Monday, September 30, 2019

Trade with Too Many Verlanders

A few weeks ago, I reached out to Dennis of Too Many Verlanders and asked if he wanted to trade some cards. I had a Ken Griffey, Jr. card that he needed, and he was looking to get rid of some extra Tigers cards, and a little over a week ago, his end of the trade showed up at my door. 

He sent some great relic cards of Magglio Ordonez, Austin Jackson, Evan Longoria, and Edwin Jackson. The AJ and Edwin Jackson relics are the first relic cards I have of them, and the Ordonez card nicely compliments an 8-player jersey card I have of Magglio and a base card featuring Ordonez and Frank Thomas. The Longo card is one of my favorites of the package, and it marks the second jersey card I have of Evan (I have a minor league jersey one), and the first piece of his bat. 
I recived too many Tigers to count in the package, which was probably close to 700 cards deep. There were so many cool cards. An Aurelio Lopez OPC, Jack Morris League Leader, '85 Morris, '88 OPC Doyle Alexander, an '89 Topps Frank Tanana to replace the autographed one, and a '94 Bowman's Best Justin Thompson. I pulled the Thompson in '96 or so, and I could've swore I had the card, but I guess at some point I lost it, so now I have it again. The middle row features a '94 Donruss Lou Whitaker parallel, a tough-to-pull '94 Score Boys of Summer Danny Bautista, Kirk Gibson's last Topps card, Mike Moore's sunset UD card (a parallel, too!), and 2 '96 Topps card I was missing. I got so many autographs from around 1996-2010, but I sold them in 2013. A number of these cards helped replace autographed ones that were sold. The bottom row features sweet Kapler, Catlalanotto, and Matt Anderson rookies, a cool Chris Wakeland Bowman insert, and 2 shiny Juan Gonzalez cards.
The next photo has a 2001 Donruss Jermaine Clark (a set I have like only 4 cards of, and a player whom I only had 1 card of before recieving this one), a Jack Morris, Harvey Kuenn, George Kell, and Al Kaline Archives card, a Juan Gonzalez (infielder) Bowman, a Sparky Anderson '03 UD Vintage to replace one I got signed. I love the Sleeth and Zumaya rookies. I got their autographs a number of times in Spring Training, and wished I would've had those cards back then. The Archives Kaline is sweet, and I could've probably got it signed in the spring as well. The Willis is a nice parallel, and I like the Luke Putkonen Bowman Chrome card. I saw him pitch a number of times. The bottom row features 2 Cabrera inserts, a Gold Phil Coke, a Tyler Collins rookie, a nice celebration shot of the Tigers winning the '12 ALDS, and a Scherzer '12 card.

Last photo of Tigers. A few Avisail Garcia rookies, a nice photo of V-Mart on the '14 Topps set, a Jose Iglesias Heritage rookie, 2 Buck Farmer rookies which I wish I would've had last year. He was signing autograhps at a table during the Spring Traning game I went to. I got a Yoenis Cespedes card showing him as a Tiger, a nice Refractor of Shane Greene, an Opening Day Paws card, a Dixon Machado Heritage, and an Archives Verlander from the awesome '91 Topps set. I think the Kaline is from an Archives set, and features a great photo. I love the Heritage All-Star of Cabrera, and the McCann 150th Anniversary parallel rounds out the bottom row.

On top of all of the great Tigers, I recieved some Rays as well. I got a number of nice Wade Boggs cards that I would've never dreamed of having in '98-'00, as I was 15 in 1998 and had little funds to buy cards. When I did, it was usually base Topps, Upper Deck, and Collector's Choice. The UD3, Topps Chrome, UD Encore, Chrome Highlights and Y3K cards are nice shiny cards that I am happy to add to my Rays binder.

Some of my favorites include an '07 Bowman Gold Reid Brignac, a WBC Jorge Cantu, Jeff Ridgeway rookie, a Die-Cut Upper Deck X Longo, a Stadium Club Longo, a Heritage David Price rookie, and a Sport Royalty UD Longo. The Mathook card is an Aspirations die-cut, and looks awesome. The '87 Shields mini is new, as are the Archives Longo and Prizm Price.

I have been trying to do a number of trades lately, and I should have 2 more trade posts coming up, and I also have plans to do a post about some cool parallel cards that I have pulled over the years, as well as a post showing off the 1985 Topps complete Team USA custom set that I finished recently.
Things might finally be getting back into a routine at my house, and that will hopefully mean doing more posts, finishing some checklists, and doing some customs.

