Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Christmas post

 Over the past few days I’ve gotten a few surprise packages, along with 1 or 2 I was expecting, as well as some Christmas presents that I wasn’t really expecting to get that have bolstered my collection. Let’s take a look. 

Kevin from The Diamond King had a giveaway recently and I claimed the cool die cut Chris Sale card. Kevin was nice enough to send 3 numbered cards along for the ride with the Sale, a really cool Purple Optic parallel of Blake Snell, a parallel of Al Kaline from this years Absolute Memorabilia set, and a numbered insert of Scott Kazmir from 2005 Studio. Back in the day, I would’ve had a really good chance at pulling the Kazmir, as I got at least 10 packs of ‘05 Studio and seemed to pull low numbered inserts like the Kazmir in just about every pack. 

Dime Box Nick also had a giveaway recently as part of his blogging anniversary, and I had my eye on the Randy Arozarena highlight SP from this years Archives set, and the Eric Thames card from the 2017 Topps Heritage set. Along with those, Nick included the beautiful Robert Campos purple refractor from this years Bowman set, a baseball magazine Trammell, a Topps Archives Al Kaline, a 1958 Topps of Harvey Kuenn, my first Allen & Ginter card of this year with Shane Baz, the McClanahan All-Star, a Vidal Brujan Chrome insert from 2022 Topps, Randy’s 2022 Archives base card, and a sweet Fearless Prism Casey Mize insert. The Kuenn and the Mize made me speechless for a little bit. 
Along the unexpected front, I got this card in an envelope from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown. I really wasn’t expecting anything from him, and this card has me stumped for a while. I figured it was a box bottom for while. Then I looked and found Trammell didn’t have one. I searched online for ‘white 1991 Fleer’ and couldn’t find anything. Then I remembered that Gavin experimented with putting a card in direct sunlight and seeing the changes before and I figured that’s what the Trammell card was. Had I actually read the note tucked into the sleeve instead of only reading the first one, I would’ve realized this a lot sooner. What a cool card and a nice holiday surprise. Definitely looks better than the standard yellow. Thanks to Kevin, Nick, and Gavin for the nice holiday packages. I’ll have to see what I can do around the holiday season in 2023. 
Close to a month ago, I got a value box of 2022 Topps Chrome and tried emailing the receipt to Topps to get entered into the retail drawing for what I thought was a silver pack of Chrome cards from that set. I was under the assumption that the drawing fro December purchases was closer to the end of the year, so I kind of forgot about it. A few days ago, I got an envelope from Topps/Fanatics. My guess was that it was maybe a ToppsNow end of the year card for winning a HR Challenge earlier in the year. I opened the package, and it was only 1 card, a 2022 Topps Chrome Spencer Torkelson refractor. I don’t know if I got that in place of the silver pack or just as a consolation prize, but either way, I was stoked!  I don’t know if the sellers were out of touch, but I found 2 listed on eBay for 100-200 bucks. I was just happy for the card to be a Tiger!  
Then at Christmas I didn’t get any cards on the 25th as we only did presents at my house with Kyler and Karens mom and we only got Kyler stuff. I kind of figured I wouldn’t get any cards for Christmas, and that was fine. We ended up going down to Lakeland to see my Mom and stepdad, and then going up to Davenport on the way back to DeLand to visit my youngest sister and her husband. We told everyone to just get Kyler stuff, but my mom ended up getting me 2 packs of Series 2, and I got a few inserts that I didn’t have. My brother in law ended up getting me a Series 1 pack, and I pulled an orange sparkle Luis Robert card. He also went through some loose cards that he had access to (they had just moved and his cards weren’t really where he could get to them), and gave me a few doubles (including a 2006 Bowman Chrome Alex Gordon rookie), and gave Kyler 3 packs of 1988 Leaf from a box. He had a box of ‘88 Leaf from his old LCS in Jacksonville, and I would’ve loved to open that as my ratio of Donruss to Leaf cards is about 50/1. Ky pulled a Rickey Henderson, 2 Will Clark’s, an Alan Trammell, and a Paul Molitor. Not too bad. On top of all of that, I got to stop at my favorite Chinese place before leaving to pick up a pound of my favorite bourbon chicken and General Lee chicken, and got to take home half of my moms famous cheesecake. I swear, that cheesecake has made me the talk of many girls in Montgomery, Alabama. I made it for a few of them for Christmas parties and stuff, and one girl after eating it wanted to hold my hand for 30 seconds each time she saw me after that (2 regular tubs of whip crème, 2 packs of cream cheese, and 1/2 cup of sugar, mix together with a mixer, and add cherries on top if you prefer, and that’s basically the recipe). 
Sorry I didn’t take pictures past the 3 blogger packages, it’s just been crazy. I still want to add some cards to TCDB, but haven’t had the chance to since the last post, but perhaps next Tuesday on my next day off, I’ll be able to do so. I’ve added 2 more complete sets (1994 and 1995 Topps), and missed out on some decent priced ones that sold (1997 and 1999 Topps). I should’ve just pulled the trigger, but I’m hoping to find a few sets under 40 bucks plus shipping and we’ll see if I can add the ‘97-‘99 sets and just trade for the missing cards from ‘86-‘93. Another reason to get them cards logged in so I can create a master missing card list. 
Not sure when I should organize some of these binders, but it might be a good idea for me to wait until everything is logged in and I might just leave spaces in my binders for some of the sets that are really close to being finished. 
That’s about it. I had a great Christmas and hope you have a s well. Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Might pull the TCDB Trigger

