A Smattering of Small Swaps

Welp, friends - I'm not going to be doing much blogging for a while. It's nothing serious, but much like our pal Tony at Off Hiatus, who is currently On Hiatus but also possibly emerging from said hiatus, I need to tap the brakes for a bit while I handle some other stuff.

So, I'll be dark for a bit. Perhaps the occasional trade recap post will sneak its way here, but I've resolved that I need to put down the cardboard until I can see this next thing through. Again, nothing is wrong, just need to focus.

Before I leave you, though, I wanted to share several small packages that arrived late last week.

First up, a TCDB trade with M's collector James (jmkidd). This netted me another card for the '84 Purina set, and a few Sportflics, in exchange for some assorted Mariners. The one above is a triple-player card featuring NL Right Fielders Dave Parker, Tony Gwynn, and Kevin Bass - who is most evident in the scan.

The other two came from 1988 Sportflics, a simple design which I enjoy for its sublime nature. Something about that big glorious orange border and the font used really gets me. I picked up a Mike Scott and Glenn Davis.

Here are some "action shots" for you. You can thank Nick V. for pushing me to make GIFs.

Speaking of food issues, Mark Hoyle offered to send this Kyle Tucker my way. Seeing as how the Utz cards haven't made it down this way yet, I immediately jumped at the offer. I need to print him some copies of the Red Sox cards from my Starchives set. Thanks Mark!

There's no doubt that Mark and his Red Sox pals will like these next two, either. This was a real quick swap with Jeff, aka Pingboy333, over at TCDB.

Jeff needed a recent Topps insert I'd pulled, and I absolutely needed these Mini Bobbing Head cards from 1998 Collector's Choice. This is one of those late-90's inserts that I completely adore. They've also sparked a recent idea for a post at the SABR blog - who knows when I'll be able to get to that one, however.

Finally, these cards came in from a trade with Nate (natemedwards at TCDB), in another recent swap. There are two different Berkman cards in the 2010 Attax Code Card inserts (not the actual Attax set) - I suspect they were S1 and S2, and I keep getting the wrong second copy. Or maybe I have both at this point. Who knows? I don't have the time to check now.

Nate also had a nice pair of Heritage inserts featuring the top of the rotation. The Cole comes from last year's High Numbers issue, while the Verlander pairs with the Bregman I pulled to give me both of the Astros from that insert series. 

I'd sent Nate an assortment of Barves for his collection, and these last two were my favorites of what came my way. That's because the Altuve polishes off the 2018 flagship team set for me, and the Trever Miller comes from the insanely hard to track down (for whatever reason) 1998 Pacific Online set - sort of a precursor to Total and 40-Man. Because of the depth of this set, it features a few scarcely seen Astros (Jack Howell's only 'Stros card is in this set), which works well for my Astro-graphs project. Yes, it features a hideous banner with an out-of-date URL - two URLs, in fact! But, when you can cross off a couple of rare dudes from the All-Time Roster, it's worth it. The added bonus here is that Miller is actually a Gold Foil parallel. Gotta love Pacific, years ahead of its time.

Alright, like I said - this'll be goodbye for a bit. I'll sneak a post or three up here when I can, but don't expect too much - that is, unless this project magically wraps sooner than expected. If it does, you'll be among the first to know.


Jazzin' Things Up

Holy mackerel, I got a whopping four trades in the mailbox on Monday. I'm never going to get caught up at this point. Maybe I should press pause on all my trading until I've remedied that.

Ah, who am I kidding? We all know that's not about to happen. Especially not when the trade offers keep rolling in unsolicited. These cards came from Erik, aka Jazzleader over at TCDB. He was interested in some recent inserts on my trade list, and offered up some recent Astros. These two brought me a step closer to polishing off the Donruss Optic set. If you recall, I mentioned in yesterday's post that there was another version of the Correa due to show up soon - this is my third version, and a fourth is still on the way.

I bought a couple blasters of Gypsy Queen and pulled a few Astros, but this trade with Erik put to rest most of my other needs for the team set. At this point, I'm only missing some SP variations of Correa and Altuve, and my lone remaining base need is Alex Bregman.

That lot included initial Astros cards of these two new additions. They're both probably photoshopped - that's definitely a Cleveland uni on Brantley, and odds are that the orange on Chirinos' gear was red in the original photo. But I don't care that much. It looks like we got healthy Michael Brantley as well, as he's been on a tear so far this season. Chirinos doesn't have the framing numbers of Stassi, but he's been impressive in gunning down runners during games I've watched this season.

The last three cards in this trade are going towards one of the insert sets I decided to build last year, that being the Baseball Equipment of the Ages series from Allen & Ginter. These are fun, and I'm still missing about half of them. If you've got some to spare, check the Oddballs & Inserts tab on the want list.

