Sunday, November 21, 2021

Monsters Inc

As the days of this blog wind down (more to come on that), I've still got a few things to show off here and there. 

Overall, I think Topps Project 70 is utterly exhausting. Sooz did a good job getting a pulse on these on recent CardChat, and between acts of plagiarism to Topps shutting it down for a few days with little communication, the project was overly ambitious and is now tired.

Therefore, I fully expect a Project 2022 of some sort. This is Topps we're talking about.

The Project 70 checklist has been overloaded with Yankees, Dodgers, Trout, Ohtani. Once in a while a random player is featured, but for the most part it hasn't been as expansive as initially hoped. I thought I might even get a Tino at some point, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

And while I appreciate the freedom the artists have to connect their designs to a certain year of Topps cards, many times it's hard to tell and even Topps' website doesn't list the year of correlation. 

I've only bought two so far. I did acquire an early Dock Ellis, and recently, my second arrived:
I do think Alex Pardee has been the star of Topps Project 70. His monster/alien/creature mashups have been a fun change and a lot more creative than some of the other photoshop filter efforts. While they may not be for everyone, after seeing his early Ronald Acuna, I always said that I'd buy any Yankee he decided to contribute.

Obviously, he chose Aaron Judge. The 1972 Topps design remains mainly unchanged, but we've got Judge exhibiting some cool monster-like features. I love the massive Judgian hand come at you. And apparently he's in some sort of bubble bath?

His face looks like it's got a few layers of skin overlapping one another, and he has about a hundred teeth showing. Terrifying, indeed. Pitchers, beware.

My only real regret is not buying this from Topps and even giving myself a chance at a foil parallel. I bought this during en eBay pre-sale to save a few bucks.

Cool card, tired project. That's probably the last one I'll buy...unless we get a Tino somewhere.

Monday, November 15, 2021


For someone who isn't too into the hobby right now, I sure acted greedy recently.

No, I didn't go clean out a retail shelf. I'm not that greedy. But during Wes' recent trade-a-thon on Twitter, I was admittedly more greedy than I should have been.

For those who don't know about Wes' annual event, he basically posts a bunch of cards on Twitter. The first person to respond "take" gets the card. Participants are limited to claiming five cards. Wes simply asks for a surprise package in return that he waits until Christmas to open. For this round, he asked for wrestling cards in return.

I claimed three cards this time around, and as mentioned, was a bit greedy in my claims. But I do feel that what I sent back was fair, for whenever he does open his package.

The first card I claimed was an early Derek Jeter Upper Deck card. I didn't have this one, and figured it was a good one too claim. If nothing else popped up, I was happy.
Something else did pop up. This:
Oops, I claimed it. This card isn't super rare and can be had for about the price of a blaster. But I still took it. It's one of those cards I've never gone out of my way to buy, and maybe wouldn't do it if not for Wes' event. It's place in cardboard lore is well established, and I felt like I should own one to put in my "money box"...aka the box my wife knows to look for in case something ever happens to me.

Speaking of cardboard lore going into the money box, this was my third and final greedy claim:
Whoops. Yeah, pure greed. And I felt guilty as I hit claim. This was a wantlist card for me for a long time though. I even had a saved eBay search for a PSA 8, but right when I was looking to buy one a year ago the prices when up quite a bit. I never trusted to buy a raw, so the saved search just sort of sat there.

And then it popped up on Wes' timeline and I pounced.

Afterward I felt little icky, and hope I didn't take the fun out of it for others. As mentioned, I do feel that my package to Wes will be reflective of the cards he sent me. While I don't know a ton about wrestling cards, I made sure to pick out a few for Wes that had a story behind them.

Thanks, Wes. And sorry for being a greedy bastard.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Atomic holds up

Personally, it feels like Chrome products have been lackluster the past few years. Pricy, hard to find, and when one does find it, it feels like a dud. Buyer's remorse happens almost instantly. There have even been a few Topps Chrome group breaks I have passed on because I just didn't feel like the product was worth it.

That's not just Topps Chrome, either. Bowman Chrome seems to be in the same boat.

But that's why we have eBay and the ability to go back and purchase cards from better years and better efforts. If today's shiny doesn't do it for you, there's always a surplus of something from the golden era of cardboard.

For example, 24 years ago, Topps rolled out this:
Atomic Refractors were still fairly new, but man, is this Bowman's Best nice. The background textures add a depth and dimension that makes the grid-like refractor pattern just pop off the card. It's crazy we had this in 1997, yet don't get much new in 2021. 

Plus, this card set me back less than $2. I'd rather spend my money on that than today's unimagined Chrome products.

Friday, October 22, 2021

I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams

One of my favorite scenes in The Shawshank Redemption is within the last few minutes of the film. Red decides to cross the border to reunite with Andy breaking his parole in the process. One line always sticks out to me:

"I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams." 

