Sunday, February 26, 2023

Meet up with Johnny’s Trading Spot

 My oh my, where do I start?  A few Saturdays ago, I met up with John from Johnny’s Trading Spot, and had the chance to dig though his trade boxes. It was neat getting to finally see in person where he stores all of his collection right now (I was expecting a huge warehouse), and hearing him talk about his plan to put up a shed and place some bookshelves. 
Before I started with the digging for gold, John presented me with my prize for getting a question right in his 2022 Finest Flashbacks post. 
A Rays lamp!  Actually 2 of them. Turns out he knows the other Rays fan in the world and got the 2 lamps and now I have a lamp to put in Kylers room and one to put in my man cave eventually when I get a room for it. 
As for the cards, John was right in his post the other day, I went home with around 4,000 cards, mostly my known weaknesses, Rays, Tigers, favorite players, and highlight cards. I also tried to get Topps cards from sets that I knew I haven’t completed and that I knew weren’t doubles. Trying to complete every Topps set means I have a ton of needs now and that I was able to take a decent amount of stuff off of John’s hands (don’t worry. There is plenty left over).  

I don’t know how to even start, so I figured I would post just the Tigers, favorite players, highlight cards, a few rookies, and some parallels, as it gives a pretty good sample view of what I was able to find. 

While not actual 1953 Topps cards, these reprints will serve as 1953 cards in my Topps quest. There were a number of these cards for each team, and serve as an inexpensive alternative to getting a real 1953 Topps set. 

While a 1987 Donruss Highlights card, a 1987 Fleer card, and a mini Alan Trammell  snuck in, the main highlight of this photo are the Fleer Box set cards. I got 5 different sets, 3 from 1987, 1 from 1988 and 1989. 
The best part?  All of the sets came with team logo stickers!  

A number of sections of the boxes contained cards that got me close to finishing some sets. There were a few 1992 ToppsGold cards, some 1995 Collectors Choice cards, and 1997 Coklectirs Choice cards. I know someone who is collecting ‘97 Collectors Choice, and I was able to almost knock their wantlist down to single digits. 
These cards spoke to my heart. I had many of these cards and got them signed at spring training games over the years, but lost them after selling my signed cards 10 years ago. Now I got them back. I remember getting the Cody Ross card, the Bobby Higginson, and the Chad Petty signed pretty vividly. Ross was always recognizable because of his shaved head. I had a game used bat card of Higginson, and got it signed along with the Bowman as he was walking to his car after a game. Petty was involved in one of the best pitching matchups I’ve ever seen. Petty and the Lakeland Tigers faced Matt Smith, a lefty, and the Tampa Yankees. Petty pitched 6 no-hit innings, while Smith pitched 7. I think the Yankees won it, but I got Petty to sign his Bowman card, and Smith to sign a foul ball that I caught during the game (you would be lucky if 300 people showed up to Lakeland Tigers games back then, so the chance at catching a ball was pretty good). 

The 2015 Topps cards were a highlight of the boxes for me. I stuck a Buck Farmer Prism card in just because it looked so cool. There were a number of regular, Gold, Purple, and Opening Day Blue cards in the boxes. I think what I am going to do with the 2015 Topps set (and any other one with parallels) is take any version of a card that I need (whether I have it in base, parallel, Chrome, or even Opening Day version), and use it for the set of I have it. Sort of like a frankenset, or to use another bloggers idea, what Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown is doing with the 2011 Topps parallel set. 
A number of favorite players were represented, from more recognizable beamed like Corey Kluber and Dee Gordon to lesser know guys like Rolando Arrojo and John Axford. A recent addition to my collection is Daron Kirkreit. My friend Jim lives about a mile away from my house and collects St. Louis Cardinals cards and is a big autograph collector. He is trying to get an autographed card of every St. Louis Cardinal possible and is only missing like 5% of them. He was getting his knee rehab after having an operation, and the therapist was none other than Mr. Kirkreit. Jim got a few cards signed by Daron, and let me know about him, so I made a custom 1994 Topps Draft Pick card, and gave it to Jim, as well as the minor league card of Daron that I had. Daron signed the cards for us, and was really impressed with the customs I made. I might try to see if he’s still working in Daytona and make him a few more. 

Pat Neshek is a favorite of mine just because of how fan friendly and happy to sign autographs he is. Kind of the opposite of Zack Greinke. I found a cool 13 cards of homer machine Richie Sexson, and a nice first year Bowman Platinum of Jamison Taillon, a guy from my hometown, Lakeland,FL. 

