Thursday, August 31, 2017

COMC Adds to my Player Collections with a Special Nod to Dwight Clark

My final post from a COMC order back in April focuses in on my player collections.  I have found my attention drifting more towards my player collections over the last few months probably driven by the terrible season the Giants are having.  I am still trying to pick up all the Giants base cards along with a few parallels and relics but not as aggressively as the past few years.

First up is a new McCovey, always great to add some parallels from the 2014 Panini HOF set.  I have cracked a few boxes (I love the 2 HOFer autos/box) and really like almost all the cards from the set. This Crusade card brings my want list for this parallel set down to one die cut card /5 for my McCovey collection.

It has been tough to find many new Vida Blue cards to add to my collection, most of what I need is pretty rare.  I was able to pick up this nice pennant and a couple of minis from Panini Golden Age.  The pennant card is actually fuzzy like felt, pretty cool oddball.

While my want list for Rickey Henderson is much longer than my Vida want list, finding affordable cards from his playing days that I need is sometimes a challenge.  With a couple of offers and some deep searching, I was able to add these 5 to my collection.

My most prominent football player collection is of fellow USC alumnus and HOF CB/S Ronnie Lott.  My Lott collection may have benefited the most from my COMC orders over the past couple of years and this order brought 3 more home.

I believe my sheer card count, Chris Webber is my biggest basketball player collection although I have collected Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing much longer.  I collect cards from throughout his career but always prefer cards from his Sacramento Kings days.  I was able to pick up 2 relic cards at very reasonable prices.

One of my player collections that doesn't get much attention is that of 49ers great Dwight Clark.  Although he only played 9 seasons, he is one of the most beloved players in Niners history.  He was a part of one of the most memorable plays in NFL history and "The Catch" launched the 49ers dynasty of the 80s and early 90s.  To this day I can remember exactly where I was and who I was with when "The Catch" happened even though I was only 10 years old.

Prior to asking for this purchase to be shipped I decided to do a quick search to see if any new Dwight Clark cards were on COMC.  To my surprise, Clark had been featured on a few recent releases, none of which were represented in my collection.  I went on a bit of a shopping spree as you will see below and grew my collection quite a bit.

I don't know if you all heard the news but about 2-3 days after placing my order, the announcement came out that Clark is suffering from ALS.  For some reason the timing struck me as odd, just days after getting so excited about adding a bunch of his cards to my collection, I grew quite sad with the news.

That finished off my April order, I can't believe how far behind I am in sharing my spoils but I think I have 2 more COMC orders scanned since this one.  Not sure if or when I will share those spoils but despite diminished time to focus on my collection and blog, I am still having a blast with this hobby.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Tale of Two Purchases - Stupid and Smart

It was the best of splurges, it was the worst of splurges.  I have a monthly budget I use to spend on cards.  It is a solid budget and keeps me in line.  While just about every card you could ever want is somewhere for sale on line, I have to prioritize my purchases to stay within budget.

Last month I saw something on eBay that was discounted.  It was something I considered purchasing directly from the Topps site prior to the beginning of the season - I remember that as the very short window when I actually held out hope the Giants would be good.  I didn't pull the trigger on the purchase but it was early in the month, my budget had been deposited into my trusty paypal account and in a moment of weakness I pounced and bought this:

This is the Spring Training Topps Now set of the Giants.  When I got this in the mail and opened it up I immediately regretted the purchase.  For the price of this set I could have knocked off a couple star cards from my 1969 Topps want list or grabbed a few 1972 Topps high numbers.  Don't get me wrong about I am far from a fair weather fan and this fits well into my collection.  However I have fully accepted that I will never have every Giants card in my collection.  It just seemed like a lot of cash to commemorate a team that is perhaps the most disappointing team in my lifetime.

Let's move on to a more positive tale.  I haven't had as much time to peruse the blog role as I would like but one day a couple weeks after that terrible Giants purchase I was checking out some posts from the blog When Topps Had (Base) Balls and noticed Gio has posted a custom set he had designed and had printed up. He ended up printing off a couple for his personal collection and was offering the rest up for sale. 

The cost was about half of the Giants set but I hesitated for a bit.  It still wasn't that late in the month a my Stupid purchase put a dent in my budget.  I went back to the blog post 2-3 times over a day or two and finally decided to pull the trigger and buy the custom set.  It is a set of 40 cards (20 from each league) featuring the stars of 1930.  I should have taken a picture of the packaging (a killer box to hold the cards) but forgot.

The quality of these cards in hand, the subjects, the design - this set is flawless and one of the smartest splurges I have ever made.  This set doesn't technically fit into my various parts of my collection but I believe it has started a new subject - custom sets done by @wthballs.  I decided to scan all the cards to show them off - enjoy! 

