Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Boatload of Crap

Sort of describes my week.  Sort of describes how this post is going to go.  As I attempt to get somewhat organized heading into the holidays, here are a bunch of scans that have been sitting in a folder waiting to see the light of day on the blog...

Grady Sizemore's 2014 Topps card was one of my favorite baseball cards from this past season.  Given that he lasted just over 50 games with Boston Grady's not going to have many Red Sox cards, but this horizontal beauty certainly makes up for the lack of quantity with quality.  This particular card is the Gold Refractor from Topps Chrome.

My copy was the second of 50 in the print run.  I happily shelled out a 5-spot (with free shipping) to add this somewhat scarce card to my Red Sox collection.

This Xander Bogaerts blue framed parallel from 2014 Gypsy Queen is much more common, at 499 serial-numbered copies.  I've really soured on Gypsy Queen over the years, but the framed parallels continue to look great as far as I'm concerned.

I typically shy away from anything "USA Baseball", but this Will Clark card was a surprise throw-in from an eBay seller, and I will never turn down a new Clark card.

A gloriously off-centered (from top to bottom) '71-72 Topps Gary Smith.  In great shape overall, and I love anything Golden Seals.  Wouldn't mind someday knocking off '71-72 Topps hockey either.  Plucking this from the dollar box at my local hobby shop was an easy decision.

This one's from the shop as well, but from the 6-for-a-dollar box.  Marcel was just surpassed by Jaromir Jagr on the career points leader board, and now sits in 6th place.  An early '80s OPC HOFer for around 17 cents seemed too good to pass up.

This 1958 Topps Gene Baker is from the same shop.  Paid $1 for this one, just because the condition is fantastic.  Gene is in much nicer shape than all of my other '58 Topps cards, with strong corners and just about perfect centering.

1958 Topps is one of those sets where I think the card backs are much more interesting than the fronts.

Here's one from a recent COMC order.  I'll say it again, Panini Prizm cards look great when they don't have to mask or erase logos and team names.  I thoroughly enjoyed the World Cup this summer, and though I didn't buy any of this product when the set came out (a little expensive and not really available in my area), I've picked up a few singles from COMC in the months since the tournament ended.  Aguero was an obvious choice as one of the top players in the world today.  In fact, he's currently ranked as the #1 striker in the Premier League.  I don't think I'll ever bother trying to complete this set, but these really are sharp looking cards; job well done Panini!

...and we go from that to a total stinker.  I picked this one out of a dime box at the one and only card show I made it to in 2014.  I liked it for two reasons; it's just a terrible photo, and also Canseco never played a game for the Angels.

Last but not least, another card from the same dime box as Jose.  This Bobby Hull was totally new to me, I don't recall ever having seen this set before.  Found out thanks to Zistle that this is from the 1992-93 Future Trends Canada Cup '76 set.  I love the photograph, something I don't recall seeing on a hockey card before.

While the write-up leaves more than a little to be desired (in fact it sounds like an excerpt from a fourth grader's book report), both photographs on the card are just awesome.  Well worth the ten cents it set me back.

Hope to be back with some thank you posts, as well as some other more structured ideas, in a day or two!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Best of 2014 - An Authentic John McGraw!

Sometimes you have to have a card just because.  It may not fit specifically within the realm of what you typically collect, but for whatever reason it just speaks to you.  Today's card is one of those examples; one I picked up way back at the beginning of the year and am only finally getting around to posting about now.  I never even knew it existed before stumbling across it, but had to have it once I did.  I was really on an old-time baseball kick at the time, and it shows with this purchase...  

A beauty, isn't it?  John McGraw is one of the most fascinating figures in baseball history, and someone I've long wanted represented within my vintage baseball card collection.  A very solid player, John really made his name as the long-time manager of the New York Giants.  I won't do him any justice by trying to type up a career summary here, but if you're a baseball fan who doesn't know much about McGraw I can't encourage you enough to go and do some research.  He left an impression on the game like few others have done over the course of its history.

