Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Secret Santa Goods

My blogging has fallen by the wayside but I felt the need to dust off the keyboard and share the great goods I got in the Secret Santa gift exchange.

This year the person I got to send to was a neighbor to the north and I dropped off a small package a couple days ago - the $10 international shipping hurt a bit but it is the giving season.  I found a couple cards off his most wanted list and assuming it was up to date I hope they make him happy.

Coincidentally, my Secret Santa was a different collector from Canada as well.  When I saw the return address I was hoping to see some OPC cards and the package didn't disappoint.

First, a non OPC card for the Giants collection:

I was really glad to get this Longoria, I didn't have the wood parallels even on my want list, this was a need and I was able to add the other Giants from the set. 

Next up were some cards I was excited to see:

 Three 1970s Giants and based on the rough cut on the left side of the Moffitt I was optimistic these were OPC cards as that cut is quite common with these cards.

When I flipped the cards over I was 66% happy, the Barr is a Topps card but the Moffitt and Falcone are OPC needs.  I went through a short stretch where I was trying to knock off some OPC Giants wants off the list and these cards got me thinking of making that a focus in 2020.

While these cards were great, there was one more card that was clearly the highlight of the package. 

A 1973 Reggie Jackson and from those rough cut edges I could tell...

another OPC card!  This was a definite need for the Reggie collection and a card I am super excited about.  Interestingly when I was looking at my want list and removing this card I noticed that my list said I still needed a copy of the regular Topps card.  I pulled out a box of 70s star cards and had a copy so I was able to mark off 2 cards.

So my Secret Santa left a business card in the package but I don't want to share that as it has some personal info but it I was lucky enough to get Kari.  Kari doesn't appear to have a blog but does have an account on the Trading Card Data Base under the ID of karsal.

Thank you Kari for the great gift!

Monday, October 21, 2019

McCovey Monday #100 - 2005 Prime Cuts MLB Timeline Jersey Number 16/25

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of almost 1400 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards on select Mondays.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

During my most recent COMC order I was lucky enough to secure some new cards for my McCovey collection from 2005 at reasonable prices.  2005 was a peak year in the production of McCovey with over 800 different cards so I have quite a few gaps in my collection but most of the holes I need to fill aren't cheap to find.

I thought I would share this pick up with you today out of 2005 Prime Cuts:

I really enjoy this card, there are several cool features.  The picture of Willie Mac isn't huge but it is placed up the corner like a postage stamp.  The timeline theme results in his HOF election year of 1986 showing up at the bottom - I like cards that celebrate Hall of Fame elections.  The best part of this card is the double jersey swatch in the shape of his number 44 jersey number.

Here is the back of the card that "guarantees" that is comes from a game-worn item.  I also figured I could show off the serial numbering of 16/25, a fairly hard to come by card 14 years after the release.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

NBCD Giants Team Set

I was doing some sort of eBay search a little while back and ran across a couple of listings for some cards I wasn't aware of.  Apparently there were some stadium giveaways on National Baseball Card Day and the Giants ended up getting a 10-card team set.  I had two different listings on my watch list but the cost was a little more than I was willing to jump at.  Luckily the seller sent me an offer and it was within the range I was considering so I jumped.

Here is the Giants set:

Pretty solid selection of Giants here.  Buster came back after a pretty difficult injury and while he didn't hit up to his past levels, his defense was solid and he is the team captain.  Longo's 2nd year with the team was much better than the first - we have him for 3 more years at a high contract value so I hope we get some production.  Panik was released and picked up by his hometown Mets.  Pillar had the best offensive season of any Giant but there is some talk that his low on base percentage might not make him a fit on the team - I think we need to keep him.  Samardzija had a very solid year and I am excited to see him continue that success in 2020.

The Brandon's both make the team set, while I appreciate all their accomplishments I think I am ready for both to go.  Crawford's offense is really bad, he has lost any speed he used to have and his defensive has regressed to average at best.  Belt seems to prefer walking over trying to drive the ball and just doesn't produce at the level of an MLB corner infielder.  Will Smith had a great year as the Giants closer but will be a free agent at the end of the year.  Melancon had a decent start to the year with the Giants, good enough for the Giants to offload his contract before the trade deadline.  My biggest surprise is the absence of Madison Bumgarner - maybe it was in anticipation of the trade that didn't happen.

