3.11.2019

Another Cardboard Social

I'm oh-so-close to clearing out my scans of 2018 pickups, so it's time to recap Twitter Sale number two of 2018. This one was hosted by the lovely Jenny Miller and all proceeds went to a fantastic cause aimed at helping homeless teens. So not only did I pick up some fun cards, but I supported some valiant efforts in the process! Let's take a quick peek at some of the highlights from this sale, shall we?


First up, a pair of Topps Pro Debut cards. Aplin was shipped away in a trade last year, but fellow Aggie Corbin Martin figures to crack the pitching staff at some point this year. It'll be interesting to see what he can do.


These sales have turned out to be rather good for picking up parallels and base cards from "premium" sets, like this Gold Will Harris and a Chrome J.D. Davis. I miss J.D. already.


I found a couple Rangers I collect in the fray. That 2014 Stadium Club card of Pudge is just great.


Speaking of non-Astros, I also landed a couple of the '87 Hygrade cards, and this Johnny Podres for my 1988-1990 Pacific Legends build.


Lastly, these two cards were just too good to pass up for my PCs.


Back to the 'Stros. I snagged a new '95 SP Biggio in the fray, and picked up a spare copy of this excellent Billy the Kid with the idea of sending it out in my next batch of TTM requests. Hm, I need to get back to writing those.


A couple of studs from rotations of yesteryear. Wandy lives in the area where my wife teaches - I remember her mentioning that his daughter was in the middle school she taught at a few years ago. I wonder if she's zoned to the high school she's at now.


Yes, I count this as an Astros card. Brady will be back from Tommy John before too long, so we'll see what he looks like post-surgery.


Bullpen aces. Giles, of course, departed in a bit of disgrace last year - and certainly a disgraceful move on the part of the front office. But Peacock is currently in a bit of limbo. He only made one start last year - a spot start to lead off a bullpen game - but he's got the experience to fill one of the holes in the rotation if need be. I imagine he'll still be a swing man, but who knows where he winds up now.


Jenny's sale also provided me an easy shot at picking up some of the Astros from 2018 Stadium Club. These are nice, if rather tame photo selections. That Verlander is growing on me, though.

The cards involved were obviously not all dime cards, and this 1963 Post of "The Roy Face" should make that clear. I jumped at this from one of the pricier lots, but it was still only a dollar or maybe even fifty cents. It wasn't until I got the card in hand that I noticed one of its previous owners had colored in the mouth with solid black, which gives this card an extra creepy vibe. I love this one. I especially love the "El Roy" name - but part of me wishes it said "El Rey."


Ah, the local coffee shop owner! It was pretty fun to meet him recently, and I almost got a copy of this card signed. In the end I chose a couple others.


And finally, one more pair of non-Astros cards to wrap up the bunch. I know this may come across as heresy to some, but the 2018 Diamond Kings set was in a dead heat with Big League for my favorite set of 2018. I loved it so much, I decided I'd actually build it, so I suppose I should put up a want list before too long. The cards have a lovely feel to them, and this particular set just worked really well. The 2016 set was nice, but this one just seems to blow even that out of the water. Oh what I wouldn't give for some logos! It would have certainly beaten Big League in that case.

This was a fun sale for sure. Thanks for hosting it, Jenny!

3.10.2019

I'd Like To Buy A Card, Brian

One of the hobby phenomena that emerged last year was that of the "virtual dime box sale" via Twitter. Brian of Play at the Plate fame has hosted a few of these, and they seem to have really caught on, as I've noticed more and more people trying their hand at these types of cardboard dispersals.



I technically participated in three of Brian's sales last year, but my winnings from the first two were packaged together. One of the things I really enjoy about the format is that it provides a way for me to pick up some stray cards from sets that I otherwise don't see or buy, like this pair of 'Stros from 2016 Finest. I definitely don't see Finest hanging around, and on the rare occasions when I make it to the card shop I've got other targets in mind than gambling on a pack.


These 2018 Bowman Platinum pickups were another first glance at a set I otherwise wouldn't encounter. Bukauskas is one of the big pitching prospects on the radar, so it'll be interesting to see if he makes it up to the club this year. 


