Monday, February 28, 2011

TTM Success: 2 more as my hot streak continues

I'm on a TTM roll! Three days in a row, my mail carrier has brought me multiple SASEs with autograph goodness. Today, two more contributions to my Topps Yankees Project. Suddenly, I only have 17 different years to go. That seems both daunting and managable.

The first success is a 1964 Topps signed by Bud Daley. The signature looks awesome across this card. I really like the '64 Topps set. Mr. Daley also answered my questions:

1. What was it like to join the 1961 Yankees in the middle of the season? Great! I went from last place to first place.
2. Who was your favorite teammate? Mantle (common answer. The Mick was loved)
3. What current pitcher reminds you of yourself? Maddux (I'd assume Greg)

My second success was a bit of a surprise. Cliff Johnson signed my 1979 Topps card.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring more successes and keep my hot streak alive!

Trade Review: My Cardboard Mistress

About a month ago, I bought a few packs from 2010 Topps Chrome on discount from Target. I pulled a Mark Reynolds Purple Refractor, so I reached out to Adam at My Cardboard Mistress to see if he'd be interested since he collects Reynolds. Adam answered with an AJ Burnett Purple Refractor from the same set, a good 'ol fashioned one for one. Done deal!

Adam - thanks for helping my Yankees collection. Hopefully this week goes better than your weekend!

Trade Review: Angels In Order

Tom from Angels In Order (in my head I always call it 'Angels in the Outfield') reached out following a prior trade post and asked if I'd be interested in a Yankees for Angels trade. Ok! I dug up a few Angels that I had - some Salmons, Edmonds, Hunters, etc. Tom needed a few of the cards on the list I sent him, so we set up set up a semi-blind trade and Tom didn't disappoint. He sent me 27 Yankee cards (appropriate number, Tom!), all of which I didn't have. There were a lot of cards from 2003-2009, which is awesome because those are a lot of the cards I missed and hadn't seen while I was out of the hobby.

I'd say my favorite card from the lot is a 2009 A&G National Pride Robbie Cano. Just a classy looking card. There were a few of the sweet looking 2004 Cracker Jacks, and some nice cards of ARod, Jeter, Bernie, Posada, Clemens and Moose. I like the Bowman Heritage David Wells cards from 2003 - there was a base card and a black boarder version. It's cool because the card says "Boomer Wells." I also liked two shiny cards in the lot - a 2001 Bowman's Best David Justice and a 1952 Topps Reprint of Johnny Sain.

Tom, hope you enjoy the Angels cards I sent. Thanks again!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

TTM Success: 4 more on Saturday, including a HOF'er

After 5 TTM successes on Friday, I figured my mailbox would be a little lonelier on Saturday. I was right, but not by much. I had four plain white envelopes full of autograph goodness. Three were for my Topps Yankees project, and one of a HOF'er I couldn't pass up.

Lets start with the only person to answer the questions in my letter. Former Yankees catcher and college football star Jake Gibbs signed my 1969 and 1971 Topps cards. The 1969 is for my project, and I had a poor conditioned 1971 laying around, so I took a shot with that too. I asked Jake:

1. What is your best Yankee memory? Just playing in Yankee Stadium.
2. Who was your favorite teammate? Tom Tresh and Mel Stottlemyre
3. Do you ever wish you stuck with football? No
4. Do you like Ole Miss' new mascot? Not really. (haha!)

Next up are two more of the project. Mike Hegan signed my 1968 Topps. I did already have Bill Monbouquette for 1968, but I'll probably use the Hegan because it's signed in nicer Sharpie as opposed to ball point pen. Lefty reliever Michael Dunn signed my 2010 Topps, so that's my most recent until I can get a 2011 Topps signed. I sent this to Dunn at Marlins Spring Training, so its my first ST success this year. Finally, the HOF'er - Mr. Bobby Doerr. Anyone who is semi-serious about TTM knows that Doerr is the best signer out there. I didn't want to miss out on the chance to own this signature, so I picked up one card (most people send several) and sent it along, and he didn't disappoint. It's a good day any time you can add the autograph of a Hall of Famer to your collection.

That's it! I still have a few trades and purchases to review, so keep checking back! Enjoy the Oscars tonight. Or, if you're like me, enjoy the Knicks-Heat game!

RIP Duke

I was fortunate enough to pull this Duke Snider card from a pack of 2011 Topps. I had never really looked at Duke's stats, and unfortunately it took news of his passing for me to check them out. The dude used to put up 40 HRs like he was Adam could just pencil him in for 40 a year. I know there was always great debate about the best NY center fielder in the '50s...Mantle, Mays or Snider. Those are some brand names.

RIP, Duke.

Off Topic: Go get a Shamrock Shake

'Tis the season for one of my favorite beverages. Today, I stumbled into a Manhattan McDonald's that had the elusive Shamrock Shake. I highly recommend you treat yourself to one this weekend. If you have had one before, you know what I'm talking about.

Don't know if your local McD's has one? Check our check to see if yours has it. You've been warned. Enjoy!

In no way am I affiliated with ....I just love me a Shammy Shake.

Trade Review: Emerald City Diamond Gems

Here is another one of the AWESOME trade packs that I received on Friday. A few weeks back, I reached out to Larry at Emerald City Diamond Gems about a few Mariners cards from his want list. I had the 2011 Topps Jose Lopez, as well as a couple of Tino's for his Mariners Super Set want list. Larry agreed to send me a stack of Yankees in return.