Thanks for the trade, Erik! Hope we can do it again soon.


An Old Trading Pal Returns

Back in February, I made a swap with one of my very first trading partners, Robert of $30 a Week Habit. Unlike our previous trades, this one was put together through TCDB. Robert is one of the handful of guys I know of who operate at TCDB and run a blog. Jason of Hoarding Cardboard is another, and Tony of Off Hiatus (who is back On Hiatus, but hopefully not for too much longer) are among the others that come to mind, although I know there are at least a few more.

At any rate, I was able to put together a nice little pile of cards for him, including some set help for 1972 and 1979 Topps, 1989 Upper Deck, as well as 2018 Ginter. He'd seen that I was pretty active in getting cards out, so he shot a small proposal my way, which I promptly blew up. My MO for the past year or so has been "move that cardboard!" In fact, I just put together an absolute whopper of a trade over at TCDB that will clear out just about a full box worth of cards.

But I digress. Robert sent me some lovely cards, so let's talk about those. They included a Mazeroski for my PC - and if you think the triple photo on the front is a lot, well you should see the modern pages in the Maz PC. Understandably, this photo (or one of the three other angles of this moment) get used a lot.

One thing that was in abundance in this trade was parallels. These two golden bordered beauties provided some entries where the parallel universe is pretty scarce: 2002 Topps (this is from the Traded set, but I think I only had one other from normal flagship) and 2009 Topps. The 2002 is nice because the border is actually sparkly, and the serial numbering is from when they still used foil stamping.

These were among my favorites in the package. The 2009 O-Pee-Chee set (put out by Upper Deck, which is weird enough on its own) is a very nice simple design, the sort of thing you would expect to see if Heritage was not rehashing the old catalogue, but rather reinventing cards from the period. These beautiful black bordered parallels are even better. I'd take 200 copies of that team checklist if I could find them.

These two cards from 2008 Topps Co-Signers are parallels as well, a Blue and a Bronze version. Were it not for TCDB, I would never know things like this, as this is from my lost years. They are serial-numbered, however (250 and 300, respectively), so perhaps I would have deduced it eventually.

These, of course, are much easier to spot. They're also some of my favorite parallels that Topps has made in the modern era (the 2014 Topps Chrome Orange refractors are also high on the list). Of course, the team was absolute trash at this point, so there's not much in the way of notable guys to pick up. It's nice to get a Cognac parallel of Wandy, though.

I told you, this trade was essentially parallel madness. There were a handful of non-parallels in the package, but apparently I didn't bother to scan those. These sparkly gold parallels look better in hand than the scans would lead you to believe.

It's kinda crazy that these two guys are gone. I understand the team's decision in not bringing either of them back, but it's still somewhat bizarre. What's even crazier, however, is that Keuchel is still without a team. He's not an ace anymore, but he's easily an upgrade over the third or fourth guy in about two-thirds of the rotations out there. I feel for the guy. Marwin, meanwhile, went deep for the first time as a Twin yesterday, taking former teammate #Kenneth Giles deep to dead center.

Ok, see! It wasn't all parallels here. These two from 2017 Heritage High Numbers brought me a tad closer to the team set. I was trying to figure out why Reed looks so strange here and just noticed that his hands are reversed on the bat.

Alright, that was a nice palate cleanser, but let's get back to those juicy parallels. The 2016 GQ blue frames are among my favorites. I haven't thrown up a want list yet, but I've been working on that set as well. The Reddick is one of those silly non-blackplate variations.

This last pair is from 2018 Donruss and Donruss Optic. That's a Holo Green Keuchel, and those are pretty slick looking. The Correa is a Pink parallel, although my Purple copy looks surprisingly similar (there is juuuuuuuust enough difference in the hue that it doesn't look like a simple ink supply difference). I should have another version coming in this week from yet another TCDB trade as well.

The last puppy I wanted to show off was my other favorite card in the trade, a lovely 2012 Gypsy Queen mini of J.D. Martinez. This is a Straight Cut parallel, so you get to see the back as well. Nick V. will get a kick out of the lack of non-tobacco tobacco reference.

Thanks again for the swap, Robert! I need to dig around and see if I have any more of those '89 Upper Deck cards on your list.

Birthday Cards

I got another superb trade offer from Bill (minibbcards) over at TCDB. Of course, like any trade with Bill, there were plenty of minis involved.

I'm still deeply indebted to him thanks to the very unexpected surprises he dropped into the last package, so when he shot me an offer I immediately jumped at it. This horizontal mini of Carlos Lee from 2011 Allen & Ginter is just fabulous. I do love it when Ginter features in-game action shots. 2014 had some of these.