 In the past few weeks, I’ve added the 1985-1994 Topps Tradrd complete sets and the 1990-1992 Topps MLB debut sets to my collection, and have become 5 cards away from completing the 1987 Topps set. I’m really wanting to complete some older Topps sets because if I know my collection, I am probably 20-50 cards away from completing a number of junk wax sets. My dream would be to complete every Topps/Topps Traded set from 1983- the present, but with some of the prices for rookie cards, it might be cheaper to knock off some of these sets by trading than to get the complete sets. Some of the prices for complete sets (and Traded sets) are starting at 100 bucks plus like 20 dollars shipping for some of the sets, and thankfully, over the past 10-15 years, I’ve accumulated a number of the ‘main’ rookie cards from Topps/Update sets, save for the ‘05 Verlanders, the ‘08 Kershaw, the ‘12 Harpers, the ‘13 Machado, and a few others. Nothing a decent trade  couldn’t  help me acquire. 
That leads me to want to log all of my cards into TCDB. I’ve heard the horror stories about how it’s difficult to learn and how it takes forever to enter everything. I kind of know that going in. I want to be able to enter cards by team (which so assume I could do by typing in a set name and checking the ones I have), and when I have done that with all my teams and have put in whatever cards I have in other binders, then I want to be able to see how many cards from each Topps set I need before they are complete. Is there a way to look that up once all the cards are added to ‘my collection’?  Seems like a waste of time if not, but there are some parts of the site that are still a little confusing to me. I would ultimately just like to add only the basic Topps sets to my collection, but I want to have a good selection of stuff that aren’t flagship Topps cards just so I can have a nice trade stash so I can make some trades on the site when all is said and done. I figure it would be cheaper to do some trades, I wouldn’t have all of the doubles that I would be if I got a handful of more sets , and I could find a place for all of my Yankee$/Padre$/cards of idiots like Justin Turner, Manny Machado, and Yadier Molina to go. Sounds like a win to me. I’m sure it has been asked a thousand times around the different blogs, but is logging in all of your cards worth it?  Are there tricks that make it easier?  Will I be able to see my ‘needs’ and easily make trades once it is all said and done?  Any other advice?  My username is Karensjer if you want to add me. 
Thanks in advance. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

A random assortment

 Since my last post, I've been trying to get everything as back to normal as it can be with a wife who just had surgery, a kid who is hyper and smart as ever, and a job as a baker in a retail store with zillions of Instacart shoppers, production still at crazy levels since COVID hit, a major holiday coming up, and a boss from hades. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied at how things are. 

Karen is on the mend. The surgery went well, the headaches are gone for now, and we are just waiting for the incision to heal up. She is actually in Tampa right now, about 3 hours away, enjoying a work Christmas party at Top Golf. If I were off tomorrow, I would be there with her. 

I couldn't resist the urge and purchased another value box of 2022 Topps Chrome just hoping to pull a Wander Franco base card. I didn't, but I did pull another Jarren Duran refractor. Not much of a box, but I did get some trade fodder. While we were in Gainesville, we stopped at a card shop between checking out of the hotel and going to the hospital, and I picked up some Tiger singles from the '70's mostly. 
I should've looked at my sunset card list, but I just didn't have the time to dedicate to looking at lists besides my Tigers want list. I got some good cards, including a Mark Fidrych rookie for about 50 cents each. The '59 card was 3 bucks. I thought I found a Bill Madlock rookie amongst the '70's cards, but it turns out it is his second year card. Oh well. I'll just add it to my Cubs binder or trade it to someone who could use one. 
I have kind of been on a spending spree lately when it comes to cards. I purchased a few lots on eBay of Topps Traded sets, just hoping to complete a few sets by adding the Traded ones. I also got some random Tigers and Traded sets from a FB junk wax group. All in all, I have the 1985-1994 Topps Traded complete sets. As far as complete sets I already have, 1986-1990 are complete, 1991 is missing some (I don't know how many), 1992 is complete, 1993 is missing a few, 1994 and 1995 are missing a number of cards, and 1996, 2000, and 2019-2022 are complete. The rest are missing a number of cards, some sets more than others. I don't know if I could get a complete Topps run from say, 1985-2022 with what I already have, what I'm willing to spend, and what some of the prices for cards are these days, but I'm happy that I have the run of Traded sets that completed the 1986, 1987 (5 cards away from being done, which should be easy to find), 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1992 Topps sets. 
I also purchased the 1990-1992 Topps Debut sets, just because I always saw them on the back of 1991-1993 Stadium Club cards and have aways wanted to own a few because I could never find them anywhere. All 3 of those sets should be arriving tomorrow, and Kyler should have fun sorting those out. I have my eye on a 1999 Topps set and a 1999 Topps Traded set on eBay which would knock another set out, but I gotta watch what I'm spending and how much I have coming to the house before Karen decides to put an end to all of it. 

Karen and I had our 10th wedding anniversary on December 8, and we went on a short lunch cruise along the St. John's river. While we were probably the youngest people there, it was fun, and I had a blast spending time with her. After that, we went to a few stores and got most of our Christmas shopping done. 

We took some family pictures a few months ago and finally got them back. I was happy with the results. 
Don't let the smiles fool you. We are all crazy and have our problems.

I had a little time to work on customs today. My new laptop is nice, but I'm still trying to get used to everything on MS Paint and the newest version of GIMP. I am able to pull up a number of templates that I have saved to set pages, but for some reason, when I open them in Paint, they are about 3/4 of the size they need to be. I think I figured out that GIMP will show them normal size, and if not, I can zoom in a little more delicately that in Paint, and that allows me to get a screenshot of the file in the correct size, and then open it in Paint. 
I have been back working on the 1996 Topps set. On my old laptop and older version of GIMP, I had a system to where I could get the blue headshot on the card just by setting a color level (I can't remember which one now) to 235 or so, and it worked like a charm every time. I can't find out how to get to that setting on the newer version, but I think I found a way to turn the entire photo blue and I just have to blend it in with the card template. I think it works. Here are some of my first attempts on the new GIMP program.