The backs are great too but I only scanned one of the Bambino to share.

Gio, you outdid yourself.  Great work my friend and you can put me on a list to secure any sets you do in the future.  In a way I feel buying your set helped redeem my stupid Topps Now purchase and I thank you for that as well.

Monday, August 21, 2017

McCovey Monday #93 - 2014 Panini Golden Age 5X7 Box Topper Relic 47/50

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1300 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 made it into my LCS on National Baseball Card Day.  My plan was to look through some of the random boxes of singles to get to the $10 threshold for the Mike Trout card and if I didn't find any singles I would buy a couple boxes of pages.  My wife and 13 year old were on a Boy Scout camping trip so I had my 4 year old daughter and 10 year old son with me - it needed to be a quick trip.

When I walked in I noticed several tables piled high with wax boxes that hadn't been there before.  I decided to extend my trip with a bribe of Chick-Fil-A shakes for the kidos so I could look around the wax.  I picked up 4 boxes of cards ranging from $5-15 each - 1980-83 Cramer, 1992 Stadium Club Series 3, 1994 Ted Williams and 1989-90 Pacific Senior League.  I was hoping of scoring sets of each and I ended up only 1 card short of my goal, card #2 of the Ted Williams set Bernie Carbo.  I also got a 2nd set of the Cramer cards that I am holding onto for a potential contest but if you are interested in near sets of the Ted Williams Set or the Senior League set let me know.

But the star of this post is a random find sitting on the counter at the LCS.  This LCS isn't the most organized.  I usually experience a bunch of random cards on the counters in the process of being organized, priced and filed.  I lucked out and saw this beauty on the counter:

 This is a box topper from 2014 Panini Golden Age with a nice piece of jersey relic.  I had already picked up the regular box topper so this was an awesome find.  I know I had never set eyes on an actual copy of this and don't even remember seeing a copy for sale on line.  In all honesty, its existence had escaped me and I wasn't even on the look out.  I asked the owner how much it would be and after doing a little online research he tossed out a $10 price tag - SOLD! 

 Here is the back with a fancy design and the 47/50 serial number in the upper left hand corner.

Since there were three of us in the store and I spent over $30 we were gifted 3 packs of cards and 3 Mike Trouts.  Unfortunately I didn't get the Brandon Crawford Giants card, if you have one for trade drop me a line.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Ten Year Quest is Complete

I have been collecting USC Trojan football players since around 2004 or 2005, about 5-6 years prior to starting my Giants collection.  USC had a great run around that time and it ended up producing a pretty large number of pro players. It made busting boxes fun and I was always on the lookout for the newest draft picks.

There have been a few players that have become bigger targets of my collection.  On such player was Ryan Kalil.  Kalil was a great offensive lineman for the Trojans and was drafted by the Panthers in 2007.  He was immediately inserted into the starting lineup and has made a couple of Pro Bowls.  When his first cards came out in the Sage releases I made a decision to try and "super collect" Kalil. My goal was to track down all his cards, including 1/1s.  I was thinking with him being an o-lineman, competition would be light.  Unfortunately once he became Pro Bowl material some of his cards got outside of my price range.

I have a saved eBay search still for Ryan Kalil 1/1 cards and a little while back a new one popped up.  I made a bid and ended up winning this card.

This is a Magenta Printing Plate from 2007 Sage Hit DECADEnce.  The card is a Playmakers insert.  When I got the card, it looked a little familiar and when I cataloged it on my spreadsheet I got pretty excited.  I went to my box of USC hits, pulled out 3 other plates and boom!

I am now the proud owner of a complete set of 1/1 printing plates, all picked up at different times over the past 10 years.  This is a first for me and maybe a last - who knows.

I also thought I would share this other sweet Kalil card out of 2016 Donruss Signature.  Another low numbered (1/5) card added to the USC and Kalil collection.  I may not ever acquire every Ryan Kalil card but my collection is shaping up quite nice.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 2001 Topps A Look Ahead

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 10 card insert set was released in 2001 Topps and featured a group of players that were headed for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I like the design of the card fronts, they are nice and shiny and feature a near full body photo of the player. 

Let's see how accurate Topps' prediction on the future HOFers was.  Vlad picked up 71.7% of the votes last year on his first year on the ballot - strong odds he gets in.  Jeter is a sure fire first ballot HOFer once he is eligible.  Helton is eligible in 2019 and I would say he is border line but my money is on eventual election to the HOF.  A-Rod has all the numbers to be in but who knows what will happen with the steroid ear players.  Griffey was a first ballot no brainer.

