Thursday, January 28, 2021

3 more trades

About a week ago I recieved an envelope in the mail from Jay of Card Hemorrhage.  I had sent him some Topps Heritage Giants for his project, and he sent me back some nice Rays, Tigers, and Giants cards. 
The Cairo and Beckham cards are both needs, as are the Lolich and 2020 Bowmans. I haven't actually seen a pack of 2020 Bowman in the wild. The Martinez jersey card is nice. I love adding relic cards of my favorite teams, but I'll really take any relic. Jay must've read that in my Want List, as he sent me a nice Archives jersey card of Pablo Sandoval. I got to see him play live in 2009 when everyone was all hyped up about him. It was a heck of a game. My future brother-in-law JT organized a baseball road trip, and I flew into St. Louis, saw a Chiefs/Rams pre-season game, saw the Gateway Arch, drove to Chicago and saw a White Sox/Red Sox game (US Cellular Field is the worst looking stadium out of the 8 or so I have been to), drove to Milwaukee and saw the Brewers play the Giants. Everyone was watching Sandoval take BP, and I went over to the Giants dugout to try to get autographs, and wound up getting one of Tim Lincecum on an '08 Topps Heritage card. We went to our seats by the right field bullpen, and saw a cather in the bullpen with the name of Posey warming up pitchers. Wish I would've tried harder to get his autograph. Miller Park is amazing, and I loved the look of the retractable roof. The last stop of our trip was to Kansas City, and we saw a Royals/Angels game. I got up to get some food, and about 5 minutes later, Vladimir Guerrero hit a Home Run right near where I was sitting. Thinking about the trip makes me antsy for a nice long family vacation. We might go in March or April, but I'm ready to start planning now. Especially if the stadiums will let fans in again. 
Back to the cards, Jay threw in some nice vintage Giants, which even though I don't actively collect Giants like the Rays or Tigers, but I am always happy to add older cards, no matter what team. The Chris Arnold is a nice addition to his player collection. Thanks for the trade, Jay.

A few days ago, a box that I was surprised to see was waiting for me at my front door. I had sent a few customs over to Tom at Waiting 'Til Next Year, not really expecting to get anything back. Well, lo and behold, Tom sent over a huge box of 1992 Topps Gold Winners cards. 
Although it is near the bottom area of my want list, Tom found it, and said in his note that it was easier than finding random Rays & Tigers from my want list. I totally agree. I have all of the Topps Rays base cards, and while I am missing a lot more with the Tigers, there are 4-5 other Tigers collectors out there, most more well-known that myself, and it's a lot harder to pull Rays from packs than most other teams in the leagues. I really don't mind if someone finds it easier to add cards to a lesser-known collection of mine like the 1992 Topps Gold Winners set. I actually am thinking about going after a 'true master set' of 1992 Topps. I already have the 1992 Topps main set, but there are 2-3 other sets that might be a tad harder to track down. I need almost 100% of the Topps Traded set, there are the previously mentioned Topps Gold Winners set, the Topps Gold set without the 'Winner' stamp on it, as well as a hard to find Topps Traded Gold set (with a 2nd year Giambi, and rookies of Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek making that one a little price, and also a Topps Micro set with really small versions of the 1992 regular set and a 10 or so Micro Gold cards insert set. Throw in a 1992 Topps Preview sheet and the Topps Gold preview sheet, and I think that would complete it, but I don't know if I'm up for trying to come up with want lists for all that and keeping track of everything. Maybe in the future. 
For now, I have probably a little over 1/2 of a Topps Gold Winner set that included a number of stars like Rickey Henderson & Nolan Ryan's Record Breaker cards, a few All-Stars, and some bigger name stars like Kirby Puckett, Tom Glavine, and Mark Grace. Thanks for the surprise starter set, Tom!