Onto some of the rookie and shiny/special cards, I originally picked up the Astros rookies card because I know I needed it, but if I’m not mistaken, I believe it is the rookie card of potential Hall of Fame manager and new Rangers skipper Bruce Bochy. The ‘93 ToppsGold Tim Wakefield rookie would’ve been so hot in 1993, as the Matt Harvey rookie debut would’ve been in 2012-13. I’ve always liked Trevor Story, so I was happy to find a 2016 rookie of him, and although I’m not a fan of the White Sox or bat flippers, you can’t deny the greatness of Tim Anderson. 
I found a low numbered Ryan Howard, a Bowman Ice Chris Davis, and a Topps Gold Tim Beckham. I found a few refractors, including a sweet ‘98 Finest (the 2nd best Finest set besides 1994) one of John Burkett, 2014 Purple ones of Mets Wilmer Flores and Curtis Granderson, a 2015 Sepia one of Troy Tulowitzki, and a 2018 one of Lewis Brinson. Last was a Gallery parallel of Sean Doolittle. 
Last up are a spattering of highlights cards. 

John also sent me these for winning one of the daily contests a few days ago. I would’ve been floored by that ‘72 League Leaders card and the ‘74 Kaline, but check out that 3rd card. Yep. That’s a ‘78 Topps Lou Whitaker rookie!  How amazing is that?  If you don’t follow John’s blog by now, definitely do so. He is a great guy who tells interesting stories and always has a huge selection of cards to show off and has one of the biggest card collections I’ve ever seen. Thank you so much John for letting me dig through some of your cards and for the prizes you’ve hooked me up with. I can’t wait to come over to your place again. 
Before I finish, just had to show a bad choice I made the other day. Walmart had 2023 Topps blasters and 2022 Topps Chrome blasters. Guess which one I chose. Guess who didn’t get an Aaron Judge or Nolan Arrenado. Guess who didn’t get a Wander Franco. 4 boxes and nothing. I need to just pay the 5-10 bucks for the Franco and be done with it. I did pull a few Tigers and a Javier Baez refractor, but this is what I get for not getting the 2023 Topps that my gut told me to get. I got a few rookies and a few sunset cards, but I was a tad disappointed with the box. Most of these are up for trade if you like anything. 
I did get 1 other Sepia refractor, and I thought it gave me a shot at a rainbow, but unfortunately, it was a dupe. 

Along with the other inserts I pulled, check out my 2023 Topps Chrome Jarren Duran collection. 1 base, 2 Sepia refractors, and 1 Blue Wave refractor. The extra Sepia Duran is up for trade as well. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

I’m gonna need some more pages

 If things keep shaping up the way they have lately, I’m probably going to need a bunch of more pages. 
First off, thanks John from Johnny’s Trading Spot for letting me come over and dig through some of your trade boxes this past Friday. While I haven’t taken pictures yet (and plan to do a full post), I came back home with 5 800 ct boxes full of cards and still haven’t finished sorting them into teams. What I went through wasn’t even a 10th of what he had there, so I imagine a number of trips to Ocala are in my future. 
We all know that 2023 Topps is out, and after I got off work today, I was able to get my hands on some. I stopped by Target to look for some, and while the card aisle was packed to the brim, it was just mostly basketball and football. Only worthwhile thing I found was a hanging pack of Chronicles that I snagged. An associate later told me some idiot came there first thing and snagged like 50 packs of 2023 Topps that day while I was slaving away at work. I hope that a$$hole gets a flat tire. I got some groceries we needed while at Target, then called the card shop in between there and home and they said it was coming on the truck within the hour, so I went there next. I dig through some loose cards they had, got a pack of 2021 Heritage Minors, and a jumbo pack of 2023 Topps. I probably overpaid for everything, but I got the 2023 set and a few cool cards. Let’s take a look at everything. 

These came from the loose cards in the shop. Yeah, the ‘75 is miscut, but it is a ‘75 card, and has Mantle on it, so why not get a need for an almost 50 year old set. The Balkovec card would’ve been a good candidate to get placed in my highlights binder, but it doesn’t have a date on the top. Still, it’s a cool card of a barrier breaker and a potential card to get signed ttm. 

Who was my first 2023 Topps card, you ask? Josh Naylor. Never been an Indians Guardians fan as they are an AL Central team competing against my Tigers, but at least it wasn’t a Yankee. 

Those are some of the sunsets as well as a view of the back. I wish the team cards didn’t say ‘Team card’ on it. Maybe pic of the NL logo, or have ‘Arizona’ or ‘Diamondbacks’ spelled out like it is on the uniform. They could’ve also put 2022 in the home plate instead of AZ.  The League Leaders card is ok. They are really throwing the angles and slashes at us this year. The backs are ok with me. Glad they have career stats. While I’m not sure if the regular SPs are marked, I am very happy that SSPs are marked right there by the card number, but in order to do that, it kind of makes the regular cards that don’t need to be marked seem like the space is wasted. 