I ended up pulling a bunch of old Tino dupes that I had as well, hoping I would send Larry a few additional Mariner cards that he didn't have. Low and behold, when I received the package from Larry, it appeared that we sent a each other a lot of the same Tino's! There was definitely two that I didn't have for certain, including a 1996 Collector's Choice, so that worked out nicely.

There was also a GREAT stack of Yankee cards, none of which I had! The highlight of the package, to me, was a 1959 (!!!!) Topps Deron Johnson Rookie Stars. I LOVE any Yankee cards from the 1950s, and this one is sweet. Definitely wasn't expecting an old gem like this. Johnson even spent 1957 with the Binghamton Triplets, my hometown team...and he hit .303 with 26 HRs and 102 RBIs there...damn good numbers. Larry, thanks for including this!

There were also a few 1979 Topps cards, including Sparky Lyle, Graig Nettles, and the team card, which are always cool. Also included were some nice 2010s that I hadn't seen, including a Topps Vintage Legends Thurman Munson. Two very shiny ARod cards made the way in to the lot - a 2006 Topps Own the Game and a 2006 Bowman Heritage Foil. Both are beauties!

Larry, thanks for the trade! I hope that I was able to send you some Tino's and other Mariners that you didn't have and that it was worth it on your end.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

TTM Success! Five Yankees in my mailbox

As I mentioned yesterday, in addition to some great trade packages, I had five TTM successes in my mailbox. I recently sent out of a ton of requests, and was starting to wonder when they'd trickle in. Well, it was a great feeling to see five of my envelopes come back at me. Four were for my Topps Yankees project, and another was a past Yankee (and NFL QB).

My first success is Bill Monbouquette. Bill is a Massachusetts native who currently lives in Medford, MA...Red Sox territory. He actually pitched for Boston for eight seasons before being acquired by Detroit and then the Yanks. Bill was kind enough to answer three of my questions - 1. Was it tough to play for NY after spending so much time in Boston? No. 2. Who were your favorite teammates? Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle (good choices, Bill). 3. What current pitcher reminds you most of yourself? Jon Lester. Interesting choice, as Lester is a lefty and Bill was a righty, but I'd assume he means style and demeanor. Bill helped me check off 1968 on my project!

Next up we have three more for my Topps Yankees Project. None of these guys answered my questions, but were still kind enough to sign my cards. We have Joe DeMaestri on my 1961 Topps (as I've said before, that collar is SWEET), Dooley Womack on my 1967 Topps, and Ed Herrmann on my 1976 Topps...all years I needed! Too bad a few of the sigs are in pen, but I'll take it.

Last but not least...a two sport prodigy who started ahead of Tom Brady at QB at Michigan! He was the 3B of the future for the Yanks, but was traded to the Reds in the Denny Neagle deal. The Yankees then reacquired him for Wily Mo Pena. I'm talking Drew Henson! He did end up recording ONE hit with the Yanks. A cool success none the less!

Thanks for checking this out. I received four more TTMs Saturday afternoon, and I'll highlight those soon as well!

Trade Review: Heartbreaking Cards

I've made quite a few trades in a short time since I started blogging. I've been pretty proactive about reaching out to a lot of you. I hope it's not annoying. It's really helped me meet a lot of fellow collectors and expand my Yankee collection quicker than I ever could have on my own.

One of the trade packages I got on Friday was from Matt F. of Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius. I had four 2011 Topps Kimball Champions that Matt needed, so per usual, I told him to send me a few Yankees and we'll call it even.

Matt over delivered. I was shocked when I opened the envelope and found this:

A 2009 Upper Deck Icons Joe Pepitone Immortal Lettermen #'d 09/40!! I couldn't believe it. This card is a beauty (the awful iPhone photo doesn't do it justice), and Matt certainly didn't need to send it to me for a few Kimballs. It has quickly become one of my favorite cards, and the second lowest #'d card that I own (I have a /25 Tino Quad Relic). I know that people feel differently about manu-patchs, but this card will certainly find a prominent place in my Yankees relics collection. As if the Pepitone wasn't more than enough, Matt also sent me a great assortment of 2011 Topps Yankee inserts:

Matt, you went above and beyond in this trade. Hopefully I'll get a few more Kimballs to send your way. Thanks again for your generosity!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Huge mail day! Will highlight all weekend...

Today I opened my mailbox after work, and brown padded packages and white envelopes spilled all over the ground. It was a mail day for the ages! I received five TTMs, four of which were for my Topps Yankees project. I also received three trade packages and two purchases. It was very overwhelming to say the least.

Each trade deserves it's own post, and one blogger was extremely generous and I can't wait to profile that trade especially. I'll show off my new purchases at some point, and also highlight the TTMs all at once.

This afternoon, I was just thinking about what to write this weekend...not anymore. I have more than enough items to post. So check back over the weekend!

Purchase Review: My first 1951 Topps, and a 1957 to boot

I didn't even know 1951 Topps existed until I saw one on one of your blogs. True, they were tiny little cards and they were a game, but hey, Topps is Topps. So I had to have one, and I had to have a Yankee. After searching the checklist, I set my sights on Jerry Coleman (or on this card, Gerry Coleman). I found one on eBay that I liked, and about $6 later it was mine. It's a red back version. I have to say, the card is in fantastic condition outside of a small nick at the top. Do I care? Nope. It's now my oldest, and one of my coolest cards. Somehow, I have a nice little Jerry Coleman collection going on. I have a 1957 Topps, and a 1955 Bowman as well. So I suppose I unofficially have a PC of him, so let me know if you have one and maybe we can make a deal.

