Gullickson, and Pete Harnisch that I really hadn't given much thought to since they pitched in the MLB.

I will share the entire set without commentary until the end:

The cards have a nice camo design along the bottom and two side borders.  I find it interesting that the three borders are all different widths.  The team name goes vertically along the left side which makes sense as this is primarily a team leaders set.  There is a small banner in the top left showing the city name and a bigger banner near the bottom with the player name and their team leader or league leader designation.  The set name is in the bottom right corner with a baseball in the middle of the logo.  I find it interesting that the Topps name doesn't appear anywhere on the card front.  Overall I think this is a fun design, I like the look and it is pretty unique and fits in well with the military release with the camo.

Here are the two different types of card backs.  The Smoltz card on the top is how the Cy Young and Strikeout Leaders looks.  Just a nice little write-up with some highlights of the season.  The team leader cards show a small recap of each of the pitchers starts.  I really like this display and wouldn't mind seeing it on other pitcher card backs.  There is a joint Coca-Cola/MLB logo in the bottom right along with a Players Association logo.  The only notation of Topps is in the fine print with the copyright info in the bottom left.

I am really happy I picked up this set even though it wasn't the insert set I thought it was.  It brought back a lot of memories of some good pitchers from the 90s in a nice solid design.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Baseball Book Review - Teammate by David Ross

I haven't done a Baseball Book Review in quite a while.  I know I have read a few baseball books but never took the plunge and posted a review.

Today I thought I would share some thoughts about Teammate - My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages by David Ross.  I heard about this book on a podcast and decided to check the local library and was lucky enough to find it.  

I have to admit that I didn't know much about Ross until his final season with the Cubs and actually became a fan watching his journey on Dancing with the Stars (I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have watched a couple seasons of the show)

Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages
Image taken from online retailer as I returned the book to the library

This was a solid baseball book.  He follows the 2016 Cubs season and sprinkles in anecdotes from earlier in his life and career.  He talks about how he wasn't always a good teammate but got some direct and somewhat harsh feedback that made him rethink who he was and adjust his approach to life and baseball.  I am a fan of that message.  In my job I have gotten some pretty direct feedback a couple of times and dished it out several times more.  I look at feedback as a gift and it is all about how you take it and what you do with it.  I have been fortunate enough to do well with getting this kind of feedback as did Ross.  Can't say everyone I have dished it out to has reacted the same.

There is some sharing of lessons learned and giving advice but not to the point it was preachy.  I am glad about that as that would have turned me off.  The best aspect of this book is hearing some of the baseball stories Ross has to share and learning a little bit about the inter workings of a baseball team. I have gotten that from other books as well but always appreciate a new perspective.

I also enjoyed the fact that I didn't have to be a Cubs fan to appreciate the book, while he is a fan of the organization and appreciative of how he was treated (especially during his final year), it isn't an over the top Cubs love fest.

If you want a pretty quick read with some good stories and insight into the baseball world, I would definitely give this a read.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Topps Proves It Sucks Once Again

Back in 2011 I bought a Topps Redemption for a dual Buster Posey and Neftali Feliz card for about $20.  It has been sitting in my account unfulfilled until a couple days ago.  I got a Fed Ex package from Topps, opened up the package and got this:

How can a relic card of a guy they continue to produce not be made and fulfilled?  Isn't Posey one of their guys?

I called Topps to complain.  The guy says the fulfill redemptions that aren't produced looking at Beckett value.  While he is on the phone I look up the Beckett values.  The Posey/Feliz card goes for $50. The Boesch card $12 and the "bonus" Phillips card for $6.  He puts me on hold for over 10 minutes.

He comes back on saying he checked eBay prices and the replacement was accurate as Posey relics go for under $10 and the card I got has an autograph.  I explain that Boesch hasn't played in the majors since 2015 and that only one of his autos has sold in the last 6 months (A Triple Threads /10 for $8) because he sucks and nobody wants his cards.  I doubt I could give it away.  My bonus card is of a prospect who can't even crack the Brewers Top 10 list.

He apologizes about 10 times, I tell him that does me no good.  I ask why they didn't reach out to me to ask who my teams are, he says they only ask what you want when you request a replacement, not when they arbitrarily decide to send you something.  Isn't that idiotic?

He says the only thing he can do is send me a care package with 2-3 packs.  Anyone want to bet what I get?  My guess is 1 pack of Opening Day, 1 pack of Series 2 retail and one pack of Stickers.

Not a happy consumer.