That one was really weird looking. 
And now here are some of the ones with the new process I am trying.

Not exactly like a 1996 Topps card, but better than a color shot. 
I'm also stoked because I found a photo file I made a long time ago that featured card company logos, rookie card logos, team logos, uniform logos, hat logos, even templates for the 'position' baseball players from the 1976 Topps set. I thought the file was gone forever, but I decided to see if I sent it to anyone in FB Messanger. Sure enough, I did. I pulled up the file, had to open it in GIMP, but I got it the size I want, and it's back to its original form. The AJ Sager card above had a Tigers logo, and I smudged it away, took the Rockies logo from a David Nied photo, and added it to Sager's cap, and then also added the Rockies logo to my logo file. You don't know how much I missed that file. I'm off Friday, so maybe I'll make some more customs.
I also updated a number of pages today. I updated my Tigers,Rays, and Sunset Cards wantlists, updated all of my Favorite Players so my 'haves' list is current, and I added a special section to my main wantlist that lists all of the Detroit Tigers Topps cards I need from 1980 to 2022. I have the complete Rays Topps run from 1997 to 2022, and I figured with the Traded sets I've purchased, and maybe some trades and luck, that it could be finished by this time next year. While some sets are complete (1989 and 1990, 2019-2022), others have a decent amount of cards to go. I also included 1 or 2 '70's sets in the list since I am 2-3 cards away from completing them. If you have any Tigers cards you want to get rid of, let me know, and I will be happy to add them to my collection and maybe complete some Tigers Topps sets along the way. Your help is appreciated, and I'm starting to get a nice trade stash going to send back your way.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Friday, December 2, 2022

A lot on the plate

 It has been a kind of hectic week here at Topps Cards that Never Were headquarters, and it will probably be so for the next week, but I was able to get a little free time after work to setup my new laptop, from which I am typing (most) of this post from. Between the mundane tasks such as getting groceries and getting gas and stuff like that, there have been a number of extra things going on or going to be going on during the next week. Some are fun, but they take planning none the less. 
I figure I'll get the not so fun ones out of the way first. Most of you who read the blog know that my wife Karen has been dealing with excess Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) in her head for a while now. She has had a number of surgeries to put in shunts, take shunts out, fix shunts, and everything else to try to improve the problem. The last one was like in June, and it seemed like it was working and draining enough fluid to make the headaches from the high pressure stay away. Well, about a month ago, she started getting headaches again, but not the normal high pressure ones, but more like a low pressure headache, where too much fluid is being drained and it tugs on the back of her head. The only way to relieve those is to drink caffeine, which helps with the production of more CSF fluid, and to lay down flat. She has been dealing with those headaches for the past month, but on Thanksgiving, she was in so much pain that she spent most of the afternoon and evening on the couch, and on Friday it was so bad that she went to the Emergency Room here in DeLand. They did some scans of her shunts, and had her transported Shands in Gainesville where Dr. Murad, her neurosurgeon works. Since it was the weekend, he was gone, and the team of nuerologists there lowered the setting in her vp shunt and sent her home and told her to follow up with Dr. Murad in a few days. The new settings didn't help, and after a few days of trying to work from home on the couch and being able to stand up and do things for maybe 45 minutes at a time, she called Dr. Murad's office, and was able to get an appointment with him yesterday. I was off, so we drove up there and he made the call to change the setting of her vp shunt to the lowest it could go and see if that would keep more CSF fluid in her. We think the vp shunt isn't working or draining very much at all and that the lumbar shunt is doing all of the work, so we're not realy expecting this to work. The plan is if it doesn't work that we will drive up to Shands on Monday and have surgery that afternoon. Dr. Murad will open her back and disconnect the tubing. If it drains CSF on the right side, it means that the lumbar shunt is working correctly and he will change the settings on the lumbar one to a higher setting so it doesn't drain as much CSF. If it doesn't have any CSF fluid come out, that probably means there is a leak higher up on the tubing and he will examine further. The thing that confuses both me and Karen is how the low pressure headaches came on so sudden after things being relatively decent since June. I guess we will find out on Monday. Like most of the last surgeries, I would love for it to be fixed, but I don't have much hope. 
With that being said, I had kind of a revelation on the way home from Shands. Most of you know that I am a Christian. Not the best one, and I have a lot of work to do, but it is an important part of my life. I have struggled a lot with Karen's surgeries and asked why God just lets her suffer and doesn't let her be fixed. Karen always has been positive about everything and she's the one that is dealing with it, but I tend to focus on the negative and what I can't change. I have also struggled with when she had a miscarriage in March 2021. Some days are better than others, but there are times when I question God and why all of these bad things happened. 
While at a Casting Crowns concert a few months ago, they were playing a song, and it was a song about the lead singers' mother passing away and how God held him throughout the process. It was during that song where I could hear God telling me as plain as day that He loves me as much as he loves our child that we will never know. I see that in 2 ways. One, that He loves our angel baby a whole lot. Two, that he loves me, as despicable as I can be a whole lot. 2 things that I can't comprehend. It doesn't make the pain go away, but it is nice to feel like there is a meaning behind all of it and that I am loved and that maybe I will see the purpose to the suffering. 
While driving back to DeLand yesterday, Karen was asleep, and we had songs on her phone going. Audio Adrenaline's 'Original Species' song came on. Basically a song pointing out how intricate and amazing the human body really is and how we couldn't have evolved from apes or whatever and that there was an intelligent creator (God) who knit us together and has a purpose for us. The song got through the first parts, the bridge, and then to a loud final chorus, and the lyrics just hit me: "I'm an orignal species more enlightened than Nietzsche. I'm sure you'd love to meet me 'cause I am loved by a Maker who's so clever. I was made to live forever. Though my body turns to sand, my soul is in His hands.". I was just overwhelmed with emotion. I just felt like God was telling me again that me and Karen are loved, and that there is a purpose to this, no matter what happens. So, I guess we'll just go into Monday without knowing answers, and maybe come out of it not knowing anything more, but it will be ok no matter what happens.