I also managed to pick up this 1957 Bobby Shantz. Card condition isn't great, but it's 55 years old, what do you expect? I also paid $1 for it, so I knew what I was getting. It has a crease and a small stain. I love the Yankees jersey he is wearing - the navy blue trim is awesome. Mr. Shantz is in the TTM Hall of Fame of great signers, so I think I'll send this one to him in hopes of getting it autographed. I'm not trying to collect the full 1957 team set or anything, but I've managed to get my paws on four Yankees cards from the set - Shantz, Coleman, Skowron, and Larsen. Pretty cool stuff and I love the set - simple design, and I believe it's the first year Topps went to its current card size. Keep me honest though.

I'm still searching for my Holy Grail - an original Mantle. I'll have to get one that is all wrinkly and beat up, but I still want one. I also hope to get a Yogi, Maris, and Whitey Ford at some point as well. I picked up a 1955 Topps Rizzuto a few years ago and I love it. The card has a lot of character (i.e. creases), but it's special and original and that's what matters to me.

I bought a Chipper card...and I'm a Yankees fan

I felt a little weird buying a Chipper Jones card. I don't have anything against the dude - he's a great hitter and carried my fantasy team a few years ago. It's just weird to log on to eBay and buy a card of his...but that I did.

I did need it for a set. It's not like I just felt like buying a Chipper card. I have plenty of those laying around. No, this card is going toward a set I am collecting...2000 UD HoloGRFX A Piece of The Series. This beauty has a piece of game used base from the 1999 World Series. I'm trying to get all 11 cards in the set, and this one is my second. I already have the Tino, although for the sake of keeping the set together I might try to get a second one.

I paid $3.99 for this card (plus a few bucks shipping), so I got a pretty good deal. I'm sure this card could easily go for $20 or so. I still feel a little weird bidding on non-Yanks for this set, but then I remember the Yanks swept the Braves in'99 so it makes me feel a little better ;)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trade Review: Nachos Muy Grande

For the second time this month, Chris from Nachos Grande and I agreed to a small trade. I had three shinys for Chris and a few 2011 Series 1 Topps base cards that he needed.

I claimed Trade Stack 7, and Chris also agreed to send me a stack of Yankees, my usual request. He sent me a very generous lot of 25 Yankee cards, with stars such as Mattingly, Winfield, ARod, and Rivera. There were also two Tino cards, and I am 99% sure that one of them was one I didn't have - a 2000 Pacific Paramount. There were some cool common singles as well - a 2007 Topps Doug Mientkiewicz and a 1986 Topps Paul Zuvella. I'm pretty sure Paul is a good TTM signer, and if that's the case I'll probably send him a request.

Trade Stack 7 included a Derek Holland 2009 Topps Heritage Chrome Rookie, #'d 831/1960. I'm not too high on the Rangers these days, so if anyone is interested in this card let me know.

(sorry about the glare)

Thanks again, Chris!

Card Profile: Extra Bases/NBA Jam Session - remember these?

Last night, I was looking through a small box of NBA cards I have to see if any would work half-decently for some TTM requests. I have thousands of basketball cards at my childhood home a few hours away and only a small stack at my current place. Anyways, I came across a few cards from 1993-94 Fleer NBA Jam Session. Remember these? The super tall cards?

The Webber stuck out to me because of the Photoshop job. At first, I thought the photo was from the NBA Summer League because it was the same colors that the Warriors would have worn. Except, why wouldn't the logos be there? Upon closer inspection, look at the fans in the background decked our in Michigan gear. Definitely a college game. I know I used to have the Shawn Bradley and Penny Hardaway rookies from the same set, so it would definitely be funny to see the Photoshop job on those.

I'm sure a lot of collectors had no use for these Jam Session cards, or their baseball counterpart, 1994 Fleer Extra Bases. However, I kind of liked them. The Jam Sessions came out in my first year of real card collecting and I got a few packs in my Christmas stocking, so I always sort of liked them. That Webber was going for like $8 when it came out too, partly because it one was one of his first rookie cards since Series 2's weren't out yet.

Obviously, these cards are a pain in the butt to store. They don't fit in average sized pages or top loaders without sticking out and looking goofy. But overall, I like them. Probably just for more sentimental reasons than anything else. On another note, the 1994 Tino Martinez Extra Bases #170 has always eluded me. If you have it, I'd be more than happy to take it off your hands.

And 'Melo has arrived

Good start for the new-look Knicks! 'Melo was a bit shakey, but played well down the stretch. He ended with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Chauncey Billups had a great game as well. Hit a huge three in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, living up to his "Mr. Big Shot" nickname (or knickname? har har). With that being said, this team didn't even have a practice together, and it showed. I anticipate more cohesiveness in the coming weeks.

I was big into basketball cards from around 1993-1996. I'll dabble here and there now, but I'll definitely be bugging you guys for some Carmelo Knicks cards in a few months. I already bothered Colbey from Cardboard Collections for a Rautins card he pulled. If you have any cards of former Syracuse players in their Orange uniforms - autos, relics, etc - let me know. I'm talking Melo, Flynn, Wes Johnson, Rautins, etc.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When a card is all the rage

It's funny to look back and see when certain cards were all the rage. A few days ago, I was looking through some older cards I had in top loaders, and came across this:

Back in the summer of 1997, this card graced Beckett's pages over and and over. I was in seventh grade, of course I read Beckett, so stop judging me. Mind you, the D-Backs hadn't even played a game yet, but this guy was going to be a star. I remember a trip to the big mall in Syracuse. My mom was shopping with my sisters, and I wandered into one of those over-priced memorabilia stores that most big malls have and bought my first ever pack of Bowman. Sure enough, I pulled the Lee. The owner of the shop immediately offered me money for it...probably like $10, but hell no, this card wasn't going anywhere. He did give me a top loader for it, and I was a happy guy. Bowman Chrome and Bowman's Best came out and brought higher end versions of this card, but the original was pretty cool.