Several of the minis that Bill sent my way were from sets that I hadn't seen before - at least not in mini form. That included the Topps 206 and Topps 205 sets from the early aughts. The Oswalt and Kent depicted here are "Sovereign" backs. The Mike Hill rookie on the right is a Tolstoi back, and also a SP.

Bill also sent several minis that landed in my PCs as well. Netting these Bagwells, a nice late-career Maz on a 2013 GQ mini, and a 2006 Bowman Heritage mini of Biggio felt really good.

There were a few other cards involved in the trade as well. Bill, being the excellent trader that he is, included a pack of extras once again. I'm never going to get out of this trade deficit at this rate, so I hope I pull some good stuff out of Ginter this year for him. Out of these Quaker Chewys, only the Brett was included in the transaction proposal. The Ripken, Smith, Rose, and offer card were all bonuses. I'm glad he sent the offer card; I probably wouldn't have bothered to track it down on my own but it feels really nice as an anchor to the set.

This lovely 1967 Staub was the final card from the actual trade proposal. He's in very nice shape, apart from some ever-so-slightly softened corners. This provides some very nice assistance to my goal of finishing off the Astros team sets from Topps flagship. Of course, my goal on the year is to finish them from 1970 onward this year, but I'll need to knock off those 60's cards eventually.

And thanks to these two lovely extras from Bill, I now have three fewer cards from those 60's team sets that I need to track down! That Murrell is his only Astros card, and a tough semi-high number at #569. Then there's the second Staub in the package, clearing off another card of Le Grand Orange off the list.

There were two more bonus cards in the package as well. One was this delightful black & white parallel from 2018 Stadium Club. I've got the base and black foil versions of this as well, and I've got to admit that it's fun to have a few versions of this one. It doesn't hurt that this was a photo from Lance's ultra-dominant ALCS appearance in 2017 when he pounded the Yankees with twenty-seven straight curveballs.

Perhaps the most surprising addition of the package, though, was this great jersey relic of Lance Berkman from 2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot. I definitely did not expect this as part of a throw-in to an already excellent trade. Thanks for all the great cards, Bill! I definitely need to find something nice for you, so I'll keep my eyes peeled.


Not Enough Armour For This Bomb

Alright, now we can discuss the more recent package which Mark Armour sent my way. These came in a few weeks ago, after I lamented on Twitter that there were SIX Astros among the 400-series SPs of 2019 Heritage. Mark reached out and let me know that he had a Verlander to send my way - and something else of note. I, in turn, piled up a healthy stack that chopped his want list for the set in half.

I mentioned the Verlander in the intro, so that's no surprise. Mark also sent a few spare Astros my way, which I'll use for autograph hunting, and this Jose Altuve All-Star card. That completed my "base" team set - though I still need the Altuve and Correa cards, which are both SPs. 

Mark did send a little true vintage my way, albeit in the format of football cards. That was fairly unexpected. I've hung onto a small pile of non-baseball stuff - players that piqued my interest, cards of a few local favorites, etc. But I mainly abandoned any non-baseball collecting. These are fun, though - having a few examples is nice and gives me a bit of design inspiration when it comes to making customs. Hines passed away in February, but Beirne is still with us, so I may write to him.

There was one more football card in the pack to accompany the pair of 1970s Topps, which was this colorful blast from 1971. The little cartoon guy down there reminds me of Woodstock, and I can't glance at this without thinking of Charlie Brown now.

Johnson hails from West Texas and put together a 15-year career as a quarterback, including a few excellent seasons for St. Louis in the early 60's. He spent 1970-71 with Houston before moving on to Denver to wrap up his playing career. He'd graduated from New Mexico State with a chemical engineering degree, and continued his studies during his football career, eventually earning a doctorate. He went back to his alma mater in 2000 to oversee their chemical engineering program, and was a professor in the department from 2004-2012 - quite an interesting career path. I may write him as well.

I mentioned that there was one other card Mark had mentioned to me on Twitter. This was a couple weeks before we agreed to the trade, which immediately put a bug in my ear to be on the lookout for some Red Sox cards to send his way. I did send some samples from my Starchives customs as well, but also managed to dig up a few jersey relics as a thank you for setting this aside for me.

Drumroll, please...

Wowsers! When Mark mentioned this one to me in a PM, I about fell out of my chair. I very nearly fell out when opening the package and finding it inside as well. This is an exquisite piece of cardboard featuring my favorite third baseman in the game right now. Sorry Matt Chapman, you're second banana here (Nolan is probably third, and then you can essentially start drawing names out of a hat). It was amazing to watch Bregman come into his own and cement himself as a star across a full season last year. I love the energy he brings, the range and arm he displays at third, and the fun demeanor with which he goes about the game. And I LOVE THIS CARD!

Thanks Mark! You really knocked my socks off with this one.