I knew that when I eventually landed a card of his I'd want it to be from his managing days, and this one from American Caramel's 1922 E121 series fits the bill.  Let's take a closer look at the front:

A simple design with a basic framed photo, subject name, position and team in plain type along the bottom.  These are all about the terrific black and white photographs.  They sort of remind me of the fantastic Conlon Collection set that came out in the early '90s, just released 70 years earlier! 

What sold me on this card is that the photograph is exactly how I picture John in my mind.  I've always thought that if I had access to a time machine one of the things I'd love to do would be to go back 100 years and see a Giants game at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, with McGraw strolling about and screaming at the umpires.

The backs on this particular release aren't all that exciting if I'm being honest about it, but I think the front is more than interesting enough to make up for it.

Although it consumed nearly 50% of my monthly hobby budget when I picked it up, to me it was well worth it.  Easily one of my favorite pick-ups from this past year!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Signature Sundays - A Very Generous Gift

After seven full years of operating this blog, I'm still astounded from time to time at the generosity shown by those that enjoy this hobby.  Recently I received a surprise card in the mail from Mitch R, whom I exchanged some cards with a few months ago.  Inside was a note letting me know that hopefully the card would provide some material for a Signature Sundays post.  Well, that's the least I could do to show my gratitude!

W-O-W!  When I first laid eyes on this card I was speechless for a couple of minutes.  It's not every day that someone sends you an autograph of one of the top 5 hockey players ever to lace up a pair of skates.  Not only that, but this particular card has special significance to me as it was the one hockey card I can remember having as a kid that depicted Gordie with the Whalers.

A '79-80 Topps or O-Pee-Chee Howe would have been out of the question for an 8-year-old at that time, but a '90-91 Pro Set certainly wasn't!  I'm as positive as one can possibly be that the signature is authentic, comparing it against a couple of certified Howe autographs that I own as well as a puck that I had signed in person when I was lucky enough to meet Gordie many years ago.  The odd 'G' with a crisp straight line but "shaky" curvature, the way that first 'o' in Gordon doesn't quite close at the top, the distinctive 'H' and 'e' to end the signature, all fits and looks legit to me.  I'm not sure how Mitch came across this yet, although I'm sure I'll find out soon.  One thing is for sure, this instantly becomes a cherished piece of my Hartford Whalers collection.  

Mr. Hockey has been experiencing some health struggles of late, I hope he is resting and well this holiday season.

As if that amazing gesture weren't enough, Mitch also happened to knock a card off of my 'Most Wanted' list that had been sitting there for well over a year, in the form of this Dominic Roussel from the 1992-93 UD Ameri-Can Holograms insert set.  This completes the 6-card insert set for me, and gets me a little closer to a master set of '92-93 UD hockey.  Just a few of those pesky Gretzky Hockey Heroes cards to go I believe...

I'm not even sure how to thank you for this fantastic package of cards Mitch!  One thing I do know is that I'll be stuffing a bubble mailer full of as many Red Wings as I can get my hands on and sending it your way soon.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cardboard Classics - Doughty & Bailey

My Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend haul from COMC arrived yesterday. With about 75 cards shipped, plus well over 100 that I still haven't gotten to from the shipment before that, I'll be posting the goods for many months to come. For today though, time for only a single card...

Because I just can't get enough of mascots on cards, here's defenseman Drew Doughty fist-bumping Kings' mascot Bailey the Lion.  Something you don't see everyday.  To me, the card is even better thanks to the run of success the Kings franchise has enjoyed over these last few seasons...

A solid pick-up for 60 cents any day!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Discount Pass to the Stadium Club

If you know me as a collector, or read this blog, you're probably aware that I don't buy a lot of modern day wax, and when I do it's usually on the cheap in the form of repacks or discounted product that's a couple of years old.  One product I've been tempted by this year though is Topps Stadium Club baseball.  When I learned it was a hobby only release I was out, but on Cyber Monday D & A Card World had hobby boxes on special for $49.95.  That's a reasonable enough price to pique my interest, and yesterday my hobby box arrived!