Then Travis Lee's career started a bit slow in 1998, and Mark McGwire started hitting a really lot of home runs. Suddenly Lee's rookie card was forgotten and this card, 13 years later, became the most sought after card of the day:

For graduating first in my eighth grade class in 1998, I asked for this card. Instead, I got a box of 1998 Stadium Club, which was still pretty sweet even though I didn't pull one of the Tino co-signers I desperately wanted (and still do). I did get an Andruw Jones Matrix though, which at the time was a solid pull and probably was going for around $20.

I think it's interesting to look back and think about how certain cards defined a year or a period of time. Strasburg this past year, and not too far off in the future, I'm sure Bryce Harper will have this same effect. What cards can you think of that really defined a particular time? What cards were the rage and now can be had for pennies or a few a bucks?

Ebay missed opportunity...arrrgh

Arrrrgh! I had been watching the Jeter card above on eBay for a few days. I need it for the 2000 HoloGRFX A Piece of the Series set I am trying to collect. Jeter is probably the most expensive card in the set, and with 14 minutes to go, the card was only at 4 bids and $6.50. I was going to take a shot at this sucker.

Well, I got distracted and when I went back to bid, the auction had just ended...and the winning price? $6.50. Arrrrrgh. I mean, maybe the other person had a maximum bid of $20 and I wouldn't have gotten it anyways, but I'm kicking myself for not even being able to try.

Does that ever happen to you guys? Do you ever watch an item, get ready to swoop in, and then miss your chance?

Worst Robinson Cano card ever

Personally, I'm a fan of of Topps Heritage. I like seeing modern players on the old card designs. A lot of other companies tried to do this - like Fleer and Upper Deck - but it felt too forced. With Topps, it's natural.

Last night, I was looking at a few of my Yankees Topps Heritage cards...I never really collected them per se, but they have been part of a few lots of cards I've bought or received, and I've always loved them. Anyways, I was flipping through a few 2009s, and stumbled up this Robinson Cano:

Really, Topps? Since he has come up in 2005, Robinson Cano has lead the league in smiles. It's true. He is a real life Guy Smiley. And for a posed photo, this mug shot is the best that they could come away with? Oy.

I wonder what sort of approval process photos have to go through before one is chosen for a card. You'd think that there would be a few options, and a creative director of sorts approves the one that looks best. If this photo is the best of what they had, I'd love to see what got cut.

I love this set, I really do. It's just a shame that this is how Cano will be documented in it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trade Review: Tomahawk Chopping sends me some Yanks

Despite 1996 and 1999, Derek from Tomahawk Chopping agreed to send me a few Yankee cards in exchange for about 20 base cards he needed from 2011 Topps.

As you may have noticed from a few other recent trades, I'll usually send you what you need (within reason) for a few recent Yanks cards. Derek sent me a nice assortment of Yanks I didn't have, highlighted by two Topps Chrome cards - an '09 Sabathia and a '10 Jeter. Sweet! Maybe it's just this card, but the 2009 Chromes don't bend as much as 2010. Anyone else notice that?There was also an assortment of cards from 2010 Topps Update, including a Kevin Russo that I didn't have. I'll probably use this card for TTM. There were about 10 more cards, some Yanks, some not. It was cool of Derek to throw in some random cards, including a 2009 O-Pee-Chee Dexter Fowler and a 2009 A&G Chad Billingsly. I had no idea there was a 2009 O-Pee-Chee, so I learned something new yet again thanks to a trade.

Derek, hope you receive the Topps base cards soon. Thanks for the trade!

This Yankee fan needs "Boston" to help

Daryl Boston, that is. You see, I am sending out a batch of TTM requests today for my Topps Yankees Project, trying to capture some of the years I don't have yet. That's where Daryl Boston comes in. After years with the White Sox, Mets and Rockies, Boston signed with the Yankees prior to the 1994 season. He played sparingly for the first-place Yankees before the season ended prematurely due to the strike. What I wouldn't do to see how that season would have played out...

Anyways, Boston's 84 plate appearances and .182 average were significant why? Because it earned him a spot in Topps' 1995 base set in a Yankee uniform. Hopefully I'll get this one back and cross 1995 off of my list.

I have a few back-ups for 1995 in the event that this request goes unanswered. Randy Velarde is a decent signer, and although I have him penciled in for 1989, I can swap in Dave Eiland and move Velarde to 1995. Decisions, decisions. Oh, and if anyone has a 1995 Velarde Topps base card, I'll gladly take it your hands.

I sent out a bunch of TTMs for the project in the last week or so...names like Glenallen Hill, Clay Bellinger, Mike Stanton, Chris Hammond, Jose Contreras, Javy Vazquez, Jon Lieber, Jim Beattie, Tippy Martinez and Fritz Peterson to name a few. I also have some possible re-arranging going on for the 1950's, which I'll get into in a later post. I'll just say it involves 1951(yep), 1957, and 1960. Giddy up.