The last envelope of cards I got recently was more of less of a trade, and more of a 'thanks for your work', but it was something I was eager to open. A little over a  week ago, CJ from Braniac Baseball. I mentioned in my previous post about Simulation Baseball that CJ is replaying the 1980 baseball season right now using the Detroit Tigers. He needed some 1981 Topps cards showing new additions to the Tigers in Tiger uniforms, and the best part was that he wanted to pay in baseball cards, since he has a card shop and does a lot of breaks. I contacted him, and immediately got to work on about 10 guys. He sent me off a package of some Rays, and they arrived yesterday. 
First up are some Rays from 2018 Topps Inception, a higher-end looking product that I vaguely recall hearing about. I believe the Christian Arroyo card is a Green Parallel. Next up are 2020 Bowman Chrome cards of Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco. The 2nd Chrome Franco is a Megabox Chrome Refractor. On the bottom row is a 2020 Topps Update Gold Arozarena, and 2020 Topps Holiday cards of Arozarena and Brandon Lowe. Thanks for the cards, CJ. Look forward to doing some more cards for you! If you are interested in his card shop, it is located in El Paso, TX (the info is on the business card in the picture), and he has a Mercari page. He also has a YouTube page where he does each Tigers game in the simulation. 

As I have been doing lately anytime I get a new Arozarena card, I like to get them all together and take a photo. These newest 3 bring me to 20, a nice total given that he has been so hot and also given the fact that I've only pulled 4 from packs. While finding a 10 at my LCS has helped, and purchasing the 2020 regular and Update set netted me 2 others, I still find it heartwarming that I acquired 4 from trades from either bloggers or baseball fans. Really, the only thing I'm missing from somewhat easy to obtain cards are his '20 Topps Heritage and '20 Topps Archives cards, so thanks to generous traders and a little luck from my LCS, I have just about all of his 2020 cards that aren't super-premium. 
I also wanted to show my Wander Franco cards. To date, I now have 8, and I have only pulled 1 from a pack, with 2 coming from trades with Rod of Padrographs, 3 coming in trades from Nick of Dime Boxes, and the newest 2 coming from CJ. 

Thanks to everyone who has traded with me and help me grow my Rays, Tigers, and baseball card collection in general. I look forward to doing more trades this year. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Some Simulation baseball

 I suppose I have been into simulation baseball since 1994 or so. The first taste wasn't really even true sim baseball, but it lead to bigger and better things. I got a Commodore 64 computer from my Uncle Tom, and he gave us about 100 bootlegged floppy discs. One of those discs contained the original Hardball game.

 I played hundreds of games of Hardball. After a while, I started inputing my name and the names of friends as the players in the game, and kept score. I didn't keep season stats, but it led to many projects that were similar in the future. 
Somewhere around that time, my 14-year old self also got a carrom board. I noticed how it was shaped like a diamond, and got the idea to make my room into a baseball field and make a season using the pros and add myself, some friends, and guys from the Hardball roster to the rosters of the teams in my league by having a draft. After the draft, I came up with some basic rules. I took a pencil for a bat and a marble for a ball and would throw the marble up in the air with one hand and swing the pencil with the other one, and then watch what would happen. If a ground ball landed in one of the corner pockets of the board, that meant a fielder caught it, and I would roll the ball to the 1st base pocket (or another one with runners on), and if it went in the pocket successfully, I would repeat the roll. If it went in again, the runner was out. If either roll missed, it was an error. If a ball was hit in the air near where an infielder or outfielder was positioned, I would throw the marble in the air twice. If caught twice, it was an out. If not, an error. There were a lot of errors in my game. With runners on, I would flip a quarter before the pitch if I wanted to attempt a steal. 2 flips of tails meant a successful steal, 2 heads meant an out if the pitch wasn’t hit. I had 12 teams the first year, 6 teams per league and 2 per division. Each team played the other teams one, and division winners and 1 wild card made the playoffs. I played for the Atlanta Braves that first season, and led the Majors in HRs, RBI, AVG, Stolen Bases, and most everything else (of course). The Braves went 11-0 and won the title. I even created some of my first ‘customs’ with that league. I took some old Topps Match the Stats cards and traces the outline of them and then drew a custom design and picture for the front of each player. I also drew backs for the complete with stats. 

