Monday, December 22, 2014

Q & A with @YanksandBeans

A few of my best-read blog posts over the past year were Q&A's. One was with a former blogger, Napkin Doon. One was with the king of vintage, and honorary blogger Mark Hoyle. The third was with Marci Hensley, the mother of my favorite Yankees prospect, Ty Hensley.

Inspired by Better Know a Blogger Week over at Nachos Grande, I wanted to post one last Q&A this year. I reached out to Nick of The Cardboard Dugout - a blog that used to have some of the greatest box break videos known to man. Nick still collects, just doesn't blog as much, but I wanted a whole new generation of bloggers to see what an awesome dude Nick is.

For those that don't, give him a follow on Twitter @YanksandBeans. You won't regret it. On to the Q&A!

The Lost Collector (TLC): You have the best alias ever. When did you first start using “Yanks and Beans”?
YanksandBeans (YB): Why thank you sir. It’s strictly a Twitter thing. When I first signed up I went by my real name, but I didn’t truly understand Twitter or what purpose I would use it for. When I realized how conducive Twitter is to collecting cards, I refocused my subject matter towards collecting. This epiphany warranted a new name change. So, I put two of my favorite things together: The Yankees and farting and voila: YanksandBeans. 

TLC: How’s Regis? (for those who don't know, Regis the dog used to make many appearances in Nick's video box breaks)

YB: Regis Philbone is great! He’s taken a bit of a back seat to my Daughter these days, but I always make him rub his dirty little paws on my boxes before I break. Little furball doesn’t have much Mojo, but I can’t break tradition right?

TLC: Your box breaks were must see TV (errr, videos). Any planned for the future?

YB: The truth is, my collecting habits have drastically changed over the last few years. When I started collecting again in 08’ I bought at least one box of EVERY baseball product that came out and I’d break the majority of them on video. This went on for about 3 years.  Prior to vid breaking I watched a ton online and they were all missing the same thing…..Personality. So I did my best to make all the breaks fun no matter what the box produced. My goal was to have my viewers remember the break itself as opposed to the “Hits” I pulled.  Long story short, I had a kid, and time and money ran out quick. I am much more selective about what I buy now, I mostly spend my box break money on Singles so I’m guaranteed to get something I’m interested in. This has significantly helped my collection, but it’s the video breaks that have suffered. However this interview has me feeling nostalgic. Maybe I’ll bust and tape for old times’ sake! 

TLC note: Here is a box break from 2014 Topps GQ so you can see what I mean:

TLC: Tell us a little more about your collection as it stands today. What are you focusing on?

YB: When I first started collecting again I was a hoarder, My collection went from 1 single 500ct box with all of my cards from when I was a kid in the 80’s, to over 40 500ct boxes just from breaking anything/everything I could get my hands on. It was a great way to get my collection to a respectable place but it was just too much. I was set building, player collecting like 5 guys, team sets, insert sets…It was crazy. Then one night I had a good twitter conversation with my friend Eric (@ThoseBackPages). We talked about how he collects for him an him alone. He is so focused on his collection that it inspired me to tighten up. So at this point my main focuses are anything and everything Thurman Munson, Mariano Rivera, Rickey Henderson (PSA 9’s) as well as just singles I like, mostly Game used and Autos of Yanks and Hall Of Famers. And of course there are my TTM successes which are easily the most gratifying aspect of collecting for me. Over the past year my collection has really stepped up in quality over quantity.

TLC: What is your most prized card or collectible?

YB: This is an easy one. I mess around with Group breaks once in a while and I had a Thurman Munson cut auto from 2013 Triple Threads pulled for me. His autos are rarer than Ruth’s, it’s a dream card. I’ve had many offers on it, but it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. However, there’s a small disconnect there because it didn’t pull it myself.  That honor would go to a vertical mini booklet card with game used pieces from Mantle and Ruth pulled from a box of 2010 T-206. I got my box a few days early and didn’t even know these mini books existed. The card literally fell out of the pack into my lap. You can see both of these and some of my other faves currently on display in my Fortress of Collectitude in the attached scan.
TLC: What was your favorite card release of 2014? How about all-time?

YB: 2014 will be known as the year my box breaking came to a screeching halt. I don’t even think I broke a box of Topps Flagship this year. I think Tier One had some really impressive things going on this year, more so than in the past.  I always love Tribute and Archives. But my pick of the year goes to Topps High Tek. I missed out on the Tek craze of the late 90’s and I find its resurgence refreshing. I love the Acetate, plus it fills almost every type of collectors need, great for player collectors, great for set builders, ON-card auto’s and most importantly…Serial #’s ON THE BACK of cards. I could do a whole entire tirade on this subject alone. As for all time, that’s tough. I love all the 1986 cards from the big 3, just holding that old cardboard brings me back to the purest time in my life. I also have a sweet spot for Tribute simply because I’ve always had luck with it. But gun to my head, have to choose one……It’s got to be Topps Allen and Ginter. The Cardstock is perfect, the subject matter is even better. I love the inserts, minis, rip cards, framed autos, On-card autos, The Ginter code... I mean this set doesn’t stop producing. Opening a box is like going to the circus, you don’t know what’s going to come next.

TLC: You love to do A&G TTMs of the non-baseball players. Give me 5 people you’d love to see on a future A&G set?

YB: I do love my A&G TTM’s, they’re probably one of the proudest pieces of my overall collection. I’ve even started showing them off recently. I’ve devoted an Instagram account entirely to TTM successes (Account name: SignMyCard).  This is a great question. I have reached out personally to Topps on Twitter regarding items that should be in A&G, I feel that myself and Chris Olds are personally responsible for the Wrigley Field relics in last year’s Ginter release (I probably had nothing to do with it, but it helps me sleep at night). So as for my top 5, I’d like to see Lorne Michaels, The Mythbuster guys, Howard Stern, Billy Beane, and Keanu Reeves and Alex winter Dual auto from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I also love what Topps did this past year with the inclusion of “Major League” guys peppered throughout their products. I think we need the same thing with “A League of their own”. It kills me that you can’t get a Jimmy Dugan card anywhere! But I’ll get over it, there’s no crying in Baseball Cards.

TLC: Any message for the “blogosphere”?

YB: I’ve collected every way possible. I’ve bought products with the intent to flip. I’ve built sets in hopes they’d be worth something in the future. I’ve blogged about cards, made videos about cards, traded cards, sold cards, I’ve even dreamed of opening my own shop. It was only when I narrowed down my focus to cards that would mean something personal to me that collecting took on a whole new life. I realized I don’t NEED to complete every Topps insert set, I don’t NEED to own every Mariano Rivera color variation from Topps Chrome. Once I became comfortable with this thought it was so freeing. This is what works for me; it may not work for everyone. The bottom line is, collect in a way that makes you feel excited and fulfilled, if you feel anything else, it’s no longer a hobby. If you’ve never felt that feeling I’m talking about, the solution is simple. Save up about $70 and buy a box of 1989 Upper Deck. If you’re lucky enough to see Ken Griffey Jr looking back at you then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Oh and when are we getting cards made up of Bloggers?….I’d be first in line for that set.

Nick, thanks so much for answering these questions. The hobby needs more dudes like you. Guys - go follow Nick and prepare to be entertained!

Until the next Q&A, take care!


  1. Wow. Why can't I get a cut signature of Thurman when I join group breaks ;)

  2. Great interview A.J. I'll have to checkout one of the breaks....

  3. That display case and everything in it is AMAZING!