Friday, August 31, 2018

Plunder the Bronx

According to several reports, this man is about to become a Yankee:
I'm very happy with the acquisition if it does happen. I know he isn't the same player he was a few years back, but the Yankees have been running Shane Robinson out there far too much while they wait for Aaron Judge to return from his broken wrist. He'll immediately make the current lineup better, longer, and more capable, while also playing a solid OF. Done.

Aside from the no more Shane Robinson thing, my favorite part? Hoping Cutch finds his way into an annoyingly large amount of 2019 Topps sets despite his 30 game cameo. If we know Topps like I think we do, he's a pretty safe bet to be in at least Series 1, Heritage, and Gypsy Queen.

What's fun about that isn't the cards I'll acquire, but watching my friend, Collecting Cutch, battle Yankee fans for some beautiful and rare Cutch cards of him in Pinstripes. My money (and his!) is on Collecting Cutch coming out victorious.
I don't have many McCutchen cards, but hopefully he has a few Topps Now-able moments in September. I'm also glad I hung on to this t-shirt over the years!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Substitute thrift shopping

I have a thrift store that is just about 3 blocks from my house. So only a few hundred steps.

It sits in the basement of a local church, and is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I wish it were open more frequently, but I understand that the people who work there are volunteers. When we have nothing going on a particular Saturday, which is rare, I try to make the walk down at 10am in search of cards.

My best find there was a giant binder of cards for $5 (read about it here). Rarely do they have new cards and they get tired of me asking each time I go in. However, I saw a guy one time paying just as I was getting there and he had a massive bin of cards that just come in and not even hit the floor yet. I could just tell he was an aggressive thrift store shopper and probably spends all of his Saturday bouncing around from shop to shop and trying to do the same. Part of the reason I try to get there at 10am when I go is because I know he might be lurking again ready to buy cards on my home turf.

Anyhow, the shop was close from mid-July through August 25, as a I read on a sign last time I went. I excitedly made my way there yesterday thinking of all the new cards they must have gotten in while the shop was closed for the summer.

To my disappointment, I arrived and saw the shop was not yet open. One of the ladies told me there were some plumbing issues they were fixing (basement of an old church, mind you), and it likely wouldn't be open until later in September. Bummer. But all was not lost!

They were having a substitute sale in an all-purpose room in the church. I ventured in and saw a few tables set up. I'm not sure the rhyme or reason for what was displayed, but it seemed like a little of everything. There were no cards, but immediately my eye saw these.
Originally I looked and put them back while I browsed for more cards and looked at a tennis racquet (my kid has one and has been bugging me to get my own to play). Unfortunately the racquet looked like it would fall apart if I used it. I should just suck it up and buy one for $20 on Amazon for the three times I'll actually use it.

Anyhow, I noticed a guy with a gray ponytail looking at the Murray sculptures. I pulled out my phone to see how these sell on eBay, and a few sold for above $20 each. The man put them back and moved on. I went over and picked them up again, and asked the lady how much they were, as they were one of the few items with no price tag. She said $1 each.

I figured I couldn't let them just sit there, even if I didn't have a plan or a need for them. I forked over the $2 and made my way out, bummed I didn't find cards but excited I found something I could likely profit off of at some time.

This is not my image because I didn't want to open them, but here is what the statue looks like:
I'm still not positive which way I'll go. I'll probably try Facebook marketplace first to avoid shipping, but I can't imagine many Orioles fans around here. eBay seems like my best bed, but I'd need to charge around $15 shipping, as the boxes aren't small. If neither of those work, we're having a town-wide garage sale next month and I'll try to move them there for a couple bucks each, remembering that I only paid $1 each to begin with and have no real need for them. I just don't want the cost of my time to make these a nuisance, so whatever ends up working with the least amount of legwork.

Still, I couldn't just let them sit there.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A repack dud

I don't really like complaining about the $4.99 Walgreen's repacks. I know what I'm getting when I buy them...about 95% junk. But usually I find at least get a few fun cards that are worth the price of admission. Rarely can one be chalked up to being a total stinker, but that's what happened earlier this week.