These sales allowed me to fill some holes from newer sets as well, such as this great 2018 Stadium Club of Lance McCullers. At least I thought it filled a hole, and then it showed up and turned out to be a Black Foil parallel! I got an even better deal than I thought!


And speaking of parallels, this virtual dime box was rife with them. I snagged three of the Silver Scripts from 2000 Upper Deck MVP, and only just now as I'm typing this did I notice that it actually says "Silver Script" down the side of the card. It's fun to see how team photographers have changed from the standard muslin or paper backdrops and started doing some real wild things for photo day.



While we're on the subject of photo day, here's a pair of low-numbered parallels from 2005 Studio which I picked up from Brian. These were not of the dime or quarter variety, as most of the rest was, but 2 bucks a pop. Well worth it for cards that are numbered 11/25 and 16/30, respectively. Also, this is a really nice and clean set, despite its umpteen parallels. They've got an early cabinet photo feel to them.


A couple more faux old-timey pickups here, with what I believe is a 2010 Turkey Red of Tejada (don't remember the year offhand) and a lovely red parallel mini of Altuve from 2014 Gypsy Queen, which is numbered 3/99. The Tejada might be one of the few cards featuring an Astro in pinstripes that I actually objectively enjoy.


I was late to the game on many of the Biggios that Brian posted, but that didn't stop me from picking up a couple of new additions along the way. That 1999 Sports Illustrated highlights Biggio becoming the second 50-50 player in major league history, joining Tris Speaker as the only other player with 50 doubles and 50 steals in a season, which is pretty darn incredible. The more modern card comes from the fantastic 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces set. I'd love to pick up some of the framed versions.


It wasn't all Astros in the bunch, however. A virtual dime box such as this was ripe for the plucking when it came to finding some other swell cards for the collection, including a shot of Randy Johnson as a proud member of the "windbreaker under the jersey" club, and a lovely 1996 Hideo Nomo SP, where he seems to be checking out his own pitch grip. This shot of his windup also made me wonder if he wasn't hiding the ball enough, though.


I couldn't resist these 1999 Skybox Thunder inserts. I have a couple from back when I was collecting (signed, if I recall correctly), and loved the design which is riffing off a Wheaties box. I snapped up a Beltran and Kerry Wood, with the thought of writing Kerry.


Spahnie was the first bona-fide HOFer I ever met* and certainly the first guy of whom I ever tracked down a vintage card at a show. It was a 1963 Topps, and I got it signed in beautiful blue. As a kid reading up on baseball history with a dad who actually saw Spahn pitch, I fell in love with the lefty, so I maintain a small PC of him. This 2000 Fleer Greats of The Game is, well, great.

*Okay, technically this goes to Bags and Biggio, but I'm not talking about active players who would become HOFers. If we consider sports outside baseball, this might fall apart as well, but Calvin Murphy wasn't elected until 1993 either, so I'm still unsure.


I also added a few more from that set, including a Maz for the PC and a recent insert featuring beer belly Maz from later in his playing days. 


Well, how can you not love this Julio Franco? I bet he could still smack a dinger. Time to bring him back, I say.


A couple more random pickups - a Kruk RC and a nice Carew from the subset that led off the 1991 Bowman set. Love the little foil-stamped jersey up there.


I've got a mini-PC of Minnie Minoso as well, so the Archives Reserve was an easy add to my growing pile. I picked up the Bobby Richardson with designs on writing him again. I need to get off my butt and do that, because it's a great photo.


I couldn't pass up these two Pirates legends, either, particularly the Clemente. The Wagner is a fun remake from one of the now decade-old or so Topps releases. I've seen the photo before, but I actually kind of like this colorization.


One last pair of shiny cards here before we go. The Pirates from my father's childhood became early vintage favorites long ago, with Face high among them, and I couldn't resist this card of the Baron. I'm still split on whether it makes my next mailing to him (another one I've been putting off for too long). The Morgan is one of the reimagined solo rookie cards, dropping Sonny Jackson out of the frame.

There are a couple other posts like this to come - including one more sale from Brian. If you don't want to miss his next sale, hop on Twitter and go follow @mrbkscards.

3.09.2019

Trader's Backlog: More Like Good-Man GB!

