Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Recent card pickups

 It’s been a little longer than normal since I’ve posted, but that’s to be expected when you work in a retail bakery during any major holiday. I get a few slow days before the last one of the year, and have a decent schedule coming up with an off day on Friday and another one on Monday, so just a little bit longer and everything should be back in a routine. 

I’ve had a decent amount of cards come into the collection since my last post, but the photos wouldn’t cooperate, so instead of chronological order, they will go from newest to oldest. 

About 2 weeks ago Tom from The Angels in Order offered some 1989 Fleer World Series sets. I love highlight cards, and also collect Orel Hershiser, who appears in the set a few times, so I asked for one, and he kindly obliged. TCDB says I have the Hershiser’s already, so the entire set will go in the highlights binder, giving me a nice game by game look at the 1988 World Series. Thanks, Tom. 
Next up, is my haul from John of Johnny’s Trading Spot. I apologize for the lack of pictures, I was stoked to get the cards in my boxes. 
As many of you know, we live about an hour and a half from each other, so I’ve been to his place three times now to exchange cards. I had a stack of Braves, mini collection and player collection cards for him, and he let me dig through his trade boxes. Among the many sets he helped me get closer to finishing were 1986 Topps (43 cards), 1996 Topps (11 cards), 2002 Topps (73 cards), and 2006 Topps (228 cards). I also found a number of 2012 Topps cards, but my wantlist for that set is a mess, as that set had a number of errors on the backs of Series 1 cards, so it’s almost impossible to make a wantlist on TCDB that just says you need 1 version of each card number. I’ll probably go through that set again and list out which numbers I have from each team and then individually mark which ones I need on the site. John showed me a good way to make a paper wantlist while I was there. Basically type out the numbers 1-792 in Word or a like program, save it, and erase all haves from the set you are making the list for. He was able to fit multiple sets on a single page, and I think it will help me in my effort to complete every Topps base set. I’ll try to work on making some paper lists on Friday and bring them the next times I’m digging through boxes at shows, etc. I think TCDB is still a good tool and will help me know what I need when the list isn’t with me. Thanks again, John, for letting me dig through your trade boxes and showing me the most efficient way to make a paper wantlist. 
Last Wednesday, we were at Big Lots getting a gift for one of Kylers friends, and lo and behold they had a blaster of 2022 Optic at a reduced price. Overall, I feel like it was a good pick, as I got another De La Cruz rookie (must be Donruss luck) and an autograph. Unfortunately, my luck of pulling DeLand-associates guys ended, and I pulled one of a guy who was accused of a rather disturbing deed. I really hope he didn’t get his hands on that sticker. Aside from that one, I got some nice rookies of Tiger Spencer Torkelson, Pirate O’Neil Cruz, and a few pink parallels. 
Also pulled an insert of Max Scherzer, a guy I collect, another Tiger, this one a parallel of Matt Manning, and one of a hopefully lifetime Ray, Randy Arozarena. 
Last, but not least was a trade with Bill of Death Stare Cards. I remember back when I first was introduced to card blogs, Thorzul, Dimebox Nick, Stale Gum, Night Owl, Fuji, and other bloggers/blogs seemed larger than life. Now 10 or so years since then, I have traded with most of them, and while they still do a way better job than I do, they are all just down-to-earth people like I am who just want to trade cards, and that was what my first experience trading with the legendary Thorzul was like. Nothing big, but just a simple trade of some Brewers cards he can hopefully use for the Ray, Tiger, and 2 PC guys I could. 
A nice first trade and hopefully one of many more to come. Thanks, Bill.

I'm sure you all are asking "But didn't you get any cards for Christmas??". Truth is, Kyler got a number of packs from Series 1, 2, a repack box, and one of those things with a few Sereis 1, 2, Update, a jumbo card, and the Flagship Collection packs. The adults in our family usually don't get eachother gifts, as we spend enough on the kids already, but somehow I usually end up getting a pack or two from someone, whether it be from my mom, one of my sisters, or Karen's mom. That's just how this year ended up, and I got a hanging box of Series 1 from Karen's mom. While I already had the complete 2023 set, I figured I would open it, since places usually don't let you return cards and it still had inserts. It wasn't anything too life shattering, but it was the thought that counted. It was actually a Rat-Birds hot pack with the insers as I got a Anthony Santander rainbow parallel, an '88 redux Eddie Murray, and a Stars of MLB insert of their overrated rookie catcher. Kind of makes the blue parallel of the Nationals team card the highlight of the box. I'm still happy as they were free cards and I got something to open this Christmas. It may not be the last cards I open this year, as we need to grocery shop at least once before the year ends, and I'd like to see what Heritage High Number has to offer. 