I made the Walgreen's trip to get some milk, and of course checked to see if they had any of these, as they've been out of stock. They had ONE. Seeing all the Harper RCs and other gems being pulled out of these on Twitter, I figured it was a sign I should fork over my $5 and buy it.

I should have known it was a bad sign when this was the card in the window:
Fun fact: Chase Utley still plays Major League Baseball! I had no idea until he announced his retirement earlier this year. This is one of the red/white/blue Prizm cards, and admittedly that looks pretty cool. I like the card, not the player.
Now I will interrupt the complaining for a second to mention that the best part of the repack was that there wasn't a pack of 2013 Triple Play or 1990 Donruss. It was actually 2015 Topps Series One! That is a massive victory! While I didn't pull anything of note, I'll take my chances every day with a pack like this versus what is usually in there, so I gotta say, that was a welcome change. I just hope the crappier cards I got aren't a result of slightly better packs going in these.

As for the pack, a Yankee and a Michael Morse insert. What a world where Michael Morse was in an insert set just three years ago!
I'm not joking when I say these were the three best cards. I'll always welcome two HOFers for my son's binder.
These other four cards were about the most noteworthy.
Unfortunately, really nothing else. A lot of 2013 Topps, and none from the team sets like usual. No rookies or oddballs either.

It's ok though! This isn't going to deter me from buying these again. On the whole, they are usually fun and provide some good entertainment value and a few keepers along the way.

However, I just might decide to drive the extra 10 minutes to Target for milk for the foreseeable future.

Monday, August 20, 2018


Over the last two months, Giancarlo Stanton has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. It seems like almost every other game he is hitting laser beam homers. After getting off to a slow start, it's been a lot of fun watching him heat up during the summer.

And it came at a much-needed time, as Aaron Judge has missed the last 23 games with a fractured wrist. It's too bad we haven't seen those two hot at the plate the same time.

Regardless, my Stanton Yankee pickups have been pretty few and far between, but I used my latest stash of eBay Bucks to bring this one home:
There's Stanton's spot in the Topps Living Set.

I'm happy with this one. Stanton has a pretty focused look. Maybe even with a hint of meanness. It's the same look he has had at the plate since the calendar flipped to July.

I've now got two Yankees from the Living Set - Gleyber Torres and Stanton. Stupidly, I missed out on Andujar, but I'm definitely happy to have this one. This card was only produced 7,626 times, which shows Stanton hasn't quite won over Yankee collectors yet.

But I'm not one of them. I'm on board with this guy through and through.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Time to sort

Lately, my kids have been getting on the Harry Potter movie train, much to my enjoyment. I'm a big Potter fan - I read all the books and usually saw the movies the night they opened. So it's been fun for me to see my kids take in movies 1-3. I won't let them watch movie 4 and beyond just yet, as they are still a but young and the series gets a bit more sirius after that.

One of my favorite scenes from the entire series is the first time we see the sorting hat. It's a great scene:
Sometimes, I wish there was a magical card-sorting machine so I wasn't always so behind.

Luckily, there is at least some hardware now that can help make the sorting process easier. I'm talking about BCW's card sorting tray!

I already got one of these back in December, but always kicked myself that I didn't order a second one at the same time. However, that changed this past week. You see, I'm part of Sport Card Collector's Fantasy Baseball League, and I had the top winning percentage in July. I had the choice of choosing between a sorting tray or a Topps Finest autograph. I chose....GRYFFINDOR! Errr, the sorting tray!

It arrived earlier this week, and I'm looking forward to putting it to good use. Thanks to SCC and BCW Supplies for the great prize!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Going beyond the rainbow

Yesterday morning, I ventured into my collection to take a few photos of my Ty Hensley 2013 Bowman rainbow. Then I checked the blogs, and Zippy Zappy happened to do a tremendous post about the discipline it takes to complete a rainbow. It was like fate that on the same morning I decide to take a few photos of my rainbow, Zippy goes and puts together a terrific post. If you haven't read it, click here.
My Ty Hensley Bowman Rainbow was actually done quite a long time ago. Since then, I've been going slightly beyond the rainbow.