I pulled a ton of rookies in the packs I got, and I figured I would just show the hot guys and the one ‘88 redux card I got. Don’t know if the Vaughn Grissom card will be the hot card of 2023, but there’s a shot. The Rodriguez card was a good pull. 

I got a few parallels from the packs. They are shown with 2 highlights cards I got from the shop, an insert from the ‘23 pack,and a mascot I got from the shop. Don’t ask me to tell you what the Chronicles parallels are called. I got 2 Luis’s from the ‘23 Topps pack, a gold Robert, and a rainbow Garcia. 

I got 2 favorite players from the Topps pack, Jacob deGrom, and Kenkey Jansen. The Todd Greene card looks pretty cool in hand. I may already have the same Ortiz card, but I’m pretty sure it’s a rookie, and it’s numbered, and if I already have it, I’ll just put it in my Twins binder. The Expos card just is a tribute to me for the 1994 team. Had the ‘94 strike not happened, this card would’ve been redeemable for a 1995 Stadium Club complete set with a special logo, depending on if the Expos made the playoffs, won the Division Series, NLCS, or World Series. When the strike happened, the Super Team cards applied to the 1995 season and 1996 Stadium Club set. I have a feeling that the Expos Super Team card would’ve got me at least as far as the Division Series winner prize had the strike not happened. 
The Tigers and Rays were represented pretty well. I only pulled the Franco and Kiermaier from the Topps pack, but got 2 Wander Franco’s from the Chronicles ones. All of the other cards I got from the card shop. 
That about does it for the cards I got today. 
I almost forgot that I got some cards for Valentines Day yesterday. Karen got me a blaster of ‘22 Heritage High Number, a hanging pack of ‘22 Optic, and a pack of ‘22 Studio (?) football that I think she must’ve thought was baseball. I opened the football pack and knew I should’ve just left it. Out of like 12 cards, I pulled 2 Bammers and no Auburn guys. Add in criminals Ray Lewis (annoying loudmouth) and Jaemis Winston (crook who should’ve been behind bars and not allowed to play against Auburn in the 2013 National Championship game), and this pack was almost worse than a kick in the groin. If not for a guy from the University of Michigan (which will be headed to Dennis at Too Many Verlanders), this could’ve gone down as the worst pack ever. It still was great because Karen thought of me, though. 
Now the baseball packs were where they really shined. Of course I forgot to take pictures and I put them in my loose card box so you’ll have to take my word. The Optic pack made Kylers day as it had a Green Ohtani (who he likes), and a Matt Olson Splash insert (he thought it was funny that the card said splash). I opened the Optic pack while waiting in line to pick him of from school, and the Heritage packs at 4:15 AM at the parking lot at work while waiting for 4:30 to get there so I could clock in. Karen had the packs by my lunchbox so I took them to work hoping I could open them before work and finish off any remaining at lunch, but I got a phone call at lunch, so I got the Optic pack in the pick up line. I wasn’t able to see the Heritage cards that well and look at the backs until later but I still knew I had some good stuff by pack #3 of the Heritage ones. The first pack had a Wander Franco/Brandon Lowe combo insert and a Purple refractor. The 2nd pack had a Julio Rodriguez and a Purple refractor. The 3rd pack had a Corey Kluber and a Purple refractor. At this point, I figured maybe they had ‘hot boxes’ or something and figured the next 5 packs would contain Purple refractors, and they did. The best one was probably a McKenzie Gore rookie. I pulled 1 or 2 SPs, a regular Chrome, and a Kevin Cash Award Winner insert if memory serves me correctly. Probably pulled another Ray or 2 as well. With the Kevin Cash card (and a Terry Francona insert I pulled in 2018 or so), it leads me to believe that Topps can indeed make cards of managers if they wanted to, they just don’t because they don’t sell cards. I would love to see Manager cards in 2023 Heritage, but I’m not counting on it. I would also love to see a 2023 Topps Opening Day set (where else am I going to find mascot cards?), but with no mention of it online, I don’t know if we’re getting one or not. With 2023 Topps getting a design picture released on September 5, nothing until the sell sheets went live mid January, and then the set coming out surprisingly on schedule on February 15 (early for Topps), these lack of details on new sets might not be anything to worry about. Anyone heard anything about 2023 Bowman?  Heritage?  I guess we’ll know in. a few weeks if Heritage and Opening Day will be out at the normal times.  Even if they don’t come out at the normal times (or at all), I think I’ll have enough cards to last for a while. I may even need more pages. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post.