Besides that going on, there are a number of other things happening in the next 7 days. Tonight there's a storytime thing at church for the kids that we'll probably go to. Tomorrow is the Christmas parade in DeLand. Our church will have a float in it, and I'll be on it. The band plays Christmas carols, and I'll be on the keyboard, and Karen will sing if she can manage to feel well enough to. It will be tiring doing the parade after a long day of work, but it probably is the event I am looking forward the 2nd most out of everything. Monday and Tuesday I'm off, we might go home from Shands early Tuesday if everything goes well. I was stupid a few weeks ago and got a ticket for avoiding a traffic light after I cut through a gas station and turned right so I could get past the light. I want to take the safe driver course to avoid the points on my lisence and the insurance rate hike, but I have to register with the clerk of the court, and of course they aren't open on the weekend, and I don't realy have time during the week. With all of my off days being filled with Dr. appointments and the like, I haven't been able to do that yet, so I'll probably do that this week on Thursday perhaps. Only problem with that is that Thursday is our 10 year wedding anniversary, and I booked a river cruise for Karen and I before I knew that we were going to probably have surgery on Monday, and before I got the ticket. I have till the 12th to register for the class, so hopefully I can squeeze that in at some point before then. The cruise is the thing I am looking forward to the most, but I completely will understand if Karen isn't feeling up to doing that 3 days after surgery. I have also had an issue with the latch on my trunk on my car since before the first hurricane that hit us, and I've had my trunk rained in a number of times since then. I finally went into Kia, and they had to order a part. They just got the part, and I think I have an appointment with them next week as well, and I will be happy to finally have my trunk shut and stay shut. Like I said, a number of these things are good things, I just feel like a lot is going on. 
There are some fun card things happening, so I'll finish off the post with them. I got a package from Night Owl yesterday, and the cards blew my mind. He had mentioned the 500 ct. box of 1987 Topps cards that he had, and after I looked at my binders, I somehow needed a number of cards from the set. Greg stepped in, and knocked most of those cards off of my list.

 I am still missing a few, and I'll add a list to the bottom of this post in case anyone has '87 Topps cards they can spare. Greg also must've taken a look at my want list, as he added not only a 1998 Topps Chrome Refractor Tony Saunders card, but a 1978 Topps Lance Parrish/Dale Murphy rookie. 

The Saunders card was cool because it only leaves me with just his '98 Topps Inaugural Diamondbacks card from having his base/Minted in Cooperstown/Inaugural Diamondbacks/Inaugural Rays/Chrome/Refractor 1998 Topps rainbow. The 1978 Parrish card is probably my favorite one of the bunch. Not only is it a great rookie card of 2 borderline Hall of Famers, but it is an original card from Greg's collection when he was a kid. I feel honored to have a card that Night Owl had when he was a kid growing up, and to me, a card like that is better than a gem mint 10 superfractor chrome dazzle sparkle prizm card of the next up and coming rookie. In addition to those cards and the 1987 cards, were some Rays and Tigers from this year, most of which I need. I haven't decided if I'm going to try to go after all of the Wander Franco rookie cards, but thanks to Greg, I now have the Diamond Kings one. Thanks, Night Owl, for the cool cards!

I also ordered some Topps Traded sets from eBay. I (basically) have complete Topps sets from 1986-1994 or so, but not the Traded sets. I'm kind of want to finish up some of my Tigers master Topps sets, as well as regular master Topps sets in general. The Traded sets I ordered will give me every Topps Traded set from 1986-1994. I also ordered the 1 card I needed to at least give me the 1995 Tigers Traded set as well. Some of the newer Traded sets like 2002 and 2003 might be a long time coming as they have SP veteran cards, but at least I have some earlier ones and the 2019- present ones. I would love to get the MLB debut sets from 1989-1991 (or 1990-1992 if you go by the design), but with Griffey rookies and such, the flipper brah's made these cost more that what I think they are worth (especially the 1992 set). With just Bagwell, Pudge Rodriguez, and Thome in that set, I don't get why it's so expensive. Heck, I got the Bagwell from a dollar box 15 years ago. I might see if I can get some sets with just the Tigers. At any rate, this will put my organizing back to square one, but at least I'll have some full sets to look at while I'm organizing them again. 