For example, I was content with just one printing plate. Then I found this, so figured I'd buy it.
I know I'll never have all the plates, but I did like adding another.

Then I sent Ty a TTM request, using some of the duplicates from collecting this rainbow.
So I've gone past the rainbow and there's no stopping. I'm not as manic as to get each card of this rainbow signed. That's too aggressive. But I do like adding to it here and there. Most notably, I'm content with it its current state and won't stress if this is the end.

But if more of the plates pop up, I'm definitely going to be on it.

And if Ty is playing again next season, I'll probably send him a few more of these to get signed.
ROY G BIV, my friends. ROY G BIV.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

BFG winnings from June

Back in June, Johnny was kind enough to host another Big Fun Game. I selected a door, my prize was revealed, and no one took it. I came away with 75 cards of start players from the past 20 years or so!
It was a really fun lot to go through, and I came away with some nice Yankee cards of Jeter, Mo, and Clemens.
While many of the players aren't guys I collect, they will find a nice place in my son's HOF binder. I'm always down for that!
I enjoyed finding a low-numbered Ichiro!
And a cool oddball Clemens.
And I'll never turn away a Fleer Metal card of a HOFer.
Johnny, this was a really fun group of cards. Thank you!

Saturday, August 11, 2018


I haven't been very good at supporting the hobby the past couple of weeks, so I decided to try and participate in National Baseball Card Day today.

The shop that is about 6 miles from my house, Skybox Cards, was participating. We had some intense storms here, but I still hopped in the car and made the 16-minute drive over.

I feel bad, but it was only my second time in the store since I moved to my current town three years ago. No excuse, really. I just don't go to card stores very frequently, especially when my preference is to buy blaster boxes with my limited card funds.

Upon entering, I spoke to Bill the owner for a bit. He said the store was packed earlier in the day (it was empty while I was there but was almost closing time), mostly because of National Baseball Card Day. Hey, whatever works to get paying customers in the door! He said he had some of the free packs left and gave me one, as well as asked if I wanted Aaron Judge or Rhys Hoskins as my free card. Enthusiastically I said "Judge!" He explained that several people before me chose Hoskins.
Bill was really great to talk to, and it turns out we both love autographs (especially TTM!). We agreed it's gotten a lot tougher to get autographs through the mail now, mostly because of the ease of pulling autographs in packs.

I only had a few bucks in my wallet and it's a cash-only store, so I wasn't able to really help business out too much. I did find two Yankee singles to buy from Bowman Platinum:
He also explained to me that his most popular products are autograph grab bag envelopes he has out on the counter. These are $5 each or three for $12, and are guaranteed at least two autographs per envelope, sometimes more. He has the envelopes in a stack in a box, and you give him a number between 1 and 96. I chose 24 for Tino, and my envelope ended up with four autographs! No one noteworthy, but still a fun idea.
I was only there for about 20-30 minutes, but feel I did my small part in supporting National Baseball Card Day. Thanks to Bill and Skybox Cards for the enjoyable trip to the store!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Beam me up, Steiny

A few weeks back, Peter of Baseball Every Night reached out asking if I needed some Yankees from Stadium Club. I have found ZERO Stadium Club where I live, so of course I was more than willing to take them off his hands.

The highlights for me were the Beam Team cards. I don't think I ever pulled one back in the day - baseball or basketball - so they still feel exclusive to me. The "beams" this year feel more like a building going up under construction, but can't argue with the two players:
I only have a couple of Clint Frazier cards, so always glad to add those to my collection. I hope he gets healthy down the stretch, as concussion symptoms are no joke.
I like the Power Zone inserts a lot as well, although I always knew these to be a Topps Finest insert set.
Peter also sent a few base and parallels, including a Matsui base and black foil.
A red foil parallel of Don Mattingly rounded out the package. I've always loved Mattingly's post-swing pose.
Earlier that week, Peter also sent me a PWE with an early Tino Martinez card. I always get a kick out of Tino wearing #53 early in his career.
Thanks for all of the great cards, Peter!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Big League IS Bunt

I finally found a single pack of Topps Big League at Target last week. That was all that was there. Literally one lonely, loose pack. Having not seen or received any, I bought it to sample the product.