I saw that while the 2024 Topps design isn't out yet, oddly, the (retail) sell sheets are. I don't know what that means. Maybe Topps actually reads my blog and knows that I want some info from them as to when the set will come out and what is in it, that I'm not a flipper and won't buy hobby if I don't have to, and that I have been known to make satire sell sheets in the past. At any rate, the set won't be out in January, as a release date just mentions February. There are more holiday-themed parallels with the retail stuff, which I hope doesn't mean flippers will be leaving the shelves bare again. Anyone know how to de-value parallels? The most stupid parallel is one that just takes away the base card design and leaves you with nothing but a 2.5 by 3.5 inch photo. Didn't we kind of do the same thing with the original Stadium Club Master Photos? What do they do for an encore, make a parallel with no design, no photo, just a white piece of plastic, slap a 1/1 on the back with a player name, and call it a day? I get they are trying to cut back on everything, eliminating the foil on everything except for the logo, but cut with the cheap stuff, Topps. You can go cheap with Opening Day, oh what's that, you don't make that anymore? At this rate, I might just have to stop opening packs with Kyler and not take him to games, just so he won't get sucked into the sport and collecting. Contract values are insane, making already expensive ticket prices to skyrocket, and same thing is happening with cards. There are no entry-level sets you can complete without SPs that are readily available for purchase 6 months out of the year at retail outlets. You can't go to a game without spending 20-40 bucks per person for upper deck seats, that much for a hot dog and tapwater, same for parking, plus the 3 hour drive to the nearest ballpark from us. Insane. Kind of why I got out of ttm autograph collecting. All of the free signers I had basically already gotten, nobody who is a current player signs anymore, making my success rates drop, and a number of free signers in the past are now charging 5-10 bucks a pop thanks to a few idiots who cornered the market and convinced these guys to sign for a fee and give them a percentage of the cut. Ruth signed for free. Why can't Lonnie Smith? May all the people getting rich off of baseball have their money die with them. It's just a game and everyone deserves to enjoy going to a game, maybe getting an autograph at a game, and then go to Wal-Mart on the way home and select from 5-10 different $1-$4 packs of cards and pull a card of a player they just saw. That's the only way it's going to carry on to a generation that is into video games. Not by pitch clocks, new rules, bigger bases, or a ghost man in extras. I hope Topps and Manfraud read this one. And if you are, ol' Robby, I WILL be making card of you in a dumb pose once the 2024 Topps design does come out! You can guarantee that!

Perhaps on my last off day of the year (Friday), I'll revisit some 2023 collecting goals and you can make fun of me for not making all of them, and I'll set some for 2024. 

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Saturday, December 16, 2023

Trade with Poison75

2 days ago I got a package from loyal reader Stuart, aka Poison75 on the blogs and BseballCommish75 on SportsCardForum. We had talked about trading a while back, and while I am still in the process of uploading my entire collection to TCDB, we worked out a smaller sized trade, with me sending a key card for his ‘97 Ultra set build, some ‘97 Collectors Choice team cards, and some ‘95 Bazooka Red Hot inserts. In return, I got some nice Tigers and Rays needs. 