Friday, September 15, 2017

2017 Has Been A Giant Disappointment

This year my blog posting has been less Giants centered than ever before.  The team started off bad and just got worse.  I was very encouraged coming into the season they just laid an egg over and over again to where they are fighting it out for the worst record in baseball.  I bought the MLB package and haven't watched a full game since June - why put myself through the heartache.  I have been through many bleak years as a Giants fan and I will bounce back from this one as well.

I do continue to collect Giants cards.  My focus this year has been primarily on the base, some inserts and a couple of the more plentiful parallel sets.  I have plugged a few holes in back years as well but I have to admit that more of my attention has gone towards set building and player collections.  I did find a nice lot of Giants cards that I picked on on eBay a few weeks back that I thought I would share.

First up is a pair of Giants base cards from 2017 Museum Collection.  These were the only 2 Giants featured in the base set.  No legends, no MadBum, just Posey and Pence.  The Giants were fairly poorly represented in most of the releases this year which makes me think Topps knew something I didn't know coming into the season.  At least it makes it easier to pick up team sets of the base cards.

Next up is this auto of former Giants prospect, Phil Bickford.  Bickford was traded to the Brewers along with catching prospect Andrew Susac for relief pitcher Will Smith. Smith got hurt and didn't play this year, the first sign of a bad luck 2017.  Bickford was suspended for 50 games to start the season for recreational drug use, probably not a bad thing he is gone from the Giants.  This was the only card I already had from this lot.

This manu-relic of Buster Posey is nice.  I really enjoy the design and this was the card I was actually looking for on eBay when I ran across the lot.  The American Flag MLB logo is sweet and I have warmed up to the presence of manu-relics in the hobby, this one was a much have.

While there were only 2 Giants in the Museum Collection base set, other players appear on the hits.  Disappointing first baseman Brandon Belt is featured here on a triple relic auto card numbered /199.  I typically enter each season thinking Belt will break out then end the year in disappointment.  I wouldn't be shocked if he is gone to start next season.

The final card is this quad relic with a sweet patch of Johnny Cueto.  I thought at the beginning of 2017 that there was no way he would return to the Giants in 2018.  He was coming off a Cy Young caliber season and has an opt out clause at the end of this year.  A fairly poor season along with some blister problems make it highly likely he will opt in for the remainder of his contract and stay with the Giants.  I think I am okay with that, we need a bounce back from him and a bunch of other players to compete next year.

I need to do some more searching for lots like this, these were some solid additions to my collection.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Missing My Old LCS

In July, my family and I took a trip back to Southern California to visit some family and friends and beach time.  Being in the center of the country is pretty nice but having never been more than 2 hours from the beach my entire life, the sand and surf was a definite need.

Another need was a visit to my South Orange County former LCS, MVP Sports Cards.  In my decade plus in South OC, I built up a strong friendship with the husband and wife owner team and was looking forward to the visit and hoped I might be lucky enough to find a few cards to add to my collection.  I was able to accomplish both.

They had helped me immensely on my 1970 set build and the first thing I asked to see was the 1972 Topps box.  I am down to needing cards from mostly the final 2 series and I was able to knock off 24 cards from my want list at a pretty reasonable price.  This is the biggest chunk of the higher series I have been able to knock off at one time.

Not a ton of star power but a few well known names to go with this Expos team card.  Sorry for the upside down In Action card, I am usually not that sloppy.

Some cool photography in this grouping, with a nice bat barrel on the Reese card, a great posed shot with awesome A's uniform on the Bando card and quite a few cool spring training backgrounds.

I nice final grouping of high numbers with some good backgrounds, nice A's unis and a pair of rookie (non) stars.

Next up they pulled up their eBay page and I did a quick search for Giants.  I was able to pick up this nice looking 1951 Bowman Bill Rigney card that I needed for my team set.  Not a grading expert but this looks better than a 5 to me.

I am not a massive collector of graded cards but a few years back a guy brought in 2 big boxes of Reggie Bush graded rookie cards he had invested in during 2006.  Most were PSA 10s with a couple 9s mixed in.  I decided to pick out 4 cards and built a nice Reggie PSA 10 rookie collection for $15.  The owner said he picked them up for $3-7 each, imagine the loss the original guy took on these.

The final two purchases came from a large box of Star and HOF autos they pulled out.  I had never seen this Orlando Cepeda card and really like the design, photo and inscription so I pulled the trigger.