Thank you so much, Dennis, for the nice cards! I hope you enjoyed the cards I sent you.
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Thursday, September 19, 2019

2019 Topps Complete set and my musical journey

A few days ago, my wife was in Target. Earlier in the year I had mentioned that I wanted to buy fewer packs of base Topps and just get the complete set at the end of the year. Well they were out, and before she went she asked if I wanted her to pick one up. I trusted her judgement on which one to get, hoping that I wouldn't end up with one that gave me 5 manu-patches I would never want or use. Well, she did well and got a set that featured 5 rookie photo variations and 5 Chrome Refractor rookie reprint cards. My card room/music room is basically the middle of our garage, and I had the set and the cards I wanted photos of in it, so all of these photos I took on my piano. More on that later.

First off, the good parts about the set. The rookie image variation cards. I put the regular base card on the left and the variation on the right. I GOT AN ALONSO CARD!!!! I'M RICH!!!  I GOT VLAD JR.!!!  I'M RICH!!!!!

The Kopech card was a base card, and so was the McNeil. I GOT TATIS JR.!!!! I'M RICH!!!!!!!
The Rookie Reprints were nice. I think the set is like 15 cards deep, and I pulled an Aaron, Gwynn, Jeter (meh...)

Ty Cobb, and Sandy Koufax (not a Koufax rookie, why is it in the set???  Overall, pretty good. 
It is nice to now have the complete Rays and Tigers team sets and cards for every guy from my Favorite Player Collection who appeared in 2019 Topps. Now, I just have to convince my wife to let me get the Update set in a few weeks.

Now, let me fill you in on the bad, and call out Topps on yet another blunder.
Not sure if anyone caught this or not, but there is a card of Zach Greinke in Series 1 and Series 2. This isn't a case like Yasiel Puig, or Matt Kemp, who are both in Series 1 & 2, but featured on different teams. Greinke is pictured as a Diamondback on both cards.
TOPPS WASTED A CARD IN SERIES 2!!!!!  I haven't followed baseball like I used to in the '90's and '00's, but I'm sure there is a guy who could've got a card in Series 2 that wasn't in either series. Give me some names, Night Owl, Fuji, and Gavin!!  I'm sure there is a Dodger, Athletic, or Padre who needs a 2019 Topps card. I haven't looked it up, but I'm sure Grayson Greiner has played a game or two for the Tigers in 2018 and hasn't got a card in 2019 Topps. I'm sure there are some Rays like Jose DeLeon or Anthony Banda who must've appeared with the Rays in 2018, and didn't get a card because they were injured this year. Since when has Topps been an exclusively non-yearbook style set? I guess you can make a case since they have virtually NO sunset cards. Let me read you off the names of guys who retired after 2018 who could've had a sunset 2019 Topps card but didn't: Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Adrian Beltre, and David Wright. 4 very solid names, including 1 sure-fire Hall of Famer. I guess Topps switched from having most of the set yearbook style somewhere around 1998 when they first featured cards featuring players in teams they would play for the same year the set was issued (Bobby Abreu's '98 card featured him as a Phillie. He played for the Astros in 1997, for example).
Back to the whole Greinke card. This isn't the first time Topps has done this. They have been doing crap like this since 2000. Don't believe me?  Let me show you....

Mike Lowell appeared in Series 1 & 2 in 2000 Topps. It must've been the first year Topps hired non-baseball fans in their Player Selection department. I noticed, but I let it slide that year.

In 2001, I got the complete set, and noticed Michael Tucker got 2 cards.

This was starting to get annoying, and I had my freshly-minted new e-mail account primed and ready to write a nasty letter to Topps stating that if the 2002 set featured the same thing, that my 19-year-old self would quit spending all of my $100-$125 per week paychecks on their crappy baseball cards. Fortunately for them, 2002 Topps behaved, and they did so until 2007. 

In the 2007 Topps set, Gary Sheffield was given 2 cards. 

Almost the exact same photo. If you were to send me both of these cards in a trade batch, I wouldn't think they were 2 different cards unless I took the time to read the number on the back. But tell me, who actually reads the numbers on the back? Can you tell me the number of Bryce Harper's 2019 Topps card? (It's card #400. I only know because I looked for all of the cards with hero numbers on the checklist). I was appalled at the fact that they used the same photo on the card, and almost contacted Topps on MySpace, but I settled down, and watched them carefully for the next few years. They didn't pull the trick again until 2016, but it was a doozy, and it was enough for me to not only write them a nasty e-mail which never got a response, but for me to also make a post about it. 