The 1974 Topps Frank White rookie got me a card closer to having the Tigers team set of that year finished. I just need the team card, Willie Horton, and the Reggie Sanders/Bill Madlock rookie card to finish it. The 1976 Topps stack of Tigers also got me closer to completing a team set, as I am now 10 cards short. 
Stuart sent a complete set of the 1988 Dominos Pizza ‘68 Tigers tribute set. Despite being a food issue, the company that made it took the time to fix mistakes, unlike a certain company ran by Fanatics. There were a few cards with misspellings or wrong pictures, and they all have corrected versions, and Stuart sent the errors and corrections, giving me an entire master set!
The set has a dollar off pizza coupon, to boot. Unfortunately, it expired in 1988 and probably is worth less than it was in 1988. A medium pepperoni pizza had to have been closer to 10 bucks back then so a buck off back then was 10%. Now it’s closer to 20 dollars, unless you get something with no taste like Little Caesar’s or Hungry Howies. I’m somewhat of a pizzaholic some I’ll take a good pizza any day with or without a coupon. Between ordering pizza, having a Digorno one after going shopping for a quick bite before bed, and having a totinos pizza 3-4 times a week, I’ve probably had pizza 1/4 to 3/4 of the week. I could seriously eat pizza (a combination of different brands), a ribeye steak medium rare, and red beans with sausage every day for the rest of my life and I would be happy. My pizza of choice would be a thin crust meat lovers with extra cheese. No veggies or pineapple!!
The last 3 cards were a 2008 Topps Chrome Armando Galarraga autograph, a 2023 Topps Update Kaline/Cabrera insert, and a 2022 Archives Spencer Torkelson rookie. 
The Galarraga card intrigued me when I turned it over. I busted enough of Topps/Chrome wax in 2008 to know that the numbers of the cards on the back are white. Armando’s autographed Chrome card looks like it is unnumbered, and I took a closer look, and it looks like there was a circular shaped sticker over the orange circle where the number would go. 
If you look even closer, it appears the sticker has the card number on it, albeit in a pinkish white color. 
Card #227, which matches the checklist. I don’t believe I pulled any autographs from 2008 Topps Chrome, but I believe the entire set had white card numbers. I’m unsure the story behind the sticker number, but maybe he was a late addition to the checklist or the number didn’t get printed somehow and this was the easiest way to fix it. I’ve seen other examples of the card online and they look the same way. Whatever the back story, it’s still a cool card and an autograph of a guy who in everyone’s book had pitched a perfect game. If Manfraud would change the records to show he pitched a perfect game (with the Indian/Guardians, Jason Donald, and Trevor Crowe’s approval), maybe I could forgive his horrible rule changes and letting Ohtani tamper with Tyler Glasnow. I say Donald and Crowe would need approval since Donald got the hit that was incorrectly calls and he would now have that single changed to a groundout, making his career hit total lowered by 1 and his batting average lower as well. Crowe would have hit out that he hit into after the Donald single taken away since he would’ve never came to the plate as Donald would be the 27th and final out. Not too big of an ask to get Crowe to approve it. Galarraga would have the single taken away, gain a perfect game, have his batters faced lowered by 1, and have his WHIP and similar SABRMetric stats lowered by numbers too small to really even measure. Surely he would approve it. I had hoped Selig would use his power to overturn the call the day after, but he didn’t. Too bad they didn’t have replay back then. 
The final part of the trade were 2 Fathead collectibles. They are pretty big, about the size of 2 cards. One is a 2013 version, and the other is from 2014. I’ll put these in big binder sheets when I update them. A nice first of what I hope to be trades. Thanks for the great trade, Stuart!

On the way to work about 2 weeks ago, my tire light came on, and I wasn’t surprised as it was cooler out. I put air in and it was fine. Then Thursday on the way home from work, the light came on again. It didn’t look like any were low, but I’m going to have it looked at either tomorrow afternoon after work or Monday after work. No big deal, as long as it’s just 1 tire I potentially will need to replace, I just hope I don’t end up waiting for a few hours. Maybe I should just go to Wal-Mart and use it as an excuse to by a blaster and open it while I’m waiting. 
Tuesday I’ll head up to John’s and help him clear out some space from his trade boxes and drop off some cards for him. That evening, Karen will be at a work party, so I’m sure I’ll do something card related before bed. After that, a crazy week or so of work before Christmas, and then I’ll be happy for a while with no major holidays until February other than New Years Eve. If I don’t get a post in by Christmas, I hope you and your family have a great Christmas. 
So a question before I sign off.  What is your dream kind of pizza?
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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

First TCDB trade

 Yesterday I got a pwe in the mail from Chris, aka The Collector on the blogs and HockeyDude on TCDB. We had worked out a trade over the past 2 weeks that was my first official on on TCDB. I know there is a way to select the cards you are sending and recieving in a trade on the site that will just allow them to be transferred to the apropriate collections, but I haven't figured that out yet. No biggie as it was just a pwe swap. Let's take a look at what Chris sent. 
Blogger has been giving me issues with viewing photos today, so I'm just going to post this and see if it works and shows the photo. First up is a 2018 Topps Big League Gold Paul DeJong. Next is a 1996 Topps Finest of Brooks Kieschnick, another guy I collect. The last 2 cards of guys I collect are both Andrelton Simmons cards. The first looks like an ordinary 2019 Topps card, but is actually an advanced stat card. The cool thing about this card for me is from the back, which I didn't take a picture of, so you'll have to believe me. It is numbered 15 out of 150, and when I was logging it into the site, I noticed that it was one of the few cards in the set to have pictures. I took a look at the photo of the back on the site, and saw it had the same serial # and was uploaded by none other than Chris himself! Kind of cool to have a card that will always and forever be the picture of the card when you view it on TCDB! The last Simmons card is a 2020 Topps Fire Arms Ablaze insert. I've never been a fan of the Topps Fire set, but some of the paralells and inserts are cool, as this one is. 
The rest of the trade were cards from my favorite teams. The Tigers are represented with a 1997 Donruss Ruben Sierra. I'll always remember him as the guy who the Tigers got for trading Cecil Fielder. I'll never forget waking up for school one morning and my parents telling me Big Daddy was traded and being upset. I wish baseball was just a sport and not a business. 
My Rays binder grew by 4 cards in the trade, as I got a 2019 Bowman Willy Adames, 2 cards of who I hope is a Ray for a long time, Tyler Glasnow. The 2022 Donruss retro '88 card might have finished that Rays set for me (I'll update my Rays at some point in TCDB and find out for sure), and the 2023 Topps Archives card got me a Wander Franco from finishing the Rays set, as the 2023 Archives Manuel Margot was the last card I recieved in the trade. A great first TCDB trade, and hopefully the first of many with Chris. Hope you enjoy your end, and thanks for the trade, Chris!