Blast from the past TTM: My 2001 Tino Martinez success

It's no secret that Tino Martinez is my favorite player. I have a dedicated collection to him, and I live and died with every at bat, wanting him to succeed. Every year he was with the Yankees, I sent him several TTM requests, hoping for a return. I never got one. I was able to pick up a Tino Auto from a Stadium Club insert, but that never stopped me from sending to him.

In September of 2001, Tino sat out a few games of a home stand with a wrist injury. I figured I'd give him another shot, since he perhaps and some free time on his hands. I wrote him a letter, and on the envelope I put a few stickers from my Collector's Choice sticker card of Tino. Maybe he'd notice. I sent the request on Sept 12 and enclosed two cards. I knew I was probably kissing those cards good, but they were dupes, so no big deal.

This part is a little storybook-y, but I speak the truth. I came home from school on Sept 23, my birthday (seriously), and there was a SASE sitting on the banister where my mom always put my mail. No way I thought. I carefully opened the envelop, and my two cards fell out. The first was unsigned. At least I got my cards back, I thought. The second though, had Tino's signature in blue sharpie across it. It was a Tino Pinnacle Goin' Jake card. I was ecstatic. I have never heard of anyone getting Tino TTM - before or since then - and this will always be my favorite TTM success. And the fact that it arrived on my birthday? It was too perfect, like someone may have played a trick on me.

The card immediately went into a screw case, where it has been for the last 10 years. Here is a picture of the card:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Melo, welcome to NY!

I'm pretty excited about tonight's NBA trade. As a Syracuse grad and a Knicks fan, I'm fired up that 'Melo is coming to New York. I have the Carmelo Anthony rookie card below, but I have no idea where it is. Back at my childhood home where my other cards are...I hope.

Anyhow, welcome to NY, Carmelo!

Happy President's Day

I'll probably lose followers for posting a card of G-Dubs, but I'll never forget this moment in 2001. President Bush threw out the first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium, at a time when the city (and country) was still grieving from the Sept 11 attacks. Despite my Yanks losing, it was a hell of a Series and one I'll never forget.

Happy President's Day!

Adding to wantlist: 2011 Topps 60 Yankee Relics

After pulling the Robinson Cano 2011 Topps 60 jersey relic, I thought I'd try and grab some others. According to, the following Yankees Topps 60 relics exist:

Jon Albaladejo (seriously?)
Mariano Rivera
Mark Teixeira
Phil Hughes
Joba Chamberlain
CC Sabathia
Goose Gossage
Dave Winfield
Don Mattingly
Derek Jeter
Yogi Berra
AJ Burnett

I figure the current guys, outside of maybe Jeter and ARod, are pretty attainable. There are a few up on eBay right now. The retired guys, those are going to be tough (slash expensive). Goose, Winfield, Yogi, Donnie - I don't have high hopes. But I think I'll at least try and collect the current guys. If you have any you would be willing to trade, let me know.

Also, I had been thinking about going after the HoloGRFX A Piece of the Series set. Well, tonight on eBay I picked up Paul O'Neill and Chipper Jones, for about $11 total (including shipping). It's on,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Organizing a personal collection is exhausting

I'm trying to update my Tino Martinez Collection tab up above. I really want to document all of the cards I have in my Tino PC. So I figured today I'd try and put a dent it. The girl had to work all day, so I was going to watch the Daytona 500 and try to highlight all the cards I have so I can be particular about what I request in a trade or what lots I look for on eBay. I only got though about 10-20% of my Tino's. Arrrgh. I still have about 400 different base cards to highlight, but at least those are in chronological order in a binder. So that will hopefully go a bit quicker than all the inserts I just went through. Either way, it's a tedious job!

Happy Daytona 500

I was always a huge Dale Earnhardt fan. I pulled the card below in a pack years ago. Today, I'll be rooting for Kevin Harvick!

Amazing trip to the local card shop!

I live in New York City. We don't have many card shops in Manhattan. I'm sure there are some in the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn, but in Manhattan, it's slim pickings. It just so happens that I live only four blocks away from one of them - Alex's MVP Cards on East 89th Street. I'd never been there, so while I was out Saturday afternoon buying some over-priced dress shoes for work, I headed up to take a look.

I walked in, and it's pretty tiny is my first observation. It's on a side street, so I guess I wasn't expecting a huge space. But this was teeeny. The left side of the store has cards, the right side has comic books. Not my thing. There was a very nice older women behind the counter, and a grumpy man in an old mesh hat and sweat pants looking through 550-count boxes of cards. Sounds like a typical card shop, right? There were also two kids, probably 11 or 12 years old, buying a few packs and looking at singles. I could tell they didn't have a lot of money to spend and were thinkign very carefully about what they wanted to buy.

I ventured over to the singles box, hoping to find a quarter bin or 10 for a dollar type deal...the kinds of sales you see at other card shops. Now, things cost more in Manhattan in case you didn't know. The $1 menu at McDonald's is the $1.49 menu here. You get 20 McNuggets for $3.99? We get them for $4.99. Movie tickets cost you $11? $13.50 here. You get it. So why should these bins be different? The cheapest cards were $.50, and most were $2. All Yankee base cards were at least $2. The Mickey Mantle 2011 Topps base card (#7) was for sale for $5 (!!!!!). Wow. I laughed to myself because I knew I wasn't going to be buying any singles. So I went to the counter and bought two empty 550-count boxes for storage ($.75 each), and then I grabbed a pack of 2011 Topps hobby. The woman said, "we also have the jumbo packs for $12, and you have a better chance of an autograph or a relic." What the heck? I've never pulled a relic card, and only once gotten an auto in a pack. I grabbed a jumbo and put the other pack back.