That's about it for me. If you would like to send me some of your 1987 Topps cards, my needs are as follows:

6 Ruben Sierra Record Breaker Rangers
170 Bo Jackson Royals
261 Ruben Sierra Rangers
319 Greg Swindell Indians
323 Al Newman Expos
369 Brian Dayett Cubs
527 Jim Wohlford Expos
565 Dusty Baker Athletics
568 Ben Oglive Brewers
581 Cubs Leaders
690 Dane Iorg Padres
761 Greg Pryor Royals
788 Tim Stoddard Yankees

Thanks for your generosity, and I'll find something to send back. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Monday, November 28, 2022

A little patience

 About 2 weeks ago, my laptop gave me an error message, and from everyone I talked to and comments posted here,it sounds like I ran out of memory and it might not be able to get fixed. I was able to find another on during some Black Friday sales, and it should be shipped over to my house on the first day of December. It could’ve been over the day before, but it would’ve had to pay 30 bucks extra. No thanks. I’ll be patient and wait a day. I think I’ll just add the templates of the set I’m currently working on with the customs and keep them on my laptop and just try to keep the files on my laptop to a minimum. I think most of the templates and stuff I need have been uploaded to this here blog. So give it a few weeks, and I’ll be back to work on the 1996 Topps set again. 
While I don’t have to be patient with the laptop as I only have to wait a few more days, I probably will when it comes to getting some cards from COMC. I waited until today to look for their Black Friday sales, and since they only last until midnight, it wouldn’t have been enough time to get what I really wanted to from my wantlists, so I will probably wait until we get our tax refund back in a few months. Not a big deal, but just another chance to exercise some patience. I did, however get some cards recently, from a few different places, and I’ll try to do a post when so get the chance, maybe from my new laptop. Stay tuned. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Out of comission

 For about the past 2 weeks, it has seemed like my laptop has been running slower. Just taking longer for web pages to load, and programs weren’t responding nearly as fast. I had been struggling through making the 1996 Topps Reds team set, as well as a few 2021 and 2022 Topps customs of Brody Koerner. I was able to upland the ‘96 Reds set and started on a few ‘96 Topps Rockies, and had Friday off and was going to make some more. 
I turned the laptop on Friday and figured I would try to run the defrag program in the background as I made customs, when it acted like it was turning on instead of coming out of sleep mode. For about an hour it just sat at a loading screen, so I rebooted it. It took forever to start, but just about when it gets to the home page, it restarts and gives me an error code of ‘critical process died’ or something. 
I don’t know if I just saved too many customs and need to delete files of ones that are on my site (which is about 90% of them) or what, but if I can’t even get past the Home Screen I don’t know what to do. I don’t download stuff except for a font or two every few months, and I don’t go onto ‘bad’ websites or anything like that. The laptop is like 7+ years old, so maybe it was just time. I am glad that most of my customs are saved and I can probably find all of the templates and stuff that I need from this here blog, but I don’t know if we’re going to spring for a laptop just so I can mainly make customs and record songs about how much I hate the corporate mentality, the Man, and how the bourgeois exploit the prolotariots who need a union to help them get some rights back from the rich company owners and management. Or something like that…
I’ll keep blogging from my phone for the time being, but the customs might not come back for a while. I ordered the 2022 Topps Update set yesterday, so I’ll have that coming in and maybe I’ll let Kyler help me put my newer cards in their binders. With the laptop not working, I can probably put all of my loose cards in binders. I actually watched the World Series tonight and got my Astros binder done (until I get the Update cards). I was also hoping to make a video on my laptop showing how I make customs for some more tricky Topps sets (1951, 1976, 1988, and 1996), but that will have to wait as well. 
If anyone has any suggestions on what to do with my laptop it would be appreciated. Congrats to the Astros on wining the Series!
Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Quick Finest Post

 The 2 packs of Topps Finest came in early, so I had some fun when I got home from work today. 
Thats what the front of the packs look like if you've never seen them. They are from Series 2. I believe Series 1 has Tony Gwynn on the front, and Series 2 looks like Mets prospect Jeromy Burnitz. 
Part of the back of the pack. No odds for the Refractors printed on the back, but BaseballCardPedia says they are 1 in 9 packs. 
Other view of the back with the barcode and legal stuff showing. 

Well, those were my cards. No refractors. No Tigers. No favorite players, and even a dupe. Not a good way to spend 10 bucks plus shipping, but hey, it's a gamble. I could've just as easily pulled a Cecil Fielder refractor or something. From L-R, Bob Wickman, Steve Farr (I actually get those 2 pitchers confused alot as they were guys who racked up saves but weren't big names), Hector Carrasco and another Hector Carrasco, Mark Grace (probably the best card of the pack), Mike MacFarlane, Paul Molitor, Matt Walbeck, Kent Hrbek, Kevin Seitzer, Rey Sanchez, Rheal Cormier, Bob Scanlan, and Carlos Reyes. 
Had I got this pack 15-20 years ago, I could've had every card in this pack autographed except for Mr. Reyes at the end. I got Walbeck and Sanchez in person, and the rest through the mail. Never tried Reyes, but I suspect had I got that much of the 2 packs done, I would've tried Carlos. 
It was neat ripping into a premium pack that I never had the money to open. Not the best cards, but I've already put them into my sorting box to put in my collection (unless someone needs anyone in the group). If you are interested in one of the cards, let me know. I'm not really attatched to any of them, and it's always good to find cards good homes. I shudder when I think about all of the cool inserts, parallels, and just good old base cards that are still sitting in boxes that are in cases that are in warehouses that will never see the light of day and get into collectors hands. They all are cards that someone could use, and it's just a shame that they can't be opened and distributed to people who would add them to their collections. With that being said, if you see a pack just sitting there by itself or have some extra cash burning a hole in you pocket, but the lonely pack, buy some cards with that extra money. The more packs that are opened, the less cards are just going to be destroyed and the more that someone will enjoy them. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

A bunch of Chrome, and Yankee Elimination Day!

 I think things are finally getting back to normal here at the DeJong headquarters. The flooring has been installed for a few weeks, most of the totes are unpacked, and really the only room that needs anything is our master bedroom, which just needs a few pictures hung up. That might get done on Friday when I have a day off. Another thing that I hope to get done that day is to finish the master 2022 Topps and Topps Update missing players checklists. As you might know, Topps released the ‘22 Topps Update checklist a day ago, and sadly for me, no Brody Koerner card. I guess I’ll have to hope he catches on with a team in 2023 and makes it to the Bigs. He does, however, have a 2022 card in the Charlotte Knights team set, and I’ll be ordering that in a few weeks. I should get a bonus from work the first week or so of November, and I should be ordering some cards from COMC, and I hope the card pops up on the site by then. If not, I’ll just buy the single online. 