I decided to share a card back as well, the numbering is SFG-# and the team logo appears in the upper right corner.  Nice solid back with the career stats.

Did anyone else know about these and/or pick their team set up?

Monday, October 7, 2019

McCovey Monday #99 - 2019 Hits Cards Allstars HOF Jumbo Memorabilia 8/10

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of almost 1400 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards on select Mondays.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

Today's card is from Hits Memorabilia and it is a jumbo relic card of Willie McCovey.  I have seen quite a few McCovey cards from this set but this is the first one I actually picked up.  I know this is an unlicensed product but really didn't know too much about the company.  They share their web address on the back of the card so I decided to take a look.

The front page of the site shares a quote from the founder:
Our goal at Hits Memorabilia is to bring affordable, authentic, highly collectible products to sports and entertainment collectors. Products we create include various sized memorabilia displays, and trading cards. With a concentration on prime memorabilia and authenticity innovation, we have steadily been growing and improving since 2010. Thank you for visiting our site- Gary O'Brien Jr, Founder
One cool thing I noticed is that they keep a photographic database of every card they produce in order to combat any potential tampering with their cards to put in higher end patches.  Pretty solid concept in my book as many of their cards have pretty cool patches.

My card however just has a nice large white swatch of allegedly game worn material.  The web site shows a pair of McCovey pants from 1972 and even display the label in the pants with his name on them.   Here is a scan of the front and back of the card I picked up:

 This also has a nice low serial number of 8/10.  I am glad to have this in my collection but won't be paying a premium like I would for a card from a more mainstream product right now.  Does anyone out there have any Hits cards?  Would you pick them up if they were from your team/player?

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Joy of Two Completed Insert Sets - 2019 Topps Series 1 Greatness Returns and Topps Now Preview

I have more 2019 Topps Series 1 insert sets to share, I am going for two again in this post.  First up is the Greatness Returns 25 card insert set and the Topps Now Preview 10 card insert set.

The Greatness Returns set features a pair of players on the front that are connected in some way.  Many are from the same team but different eras while a few are connected by similarity in their game.  The Topps Now Preview insert set consists of 10 cards and is pretty much a waste in my opinion.  They are ad cards for the Topps Now online card offerings that are put out daily by Topps during the season.  If I hadn't pulled half the cards and got the rest for under a quarter each, I probably wouldn't have put together the set.

Once again I will share the fronts of all 25 Greatness Returns cards and the back of card #1 in the set then let the scans do the talking:

Same with the Topps Now set, all the fronts and the back of #1.

I enjoy the concept of the Greatness Returns set and think Topps did a decent job of executing, I think my views on the Topps Now set were clear above.

These are the last 2 insert sets I put together in 2019 Topps Series 1.  If you are interested in a look back at other sets I have shared from 2019 Topps Series 1 you can link here:

150 Years of Professional Baseball
1984 Topps
Cactus League Legends and Grapefruit League Greats 
Evolution and Revolution of the Game
Iconic Reprints

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Finally Some 1972 Topps Progress

I took more than a year off on working on my 1972 Topps set.  It is the only set I need to complete my lifetime run of Topps flagship.  The high number cards are hard to track down and even harder to get at a reasonable price.  Whenever I pop into a card store, usually when I am traveling for work I get a chuckle from the owner when I ask if they have any.

Just a couple months back I decided to bit the bullet and reignite my set quest.  I started by putting the cards I did have into binder pages in hopes it would help inspire me and it worked.  My buddy at work, when we face a big challenge, always states that the way to eat an elephant is one bit at a time.  I decided to try and pick up 3 cards a month towards the set build and have pretty much stayed on track.  I have picked up some on eBay and I also search COMC from time to time and I decided to share the dozen that arrived in my recent COMC shipment.

These first two cards are of Hall of Famers and are not high numbers.  I only needed a few non-high numbers when I stopped my pursuit and with these additions, I am down to needing 5 non-high numbers including some heavy hitters like Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose and Hank Aaron IA.

Here are the first 5 high numbers.  I read a great book about the A's of the 70s and wasn't really aware of how good Ken Holtzman was for the A's.  I remember him late in his career with the Cubs.  Funny how a book read connects me to certain players.  This is my second copy of the Alan Gallagher card, I have one in my Giants binder.   I recently read an article about Jose LaBoy.  I get a weekly email from the Baseball Hall of Fame that usually has an article that shows a baseball card and gives some info on a player.  LaBoy's 1970 Topps card was the featured card here.  If you don't subscribe to the newsletter, I would highly recommend it.