The two kids were intrigued, and as I mentioned I could tell they didn't have much to spend. They were buying old packs, and deciding on what to spend their last dollar on - a pack of 1992 or 1993 Upper Deck. Barf. So I told them, "Guys, I'm going to have a lot of extra cards from this pack, so you can have whatever I don't want." They were pumped.

I spend $13.50 - $12 for the jumbo pack and $1.50 for the boxes, and I rip open the pack right at the counter. I can see it's full of inserts...I can see a shiny, as well as some Topps 60s and reprints. I slowly go through each card, and when I get to my first Topps 60, I couldn't believe what I saw:

Yep, a Robinson Cano Topps 60 Relic! I have never, ever pulled a relic of any kind, so to pull this Cano, a Yankee mind you...I was ecstatic! But I played it cool and I said to the woman, "I'm glad you sold me on the Jumbo, look at this." She was happier than I was. She said that most people don't open the packs in the store, so it was nice to see what I got. The kids didn't even know what a jersey card was, so they thought it was cool as well. I pulled out the inserts and other cards that were decent (Pujols, Mike Stanton, Votto league leaders), and gave 32 base cards to the kids, only after checking to make sure there was no hidden diamond SPs. They of course started to fight over the cards, so I had the lady divide them up evenly and randomly. One kid was happy because he was a Mets fan and got Ike Davis. The other kid couldn't believe I let him have a Jose Bautista for free. Seriously, it was awesome to see how happy they were.

Other cards I pulled in the pack (that I kept):
The $5 Mickey Mantle base card ;)
Votto Topps Town
David Price Kimball Mini (I have been pulling Rays cards at an alarming rate lately)
Musial 1957 Lost Card
Teixeira 2004 Reprint
Diamond Duo Hornsby/Holliday
Topps 60 Mat Latos
Shiny Julio Borbon - my SECOND Borbon shiny. The first is heading to Chris at Nachos Grande. Anyone else need this card for their set?
And for good measure, I pulled a Diamond Giveaway and unlocked a 1974 Jim Merritt. So far I have two 1974s and two 1988s. Interesting, and boring.

Anyways, the jumbo pack and the trip to the card store were well worth it. I'll definitely be going back...not to buy over-priced singles or packs, but hopefully for more good baseball card karma.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Purchase Review: Tino bat relic

I got an email from ebay saying that I had won an auction for the following card:

Honestly, I don't remember placing a bid...but I did and I won. $.99 + $2.00 shipping for this 2003 Stadium Club License to Drive card, complete with a piece of game used bat. I have a few Tino bat cards, but I didn't have this one, so for the price it was a nice addition to my personal collection.

The card design itself is kind of a cheesy concept. I guess it's supposed to be a drivers license...and since Tino was a power hitter at the time...driving the ball...ok you get it. The seller was nice enough to send it in a nice screw down case, so that made the price even better.

Trade Review: A Cubbie for some Yanks reprints

I just completed a trade with Shawn over at Baseball-Fever. There is a nice group of collectors over there, so you should check it out if you've never been.

Shawn pulled a few 2011 Topps reprints of some Yankee greats - Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, and Dave Winfield. He offered them to me for a Bowman Chrome Andrew Dolis, as well as a few 2011 Topps base cards that he needed for his set. I'm not necessarily a fan of reprints per se, but I like these three. The 1957 Mantle is really cool, and I love the '57 set. One of my biggest collecting goals is to own an original Topps Mantle, even if it's in poor condition and wrinkly and beat up. Shawn also sent some other 2011 Topps cards, including the Mantle #7 base card that I didn't have, and a Jeter Kimball mini.

Thanks for a great trade, Shawn!

Diamond Giveaway: second card unlocked


Friday, February 18, 2011

Trade Review: Cards on Cards

You're all probably sick of me reaching out to you about trades by now. However, I'm really doing it to learn more about the cards/sets that I have missed the last few years. I'll try to find a card or two from your want list, and ask for a recent Yankee or two in return.

I just completed a trade with Kerry from Cards on Cards, and the assortment that he sent me is proof as to just why I do this. I sent a Chone Figgins 2010 Bowman Chrome Refractor, and Kerry sent me a great lot of a couple newer Yankee cards, and a few Tino's from his time with the Cardinals (aka Lost Years as I call them). I definitely didn't have a few of them, so I appreciate that big time. Additionally, Kerry sent me a couple 2010 Topps 206's - Jeter and Teixeira. I hadn't seen this set before, so it was great to check those out. I like them. There was also a 2009 UD Goodwin Andy Pettitte. This set was foreign to me as well. The fact that it was a Pettitte cards made it even better. The lot was rounded out with a Topps Joba RC from 2007.

Kerry, this was an awesome lot and I am really happy with what you sent. It's fun to see a few new sets that I didn't know about. Thanks again!

TTM Success: One in for my Topps Yankees Project

After a slight drought, I finally received another success for my Topps Yankees Project. Phil Linz signed my 1965 Topps in just six days. He also included a business card from the insurance company that he works for. This definitely is not my favorite Topps set, but I'm extremely happy to check off another year, especially from the 1960s.

Thanks, Mr. Linz!

Happy one week of having a blog!

