Friday, February 23, 2018

Contest Win - Collector's Crack

Do you ever get so behind in life that you just throw up your hands and give up?  I am typically a fairly persistent guy and it serves me well at work and at home.  But I have reached that point with trying to catch up with past packages all my friends in the blogosphere have sent my way.  I did a great job of scanning the cards but did not keep track of the other details around the trades or packages I received.  I want to toss out a blanket apology to everyone I slight and hope that my past packages and recent team stack giveaways earn me back a little street cred in the blogging community.

This group of cards was my tipping point.  I scanned these cards months ago and uploaded them to to do a post and they sat in the draft folder since.  All I noted was that these cards came my way in a contest win from Collector's Crack.  I have wracked my brain for a couple of days and went back on his blog about a year to see if I could remember what contest I won and I failed in my quest.

However, even with out those details, I figured I would share these cards.  I already went to the trouble to scan and upload the cards and they are a mighty fine batch as you will see.

Here is a cool mini relic from Topps 206.  I don't believe I ever opened and of these cards back when they came out but they are right up my alley with an old school design and minis.

Here is a nice quad of cards that fit nicely into my collection, all were needs.  Can't decide which one if my favorite, I think it comes down to the knothole Mays and the psychedelic Williams. 

I also scored these 5 Kevin Mitchell cards from a Star set.  I have done some eBay searches looking for some Giants Star cards and sets for my player collection but haven't pulled the trigger yet.  These were back from the glory days when about 50 companies were putting out cards.

The final card is this Topps Signature Moves auto card of Jose Cruz Jr.  His tenure with the Giants was short and he didn't live up to our high hopes but this is a really nice looking auto card.

Thanks to Collector's Crack for the contest win, even if I can't remember what I won for exactly.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Just for the "F" of It #13

I have another fun card pick up to share, a really nice pick up of a Superbowl winning quarterback, Jim Plunkett.  Check it out:

Some of my earliest football memories were watching games with my dad, he was a big Oakland Raiders fan in the 70s and early 80s and remains a Raider fan today.  I was always more partial to the 49ers and my fandom was solidified with the Joe Montana, Bill Walsh era and continues to this day. 

But when I think back to those early days of learning the game my mind goes back to Kenny Stabler, Cliff Branch, Ted Hendricks and Dave Casper.  Jim Plunkett also enters into those memories, the Raiders picked him up several years into his career and he ended up leading them to the promised land.  I was excited for the Raiders victory and of course much of the accolades go towards the QB.

Those memories came flooding back when I spied this card in an auction.  Add to that a great design with the patriotic background and the great signature Plunkett scribed onto the sticker made we want to add it to my collection.   The price ended up working for me so I added it to my Just for the F of it collection.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 2002 Topps Hobby 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 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.

I finished up this set a little while ago, it is out of 2002 Topps.  These Hobby Masters cards are on a nice thick card stock but I am not really overwhelmed with the design.  It is a 20 card set that features star players with no other real purpose or connection.  These were found in 1 of 25 hobby packs (about 1 per box I believe) and 1 of 16 retail packs.

Here is a look at the cards:

Looks like Topps nailed the checklist on this set.  Outside of Carlos Gonzalez every one of these guys had a HOF career or a near HOF career.

Here is a look at the back of the cards, they feature a second up close portrait photo and a write up about the player. 
Hmm, I don't remember Bonds ever endearing himself to fans and collectors.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Returns from the Purge - Baseball Card Breakdown

A little ways back I put flat rate boxes for each team up for grabs.  I was interested in clearing out some space and clearing off my sorting table.  Those efforts were a big success as I got rid of all but 2 team stacks.  I stated that I didn't want or need anything in return.  In some cases I figured I owed some of you cards anyway and in other cases I was just glad to clear some space.

However in typically blogger fashion, quite a few bloggers sent back some good stuff to thank me.  I have done a terrible job of scanning and posting past packages that have been sent my way - so bad that I have given up the pursuit of catching up (sorry!) however I am committed to sharing the returns from my card purge.

First up are cards from a great package from Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown.

I am going to start off with the best two cards and in a rare feat on this blog I will also show the front and back of both cards:

These are both customs and I had seem both before on Gavin's blog and lusted over them a bit.  I don't think I ever reached out to show an interest but boy was I happy when these popped out of the middle of a stack of cards in this package.  My Vida Blue collection is fairly extensive with most of my needs oddball regional cards or low print run recent releases.  I set a modest goal to add 3 Vida cards to my collection this year and I am off to a good start here.  The MadBum Puig confrontation was hilarious - Bumgarner yelling at Puig to not look at him is very typical of his character and the 1990 Fleer custom captures it perfectly.

I got a nice little stack of Topps Pro Debut cards.  Even though I bought a couple boxes of this stuff back during the first couple years it came out, I haven't gone to the trouble of making a want list of the Giants players in set.  I was happy to see all these in this package and add them to my collection.

Here are some more prospect cards, none of these ever hit it really big but all were needed for the Giants binder.  I have a big box of Giants logo cards, stickers and holograms that I keep saying I will put into a binder some day, these 2 logo cards go into that stack to patiently wait.