Nomar started his career strong but didn't have the longevity to make it to Cooperstown.  Chipper is eligible next year and will most likely get in on his first year.  Pudge just got in this year and Pedro back in 2015. Rick Ankiel is the only player in hindsight that seems like a silly inclusion.

Here is a look at the back of the outcast's card as an example of the backs.  The backs feature a second picture, a nice write up and career statistics.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

COMC Delivers Some Giants and Trojans

Next up from my April COMC order are a few Giants and a nice grouping of USC Trojans - right in time for college football season.

The Giants are not very well represented in this order.  It is a little surprising as I bought most of these cards during Spring Training when my hopes were high for the team.  Well that has changed a bit but on to sunnier topics.

How about a pair of cards from the Home Run King!  I think I did a search for Bonds cards starting with the lowest priced and found this Electric Diamond parallel.  The SI for Kids was a search after I saw one for sale for a crazy price.  I knew I didn't have it, hopped on COMC and brought it home for under a buck.

The only other Giants from this order are this trio of Donruss Signature Series base cards.  These were released in Donruss' 2001 comeback year.  Each of them is numbered to 800 and this finished off my team set of 6.  There is also an auto of Pedro Feliz /330 that is numbered as part of the base set but I never consider the autos part of the team set.  My collection - my rules.

Now into a great batch of card from my USC Trojans:

Back in 2015 Panini put out cards for a few select college program, USC was included.  They were available in blaster boxes at a couple of retailers on line.  I bought a couple boxes and really liked the set. It was heavily football dominated but had a few basketball and baseball cards as well.  I had 2 disappointments - 1) the set didn't include hoops player and my former neighbor Harold Miner and 2) the two blasters didn't give me a complete set.  I searched everywhere for single and could only find a select few on COMC.  After a few months I picked up another blaster and still came up 5 cards short (with a huge stack of dups).  Luckily someone else must have bought a blaster or two and sent them into COMC as they came available and I swooped them up to finish off my set.

I picked up one of these football helmet, shiny die-cut cards and loved it.  The stock is nice and thick, the players are wearing their USC unis, the helmets look great - almost perfect cards.  I went it and got these 3 additional cards as well.  I also did a search from some cheap autos and picked up the two Tre Maddens - I don't limit myself to Trojan cards in their college unis but usually prefer them.

Finally I went on a Charles White, former Heisman Trophy winner, shopping spree.  Charles has had quite a few release in the past several years and I hadn't kept up.  It is hard for me to choose my favorite from this group of 9 inserts and parallels but I would probably go with the All-Americans insert in the middle.  Two pics, one without a helmet, to go with the US Flag background speaks to the patriot in me.

The final CW cards are these two autos.  The Rose Bowl card is cool but the UD Black is the star of this package.  It is just a beautiful card with a perfect silver signature - makes you miss Upper Deck doesn't it?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Some Vintage Set Help from mrhaverkamp

I have two major regrets about missing this year's National Sportscard convention.  The first was not being able to search for some reasonably priced vintage cards to help with my set quests.  The second was missing out on a chance to connect with my friend Jim (aka mrhaverkamp), still the only person from the blogging community that I have met face to face.  Jim is a good guy and fellow Giants fan - it would have been nice to commiserate a little bit about this dreadful season.

You may recall that I got a killer starter set of 1969 Topps cards and decided to work on this set in parallel (and in reality ahead of) my 1972 Topps set.  Jim was the first to comment on that post and ended up shooting a nice batch of cards my way to help out.

First up was a nice looking Seattle Pilots rookie stars card featuring Lou Pinella.  The presence of the Pilots is one of the reasons I wanted to go after this set next.  The other 3 cards are variations.  I happened to have a few variations already in my collection so I decided to go after them - with the exception of the White Letter variation.

Also included was a little bit of star power.  Tony Oliva is favorite of mine.  His peak was just a tad before my time but during all my readings and all the stories I have heard, I have built up a ton of respect for the man.  By all accounts he was one of the best hitters, had a few great years and was a fringe HOFer but didn't quite make it.

Speaking of star power - how about a quad of Hall of Famers!  I have always been a fan of the Carew card - it has been featured in a couple reprint sets.  I had the Perry in my Giants binder and glad to add it to my set.  The Sporting News All Stars from this set are perhaps my favorite design and the Bench has to be one of the best due to his awesome Reds uni.  The Gibson checklist is obviously marked and beat up but it will hold a place in my set regardless.  No need seeing out condition upgrades until I get one of each card.

Jim also included these awesome Kellogg's cards.  After tracking one down I decided to go after the set.  I was guessing the trip to the National would allow me to make some progress but the family trip to California got in the way this year.  These four are awesome additions and in great shape.