I purchased some packs of 2016 Topps Series 1, and was pleasantly surprised to find my former classmate and future World Series MVP Steve Pearce's card in the set. He played for the Orioles in 2015, and signed with the Rays for the '16 season.  I figured I might see a him on a Rays card in Update, but since he got traded to the Orioles midseason, it complicated things. Do the put him in Update as an Oriole since he technically was with them twice, or do they just leave him out of the set, or do they go the most illogical route and put him in Update as a Ray?  Well, since Topps has geniuses working for them, they decided to give him 2 cards in Update. Both picturing him as an Oriole. Both from the same play. WTF???  
I am the biggest Steve Pearce collector ever, and I don't see why he got the second card in Update. And now Grienke has 2 cards in 2019 Topps. Things like this will never end if Topps doesn't have people who know a little bit about baseball as employees. Stuff like this should be caught before it goes to press. In 10 years, if physical baseball cards are still around, you are going to see a 600 card Series 1 & 2 set with only 450 cards, because there will be 10 different base cards each of Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, and whatever hot rookie is slugging the ball that year. Add in 3 different cards for each League Leader catergory in WAR, Launch Angle at Home in the 3rd Inning, Exit Velocity against curveballs between 80 and 83 MPH and such, and a few extra cards of Jacob DeGrom or somebody, and there is your set.
Don't get me wrong. I'm happy to have the complete set. I'm just not happy with the people who are picking players and the fact that I am essentially getting the same card. The same player, the same stats on the back. Just a little different write-up, a different photo (maybe), and a new number. I pay my hard-earned money for your products, Topps. Me and other collectors deserve better. People do collect base cards and you can't produce a base set without double checking what players are in it and if they were in a previous series. I'm keeping track, and you are on record.

To end this long post and tie in the piano thing, I don't know if many of you know, but I play the piano. It is one of the things I enjoy doing the most. I took lessons from 3rd-5th grade, learned all of the major scales and chords, and practiced them enough, that I kind of memorized them. Soon after that, I began trying to play songs I heard on the radio, and would match them up to chords that I had learned. Soon, that just took off, and I was starting to write songs a little, just putting a few chord progressions together. Some were decent. Some were crap. Around my Jr. or Sr. year of high school, I really wanted to be in a band and preform some of my songs. It never happened, and although some of my friends were in bands, they never let me join. It kind of shaped me as a person. It felt bad to be rejected, and it happened so often (with bands and the ladies), that I was kind of used to it. I was determined to get good enough to be in a band, and a few years into college, I got into a band at our church. We played worship songs for our youth group, and also some originals. Mine didn't quite make the cut, but I helped write 1 or 2 originals we did. In 2006, I moved to Montgomery, AL to start a band with my old college roommate. We recorded a song or two, he ended up moving away for a job, but I did get into an awesome band at our church. We played for our college ministry, and I learned so much there. Ryan John led the band, and taught me to not try to play so much and just sit back sometimes. I played there for 3 years, and moved back to Florida. From there, it was 3 years of playing in a few bands, refining skills, but still nothing with the songs I wrote. In 2011, I met my wife, we got married in 2012, and music was pushed to the back burner a bit as we worked on our careers, and had a bunch of fun together. My old roommate became my brother-in-law in 2013, I started playing in our church band in 2014, and in 2016, we had our first child. This past month, an opportunity came up that might be too good to pass up. Our worship leader moved on to another job, and there are about 4 people in the current band that are able to lead (including myself). Not as good as our old leader, but we each bring different qualities to the table. While helping lead 2 weeks ago, our drummer commented that he enjoyed my piano and wanted to do a side project. I haven't been able to do music in years just because of time and having a kid, but this time, I think it has a chance to work out. If our schedules can line up, I could perhaps jam on off days. This may not even lead to a band that ever plays a show, but I have a few goals in mind. This could finally be the opportunity to record a few songs that I have written. I realize some of them need some work, but I trust our drummer, guitarist, bass player, and my wife can add what it's probably missing. It probably needs some ideas musically, and they can add them as well. The songs are just some reflections on the Christian walk, some are me venting my frustration at certain situations in life, some are songs of hope, and some are just worship songs. I realize it's not everyone's style, but that's ok. I just want to get these songs finished, hopefully be able to record a few, and get them in people's ears. I have always felt that they were meant to uplift others, and it has always been frustrating that only a few people have heard them (and cruddy recorded versions at that). Many of the songs were written 15 or so years ago as a niave 20-year old, and now many of them talk about someone who I never wanted to be, but somehow have almost become. I am not the best Christian by any stretch of the imagination, and I am embarrased at how I act at work much of the time. I stil want to try to do better each day, and want to try to reach people with these songs, even if it is only a few people. Who knows, maybe I will share some lyrics on here or make a site with one or two of the songs on it. I really hope this works out and these songs can finally be finished and recorded and in people's ears. I am going to go all-out with this, follow God's guidance, and hope for the best. If you are the praying kind of person, please keep me uplifted. Sorry for the long post.
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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Trade with Dime Box Nick