Real classy cards, huh? The one of myself is from the 2nd season, the one of my cousin Andrew is a future stars subset from season 1. 
The next season had a few more teams and ended up taking a few years to complete as I was finishing high school, got a job, was heavily involved in my youth group, and was collecting cards and busting packs probably a little more than I am now. I ended up finishing the 2nd season in my college dorm, changing the format by creating charts for each player and rolling dice to see the result. I again led the majors in everything and got a ring. I also made cards for that year, and although I lost most of them a long time ago, I still have mine and one of my cousin Andrew. I started a blog for my league, just somewhere that I could try to input everything that I had (some scoresheets, records/stats, draft info), so if you were interested in any of that, feel free to check it out.
Later that year in college, my roommate JT (who would later become my brother-in-law) introduces me to a sim League he and his brother were doing called the WJBL for Walk-Man/Jeffro Baseball League. JT’s brother Jeff was Jeffro, and his friend Walker was the Walk-Man. I was able to find an archived version of the League’s website. I ran the Colorado Rockies, and judging from my roster, we should’ve ran away with the division. The League was like a regular sim league where you draft players, and they simmed a whole season with your team. My division had a bunch of sub .500 teams, and going into the last week, I was in 2nd place. Either Albert Pujols or Ichiro (both were on my team) got injured and I lost my chance to get in first, but Jeff ended up telling the guy who was commissioner that there was an HTML error and they needed to replay the last week of games for my team because the injury didn’t happen, and I ended up winning the division. We never got around to the playoffs because of some personal stuff with Walk-Man. 
A year or two after that, my buddy Sawney introduced me to Stategic Baseball Simulator. One time after driving back from an Orlando Rays game, we stopped at a McDonalds to eat, and he got out his laptop, and we replayed a game from the 1986 World Series with myself running the Red Sox. I lost. 

In 2009, I ran SBS after finding a complete 1994 MLB schedule, and finished out the strike-shortened ‘94 season. Gwynn hit .410, and the White Sox beat the Reds in the World Series, with Ron Karkovice hitting 3 HRs in the final game. I got Ron to sign his ‘95 Topps Cyberstats card, but he wouldn’t inscribe ‘3-HR World Series Game’.  
I got OOTP at some point between then and when I met my wife in 2011, and have dabbled in doing another season of the first ‘sim league’ that I have done, this time using the 1999 rosters (season 1 was 1997, season 2 was 1998). It kind of took the back burner as I got married in 2012, found a new job, got full time, had a son in 2016, and have just had other commitments with my time. Maybe I’ll find a newer version of the game and input the ‘99 rosters with the original friends, as well as new ones I’ve made since then. 
The sim baseball doesn’t stop there, though. I came across a thread on a Commodore 64 forum of a guy who played 162 games with the Champs, one of the 2 teams you could play with when playing Hardball (the other team was the All-Stars). The poster used a DH every game, and kept stats for the Champs, and posted them. I thought the idea was interesting, but I had a few questions. I normally played without a DH, and let the pitcher hit. It's hard to explain, but having a DH doesn't effect anything, the number of the hitter in the batting order was all that mattered. Basically for the Champs, spots #1, 2, and 8 could steal 2nd 100% of the time and were very fast, no matter who you placed in that spot. #3, 4, 5, and 9 were all the only guys who could hit HRs over the fence, with 4 probably be the most powerful. #6 was the worst and slowest hitter, and #7 had decent speed, but not enough to steal bases. After seeing the post, I decided to play a season and keep the stats of the Champs, but not use a DH. After playing Hardball for almost 20 years, I had learned a lot of strategy and I learned even more playing the game. I absolutely slaughtered the numbers of the guy who wrote the original post. I have just about all of the scoresheets of the games, and wrote my results of the sims at the end of the post on the 4th page
When I started doing customs in 2013 or 2014, when I searched for customs to mark cards off of the checklists, I ran across a few sites that basically said ‘KOD’ and then had a number next to it. It was a sim league that operated a season under different criteria, like best World Series losing teams, best 3rd place teams, or teams the year after winning the pennant. Each league had baseball cards to go with the teams, many of the cards being customs. I was fascinated with the cards, and a few years later, I came across one of the main custom guys in the league, Marc, when I was invited to join the FB Custom Cards Page. Marc told me about the other sim league he is in ARAIG, which plays 2 seasons per year. They attempt to replay a historical MLB season and try to get the same amounts of At-Bats and Innings Pitched per player as they really had in the real season. I had the honor of making a ton of cards for the 1983 and 1984 seasons for that league. 
Finally, the last and most current sim league is one that CJ of Braniac Baseball Card Breaks runs. He has been doing the league for a little bit now, and is playing as the Detroit Tigers in the 1980 season. A number of players have switched teams (Cal Ripken, Jr. is a Red, Robin Yount is a Ranger, and Dwight Evans is a Royal), and he recently posted on the FB Custom Card Group that he wanted some customs for the upcoming 1981 season. Basically some ‘81 Topps cards with the traded  players put on their new teams. I did my best, and did the first batch of ones for him, and once the 1981 rosters are set, I’ll have my work cut out for me. He is hosting the games on YouTube and doing commentary, so you’ll get to see some of the customs along with the real cards of the players who stayed on their current teams. I look forward to following the next season, as well as the ARAIG seasons which are currently going. 
I hope you enjoyed my stories about sim baseball. Are any of you guys into simulation baseball?  If so, check out some of these leagues that are going, and be sure to check out CJ’s Mercari page with cards from his breaks. 