Yesterday was my one week anniversary of starting this blog. Am I acting like a sixth grade girl for celebrating such a small feat? LOL j/k idk lmao hehe xoxo. Maybe. But I'm happy to be part of this community. I've met a lot of really nice collectors so far, and look forward to meeting more. Everyone has been amazingly accepting and friendly, so thank you! I look forward to celebrating my two week anniversay with you next Thursday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Payday Pack of Cards: Two 2011 Topps Jumbos

I was thinking about something I could do regularly to make sure that I live up to my mission of buying a few packs of cards here and there. As it so happens, I get paid every Thursday, and today happened to be a payday. So, I am now introducing you to my all-new "Payday Pack of Cards." Creative, eh?

I actually bought two packs tonight on my way home from work. I splurged for two jumbo packs of 2011 Topps. I don't have any goals with this set, but I've traded nearly all my base cards and am depleted, so I want to stay diverse as a trading partner. I was also hoping to pull a Topps 60 relic or auto of a Yankee. I should have known better because I have zero luck.

Without further ado, here are the packs (sorry for bad pics). They were full of inserts and a lot of base cards that I didn't get in the blaster I bought:

Pack 1:
Topps Town Hanley
Kimball Vlad
Topps 60 King Felix
60 Years of Topps Frank Robinson/Brooks Robinson 1968 Topps
60 Years of Topps Jackie Robinson 1952 original back (sweet card)
Diamond Duo Price/Garza
Shiny Gio Gonzalez
Diamond Giveaway (site wasn't working when I tried to redeem...shocker)

Pack 2:
Kimball Rios
Shiny Ethier (big fan of his, I shot a commercial with him)
60 YOT Lost Cards Duke Snider 1953
60 YOT Paul Molitor 1980
Topps 60 Gary Carter
Topps Town Tulo
Vintage Reproduction Jimmie Foxx
Diamond Duo Howard/Heyward
Lance Berkman base card, which I was pumped about because I like him and I didn't have a card of him in a Yankees uniform

There you have it. Overall, a nice little haul for my first Payday Pack of Cards. If you see anything you need, let me know. The Shinys and Kimball's are pending.

Topps Yankees Project: A bunch of requests out today

On my way home from work, I stopped at the post office and dropped a couple of trade packages off, as well as sixteen TTM requests. I have no life. All of these requests were for my Topps Yankees Project. I'm really trying to get the 1960s done, so that is the main decade I sent out. I also sent a few from the 1970s, and a few from the 2000s.

Here are the lucky players that received a letter from me:

Mike Hegan - sent a 1968 Topps
Michael Dunn - 2010 Topps (sent to Marlins spring training)
Gene Michael - 1968 and 1970 Topps (preferably would use the 1970 in my project)
Javier Vazquez - 2005 Topps (sent to Marlins spring training)
Bob Watson - 1980 and 1981 Topps (preferably use the 1980 Topps)
Jack Cullen - 1966 Topps
Joe DeMaestri - 1961 Topps
Jon Lieber - 2005 Topps
Fritz Peterson - 1968 and 1973 Topps
Dooley Womack - 1967 Topps
Al Downing - 1964 Topps
Ed Herrmann - 1976 Topps
Chris Hammond - 2004 Topps
Bud Daley - 1964 Topps
Jake Gibbs - 1969 and 1971 Topps
Fred Stanley - 1978 Topps

Whew, that was a lot of stamps and letter writing. Hopefully I get these guys back with pretty signatures on them!

Contest Shout Out: Crinkly Wrappers

Head on over to Crinkly Wrappers for a really cool contest. But don't join so that I have a better chance of winning (kidding, kidding). The prize is one Topps card from every year - 1952-2011.

This contest is a lot like my Topps Yankees Project (one signed Topps card of a Yankee from each year), so clearly I'm on board and this contest is awesome.

How do you organize your cards?

I’ve set aside a chunk of time this weekend to organize my card “collection.” I put collection in quotes because I only have a few cards at  my current home – all the old stuff I have from when I really collected is stored in 3200 count boxes and binders in my childhood home. When I moved to New York City, I had to leave a lot of those behind because space is such a premium. I now live in a shoebox, much like my '80s junk wax. I gave my parents strict instruction not to throw them out (hmm, sounds like a Topps set), although I’m sure 90% of them are crap anyways. But I know I’ve got plenty of good cards from the 1990s and early 2000s there, and at some point in the future I’ll go through them.

Anyhow, what I do have here with me now is about 90% of my Tino Martinez collection – both inserts and commons (it hurts me to call you common Tino, it really does), and two binders and a few boxes full of various Yankee cards. Plus I have a case of any valuable cards I do I have – higher end inserts, autographs, etc.

However, I don’t love how my personal collection is organized. It feels too all-over the place. Tino's are in a binder – pretty much by year but not perfectly chronological - as well as about 50 or so in top loaders/screw cases. The Yanks are in a binders and boxes and that's fine. And recently, I’ve bought a few packs/boxes of cards, and the base cards/commons are sitting in their boxes waiting to find new owners. How do you guys organize your base cards/trade fodder? Do you use 3200 count boxes? Binders? Leave them in stacks on your dresser?

I know that everyone organizes a bit differently, so I’d love to hear how people with far bigger collections than mine store/organize their cards. Anything specific for player collections? For cards you have no use for or might like to move in a trade? I’m curious to hear you methods. Leave a comment and let me know.

Trade Review: Shiny cards for some Yanks

One of the first trades I made since joining the card blogging world was with Chris from Nachos Grande. Not only are those my favorite stadium snack, but Chris needed two of the Diamond Anniversary shinys that I had. I sent him Omar Infante and Chris Young, and asked for a few Yankee cards in return.