I'm not sure why that line is memorable for me. I have connection or love for the Pacific Ocean. Sure, I've seen it and been in it a few times, but it looks just like he ocean over here on the East Coast.

However, that line once again popped into my head when my newest Tino Martinez card arrived, a 1998 Pacific Platinum Blue.
Nice card. The window behind Tino is translucent, and the blue is fairly striking in person. It's not a bright blue, but more of a Carolina-blue with some metallic flair to boot.

Pacific churned out some great cards, and Invincible was always one of those sub-brands that looked great each year. I look back with nothing but fondness on Pacific, and wish they were still making cards today.

Until then, even 20 years later, I'm still picking up cards from them that I didn't have, so I guess it's not all that bad.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Jeter and, not that Mick

Similar to my blogging, my card-related pickups having really been coming to a halt. In both August and September, I sold more on eBay than I spent. Let's hear it for positive cash flow!

October is likely trending in this direction as well. Candidly, there's just nothing I want right now. No product excites me, no player excites me, no potential pick up excites me. Maybe that'll change, and I hope it does.

That doesn't mean I don't have envelopes coming in every now and then. Once in a while, when it feels like the right thing to do, I'll still pick up a Topps NOW card. I never buy directly from Topps. While that takes me out of the running for parallels and such, it keeps me in the $5 per card range. Sometimes, that can even be steep, but I don't buy these like I once did back in 2017 when Aaron Judge had one come out every day.

The first I picked up was an easy choice: Derek Jeter holding his plaque from Cooperstown. I'm not sure how many more cards will feature Jeter in this fashion. There will be probably a 30-card Target set in next year's Series One or something. But still, it was a no-brainer for me to pick up a card featuring Jeter holding his likeness that will hang in Cooperstown forever.
The next is a bit more of an off-the-path card for me, but I snagged a Mick Schumacher Topps NOW rookie card commemorating his appearance in the Belgian Grand Prix. I've actually bought a few F1 Topps Now card, including the first Lewis Hamilton last year...a card that cost me $5 at the time and now fetches toward $1K. It seemed logical to buy at the time since he's one of the most popular athletes in the world.
Similarly, Mick's father, Michael Schumacher, was one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. He was just the subject of a Netflix documentary about his life on the track, which was an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes. I recommend it if you haven't seen it. It was definitely a puff piece, but reminded me of how great he truly was. Mick is young and has shown a good ability, so I figured it was wise to snag a RC.

I know F1 cards have gotten very popular, although I don't plan on collecting or buying them frequently. Although I am a racing fan, I don't love F1. It's basically a glorified time trial and the cars are a bit too tech-advanced for me. It doesn't really feel like racing as much as it does space travel. I have a family member who races F4, and that's more my speed. Still, there is no denying how popular it is, and the drivers are some of the biggest international stars in the world. 

Two vastly different subjects, but from the same card concept. And to me, a decent way to spend $10.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A pink card for October

As per October tradition, Collecting Cutch is once again showing off pink cards to raise awareness for breast cancer.

While he also shows some very attractive subject matter, I'm going to stick to cards here. My newest Tino Martinez card, as luck would have it, is nothing but pink:
This is from 2020 Topps Chrome Update. Obviously this was a disaster of a set, but with the inclusion of Tino Martinez, gave me many parallels and refractors to chase down. This is the pink refractor, not to be confused with the pink wave refractor.

While my card-buying, collecting habits, and desire to run a blog all but vanish, once in a while I still surf eBay and this card was a minimal price, so I snagged it. I have a stack of about 20 Tinos I have yet to add my to my 'have' list, both on my blog and on TCDB. This is one of them, but I'll be sure to update that in the near future.

My October posting will likely continue to be sporadic, but I strongly encourage you to go check out Collecting Cutch's blog for his excellent cause all month long.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Too Many Tinos

Just a short post today. It's been 10 days since I've done so, but I'm too busy to play with baseball cards and blogs right now. Pretty recurring theme. Maybe the end of the blog is near...

Some of my favorite DMs or emails are when a fellow collector comes across a Tino they think I don't have. This happened a few weeks back when Dennis of Too Many Verlanders was going through a big lot he bought on Facebook. Usually the answer is "thanks, but I have it." But in this case, Dennis indeed found one I didn't have!
There we go! Nice little 1997 Donruss Gold Press Proof. There's a little bit of a diecut to it too, which is easy to miss. I think 1997 Donruss holds up pretty well. It's not the best Donruss design, but far from the worst.

Dennis also flanked the card with two gems.
While I have tons of these, they are still so fun. What a great set.

Thanks for thinking of me, Dennis!