RIP, Hank. You will always be the true Home Run King. I wish I could've been old enough to have seen you play, but I am glad that I've been lucky enough to get a playing days card of you and a piece of one of your bats that perhaps you hit a Home Run with. You were a true legend.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Recent trades

 I’ve been getting a decent stream of mail since the start of the year so I figured I would show them off. 

First up is a package from Rod of Padrographs fame. Rod had a post a while back with some trade bait that he pulled from recent packs that he opened, and I saw 2 cards that fit my collection, both hits of Rays guys. I sent him some 1995 Topps customs of the rest of the Padres replacement players who played in Spring Training in 1995, and I was able to land these 2 cards of guys who I hope will be major players for the Rays in the future (and hopefully we'll get a new owner who will want to actually sign them). 
The first is a Wander Franco 2020 Topps Heritage Minors Clubhouse Collection jersey card. I have 6 cards of him now ('19 Bowman, '19 Bowman Platinum, '20 Bowman Green, '20 Bowman Chrome '90 Anniversary, '20 Topps Heritage Minors Clubhouse Collction, and  '20 Topps Update '89 #1 Prospect), , even though he is a pretty hot guy. I got most of them in trades, which shows the generocity of the blogging community. The 2nd card is a 2019 Leaf Trinity Clear autograph card of Xavier Edwards. The first photo doesn't show the card clearly, so here is a 2nd photo. 
Just a cool looking card. 

Up next is a package from Fuji of The Chronicles of Fuji. Fuji sent some Rays cards from periods where I didn't get a number of packs, which helped me build those parts of my Rays binders. I'm surprised I never got the Opening Day stadium card. The Bowman Platinum Gold card of Price is great, and I'll have to get more cards from that sets. A few inserts from 2013/2014, and a card I would never have a chance of owning with the Museum Collection Cobb. The 2020 Allen & Ginter cards are all new, as I didn't even see those on the shelves this year. The main card from this trade was the 1993 Upper Deck BAT Dave Dravecky card, as Fuji recently opened a box of the product and had a number of doubles. He kindly offered them up, and since he had one of Dave Dravecky, a guy I collect, I commened that I wanted it. He kindly sent it as well as the others. Next time I hit up my LCS, I'll look for some A's guys for you.

Next is a pwe from Kevin, who runs the Diamond King blog. He recently had a contest, and basically you got points for the number of comments you left during the last few months, and you could use your points to bid on 12 different prizes. I decided to use mine on a 2014 Archives Marco Scutaro autographed card. I used to have 5 or 6 binders full of nothing but ip/ttm/pack pulled autographed cards, and even though I don't have them any more, I love picking up autographs when I can. I was able to win the card, and Kevin threw in a nice Bowman Chrome insert of Paul DeJong with it. 
Dennis from Too Many Verlanders sent me a nice package that gave me some cards I don't have very many of at all in my collection, as well as a card that was coveted by me in 2013.