He was nice enough to send me 11 Yankee cards. I've been using some of these trades as a quick way to educate myself on some of the sets that I have missed since I've been out of the hobby, and I figure no better way than leave it up to you guys to send me a random sample of Yanks.

In this lot, Chris sent me the following:

1987 Topps Ron Guidry #375
1991 Score Jim Leyritz #65
1997 Collector's Choice Darryl Strawberry #399
1997 Collector's Choice Bernie Williams #175
2005 UD All Star Classics Hideki Matsui #18
2010 Topps ARod, Gardner, Burnett, Rivera, Yanks team card, Arod Topps Attax

My favorite cards are the Strawberry and the Yanks team card. Straw was always a favorite of mine, and he played some good baseball when he had the chance. He played a big role in the 1998 team that won 114 regular season games. The 2010 team card is cool because they are holding up the World Series trophy. I was at the game, so this card is obviously special to me.

Chris, thanks for a great trade. Glad the shinys were able to help you and your quest of collecting the set!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Purchase Review: A smattering of Yankees

I like that word. Smattering. Anyways, a few days ago I made a purchase on SportLots to for about 50 Yankee cards. If you don't know SportLots, it's a great resource for player collectors and set builders. Anyways, a lot of these are older cards that I am going to send out for my Topps Yankees Project. I also picked up a few Tinos for my personal collection, and a few Yankees prospects simply because I didn't have cards of these guys yet. I'm talking about you, Cito Culver, Adam Warren and Slade Heathcott.

Anyways, here are a few of the highlights from my lot. I won't list out every card, that would be boring. But a few cards stand out.

1973 Topps Fritz Peterson. I love this design. I actually think it's my first and only 1973 Topps card. It's a cool action shot of him having just finished delivering a pitch. He is wearing old school stirrups, and you can just tell that the field is so dusty. The grass looks like my old little league field. I like seeing old videos where the infields just aren't as well kept as they are today. The dirt was powdery and flew everywhere.

1981 Topps Bob Watson. Dwight Schrute called. He wants his glasses back.

1961 Topps Joe DeMaestri. Check out that collar under the jersey. Is that denim??

Otherwise, I got a bunch of old Yankees cards - assorted named like Hegan, Reniff, Downing, Womack. Some of the prospects I got include David Phelps, Hector Noesi, JR Murphy, and David Adams.

The Tinos I bought are all ones from his second and final stint with the Yankees: 2005 Topps #655, 2005 Topps Chrome #464, 2006 Topps Heritage #199 (sweet card), and 2006 Fleer #400 (I had never seen this set. Yuck.). I have a bunch of free time this weekend, so I'll do my best to update my Tino collection on this site.

Contest Shout Out: Clear Cut Cards

Even though he is a Mets fan, I'm going to plug Clear Cut Cards first contest. I'm going to give him a pass because he likes the Binghamton Mets, the team from my hometown. Go check it out!

Diamond Giveaway is cool, but not my favorite sweepstakes of all-time

Redeeming my Diamond Giveaway code last night made me fondly remember one of my favorite redemption programs of all time. Card companies have always held sweepstakes and redemption programs that make collecting a little more exciting. This was especially true when Upper Deck Collector's Choice hit the shelves in 1994.

Collector’s Choice was the Topps Opening Day of the ‘90s. It was Upper Deck’s $.99 pack that was the sister to their other higher-end sets. At a time when the prices of packs of cards really started to climb well above $1, this was a welcome brand for any kid who didn’t have a ton of money to spend on cards, like me. Packs were plentiful at the local CVS drug store. The base cards in the 1994 set were simple, and each pack also included a silver signature card, their version of the Topps Gold parallel set.

In 1994, Collector’s Choice had an instant win game called You Crash The Deck. It was a scratch-off card with a head-to-head game between players, and as a kid I remember being pretty amused by it. I don’t quite remember what the game itself entailed. However, there was also an instant win box with decent odds for a prize. Twice I won the same prize, an 8-card hologram insert set from the previous year’s Home Run Derby. The set was called Home Run All-Stars and featured some of the game’s biggest sluggers. I vividly remember sending in my two redemption cards and getting the sets back. I was a huge fan and it put the brand in good graces with me. In fact, I still have at least one of these sets.

In 1995, Collector’s Choice came out with two sets – SE and the regular base set. Unnecessary. But they morphed their sweepstakes game into the popular You Crash The Game insert series – in silver AND gold none the less. Not only were these insert cards pretty cool looking, but the rules changed from 1994. For example, if you pulled a Barry Bonds that said June 28 and he hit a home run that day, you could redeem the card for a prize. Remember, this was before the internet was mainstream, so if you pulled a card and the date had already passed, you had to do some serious legwork to see if you had won. I remember my local newspaper getting mad at me because I would keep calling and asking if Griffey or Bagwell hit a homer on a certain date. They legitimately told me to stop calling. 

They also had similar You Crash games for their other sports sets, and as a result, I ended up with quite a few redemption prizes from each of them. Usually it was a special card of the winning player, or even a 30-card set. In the coming years, they tweaked the rules from time to time, and one year their prize cards were even clear cuts (!!). I still have a Chipper Jones from that redemption.

Topps Diamond Giveaway is a fun sweepstakes, but for me, it hardly comes close to You Crash The Game. Although I could be singing a different tune if I unlock a 1952 Mantle. So I’d like to open it up to you. What’s your favorite all-time card redemption or sweepstakes?