And the final card is a big one for me, a brand new Willie McCovey auto numbered 17/25.  I had the other version /45 already in my collection but this one was new. I am very glad to have want lists on my blog page as I wasn't quite sure if this was a card I had or not.  Now it resides nicely in my Volume 3 (of 4) McCovey binder with the other cards from around 2007.

I spied a couple other cards I really wanted to get but wasn't ready to spend that much as my vacation wasn't cheap.  I plan on reaching out in the next month or two to see if the cards I had my eye on are still around.  MVP Sportscards has been my favorite LCS by far and I was glad to get back for a visit.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 1998 Topps Rookie Class

Since 2006, in addition to the Topps Flagship base sets, I have been collecting most of the insert sets as well.  I little while back I decided to fill some gaps in my collection and pick up the Topps insert sets from 1993 to 2005.  While I do have all the base sets in that range, this was a period where I didn't do a ton of collection.  Most of the sets have been picked up in factory form or bought complete without opening many or any packs.  I have decided to share the different insert sets as I complete them to document my progress and share the sets in case they came at a lull in your collecting as well.

This insert set is from 1998 Topps and is 10 cards in size.  These were inserts in the 2nd Series and according to they were inserted at a rate of 1 in 12 packs, not a very rare insert.  The players featured in this set are players who had under one year of major league service entering the 1998 season.

The player selection in this set is pretty solid.  Most of these guys had pretty good and lengthy careers, I am impressed with Topps foresight.  Each of these players played at least 9 years in the majors so as late as 2005 all these guys were still playing. 

The design is okay, not great on these cards.  They scan a little worse than they look in person, they have a shiny finish.  There are two photos on the front of each card with a full color action photo and a muted silhouette in the background.  The names are easy to read along the top in white lettering and the insert name of "rookie class" is in lower case letters along the side.

Here is the card back with the minor and major league records from 1997.  A third picture is included along with the player's bio information and a nice little write up.   This insert set isn't my favorite but the player selection makes is middle of the road insert set.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Player to be Named Later

When I was young, I always thought trades that included A Player to be Named Later were always a little odd.  I thought how could a team agree to a trade without knowing who they would get back in return.  I wasn't knowledgeable enough to understand salary dumps, the length of minor league seasons, prearranged lists of possible players or any other complexities of the business side of baseball.

Back in 1985 the Giants made a trade that involved a different type of Player to be Named Later.  They traded their best player, All-Star Jack Clark, the the Cardinals in exchange for Dave LaPoint, David Green, Gary Rajsich and Jose Gonzalez.  I wasn't happy about the trade at the time, Clark was a fan favorite.  The trade took an interesting turn when Gonzalez, almost immediately after the trade, changed his name to Jose Uribe.

He told the press that there were too many Gonzalez's in baseball. Gonzalez was his father's family name so he changed his name to his mother's family name of Uribe.  I guess it worked out okay, I recall many a day at Candlestick Park where half the crowd would shout "U (oooh)" while the other half would follow with "Ribe (ree bay)".  It was fun but you had to be there I guess.

He was the starting SS for the Giants for about 8 years sandwiched between short stints with the Cardinals and Astros.  Sadly Jose died in a car crash back in 2006.

I recently finished off my 1988 Topps Big team set with this nice Jose Uribe card:

When checking out the back, his full named reminded me of what Coach Rocky Bridges called "The Ultimately Player to be Named Later".

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sometimes it is Better to be Lucky Instead of Good

I would have to say I have not been a very good blogger over the past year or two.  Daily posting has gone by the wayside.  I haven't put together a contest in forever.  I don't get to read and comment on all the blogs I typically enjoy as often as I would like.  I haven't posted all the cards generous bloggers have sent my way nor sent out as many packages as I would like.

Despite being a bad blogger, I still seem to have a little luck on my side.  I have won a few contests in my day and recently entered one over at Sports Card Info.  Typically Sports Card Info runs a weekly contest with a single card giveaway - usually an auto or a relic.  I used to enter every week but have lately limited myself to only enter when there is a card that will find a nice spot in my collection. A few weeks back I saw a high end relic of a future HOFer who isn't well represented in my collection so I entered.  As luck would have it, I won!

Check out this Topps Tier 1 relic of future HOFer Albert Pujols.  I like the design of the card with Pujols being the star.  Sure a patch would be nice instead of the plain gray relic but you can't expect a patch in all 331 cards.  I was very glad to bring this home.  This is my second Albert relic and a big improvement over the unlicensed Donruss Jersey Kings relic.