The first 2 cards are a flag patch Topps card of Chris Archer, and a Test Proof Diamond Kings card of Evan Longoria. I don't have that many manu-patch cards in my Rays binder (I think only 1 more), so I was happy to add another one. With the Test Proof card, I didn't even realize that parallel existed, and I've opened a decent amount of Donruss products since 2015 or so. I believe I had the base and Optic card, and now with this Test Proof, I'm closer to some kind of rainbow. The next card is a sweet spot autographed card of Jacob Nix, a guy I collect. The only other card like this I own is from Alejandro Friere. The 2009 Bowman Chrome Matt Moore rookie was pretty hot in 2013 when Moore won 17 games. I thought he was going to be an ace, and was sad to see him traded away, but I guess the Rays front office knew better. I'm still stoked to get this card. Next is a Stat Line card  of Evan Longoria. I wonder if anyone has put together a team set of Stat Line cards. What would be really cool was if someone put together a Stat Line team set with the same serial #. Pinnacle once offered boxes of all of their products if you did that for an insert set in 1997 or 1998. Don't think anyone did.  Got a few '08 Opening Day Rays, a card of one of my favorite Rays pitchers, Tony Saunders, 2 2011 Bowman Blue cards, some more recent Rays, and a 2002 Topps Post card of Greg Vaughn. I like Vaughn. Got his autographs a few times after Rays games, and I remember he had some spinnner rims on his car. Always thought they were fun. One time when getting his autograph, I told him I liked the rims, and he got a kick out of that.
The last package came from Greg of Night Owl Cards. Greg and I have done a couple of trades recently, consisting of some Allen & Ginter minis and Topps Heritage cards going to New York, and some Rays and Tigers coming back my way to Florida. Now that my Topps Rays run is complete (for about 25 more days), I'm focusing on non-flagship Topps sets, and Greg delivered, sending me some cards from Ultra, Upper Deck MVP, Opening Day, Allen & Ginter, the Christmas Topps set, Stadium Club, the '70's set from this year, and Topps Fire. All of these are needs and much appreciated. 
With the Tigers, the Topps cards are welcome, as I am missing some from recent years, as well as the fact that the franchise has cards from 1951-1997, when no Topps Rays cards existed. I got some early Topps cards ('73, '74, as well as some other cards. I love the Jeff Kaiser '92 Stadium Club card. It has the leftfield bleachers of Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. I have been to about 100 games in the stadium, and have fond memories there. In those very bleachers, I won 2 quarters from a Pirates fan in a 1992 Spring Training game when I yelled "Go Pirates!" after me and my dad were yelling "Go Tigers" the whole game. I thought I was rich. The next year, we were in those bleachers watching the Tigers and Reds in Spring Training. I noticed Johnny Bench in the bullpen (just to the right of the seats in the photo). I went there to try to get his autograph, and was told he didn't sign during games. I was walking back to my seat disappointed, when Travis Fryman hit a foul ball down the 3rd base line. The Tigers 3rd base coach picked it up right as a was near the area, and threw it to me, and I got my first foul ball. I later got the ball signed by Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, and Chris Gomez. I still have it somewhere. In 1996, I got seats in those bleachers to a Mets game and 2 Royals games during Spring Training, and racked up on autographs. Neither teams were good back then, and I got guys like Bobby Jones, Alberto Castillo, Butch Huskey, Reid Cornelius, Alex Ochoa, and Jay Payton from the Mets, and the Royals were the real catch in my opinion. When they came to Lakeland, I handed my ball to a pitcher in the bullpen to get signed, and he proceded to hand the ball to the rest of the guys in the bullpen, and I got just about a whole ball signed. I got guys like Alan McDill, Jason Jacome, Mendy Lopez, Bob Boone, Guy Hansen, Rusty Meacham, Mike Sweeney, Tom Goodwin, Henry Mercedes, Jeff Grotewold, and Johnny Damon. Not really big names, but I had a full baseball signed. Those were fun times, and any time I see a card with a picture from Joker Marchant Stadium, I always look to see if I can tell where the picture was taken. One of these days I'm going to find a panorama of the stadium and make a post with some cards that showcase the park. 