Speaking of buying cards online, I saw one of those junk wax monthly subscription things a week or so ago which had a pack of 1994 Topps Finest on the top. 1994 Finest is one of my favorite Finest designs, if not, one of my favorite designs of any set. I just love the home plate shape, the green color around it, and the classy blue ribbon at the bottom. The All-Star subset was classy as well, with the yellow swirl in the middle and the rainbow behind it. The best part is the early ‘90’s Chrome technology. I thought about getting the box for 30 bucks, but the other 2 packs on top were ‘94 Stadium Club (I purchased a box of Series 2 & 3 of that set, so a good chance of dupes), and ‘94 Collector’s Choice, which I have the complete set of. With the rest of the packs guaranteed to not only be junk wax, but also from sports other than baseball, I decided to take a look on eBay for cheap ‘94 Finest packs. I found a lot of 2 Series 2 packs (probably taken from a box where the refractor had already been pulled), with a 9.99 minimum bid and 1 day left and zero bids. I put in a bid with 10 minutes left and won. I’ll let you guys know how I do. I’m just hoping for a Tiger or 2 and maybe a favorite player, but not expecting much. It will still be a fun break. 

I also got another blaster of 2022 Topps Chrome after having so much fun with the first one. I don’t know if I can do another one with the price, but I didn’t pull a Wander Franco base card, which was the one card I wanted, but I did find some decent ones, including the best card of the blaster, an autograph. 
If you were the average flipper brah, you would be laughing your butt off at me right now. Well, Patrick Mazeika went to Stetson University, which is 5 minutes away from my house. I’m actually hoping to add more Mazeika cards to my collection with my COMC purchase, and now I don’t have to pony up for an autograph. 
Refractors weren’t anything too special, but I might be going after a Max Fried rainbow after getting the Sepia one in the last blaster and now the regular one (unless Johnny wants them). 

Only 2 rookies were the Beer and another Sheets insert (which is Gavin’s if he needs them). I got a Chrome sunset card of Ryan Zimmerman. Only Rays were Arozarena and a Franco insert. I would rather have the base card though, so if you have one and are willing to work out a trade, let me know. Favorite players were deGrom and the previously mentioned Mazeika. 

I recently won one of Johnny’s almost daily contests, and he hooked me up with 9 Rays cards, many of the Chrome variety. 

I think all of these are needs, as I didn’t really buy much from 2012-2014, and haven’t been able to get too much of non-flagship stuff over the past 3 years. I love the Glasnow Fishfractor, and I look forward to what he can do in 2023.  I also love the McKay refractor from the ‘52 set (can’t think of what it’s called). I’ve always had a soft spot for McKay. He was a pitcher/position player before Ohtani was even a blip on the radar. If he can stay healthy, he could be a dual threat for the Rays. Thanks for the cards, John. 

If you haven’t heard of Yankee Elimination Day, you probably haven’t been reading this blog long. Yankee Elimination Day is the day the Yankee$ are either eliminated from getting into the playoffs or eliminated from the playoffs. It happened on my wife’s birthday this year, which made it even sweeter. I figured I’d make a custom celebrating it in the 2023 Topps design. I don’t know about you, but I can’t picture Topps being able to make highlight or combo cards with the new design. I wouldn’t miss the combo cards, but I can’t go without highlight cards. 
I thought the 62 HR quote was a nice touch, along with the photo of him turning around watching the Astros celebrate. Added with the Astros colors since they won, and this card is a winner for me. I should’ve put the game # instead of the position, but that’s an easy fix. Between the Yankee$ and ‘Bama (who also lost recently) I don’t know who I would rather have eliminated, but I’m happy the Yankee$ lost because they looked scary early this year. I’m also happy the bat flipping money throwing Padres are out as well. This should be a great World Series in my opinion. I don’t care for Philly since they somehow beat the Rays in the ‘08 Classic, but I’d be ok with Harper winning a ring. I’d also be ok with the Astros sweeping them to go 11-0 in the postseason. It would give Dusty a ring as a player and a manager, and shut up all of the haters that say their only title in 2017 was tainted. I saw that team play the Rangers in Houston that season, and they just tore the cover off of the ball that game. They batted around, and I didn’t hear one trash can bang. They just have awesome hitters. I also have become a Kyle Tucker fan and would love to see him win a ring. We saw him play at Corpus Cristi that year, and he signed some cards for me, plus he’s a Florida boy who went to school in Gainesville where my wife has had all her surgeries at. 
Whoever wins, I’m just happy it’s not a big spender (Yankee$, Dodgers, Padres), someone who’s been there lately (Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals), or a team with punks who flip bats or are loud (Padres-Machado & Tatis, Dodgers-Justin Turner, Cardinals-Molina, White Sox-Tim Anderson, Yankees-Bader, Cole). Harper can get a little loud at times, but it’s not 24-7 like Machado, Tatis and say what you want, but he was the face of the sport for almost a decade. We’ll know in a week or so who will get a ring. 

I’ll post what I get in the ‘94 Finest packs seconds after they arrive at my door. 
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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Out of routine, Hurricane Ian, and 2022 Topps Chrome

 This has been probably one of the craziest 2 weeks I've had in a while. If anyone knows me, they know that I kind of like to have a routine and do things the same way, and just everything right now is so we can't have it that way. It's for the best, but my mind is freaking out just a little while going through it. 