It's mid-March: Spring Break has sprung, and while tomorrow we will all wonder where the hell our hour went, that doesn't mean too much to me directly. Now, there will be plenty of secondary benefits - a couple of my coworkers will probably spend next week in Austin, pulling off activations at SXSW. So the office will be nice and quiet. My lovely and incredible wife gets to take a break from teaching and hang out with our kiddo full-time, so that will be nice and I'm sure I'll notch some good family time. Right now, they're both napping, so I'm going to take this moment and knock out the final trade post of 2018, then maybe go for a quick run. We'll see how things are when I wrap this up.

This was a TCDB trade with another new swapping partner, Gary (woodmangb is his handle). Gary had spied some of my spare '64 Topps cards on my trade list and sent over a Herculean proposal. I knew a couple had been sent out TTM, so I told him I'd dig around and counter with whatever I found. That cut the list of 15 or so in half, so when I sent the counter back to him I kindly asked him to adjust what I'd be receiving to whatever he thought was fair.

Spoiler alert: he did not. This Sandlot insert from 2018 Archives was one of the few new cards in the package.

Among the other faux-vintage was this quartet of 2018 Heritage. Seeing the Spring Training facilities in the background is fun - for a bit. I hope Topps has the photographers start mixing it up.



The last pair of throwback cards were these two 2016 Heritage needs which were still hanging around peskily on my want list. Aside from the color swap and action variations, I still need two cards to finish that team set: #239 - AL Batting Average Leaders (Altuve) and #710 - Tyler White (pesky high number SP).


But enough about new cards, let's talk about the tasty pile of vintage that arrived in this package! 2016 was a rehashing of the 1967 set, so that seems like a fine place to start. Hatless Derrell Griffith provides me with a dupe so that I can finally send him a TTM request, and I love the shot of 6'5" Danny Combs looming over the photographer.


Ah, the lost logo years. I picked up a six-pack of black-capped (or hatless in Gladding's case) HOUSTON players. Gary was really willing to do a number on my vintage needs. The Gotay is my favorite here, and you've gotta love the "Hello, I am doing a Sports?" shot of Bruce Von Hoff.


After some chatting on Twitter with Nick and Mark Armour, I can already see how 2020 Heritage is going to disappoint if Topps doesn't encourage some more differentiation in the photo selection. Look at how awesome these are! Even the "action" shot of Alou is superb. I wonder if we'll see any nods to these - maybe a Brooks-ish Tatooine card, or the infamous Joe Morgan shot.


But posed shots can be marvelous as well. While the Geronimo up there is an easy favorite, it's hard not to love somber Don Wilson and this great card of The Hat in his shooting star duds. That makes me think the Walker must have been a Spring Training shot.

Here's where you think, "wow, that's quite a pickup for 8 commons from 1964!"

Hold your horses, pal.


These two 1970 Kellogg's are carrying cracks, but they're still winners in my book. Suffice it to say that I was quite surprised that I was even holding them. They weren't the only ones, either.

I know, yesterday was National Cereal Day, I should have gotten off my butt and written this earlier


No, this Spaceman didn't get lost on his way to the Apollo training. This '76 Kellogg's of Bill Lee was the only non-Houston card in the bunch, but I picked him up for my little PC. The Watson is downright beautiful, look at all that glorious color.


Bam! Here's another six-pack, these of the newly-monikered Astros in 1965. And because we don't have photos of that "eh, slap an H on the star" logo, we get a bunch of capless dudes and an airbrushed Larry Yellen. The second-year Wynn is the winner of the bunch, and Lum takes home the prize for best haircut, which brings us to Who Wore It Best: Aspromonte or Woodeshick? I think I'm going to have to side with Hal here.

So wow, what a trade, right?! Gary, thanks for all that glorious fifty year old cardboard, it made my day!

Oh wait, I saved one more card to show off. Let me see, where did it go.....


Sweet Moses! Look at this outstandingly beautiful league leader card! This was the one that I was certain would get pulled off whenever I countered the trade, because I mean, look who's on it! But Gary, in a moment of enormous generosity, decided that he wanted to share its splendor with another collector. I had this pegged in the category of "drop some money on one in the far future" cards, but wow!

Alright, I'll let you all run off to shoot Gary some trade proposals now. Thanks again for the fantastic swap and being so generous, Gary!