I don't have a want list or actively go after 49er cards but when I get them I keep them, they are my favorite team.  I am hoping for a bounce back season with Garapallo at QB for the entire year.  Kendall Hunter showed some promise as a rookie but never really panned out.  Navarro Bowman is one of my favorite recent Niners, he was a beast!  I was sad to see him go in their youth movement but will always remember his great career.  This CC card was off my 2013 Pinnacle want list.  I bought a couple boxes on Black Friday a couple years back and decided to go after all the insert sets.  I will most likely never get there but if you happen to have some inserts from the set laying around, check my want list.  By the way CC co hosts a podcast named R2C2 - I really enjoy it and it has made CC one of my favorites.  You should check it out, some great, funny conversations, good insight into baseball and some pop culture talk.

There were some great Giants HOF and legend cards in this pack.  My collection has a serious gap in those Topps Retired cards, so cool to add 4 in on package. I have a strong liking of cards featuring the HOF plaques and this Mathewson one is a great add.  The Mel Ott is a reprint but since I will never own the real one it is a great alternative.

Gavin also included a couple of relics produced about 15 years apart.  I remember the excitement when Shinjo was added to the Giants, he didn't produce like we hoped but was a solid player.  I really enjoy the nice big orange swatch on the Beede card - orange rules!

As you can see, this package included a ton of great cards.  The Ishikawa card is numbered to only 25!  It is such a great looking card.  The reserve negative cards are pretty cool looking and I didn't have any from last year's Topps release.  The Arroyo Heritage card is the action SP - he was in just about every card release last year and now he is gone.  I am curious to see how he does in Tampa.  He always passed the eye test to me, he looks like a ballplayer on the field, but his stats just didn't match how good he looked. 

I decided to end this post with my favorite, non-custom card of the package.  This awesome Roger Craig autograph card.  I have a pretty extensive checklist, although my want lists don't include autos and relics, my checklist I keep does.  One of my favorite things to uncover in trade packages are cards that don't appear on my checklist as I never would hunt them down as I wouldn't know they exist.  This Roger Craig fits that, he wasn't on my checklist.  My checklist is primarily built off the pricing database and once I got this I went to Beckett to see how this was missed.  For whatever reason (probably because much of his playing career was with them) Craig's card was listed as a Dodger so he didn't show on Giants search.  I am very happy that this card arrived and that Mr. Humm Baby rightfully resides on my checklist.

Gavin, thank you so much.  This was an amazing return package of cards.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Random Thoughts and Updates

Posting has been slow moving lately, in part due to some computer slow down issues that are making scanning and saving quite difficult.  I have a Mac desktop computer that is a few years old and ever since I downloaded the latest operating system update, I am in super slowdown mode.  Might be time to invest in a new computer.

I thought I would share a few quick thoughts and updates on what is going on in the ARPSmith world.

1. Operation clear off my sorting table was a rousing success - I was able to ship out team stacks to all but 2 teams (Indians and Marlins) which is much better than I expected.  I also found a new Giants collector to offload some Giants dups on.  The Giants still need to be packed up but all the other team stacks are long gone.  Despite not asking for anything in return, I have gotten a few awesome return packages - the generosity of the blogging community continues to amaze.  Can't wait to show off the goods.

2. Massive collection purchase - I continue to make my way through the collection I purchased.  As I go through I am trying to categorize and log what I have.  If you are interested in what I have uncovered, check out my Google Doc for a running list.  Most of it is for trade or sale, I won't be as give away minded with this stuff as I need to recoup my investment but if you have some stuff to trade from my want list or are interested in a cash purchase, drop me a note.  Here are a couple of fun finds I recently uncovered:

Here is a great minor league card of former Giants third baseman Matt Williams.  This card was produced in 1989, a couple years after his major league debut in 1987.  I had forgotten he bounced back and forth between the minors and majors for a few years before sticking.  This card is new to my collection and a keeper.

This card was mixed in a binder full of basketball and football cards.  I can't think of any boxing cards in my collection but I was pretty excited about this card.  Norton was boxing when I was pretty young but I remember watching his son suit up for the 49ers and a couple other teams.  Norton Sr.'s claim to fame is that he broken Muhammad Ali's jaw in 1973.  I assume this is a genuine auto and I plan on keeping this card in my collection.

3. 2018 Topps - I decided to buy a master hobby set on eBay and not go after a set build through pack busting. This is becoming the norm for me. 

I bought a couple blasters and packs at Target to get a look before my set came in and decided to build some of the retail insert sets.  I have a want list for the Legends in the Making and Opening Day insert sets along with the Topps Now Top 10 so if you have some for trade let me know if you can help out.  I posted my inserts and parallels on Sportlots but if you have some needs of those or base cards let me know and I will try and help you out.  I am passing on the Jeter and Bryant insert sets as I am not particularly fond of either player. 