More recent cards are a '20 Bowman Chrome and '20 Topps Fire card of Matt Boyd, and a Orange Parallel of Isan Diaz from '20 Big League Baseball which will go in my rookie card binder. 
Thanks to Rod, Fuji, Kevin, Dennis, and Greg for the awesome cards and trades!

I am working on putting all of the loose cards in my binders right now. So far, only my Rays, Diamondbacks, Braves, and Cubs cards are up to date, but if I can do 3/4ths of an album a day after work, eventually I'll get there (I have about 3 binders from every team). I have my cards organized by year, so if I can keep from getting cards that are less than 10 years old from teams that aren't Rays or Tigers, I might stand a chance at keeping my binders current as possible. 

With the binder project going, I have less time for customs, but eventually, I'll be back to the 1998 Topps Traded set. I'm about the same place there as I am with my binders, having the Rays, D-Backs, Braves, Cubs, and all but 2 guys on the Reds finished. Like Night Owl said yesterday, patience. 

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

1998 Topps Devil Rays complete set

 Yesterday I was off and decided to put all of the recent Rays pickups I have into my Rays binders. After putting them all in, I am up to about 6 2-3 inch binders. This includes a complete run of Topps/Topps Traded cards (1997-2020). I am really excited and proud of that, as I am a big Topps guy, and because it is covers the franchise in its entirety. If only I could do that for the Tigers. 

I also wanted to pay homage to the first Rays team, so I decided to print out all of the missing Devil Rays Topps cards from the 1998 set. Those customs, along with the Devil Rays from the 1998 Topps set wind up being a stack that looks something like this. 
The team wasn't really good in 1998, finishing last in the American League East. I went to 3 or 4 games that first year, seeing them play the Athletics, and I believe the Red Sox and Twins. So many memories from those games, but I might do a post like Night Owl recently did, and kind of go through an entire year with memories, and card stuff. 
Not many stars on the team. I’ll go ahead and list the guys with each picture. All of these guys either played for the team in 1998, were taken in the Expansion Draft, or were prospects that Topps chose to include in the ‘98 set. From top to bottom, left to right: Scott Aldred, Wilson Alvarez, Rolando Arrojo, Wade Boggs (somehow he got a Yankees card in the ‘98 set, but no Devil Rays one), Cedric Bowers, Rich Butler, Miguel Cairo, Dan Carlson, Dustin Carr, Steve Cox, Luis Cruz, Mike Difelice, Mike Duvall, and Dave Eiland make up the first page in my binder. 

Page 2 is Vaughn Eshelman, John Flaherty, Eddie Gaillard, Orlando Gomez, Rick Gorecki, Toby Hall, Billy Hatcher, Steve Henderson, Roberto Hernandez, Santos Hernandez, Frank Howard, Jason Johnson, Mike Kelly, Brooks Kieschnick (zero year card), Tim Laker, Aaron Ledesma, John LeRoay, and Albie Lopez. 

Page 3 is James Manias, Dave Martinez, Marcus McCain, Scott McClain (always confused those last 2 guys), Quinton McCracken, Fred McGriff, Jim Mecir, Carlos Mendoza, Pablo Ortega (the guy who threw the first pitch in organization history). Jose Paniagua, Herb Perry, Bryan Rekar, Greg Riddoch, Kerry Robinson, Larry Rothschild, Matt Ruebel, Alex Sanchez, and Jared Sandberg (who each get their own card even though it is the same one and they are right next to each other in the binder). 
The last page is Julio Santana, first overall pick of the expansion draft Tony Saunders, Dave Silvestri, Bobby Smith, Paul Sorrento, Dennis Springer (who only pitched 1 year in Tampa, but I swear I saw him pitch like 4 times and saw him give up dozens of Home Runs off of his knuckleball), Jason Standridge, Kevin Stocker, Ramon Tatis, Bubba Trammell, Tropicana Field, Terrell Wade, Jerome Walton, Rick White, Luke Wilcox, Rick Williams, Randy Win, and another guy who gave up tons of Homers that I saw pitch in just about every game I went to, Esteban Yan. A bunch of guys you’ve either forgot about, or never heard of, but many of the names bring back memories of games attended in person, games watched on TV, or baseball cards for me. A special thanks to everyone who has traded with me and helped me add cards to my Rays Topps run (and the ‘98 set in particular). 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Who says COMC can't ship quickly?