As you know, we are painting our house and getting some laminate wood flooring across the whole house as well. This will be great for allergies (and I personally look forward to seeing how far I can slide across the floors while wearing socks), and the paint will make the house look nice and hopefully increase value if we end up moving during the next few years, or just give it that touch that makes it feel like ours if we end up staying for a while. The bad part is that all of this involves basically packing most of our belongings up in boxes and totes until the floors get installed. Fortunately for us, it is supposed to happen on Wednesday and Thursday. I think we are about halfway there, still need to get a little more done in mine and Karen's room, the entire guest room, a closet or two, and bathrooms. I'm freaking out a little, but we all know that with things like moving, that it eventually gets done and all right before the buzzer. I'm off tomorrow and Tuesday, so hopefully I can get some stuff packed those days. We will be picking up all of the flooring tomorrow and stacking 83 boxes somewhere in the dining room/kitchen, but hey, I lift 5 or so 40-lb boxes of flour on days I mix bread at work, what are a few boxes of flooring?

The hurricane also threw some non-routine things into our plans this past week. I was fortunate to be off of work on Tuesday, but had to bake on Wednesday. I really expected the store to stay open normal hours (until 10 PM) that night, but there was a video of one of our stores in Miami getting a tornado in the parking lot during one of the first small squalls while the store was still open, with cars getting flipped and stuff, and I bet corporate didn't want that look again, so they ended up telling us we were going to shut down at 5PM. That was nice for me, because they let us quit setting things up, I was finished baking, so I didn't have to put anything else into our proof box or ovens, and I just got to clean up and try to go home. We ended up staying at Karen's work. She is the Executive Director of an assisted living facility in Port Orange, Florida, and whenever there is a hurricane, she has to stay in the building until it passes over, so it was basically like she was at work but with a storm, and family was allowed to stay, so Kyler and I came and the 3 of us stayed in an empty room at the facility. 
That kind of gives you an idea of where we are. DeLand is basically exit 118 on I-4, Port Orange is a few miles off of exit 128 on I-4, and Daytona is a few miles North of Port Orange. I work in Orange City, which is exit 111, so after I got off work, I drove home North to DeLand, packed up anything I needed and anything Karen forgot, and drove to Port Orange, and met Karen and Kyler at her work. We had some friends stay at our home and they kept us updated. 

Now I have lived in Florida since 1991, with a year in Montgomery, AL in 2001, and 3 years in Montgomery, AL from 2006-2009. I have been through a few dozen hurricanes, and this one was probably one of the worst ones I've seen. I've been through one that took down most of a tree in our house. I've been through one that knocked the power out for 2 weeks, but this one just had so much rain. We have been getting a good amount of rain the past month. Enough that my county had a flood warning before this storm came to be. Karen's work had a good amount of damage. Ceilings leaking, water coming through doors, a tree falling in the parking lot, fences torn down, and flooding everywhere outside. When I had to drive back to work on Friday morning, one of the streets I took to I-4 was just flooded about 300 feet after I turned onto it, and I had to turn around and find another way. 2 people at Karen's work lost their homes because flooding was like 5 feet deep in the house. Many other people had 1 foot flooding. Just about everyone lost power. I think Daytona, Port Orange, and some of the cities along the coast got it pretty bad, but that's just from what I've heard from people I've ran into that live near me. Other cities down south got it bad, too. And compared to Puerto Rico and the hurricane they had earlier, Florida got nothing. Back in DeLand, many people lost power. A few months ago, these construction workers did some digging in our front yard and it was all to put the power lines underground. It looked like they left the job unfinished, and we just assumed they were going to come back and do some work at some point. I guess we never lost power, so either the power lines are underground or we just got lucky. A few branches fell down, but all of my flowers survived and didn't really even show signs of leaning to one direction because of the wind. We did have some water get into the kitchen and laundry room, but our friends were able to get it up with a shop vac and some towels. I'm a little concerned that we have mold because of that, but we hope to get some mold people to look at it, plus the floors are coming up anyways and they might be able to give us some advice when it gets instatlled, and were going to get some mold spray and damp rid when we go to Lowes tomorrow to pick up the floors. The hurricane did some major damage and interrupted our routine, but we were lucky. 
I went to work Friday morning, and Karen and Kyler packed up and came home at noon. It was nice to sleep in our own beds last night as the mattresses we slept on at Karens work just killed my back. Saturday it was almost a routine Saturday except Karen's mom stayed with us since her power still isn't on. I went to work, had lunch with Karen, Kyler, and her mom, finished up work, and then came home. Karen usually goes to Target after having lunch with me, and more often than not will look at the baseball card aisle to see if they have anything that interests me. A few weeks ago, Night Owl posted that it had been years since he purchased Topps Chrome. It had been the same for me. I think 2018 was the last year I did. Well, Karen found a blaster of Topps Chrome, and picked it up. I'm waiting for Update so I can finish my 2022 set and get to work on my master checklists of missing players, but it is nice to have a product out since nothing really has been on the shelves since Series 2 came out. My blaster had 7 4-card packs, and I think I got some decent cards. I was really hoping to pull a Wander Franco but I came up empty, and I almost want to get another one, but I guess I can always find one online in a month or so when the prices go down. 