I've seen it enough on the blogs and Twitter to know what I was getting, so I wasn't surprised by anything. What does surprise me is all the praise this set is getting for replacing Topps Bunt. That's because this set is Topps Bunt, with a different name and $.99 more per pack (although I do believe a pack of Bunt had 7 cards versus the 10 that Big League provides).

It's not exactly apples to apples, but these sets are far more alike than many will admit or want to hear, starting with the card stock. Bunt seems to have been taboo because of the connection to the digital card app, which I never understood. To me, the set could easily be enjoyed without worry about any connection to app.

As for the Big League cards, I expected a more traditional cardboard feeling product, almost like a late '80s card or a modern day Heritage (maybe a little less thick). The card stock reminded me exactly of...
Hmm, 2016 Topps Bunt. 2017 Bunt were inexplicably slippery and glossy, but holding a 2016 Bunt against a 2018 Big League is nearly identical.

I also found a retired legend in my pack. Hmmm, you know what else had legends in the set? 2016 Bunt.
 I even found - gasp - an ad for a Topps digital product.
True, this set is twice as big as both 2016 and 2017 Topps Bunt, which came in at 200 cards. But the set does have legends plus ballparks and league leaders, so I wouldn't exactly call it a 400-card set of current players.

And the backs of the cards resemble a more traditional card back with a few years of stats and a write-up versus the few-sentence write-up that Bunt has. I do like that better. But does that justify $1.99 per pack versus $.99? 2018 Bunt, if it existed, could have easily had both of these things.
Both Bunt and Big League have similar parallels as well. 2016 Bunt had Platinum, Topaz, and Crimson (1 of 1). 2017 had a parallel per pack, just like Big League, which has one gold card per pack (although it looks very yellow to me...I thought I got a rare yellow/canary card), Rainbow Foil, Black and White, and Red Foil (1 of 1). Interesting that Crimson was the color of Bunt's 1 of 1s, and Red is the color of Big League's 1 of 1s.

They both have a few inserts too. The first year of Bunt had: Unique Unis, Future of the Franchise, Light Force, Programs, Title Town, Moonshots, Stadium Heritage, and Autographs. Big League has Players' Weekend, Ministers of Mash, Autographs, and Rookie Republic autographs. And of course, the inserts have parallels.

None of this is to poo poo on Big League. It's a fine set and a good effort and I like it a heck of a lot more than A&G or Gypsy Queen. I just find it interesting how many people dismissed Bunt the last two years because of the digital connotation to the app, while praising Big League as a set that really gets what collectors want. They are by and large the exact same product, but the dollar price point was taken away from us. That's a big deal, at least to a frugal collector like me.

I tip my cap to Topps Marketing team for this one. They created a product that could have easily been branded as the third year of Bunt, gave it a generic baseball name (Big League!), and increased the SRP from $.99 to $1.99...and seemed to have created a winner in the minds of collectors. It truly was just a re-brand, but I think they did a great job making it feel new and different. That's some sound marketing.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Opting in

As many of you have surely seen, Colbey from Cardboard Collections recently held a free group break for a couple of boxes of 2016 Donruss Optic he opened. I claimed the Yanks, hoping for a Greg Bird or Luis Severino autograph.

While that did not quite happen, it was still a success that netted me some very nice Yankees cards. ARod led the way with a few Diamond Kings, include the Refractor (Prizm? Holo?) version.
He was also in the base set.
One thing I learned is that Aroldis Champan's first name is actually Albertin. I did not know that!
It feels like forever ago that Brian McCann was on the Yankees.
I was able to score a few of the Rated Rookies, including Severino and Bird. It also feels like forever ago that Robert Refsnyder was a top Yankees prospect.
My favorite card of the break was the Mariano Rivera Masters of the Game. Just a very nice card!
I also got a few of the purple parallels, including McCann and Bird. The Bird is a particular favorite.
Thanks for the break, Colbey!