I finished uploading the non-Topps Pirates to TCDB today, and that leaves me with just 4 NL teams to finish (Cardinals, Padres, Giants, and Expos/Nationals). Probably won't get it done by the end of the year, but there is still a small chance. I just don't think I'll have time with how 2 weeks before a holiday gets at work and how my off days are the rest of the year. Weekdays that I am off are usually prime times to upload cards, and weekends are usually out of play as Karen is off and Kyler isn't in school. I usually get a weekend day and a random day in the week off, but I'll basically have 2 days shot right off the bat as we are headed down to Melbourne Friday to visit in-laws. I'm ok with that, becuase we are doing Christmas then and that means we are staying home on Christmas and while I'll probably be going into work around 2 or 3 AM, I won't have to worry about a long drive home and I can just say 'I'm going to bed' whenever. Christmas falls on a Monday this year, so that day will also be shot, so maybe I'll try to get 1 more team uploaded and hope for finishing the NL in early 2024. 

Speaking of 2024, I'm kind of disturbed with what I have noticed with Fanatics regarding new releases, and was wanting to know what you guys think. I'm sure everyone has noticed that lately, Fanatics will release sell sheets of new products a month to a few weeks before the release of a product. 2023 Topps Update, Update Chrome, and Heritage High Numbers (are you collecting these, Night Owl?) are recent examples. I am fine with that as the company is just finishing its first year of running the show. 
I was hoping that 2024 Topps would have a sell sheet out, as it has come out as early as July or August. I think for me, the issue isn't that the 2024 Topps design and sell sheet isn't out, it is that the 2024 Bowman ones are. It just seems to me like it is a sign that tells me Fanatics is going to cater to the flipper brahs that are into flipping and slabbing rookies. Bowman is catered to rookie card collectors and on a smaller scale, in-person autograph collectors, and it just reeks to me of Fanatics catering to idiots that don't collect and are just in it for the profit. Why put out sell sheets of lower-end products a month before they are on shelves and then just stopping the presses and putting out the 2024 Bowman sell sheet when it doesn't come out until April 2024? Put as much care into 2024 Topps as you do to 2024 Bowman! I might just have to purchase the complete set and not support these idiots anymore if they keep making kid-friendly products with SPs, taking away cheap sets like Opening Day, and leaving team/set/budget collectors on the back burner. While I am highly proud of Fanatics for not Tuckering us this year and producing 2 base Topps cards of the same player in the same uniform, I demand higher standards from them. I want more players in the base set, less inserts, 5 or less parallels, and just a fun 2024 Topps set. At least we know 2024 Bowman will give the flippers what they want. 

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Sunday, December 3, 2023

2023 Topps Chrome Update and Panini Chronicles

 Yesterday I had the chance to go to Target and got some cards. It might be the last chance I had to bust open some wax before the new year, so I may have got a little more than the normal blaster. Apparently Chronicles came out, so I got 2 hanging packs of that along with a blaster of Update Chrome. They were pretty nice cards, so let’s take a look. 