Thanks to Sports Card Info for the generosity and for helping me add a great card to my collection.  If you aren't following the blog, it is a worthy follow and who knows you may win a card for your collection and also get this cool pin as a bonus.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 2014 Allen & Ginter Fields of Yore

My collection of the Allen & Ginter set has been off and on.  I typically like the product but different issues (timing of release, skyrocketing box prices, high priced SPs) have resulted in me not pursuing the set about half the time since it was started in 2006.

One year I did not collect the base set was 2014.  However through some blog posts and a couple pack purchases I spotted an insert set that I had to have.  This Fields of Yore insert set features some great artwork on the front of the cards highlighting (mostly) baseball fields from the past.  I believe only Wrigley Field is still in use today.

The backs have a nice little write up sharing a bit of history from each field.  This is a great looking set and I have scanned front and back of all 10 cards for your viewing pleasure.

If I have one complaint, I would have liked to seen the historic Polo Grounds as part of the set.  I would have probably replaced either Wrigley (since it is still in use) or Shea (since it is the most modern park in the group).  Great job by Topps and the Allen and Ginter team, this is one of my favorite all time insert set.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

PWE Palooza

I have a confession, I am way behind on posting cards I have gotten from other bloggers.  Like really far behind.  Like I have some scans that go back to late 2015 behind.  No promises but I am going to try to remedy that over the next few weeks.  I thought I would start with sharing a bunch of great PWEs I have received.  I love getting mail and love a surprise PWE.  Each of these put a smile on my face and deserve a little blog time.

Are you ready for my PWE Palooza?

The first two scans feature cards sent my way by blog reader John Hazen:

I hadn't seen the Lincecum card before it arrived in my mailbox.  Seems like a perfect card of the freak, looking quite mellow isn't he?

Also scored a couple Bowman Giants.  While the Bowman sets are on my want list, it is still a set that causes me way too much confusion.  With Chrome cards mixed with base cards mixed with Prospect cards and two or three releases per year, it makes my head spin.  Glad however to knock these two off my want list.

Next up are 3 scans from either 2 or 3 PWEs from Stealing Home, the author of All Trade Bait, All The Time.  As a Dodger fan, I am sure he was ready to rid his collection of all these Giants.  I am a happy recipient.

A nice assortment here, with a little old and a little new.  The Cain helps on the Topps Gold quest and the Gypsy Queen mini is a nice addition.

Demonstrating how far behind I am, I believe these Heritage and Flagship cards were newly released when I got this package.

A nice assortment here with a couple rookies, some All-Stars some Conlon needs and a parallel Ginter card of Buster.

Next up is a couple PWEs from JediJeff at 2 by 3 Heroes.  I always seem to score some nice stuff when Jeff shoots cards my way.

See, great cards!  Did you hear that the Panda is back in SF?  Can he return to his glory days of 2012-2013.  I love the Opening Day celebrations card.

PWE #2 delivers as well with a couple nice Lincecums, a respectful MadBum, a Darryl sighting and a cool minor league card.

These next 2 PWEs came from Brian of Play at the Plate fame.  Brian has been inactive for over a year now and I hope that lame people like me that took so long to give their thanks had no part in his disappearance.

This was a nice group, adding some new Bowman base cards and some decade plus old cards of stars from Giants past.

This was a great PWE with the highlight being the awesome Onyx Stadium Club insert of Barry Bonds.

The next three scans come from Sportscards From the Dollar Store.  If memory serves me these were all contained within one PWE but I could be mistaken.  Love the variety!

First up we hit on three different parts of my collection.  I do have a nice little collection of basketball players who played at USC. It goes beyond my Harold Miner collection and these two DeMar DeRozan cards fit nicely.  Also scored a Matt Cain for the Giants collection and a couple Niners QBs - love the Steve Young card!

Some more 49ers.  I don't know if I "officially" collect non-vintage 49er cards - since I don't have a checklist I think the answer is no.  However, they are my favorite team and I do have a nice box of them stashed away that these were added to.

The final cards from Dollar Store were these Trojan football players - definitely a PC with over 12,000 USC cards and counting.

My final PWE to put a dent in the scan folder comes from GCRL.  Has it really been 2 years since he posted???  He also has a side project Cards As I See Them which has some pretty recent posts.

I scored this nice group of Giants tucked nicely in a PWE. Glad to take those Giants off the hands of all the Dodger collectors.

A big thanks to all of you for sending these cards my way.  They are greatly appreciated - much more than the months delay in posting might indicate.