18 packs inside, so it boiled down to less than $3 per pack at the price I paid for the box.  I think I'd be up for trying this more often if boxes of products I enjoy were in the $50-or-less range.

The format is great for the "pleasure delayer" collector like myself, who often hangs onto packs for months, if not years, before opening them.  Inside the hobby box are three mini-boxes containing six packs each.  You're guaranteed an autograph in each mini box, plus a couple of inserts and a couple of parallels.  Basically each pack has one non-base card.  I know I'm going to pull autographs of guys I've never heard of, that's just my luck, but at the price point it doesn't bother me so much.

Here's a look at a pack; nice, clean design on a foil wrapper.  I'm only opening the first mini box for now, the other two will sit on my pack shelf for a rainy day.  I scanned each and every card from the mini box since it's only 30 total cards, let's tear in...

A winner right out of the gate.  I'm sure most of you have seen this set ten times over by now, but I don't keep up with the new releases very well so many of these are new to me.

As usual, there are some very interesting photographs used for the set.  I for one appreciate these quirkier cards.  Better than a pack full tightly cropped, generic pitching and batting photos if you ask me.

The only Stadium Club I had picked up prior to this was a Red Sox team set on eBay.  Was kind of bummed to pull a double in my first pack, until I realized this is actually an Electric Foil parallel of Pedro.  The parallels in the set don't do much for me, but at least I pulled a new card for my Red Sox collection in the end.

A solid first pack.  Onto pack 2...

Okay not quite so exciting.  I'm an AL guy so I know just a little about these two players, and the photo selection is not particularly interesting.

Rockies hot pack.

Again, I thought I had a double but found I had a parallel instead!  If my research is correct this is a Rainbow parallel of Wade Boggs.  Both of my parallels from my this first box were Red Sox, I'm feeling like this purchase was meant to be.

That Boggs parallel saved and otherwise bland second pack.  Let's see what's inside pack 3...

Not a bad 1-2 pitching duo to start off this pack.

Beam Team insert, I believe these fall at one per hobby box.  I'm willing to trade this to an Orioles fan.

Dodgers hot pack.

Pack 4...

I may be a Red Sox fan, but I do appreciate landing a new Tanaka card.  He looked pretty incredible for large stretches of last season.

Nice looking Stan Musial Legends Die-Cut.  I think the odds on these are one-per-hobby-box as well.

A Dodgers fan would have been happy with this mini-box, that's three base cards already.  Pack 5...

Awesome card.  I like the retired players best (surprise, surprise).

Another nice one.  I'd be satisfied with a five card pack composed of entirely retired players.

Ah, there goes that streak.

Here's another insert, Field Access.  Not the most exciting card, although I have a feeling there are much better cards to be had from this particular insert set.

Finally, pack 6...

McGwire cards in back-to-back packs.

Pretty much called it on the autograph, at least the first of my promised three.  I've heard the name but can't say I know much about the guy, which isn't surprising given that he lasted just a couple of months in the AL East and is now with the Padres.  At least it's on card, and I'm sure I'll be able to find a Yankees (or Padres) fan to take it off my hands.

Stan the Man represents probably my favorite base card from this first mini-box.  What a shot!

Closing it out with a bright, young pitching phenom for your AL Champion Kansas City Royals.

I have to say, that was a lot of fun.  The cards are certainly well done, and it's fun to pick up something relatively new for once.  I don't think I'd pay $60 or more for a hobby box, but at $49 and change I have no buyer's remorse 1/3 of the way through.  Both parallels in my first mini-box were Red Sox, and the Musial die-cut is a keeper, so I'm satisfied.

Have you purchased any 2014 Stadium Club?  If so, what did you think?
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