 I had placed for my COMC order to be shipped back on November 20th of last year. I got a shipping date of the beginning of March, and I was happy with waiting until then, figuring that stuff was going to be delayed becuase of COVID and there wasn't much I could do about it. No big deal. I would just forget about the order, and sometime in March have a ton of cards at my mailbox. Maybe a week and a half ago, I got an e-mail saying that my order was shipping. I didn't let my hopes get high, and still expected to have to wait a while even if it was shipped. Then, I checked 2 days ago, and it had left Washington state. Yesterday, when I checked, it said it arrived in DeLand and was expected to be delivered on the 7th (today). I was super happy to get the news, and didn't even check the tracking number again. Around 6:30pm yesterday, I went out to check the mail, and my COMC package was in my mailbox. You can say what you want to about the shipping at COMC, but they came through for me (or perhaps they hired a bunch of staff recently and my order benefited from it). 

It was what you would figure would come in an order that I placed, with your standard Rays guys, Tigers guys, guys I collect, with versions of autographs, memorabilia cards, and shiny cards thrown in each group. My Rays guys helped me finish my Rays Topps run. The '00 Traded Rocco Baldelli was a hot card back in the first years of the '00's. That '01 Topps Josh Hamilton has been eluding me for a while. The 2002 Topps Gold Label Toby Hall bat card (aparently) was used in a game on September 25, 2001. I didn't know that until I read the card last night. I pulled up the '01 Rays schedule, and the game came in the first week of games played after the September 11 attacks. Kind of cool to think that the bat on the card could've been used during the first games back. Other cool cards in the group are a 2011 Bowman Platinum autograph of Brandon Guyer, a 2011 Leaf Valiant  auto of Hak-Ju Lee, and a 2012 Bowman Platinum autograph of Mikie Mahtook. 
I tried to get some jersey cards from big names on the 2020 Rays team, and the order came through on that with jersey cards of Willie Adames, Tyler Glasnow (shown later), Charlie Morton, Austin Meadows, and Blake Snell. I want to be sore at snell, but it wasn't his choice to be traded. I'll still keep any cards I get of him, but won't actively search for them. Unfortunately for me, many of those 2020 Topps cards ended up being doubles for me as I pulled a bunch of them from hanging boxes in the weeks after my order. I guess I'll put them in my dupes box, try to trade them, or see if some can fit in other parts of my collection. The first part of the Tigers start, and it starts off with a bang, with a 1969 Topps Mayo Smith, the manager of the 1968 World Championship Tigers team. 
The final Tigers page has some autographs of guys I've rooted for (Tony Clark, Chris Gomez, Tony Giarratano), relics of guys I rooted for (Encarnacion, Higginson), Maybin, Bonderman, Granderson), and with some stuff from more current guys, Joe Jimenez, Dawel Lugo, Matthew Boyd, and Jake Rogers. I hope these guys can show up good for the Tigers in 2020. Mike Alstott and Billy Ashley start my favorite player part of the order. 
The Trevor Bauer gives me a jersey card of him, and the Sidney DeJong cards only leave me short a Black, Gold, and Blue version of completing the rainbow of that card. I picked up an autograph of fellow Lakleand High School alumni Carson Fulmer, and also got a jersey of him and Tyler Glasnow. I added an autograph and 2 new cards of Stetson U. alum Logan Gilbert. I was surprised the other day on MLB network when I heard Scott Servias throw his name out. I figured he was still a few years away from the show, but apparently not from what I heard. The '96 Stadium Club John Hudek card mentions on the back that Hudek had surgery on his rib where part of it was removed, and got the rib made into a necklace which is shown on the front of the card. I picked up some Casey Mize cards, including my first jersey card of him. The Tony Saunders card only leaves me a 1998 Topps Chrome Refractor, and a 1998 Topps Inaugural Diamondbacks card from finishing Saunders' run of the 1998 Topps design. The Kohl Stewart patch is really sweet in hand, and the Chuck Tiffany is a Green card. 