I did pull a Miguel Cabrera and a Shane Baz for my 2 favorite teams. It's a shame Baz will miss next year, but here's hoping he will recover, and he could head a 2024 Rays rotation of Shane McClanahan, Tyler Glasnow, Drew Rasmussen, Luis Patino (all a with a year more experience), and dark horses like Brendan McKay, Jeffrey Springs, and whoever they can get in free agency. It has me drooling already. The refractors really stood out to me. I guess the Aqua ones are new this year, and I pulled an Aqua Mini Diamond version of George Springer #d to 199. My Pink Refractors were Walker Buehler and Jose Altuve. I pulled a Fish-Fractor of Teoscar Hernandez, and a regular refractor of Kyle Hendricks. My 2 Sepia Refractors were of Max Fried (It's yours if you need it, Johnny) and Matt Olson. 
I also pulled some nice rookies. I got regular versions of Jarren Duran and Luis Gil. I always look at the back of any Luis Gil cards I get, because he started Brody Koerner's MLB debut game, and it was the first time in Yankee history or something that 3 players made ther debut in the same game (Gil, Stephen Ridings, and Brody). I'm hoping one of Gil's cards mentions it and Brody's name on the back, but so far, nothing. The Gavin Sheets is an insert, and I guess technically counted as a Refractor since the pack I pulled it from didn't have one. Funny, because the '87 inserts don't have a version without a refractor sheen, so I'm technically getting gyped a refractor for every time I pull an '87 insert from Chrome. The last 2 cards are an Aqua Lava Refractor #d to 199 of Jarren Duran, and a regular refractor of O'Neil Cruz. Not too bad of a blaster where I got 2 cool Aqua Refractors, only 2 regular refractors, pulled a few team guys and also got some nice rookies. This box is making me want to get another one really bad. And those Twitter mojo hitz flipper bro's are sad because the set doesn't have Spencer Torkelson and Julio Rodriguez and Bobby Witt, Jr. I didn't notice. 
The cards were a nice treat at the end of a chaotic week. I'm off tomorrow, get to play in the church band, see how everyone there fared, and then hopefully finish this flooring and get stuff unpacked and back to normal...until another hurricane comes. 

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Saturday, September 24, 2022

1996 Topps Seattle Mariners team set

 In 1996, I was 13 years old. I had just come off of a 1995 baseball season where I saw one of my favorite teams of the time, the Atlanta Braves, win the World Series. Kind of lost in the glory of the Braves finally winning a title and the Indians getting so close was the story of the 1995 Seattle Mariners. The team had some major hurdles that summer (Ken Griffey, Jr. getting injured and the potential relocation of the team if a stadium bill wasn't passed), but they overcame them. There is a very nice documentary on the MLB network about the team, so if you have MLB Network, I would recommend you check it out. I remember Griffey had a great 1995 season, and I was expecting him to hit 50 HRs, and then he got injured, and it seemed like the team would miss the postseason again. He came back from the injury early, and the Mariners got hot and the Angels got cold, forcing a 1-game playoff at the end of the season against the Angels for the AL West crown and a spot in the postseason. Randy Johnson won the game, only giving up 3 hits, and the Mariners were in the playoffs. In the ALDS, they won the series in the final game on an extra inning double by Edgar Martinez to score Griffey. They were a tad weaker than the Indians, but if you played the 1995 ALCS 100 times, I bet that Mariners team could've won about 35-40 of the games. 
Just off the top of my head, they had a decent starting lineup. Catcher Dan Wilson was a great defensive catcher, and he had a little power. 1B Tino Martinez was just starting to come to his own and hit for power. 2B Joey Cora was fast and an excellent bunter. SS Alex Rodriguez struggled some, but we all know how his career went.  3B Mike Blowers was solid and could give you about 20 HRs.   LF was a mix of Rich Amaral, Darren Bragg, and Vince Coleman. The first 2 were solid defenders, while Coleman gave you a threat to steal bases. CF Ken Griffy, Jr. was one of the best players of my generation, and the centerpiece of the Mariners lineup. RF Jay Buhner could mash 40 HRs yearly. DH Edgar Martinez was a doubles machine and challenged for the batting title every year.
The starting pitchers were Randy Johnson, Andy Benes, Tim Belcher, Bob Wolcott, and Chris Bosio. Johnson was a threat for a no-hitter every time out. Benes was a solid strikeout pitcher and was capable of 15 wins a year. Belcher had playoff experience and could win you 12-15 every year. Wolcott was a surprising rookie who had enormous potential before his career fizzled out. Bosio was a 12-15 win pitcher, and he pitched a no-hitter 2 seasons earlier. The bullpen was solid with Jeff Nelson, Norm Charlton, Ron Villone, Bob Wells, Lee Guetterman, Bill Krueger, and Bobby Ayala. Most of the guys had middle relief or setup fame, but all were decent players, and Charlton had playoff experience with the Reds. Throw in some solid bench guys like C Chad Kreuter (who hit 20 HRs for Detroit), Felix Fermin, Luis Sojo, Doug Strange, Rich Amaral, and Warren Newson, and they had a deep bench who came through during the playoffs. 
After watching the 1995 season, I was eager to get baseball cards in 1996. I got random packs at Wal-Mart (Topps, Upper Deck, Collector's Choice), and towards the end of the year, Topps put out team sets of a number of teams. Each one came with a big card of the teams best player. For the Braves, each card had a World Championship logo on it, the Indians had the AL Champions logo on it, each division winner had a special logo on it, and the rest of the teams with sets had a 'Team Topps' logo. I got the Braves, Indians, Mariners, and the Yankees (don't hate. I wanted the Mickey Mantle card) that summer/fall. While I had the 1996 Topps Mariners team set, the entire 1996 Topps set is only 440 cards, its smallest set ever. I decided to skip ahead of the checklist in the 1996 Topps set and finish off all of the Mariners and post them. 

The Kingdome and Piniella card were done by Richard B. of the FB Custom Card group, and the A-Rod was done by Topps. 
So, there you have it, the missing Mariners cards in the 1996 Topps set. Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. 
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