I have also started a 2018 Giants want list.  I typically pursue the Giants base cards, the gold and rainbow parallels, the inserts and some of the relics and autos depending on rarity and cost.  I also welcome any of the other, more rare, parallels but won't be as active in pursuing them.   I have made some solid progress already on the parallels.

4. 2017 Topps Update - I have been pretty hit and miss with which retail insert sets I chase.  I was on the fence about a couple the sets until recently.  I finally decided to pursue the Heroes of Autumn and MVP Awards sets.  Wants lists for those are also on my set want list page.

5. 2018 Collection Goals - I am making some good progress on my 2018 goals and enjoying the more detailed list.  I have it up all the time on my computer and use it as a guide when I am looking to buy cards.  I look forward to sharing some of my pick ups once the scanning gets quicker and easier.

That's it for a scan light list of some collecting updates.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Just for the "F" of It #12

It has been quite a while since I have posted a card just for the the "fun" of it.  As you may recall, these are cards that don't fit into a particular part of my collection but I still decide to pick them up and add them to the old PC.

I picked up this card on the cheap in a Sportlots auction, I don't recall the exact amount but it couldn't have been over a couple of bucks.

This is a 2008 Upper Deck Goudey Mini Green Back card and as you can see across Ms. Walsh's chest, it is serial numbered 70/88.  I am a fan of volleyball, both the regular indoor version and the beach volleyball version.  The first weekend I was at USC I headed down to the beach and watched a tournament, it was a blast.  We had a really good men's team that won the National Title in 1990 let by National Player of the Year Bryan Ivie.

Since I was in school, the beach version of volleyball has really taken off.  I watch it off and on but really ramp up my viewing during the Olympics.  My favorite pairing was Misty May and Kerri Walsh so this card fits nicely into my collection as a representation of my volleyball fandom.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Two New HOF Autos

One of the goals I set for the 2018 collection season was to bump my total of Baseball HOF auto to 100 different players.  I started the year at 94 meaning I just need to add 1 card every other month to meet this goal.  I am starting quickly out of the gate by adding 2 new HOFers to my collection in January.

First up is this really nice looking auto of John Smoltz from 2016 Topps Legacies.  Smoltz has signed quite a bit over the last few years so his autos are fairly plentiful.  I wanted to find one that I like from a design standpoint and a good price point and this one fit the bill.  I think this is a great looking card and a great add o the collection.

The second add is another fairly recent inducted, former White Sox, A's and Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.  Originally I wasn't sure about whether to collect managers as part of this collection.  Fairly early on I won a Dick Williams auto in a contest and decided that the managers were on.  This is a nice, shiny card with an on-card auto, probably my favorite LaRussa auto I have come across.  I really miss the Panini Cooperstown sets, I am hoping they will bring it back one day.

The total is up to 96 now, my 100 goal seems in reach although there aren't a lot of inexpensive guys left to track down.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Happy Topps Day (a couple days late)!!!

My favorite day of the year has come and passed, Topps Day, the day Topps flagship Series 1 brand hits the stores.  I went by my Target on Wednesday and there were no new cards to be found so I was a day later to pick up my first taste of 2018 Topps.  Now I am a day later in getting this post up.

I bought one loose pack, one fat pack, one hanger and one blaster and opened them in that order.

I always like to memorialize the first card I pulled of the new year:

I actually scanned the first card of each of the items I opened, I was on a pretty hot Astros streak until the blaster.

Only 3 base Giants and a nice Buster insert from all the cards.

These are the parallels I pulled, nothing too exciting to me, 4 Rainbow foils and a pair of golds.  The gold are interesting this year with the somewhat muted gold coloring throughout all the backgroud.

I decided to scan all of the inserts I pulled.  I believe these Jeters are retail exclusive and only at Target.  I heard that Walmart has Kris Bryant cards.

A couple more insert sets featured here, I kind of like the Opening Day design, kind of new and different.

This year the tribute set is to 1983 Topps, it is actually one of my favorite designs, I was 12 and in my prime collecting phase when it came out.

I believe this set is retail exclusive as well.  The cards along the bottom appear to be some sort of blue parallel.  Either I am ridiculously lucky or the color parallel is pretty easy to pull.

My retail "hit" was this manurelic of Yadier Molina.  These are to celebrate Player's Weekend, I wish the photo showed the back of his jersey with a nickname on it.  The Mattingly is a nice black border parallel /199.  Nice looking card but does have a ding in the bottom left corner.

From a base card selection, I really like the team cards.  It is great with the landscape orientation to show multiple players and some action/celebration.  Can't wait to see the Giants one I hope is in Series 2.

Finally I just pulled some cards that stood out to me from a photo perspective, Topps did a pretty nice job this year in my opinion.  These portrait jobs are all solid.

While I find these landscape photos pretty spectacular.

Overall I like the base design, the photos look very crisp and clear.  The name block and graphics don't take too much away from what I consider the star of the show in the picture.  I am not one for card backs so no scans of those today.

I already have a master hobby set on its way from an eBay purchase so everything outside of the Giants and the retail inserts are for trade if you see anything you want.  Happy Topps Day!