A Pat Venditte autograph and Ryan Yarbrough rookie Refractor finish off the Favorite Player part of the order. 
This part may start a new section of my collection. As you might know, I collect most guys  on the Netherlands team (guys from the WBC and the National team). A good number of the guys have cards and have played in the Majors. A few only have cards from WBC sets. Since they don't have many cards, I'm not sure if it would be beneficial to even list that I collect them, and I may just make the end of my Favorite Player binder a part dedicated to Team Netherlands. That would give a nice place to put the 3rd card on the page, which also becomes the oldest card I have, a 1928 Players Flags of the League of Nations Tobacco Netherlands card. The final card is for my son. When we were opening some 1994 Stadium Club cards a few months ago, he pulled a Ken Griffey, Jr. card, and I told him all about Griff and how great he was. Now any time he opens packs or packs of the 2020 Topps Sticker set, he asks if each guy is Ken Griffey, Jr. I figured I would get him a sticker of Griffey to have fun with. If you have any dupes/extras of Ken Griffey, Jr. that you don't want, I would be thrilled if you throw them in a trade so I can add them to Kyler's binder. 
I also finished the 1994 Topps/Topps Traded missing player customs, and will shortly get started on the 1998 Topps (Traded) set. I am working on a project which I will probably finish in a day or 2, and then  I'm going to do  the Rays from the '98 Topps Traded set in order to get them printed out and thrown in my Rays binder. 
I hope everyone's 2021 has started off well and if you've ordered any cards that they come quickly. For the record, I'm still waiting on some cards from eBay that I would've figured have come by now. 
Thanks for taking the time to read my latest post.


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Trade with the Diamond King

 Recently, Kevin from The Diamond King started a project with some of the first popular steroid guys. Basically a career Topps run, a relic or autographed card, and 4 pages of cool cards. Being the Topps guy that I am, I had a good number of cards that he needed, and I got them in the mail about a week ago. Yesterday evening I got what Kevin sent me.
All 9 cards are ones I needed, and they helped me come close to getting some 'rainbows' done, as you'll see in a second. First one is a 2000 Bowman Retro/Future Josh Hamilton. Next is a 2000 Stadium Club Chrome card, which would've been hot freshly pulled from a pack in '00. Next is a 2000 Topps Opening Day card. I never purchased any packs of Opening Day until 2001, so I barely have any 2000 Opening Day cards. The 2014 Elite Dominators Wil Myers is a cool card. I actually purchased an Adrian Beltre from the same set from COMC a few years ago because it looked so cool. The 2020 Yandy Diaz is an On Fire parallel. The Austin Meadows is a 2020 Chrome Prism-Fractor. Kevin sent me 2 Tigers, a 2014 Topps Torii Hunter All-Star, and a 2017 Donruss Press Proof Al Kaline. I've busted a decent amout of Donruss packs over the past 3-4 years, and I think I've only pulled 1 press proof and dozens of other parallels, so it's nice to see one of these. The last card is a cool 1992 Bowman Chipper Jones. 

As mentioned before, a few card got me close to completing some 'rainbows'. The 2000 Topps Opening Day Hamilton and 2000 Bowman Retro/Future Josh Hamilton cards that Kevin sent me were the 2 culprits. If I am correct, I am only missing the 2000 Topps Chrome Refractor, and I will complete all of the 2000 Topps Josh Hamilton cards using that design. As for the 2000 Bowman set, I still have a few left to have all of Hamilton's cards, including the base Gold,  Chrome, Chrome Refractor, Retro/Future Chrome, and an oversized Chrome card. 

Hopefully this will be the first of many trades during the 2021 year. I got an e-mail a few days ago saying that the cards I ordered from COMC in September or so are shipping, so perhaps I'll have those in hand in a few weeks instead of in March. I also ordered the last 8 cards I need to complete the 2020 Topps Update set from eBay, so I should have some fun cards to add to my binders soon. I'm hoping to also print out all of the 1998 Topps custom Rays that I've made so I can see the entire complete team set in it's entirety in my binders. I'd like to do it with the '99 set and the rest of the years, but for now, it will just be the '98 ones.  Maybe I'll do a post showing the cards in my binders. 

Thanks, Kevin, for the awesome trade!

Thanks for checking out my latest post.