A few weeks ago, I emailed Dime Box Nick about working a trade, and he kindly obliged me. After going through 3 huge boxes of cards I purchased about a year ago, I came away with a number of cards with cool photos that I knew would fit some of Nick's mini-collections, so I sent them his way, and he hooked me up with a bunch of Tigers, Rays, and guys for my Favorite Player Collection

I got some nice Tigers cards. The Kaline scratch-off is the first for me, and next to it was a stack of 3 '70 O-Pee-Chee's. Most of the bottom row are new-to-me sets that I had wanted to get, but just missed out. My card shop didn't have the '19 National Baseball Card Day set, so I was glad Nick sent me the Cabrera. I had always loved the 1993 Topps set, so I'm stoked to get the Archives Stewart, and I went multiple times to different stores to try to find some Utz potato chips with the baseball cards inserted, and came up empty. Not now, thanks to the Castellanos that Nick sent me. 
Next up, Nick sent me some Rays. I am in love with the '83 Reprint Refractor of Archer. I have got to get my hands on more of those. All of these cards are new to my Rays binder, and I'm happy to get guys from just about every era of the franchise and happy to get closer to completing some Rays team sets.

Last up are some guys Nick dug up for my Favorite Player binder. The Dozier and Gregorious cards almost doubled my collections of them. The Inge's are nice, as I have a ton of his cards, and don't usually get too many new cards of him. The Derek Fisher card is cool because it highlights the first MLB game my son Kyler went to, which was on June 14, 2017 (my birthday). Fisher hit a single to get his first MLB hit, and later on in the inning, also hit a Home Run, which landed a row in front of us in the section to our left. It was the first time I had been to a game where a team batted around in an inning, and it just had so many great things happen in the game, and the fact that it was my son's first MLB game and we saw that season's World Champions play was just icing on the cake. There are so many binders that the card can go into as well. I have one in Kyler's binder, one in my Favorite Player binder, I can put this one in my highlights binder, and I could also put another one in my Astros binder. 

Things are still a little wonky here at my house, but it feels like it's slowly getting on the way back to normal. I've finished the NL on the 2003 Topps Missing Player Checklist, and I hope to work on a few more teams later tonight. For now, thanks to Nick, I have to update my Tigers, Rays, and Favorite Players pages. I always love to get new cards, and it feels good to help out other people with their collections. Makes me want to get a Saturday off work and go to a card show sometime. We'll see. Thanks, Nick, for the great cards.

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Trade with Bob

A few weeks ago while I was on vacation, a reader, Bob, e-mailed me. He collects any card of a player blowing a bubble, and noticed that the sunset card I had made for Andre Dawson showed him blowing one. When I got back, I got to work making some customs of guys blowing bubbles, and Bob got a package together for me. 

I got the package a few days ago, and was very happy with the contents. Bob also collects sunset cards (any brand), and hooked me up with some nice ones, including Hall of Famers like Jim Palmer, Catfish Hunter, Willie Stargell, and Roy Halladay, as well as some hopefully future ones like David Ortiz and Derek Jeter. 
He also threw in some nice Detroit Tigers for my Tigers binder. I have maybe 5 Tigers cards from the '60's and '70's, and this package doubled it.
I got some nice early 2000's Rays, and also 2 newer ones from Stadium Club sets I didn't have any of.
The last part of the package was probably the biggest surprise for me, a chunk of 16 Topps Black Gold cards that I needed! This leaves me needing only 9 players to complete the player set. Besides the 9 players, I need a few random winner and redemption cards, and this set will be complete. If you think you might be able to help out, here is my Want List. I know a few other collectors, including Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown, are also collecting the set, so if I see any at a show, I'll probably try to pick them up, even if I already have them.
I have been having to go in to work at 3 AM almost every day of the last week because of a crazy cookie sale, and tomorrow is going to be the same. After that, it should be back to normal, and I should be back at getting some checklists done and stuff. I'm hoping to get back into a kind of normal routine and have a little bit of sanity before November, December, and all of the holidays. We survived the hurricane just fine, and if I can get through this next week, other than a few things, it will pretty much be back to normal.
Thanks, Bob, for the great cards. I will be on the lookout for more bubble-blowing cards, and let me know if I can make you any more customs.
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