And here are the last 5 cards.  A nice card of HOFer Walter Alston and it looks like a candid shot as he manages a game.  The Simpson card looks like a pre-game photo before fans were let in and the Doyle and Steward appear to be Spring Training shots.

This addition of a dozen cards leaves me with a want list of 72.  72 bits of the elephant left.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

New HOF Auto Added to the Collection

I haven't spent too much time trying to track down new HOF autos for my collection but while messing around on COMC a little while back I ran across a good deal on an auto to add to my Hall of Fame Baseball collection.

This is a cut auto of HOFer Billy Herman from the 2018 Leaf History of Baseball release.  Herman started his career with the Cubs in 1931 and this cut auto seems to be off a photo he signed in a Cubbies uniform.  In 1941 he was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers and a bit for the Boston Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates.  Herman was a 10X All-Star and ended his career with a .304 batting average and 2345 hits. He was known for his defense at second base and held a number of defensive records when he retired in 1947.

Herman was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1975.  His stats don't measure up greatly to other HOF second basemen however 2 of his top 3 similar batters on Baseball Reference are fellow HOFers (Joe Sewell and Red Schoendienst).

This was a nice economical addition to my collection and brings my total up to 106 different players.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 2019 Topps Series 1 Iconic Reprints

I am closing in on sharing all the insert sets I picked up in 2019 Topps Series 1 as my COMC order with the last needed Series 2 inserts in on the way. 

I have been thinking about setting a stop date on my annual Topps set build.  I was born in 1971 and was thinking 2021 might be a good stop date, 50 years after my birth.  I am thinking I would rather build some of the 1950s and 60s sets plus the storage of all these sets is getting tough.  I would love to retire in about 10 years and we have talked of downsizing the house post retirement and I am not sure how much space I will have to store my collection.  No need to make a decision today but thought I would share what is on my mind.

Let's get to the cards!  Once again Topps decided to dedicate an insert set to reprints, this year they are calling them the Iconic Card Reprints.  I didn't mind these types of sets when they first came out but they are getting a little old and repetitive.  This year there are a few pre-war cards and Bowman cards mixed in which helps a bit but a 50 card insert set with a lot of recycled reprints in Series 1 was a little much.

Here are the cards in all their glory along with the back of the first card:

If you are interested in a look back at other sets I have shared from 2019 Topps Series 1 you can link here:

150 Years of Professional Baseball
1984 Topps
Cactus League Legends and Grapefruit League Greats 
Evolution and Revolution of the Game

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Just for the "F" of It #17 - Lieutenant E. H. Shackleton 1910 World's Greatest Explorers

A couple weeks ago, I did a post with a book review that shared a pre-war card collection housed at the Library of Congress.  Almost all the cards shown featured baseball players but a non-baseball card caught my attention.  The card triggered a memory of one of the best leadership books I ever read called Leading at The Edge.  A former boss of mine suggested the book and it was a great mix of adventure and leadership lessons.

The book shares lessons from the legendary Antarctic adventure of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team of 27 polar explorers on the Nimrod and teaches about bringing order to chaos through true leadership. I read a lot and have plowed through dozens of leadership books that this book and the story of Shackleton has stayed with me years after I read the book.

I didn't know Shackleton had a card so when I saw it in the book, I did a quick search and while there aren't many out there on eBay, I was able to find this one:

This card is from a set featuring the World's Greatest Explorers and was produced in 1910 and it was fitting that I had to buy the card and have it sent to me from England seeing how Shackleton was from Britain.  The condition isn't wonderful but good enough for me to enjoy it Just for the Fun of It!

Monday, September 23, 2019

McCovey Monday #98 - 2019 Topps Archive Rainbow

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of almost 1400 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards on select Mondays.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

I am a fan of Topps Archives.  I know there are some issues with the tributes not quite matching up in design and/or font but I still enjoy seeing players on designs where they don't quite belong.  This year I was very happy to see Willie McCovey in the Topps Archive release and to have him featured on a card in the 1993 Topps design.  When the set came out and I saw his card for the first time, I was even happier as it didn't contain a photo that had been recycled dozens on times on card releases.  Here is the base McCovey:

I typical Topps fashion, any new release has to have a few parallels and outside of the 1/1, I have been able to pick up all the McCovey's:

The most common parallel is this purple border and my card is numbered 171/175.