I got a lot of rookies in Update Chrome. Haven’t really heard of most of them, but that doesn’t mean that one of them won’t break out. Mason Miller is a guy I collect because he is a Type 1 diabetic. I pulled this card before, but it will go in my rookie card binder. 
The Volpe, Walker, and Yoshida were nice pulls. I see that there’s a popular Orioles blogger who is blogging again, so maybe I can get rid of, I mean trade some of these Rat Birds I keep pulling. Most people would be upset pulling a Pink Lavafractor (or whatever it is called) of a Marlin, but I’m happy with the Arraez pull as he was the guy who won the 2022 AL batting title and kept Aaron Judge from winning a Triple Crown. The Pink Murphy is for Johnny’s Trading Spot if it is a need. 
Next up is the Chronicles. When it first came out, I didn’t like all of the designs, but now I think I understand it and I am ok with it. The only problem I have is how the designs look similar from year to year. It’s kind of the same way that I feel about Bud Selig. While I think Interleague play is a mistake, he really didn’t do anything that bad compared to what that idiot Manfraud is doing. The pitch clock ruins the game for me. I’m not used to staring at the plate and being ready for the pitch. When I’m at a game in person, I like checking the out of town scoreboard, trying to locate the mascot, or just looking around the stadium in between pitches. The pitch clock takes this away and just ruins the flow of the game for me. I’m ok with bigger bases and no shifts, but the runner in extra innings takes away from the purity of the game. I’m sure relievers who end up giving up runs because of it feel the same way. Same thing of ones that end up with balks because of pitch clock violations. I might send this card to Selig with an apology for dogging him and see if I can get it signed. I’ve never been a fan of Rose, so that one is up for grabs. 
The DiMaggio one is also up for grabs as I don’t care for him or most Yankee$. Sure he has the hit streak, but he just gets talked about so much. The Ortiz card is pretty cool. I had a Tigers hot pack, as I got a new Sparky, a Harvey Kuenn, and some kind of parallel of Wilmer Flores numbered to 50. After buying so much ‘22 Bowman Platinum and not getting a single De La Cruz, I get 2 hanging packs of ‘23 Chronicles and finally got one, so this one ends on a good note. As always, if you are a team or player collector and see something you like, let me know and I can start a trade pile for you or add to it. 

This week should be a pretty nice week. Boss is on vacation, I’m off Thursday, Friday my 11th wedding anniversary, and we might head out to Disney Springs (where we had our first date), get dinner somewhere and see where the night takes us. I’m off Saturday so I don’t have to worry about being out too late and having to be back at work at 4:30 the next morning. Perks of being a baker, right?  Between now and the anniversary, I’ll probably try to finish logging the Mets into TCDB and finish up some pending trades. 

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Friday, December 1, 2023

Trade package from Night Owl

 I had 2 packages waiting for me when I got home from work today. The first one were the last few cards to complete some Traded sets, and the second was a package from the great Night Owl
Greg hooked me up with some Rays and some cards to help with my Topps  project. Let’s take a look. 

The Rays portion started off with some Wander Franco rookies and rookie parallels. I’m still holding out hope that he can play again with the Rays, but at this point, only Wander, those involved, and maybe some of the people close to him or handling the investigation know which way it is leaning. I’ll probably hold on to these while the verdict is still out, and depending on the outcome, either actively persue him again or avoid him altogether. The Blake Snell 2019 Big Leagues help finish the Snell cards from that set. I collect Kluber, so the one I already have will go in the Rays binder, and the other will go in my Kluber collection. The Arozarena insert is nice. I love the design of this years Stars of MLB insert. I thought I had the ‘87 Topps Dodgers leaders card, but when I looked at my wantlist, I was missing it, so this one officially closes the book on that set. The 2016 Topps Update cards are all needs, including some nice rookies like the Urias. Taillon is also a guy I collect. He went to my high school.  Thanks, Greg, for the nice trade package. 
After opening the packages and doing some chores, I started logging the Mets into TCDB. While on the site, I looked at the complete set listing in my collection, and noticed the 2021 Topps Update set was missing. I probably shouldn’t have, but a few of the first sets I completed in before using the site, I just marked as complete. I believe 2019, 2020, and 2021 Topps, and maybe the 2000 Topps set too. I figured the ‘21 Update set was marked, but it wasn’t. I just marked the set as complete, not wanting to dig through boxes and binders to make totally sure, but it may be a good thing that I did, because as I was marking, I finished with card #330, and only had 329 cards. I looked back at the checklist, and there was a missing card number and 2 cards numbered 142. Unfortunately, I only had 1 copy of #142 and was missing the David Hale version of the number. Now I need to pick up a copy, and I’ll probably keep entering cards in 1 by 1 and resist the easy choice of marking a set as complete. Hoping to get the Mets logged in this next week and maybe start on the Phillies. I’ll be off Thursday and don’t have any plans yet, so that is good for the card plans. 
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