Thanks Jim for the care package, I appreciate it.  I was hoping to connect in Chicago and maybe track down a few cards to return the favor.  I am trying to decided between Cleveland this year and Chicago next.  Chicago is a lot closer to KC but I am not sure I can wait another year.  Let me know your plans and maybe we can meet up at your next National.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Set Help from COMC

Lots of catching up to do.  I have been spending more of my budget on COMC lately and here is the first of 3 parts of a shipment I had delivered in early April.  I find that more and more I can get a better deal at COMC vs. Sportlots due primarily to shipping costs.  Each seller on Sportlots is entitled to shipping but for one flat fee you can get all you cards delivered.  Even lower end inserts can typically be found on COMC for a better rate.

First up are the final cards I needed to finish off what I call a Master set of 2000 Upper Deck Hitters Club.  I have featured some of the cards in past posts.  I bought a hobby box 3-4 years back from my LCS in Orange County CA and decided to go after the base and all the insert sets.  As the title of the set references, this one is all about hitters.  I was very happy to finish this set off and enjoy flipping through it with the great designs of both the base and insert sets.  This one is probably headed into a binder one day.

The next 2 scans show cards towards my quest to finish off 2 of the 40 card insert sets from 2014 Panini Hall of Fame.  I cracked 3-4 boxes of this stuff (2 HOF autos/box) and fell in love with these 2 insert sets.  Great photos, great player selection and for some unknown reason I dig the shiny design with the old time players.  I am now with 7 Dominator cards and 8 Elite Series cards from finishing these sets.

Similar to the 2000 UD Hitters Club set, my 1998 Metal set started with an LCS hobby box.  This set needed quite a few more base cards but I was able to put that set to rest earlier this year.  I also decided to complete the 2 insert sets.  The cards with the globe in the background are an interesting die cut design on a unique type of paper while the Diamond Heros incorporate a players picture with some awesome artwork.  Both solid insert sets.

The final 3 cards are somewhat random. The Cash card features a great bat barrel photo and a nice rookie cup, it went towards my 1971 Topps set that is now complete.  The Morris is an SP from the Hometown Heroes set - I don't know if that set will ever get finished.  The SPs are hard to track down and cost way too much.  Finally a base card of Kris Bryant from 2016 Diamond Kings.  It was the last card needed to finish off that set.

I have done some pretty solid work on the sets in 2017.  The other 2 posts from this COMC purchase will feature cards for my Player Collections and cards from a couple of my favorite teams - the Giants and Trojans.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Generosity from Johnny's Trading Spot

I decided last night that it was time to kick myself in the butt and get back to some regular posting.  Don't know if it will happen but I figured I would start one step (post) at a time.  Several weeks back I got a great care package from John from Johnny's Trading Spot, one of the most generous bloggers out there.  I sorted through the cards, picked out some of my favorites then scanned and uploaded them to a blank blog post.  For the last few weeks the wordless post just sat there.

Last night I was going through a new Christmas in July package I got from John and realized how much time had passed and that was the kick I needed.  Hopefully I will get to the Christmas package before Christmas but I wanted to share the last batch of cards John sent my way.

The first group of cards are some 90s Stadium Club cards.  I was reminded of how great the photography was in these sets and how different/better Stadium Club was from other releases at the time.

This is a nice group of cards with some great Giants hitters.  Nice pitcher at the plate card of Don Robinson.  I remember Robinson for his okay pitcher, really solid hitting and great nickname - the Caveman.

Also included were two almost complete team sets of Giants Mother's Cookies cards.  I was a little shocked by the price tags on the bags.

Some great cards here, all new to my collection.  My favorite here is the minor league card of former closer Rod Beck.  I recognize the Matt Williams promo card - I got another one in the Christmas package.

Some more oddballs, looks like John may have broken some of those awesome late 80s box sets.  Every so often I try to pick these up, great way to remember the players from my childhood.

I have a nice box filled with stickers and team oddballs.  My ultimate goal is to put together a nice binder displaying all of them.

I believe my comments about these cards was the origin of this package.  I have been giving thought to putting together this retail insert set so these will give me a little jump start.

This group of inserts and parallels were a great addition to the package.  All new additions to the Giants binder.

More adds to the Giants binder.  I love adding Deion Sanders cards from his time on the Giants to my collection.  I have pondered starting a player collection of Barry Zito cards, in part due to cool cards like the shiny Turkey Red here.  I don't think I will ever pull the trigger and will just be happy getting his Giants cards.

I'll end this post with 9 of my favorites from this Giants Stadium Club near set that was sent my way.  I had bought this set a while back but left it sealed up, so now I was able to check out all the cards and get time into the binder.

Thanks for the great group of cards and your consistent generosity John!