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!