Next up is the silver border and mine is numbered 20/99.

The last card in this group that I acquired was this blue bordered card which is numbered 16/25.

And the final parallel is the Topps Gold card reminiscent of the 1/pack parallels back in 1993.  This is unnumbered but I believe it is slightly more rare than the blue.

Here is the rainbow with the cards all together:

I was happy to see some new colors pop up this year in the parallels and I think they look pretty good on this throwback 1993 design.  Thank you Topps for honoring my favorite player.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reyes Moronta Rainbow

Last year I decided to start collecting cards of Giants reliever Reyes Moronta.  I was looking to add a recent Giant to my slate of player collections and was drawn to Moronta for a few reasons.  First, he seemed to have a lively fastball with some decent stuff.  Second, I enjoy his portly physique - I always think its cool when someone who isn't in peak physical condition can excel at a professional sport.  I think Rick Reuschel's stint with the Giants started this type of appreciation.  The third and final reason was due to his inclusion in a couple of higher end products in 2018 as a rookie, knowing that higher end products produce some nice patch cards.

As I am typing this post, I am thinking my intro post to my Moronta player collection should have featured some of these amazing patch cards but that will have to wait.  Today I scanned and decided to share the a few of the Moronta cards released in 2019. 

By now I am sure most everyone has heard of the re-institution of Topps Total.  It was a set originally released in 2002 as a 990 card set featuring a deep list of players including a lot of bench players and relievers not featured in many sets.  The set continued as a 990 card set in 2003 then was shortened a bit to 880 cards in 2004 then down to 770 cards in 2005. 

This set has been one that I know a lot of collectors and bloggers have desired to be brought back and finally in 2019 Topps obliged.  I am guessing I am not alone in my frustration on how it was released however.  Topps did decide to make the set 900 cards in length which is great but it is an online exclusive and the format is broken down into smaller series or waves. Every three weeks, a fresh batch of 100 cards in the set is made available through 10-card packs. These packs sell for $10 each. I can't even imagine building a full set and haven't even decided to go after all the Giants yet.

I did decide to seek out the Reyes Moronta cards and have a fresh batch of 3 to share, what is a Topps release without some parallels:

I really like this card!  The design is a great throwback to the original Topps Total cards and nice and simple.  The player is the star of the card. This photo shows off Moronta's impressive physique along with some attitude no doubt after throwing a high 90s fastball by a batter for strike 3.

As you can see I have picked up the base card along with the red parallel /10 and the black parallel /5.  Surprisingly I saw 3 of the blacks show up on eBay before the first red.  There is a 1/1 parallel but unless it shows up and a ridiculously low price my 2019 Topps Total Reyes Moronta rainbow is complete:

Looks great, doesn't it!  If you have any thoughts to share about Topps Total that you haven't blogged about, feel free to share in the comments.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Joy of Two Completed Insert Sets - 2019 Topps Series 1 Evolution and Revolution of the Game

Today I continue the sharing of the insert sets from my 2019 Topps Series 1 set build and I decided to share two together again, this time the Evolution 25 card insert set and the Revolution 10 card insert set.  Absent the similarities of the names, these sets don't have much in common.

The Evolution set is a card featuring one image on each side, the front sharing a photo of the past, the back a photo of how it has evolved today.  The first 10 cards showcase uniforms, the next 10 ballparks and the final 5 equipment.  The front photos are sepia toned while the backs are in full color.

I decided to share both sides of these cards since you need to see the backs to understand what evolution took place:

The Revolution of the Game set showcases 10 different people that influenced changes in the game.  Topps jacked up the numbering so there is no number 1 or 4, two number 7s and it goes to 11.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out how this happens but it pretty much an annual occurrence.

I am sharing all the fronts and the back of card #2 (the first in the set):

Pretty solid sets in my opinion.  I am glad the Evolution set continued in Series 2 as there are some key teams and ballparks missing here.  I like the variety of the people featured in the Revolution set, particularly the inclusion of Bill James.

If you are interested in a look back at other sets I have shared from 2019 Topps Series 1 you can link here:

150 Years of Professional Baseball
1984 Topps
Cactus League Legends and Grapefruit League Greats