Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Update should be released a little later in the year

In 2018, Topps Update was released on October 22.

I always enjoy update because of the checklist. I'm not talking about half the set being All-Star or HR Derby cards. Those are overdone.

I'm talking about cards of rookies, free agents, and late-season acquisitions.

For the most part, Topps does a really good job of getting players traded at the non-waiver trade deadline into update. I was very happy to see guys like Zack Britton and JA App make their Yankee card debuts.

However, over the last few seasons, we're seeing more and more meaningful acquisitions happening in late August around bigger names. In 2018, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Curtis Granderson were among the names traded prior to September 1. In 2017, Justin Verlander and Justin Upton were moved during this time.

I know Topps has checklist and production deadlines, but when cards like the one below make an appearance as an SP, it makes me wish they'd push those deadlines back a few weeks to get a full scope of the players who were traded, rather than waiting until 2019 Series One, when a lot of those players are likely on a new team.
If the set came out around Thanksgiving time or so, it'd be much more representative. I know then one could say - why not push it further and get in World Series highlights or post-season awards? All fair. But I think that pushing deadlines through August acquisitions versus pushing through the World Series and postseason awards sounds a bit more manageable, and would make for a few happier collectors, me included.

I get that it's easier than ever now to get these acquisition cards with the emergence of Topps NOW, but I'd still love Update to be an actual regular season update versus an update through July 31 with a possible SP or two snuck in.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Finally Frazier!

Clint Frazier is an interesting prospect.

He came to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller trade with the Indians, and has had some success in limited big league action. Poised to play a bigger role in 2018, he was unfortunately sidelined with some scary concussion symptoms. It's too bad, because it may have been his best chance to take a job in the Yankees outfield and run with it. Of course, you can't blame him for the injury.

It just feels like he's never really going to get his chance to shine, at least in NY with a crowded outfield. It's too bad, because he seems like a great dude who the fanbase would really get behind with his style of play.

Still, I hope he finds a way to make a big league impact, and make it with the Yankees versus being another trade chip.

After the trade to NY in 2016, his autograph prices shot up. They remained relatively high until this past season, when both the injury and market saturation drove prices down. I've wanted an autograph of him for quite some time, and was close to picking up an unlicensed Panini version just to have one.
Luckily, I found this card for about the price Donruss autos go for, so I pulled the trigger. I guess it's a RC auto, although I can't say I'd really consider a Topps Tek autograph a rookie card.

Still, the design looks pretty cool and the signature is on-card, and the price felt right.

I'm now very happy to have a Frazier autograph, and I look forward to seeing him back in action in 2019.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Catching up with A Cracked Bat

I am close to finally cleaning out my scanned folder, and here's a post I've been meaning to get to. Over the summer, Julie from A Cracked Bat was kind enough to send me a great bubble mailer full of Yankees. Julie's packages are always great and are always full of cards I didn't have - new and old!

I was most surprised by the 1994 O-Pee-Chee cards in there. I honestly have never seen this set! I'm not surprised at all they exist, just for whatever reason I never came across them. Probably because Tino wasn't included in 1994 for some reason?
Gary Sanchez cards were plentiful too. I really like this Museum Collection card, as Julie is known to include cards from some of the higher end products. The Refractor looks great as well! For whatever reason, I feel like 2018 Refractors looked a lot better than years past.
Another card I really enjoyed was Yankees Old Timers Day insert. I mean, just look at Matsui's flow in the picture! It's amazing!
I think I've gotten some Tips Fire in about three or four of the last packages I've received. Since I found zero Fire this year, I'm very cool with this development.
Stadium Club was pretty nice this year, and these were two great Yankees to snag from the set.
Lastly, this was a fun card: a Jose Campos ONYX autograph. I actually couldn't tell if the silver was a real or pre-printed autograph, but I found a few copies of the card online and the signature differed in each one, so indeed, it'a an autograph! Neat looking card!
Julie, thanks for always keeping me on your list of trading partners!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Dipping back into buying some 2018 cards

It was a very slow summer for me for buying 2018 cards for a few reasons. First and foremost, my Target just never restocked 2018 cards. After flagship, I found a blaster of GQ and then never found anything new after that.

But that wasn't the only reason. I just wasn't inspired by very many 2018 releases. I'm not sure why. Maybe I got Aaron Judge'd last year and was tired of trying to keep up with all of the releases. Also I just feel like each set is the same year after year, and that gets a little tiring. I end up just accumulating without being overly excited about the cards.

Anyhow, two weeks ago I went to a different Target with my son. We were out running errands so tried a different location. They did have a much better selection of cards, and I found one lonely Chrome Update Mega Box, as well as a hanger of 2018 Update.

Side note, the term Mega Box does not make sense to me. 28 cards (7 packs of 4 cards) do not need to be in such a giant box. I'm not a conscious save-the-environment type of person, but the size of this box, and all blasters really, are so over the top for the contents inside.

Despite the usual buyer's remorse after buying retail, I still managed to pull some great cards. 28 cards of Chrome for $20 is pretty dumb, but at least there's a strong rookie class this year. Here are some of the highlights:
I was very happy to get the Gleyber RC from Chrome, as it's my first pack-pulled Torres. I didn't get Ohtani, but did well with Soto and Acuna for sure. Those guys are studs.

Also, it feels like Hoskins has been around forever, so weird to still be getting his RCs still.
This Bryce Harper card is very awesome. It must look event better as a Refractor. I really wish the Yankees would open up their large checkbook and sign Harper. I prefer him to Machado. I would also really relish all the whiny "Harper and the Yankees are made for each other" or "now I can hate the Yankees even more" freezing cold takes and tweets. It would be awesome. But it's not going to happen.
Lastly, these International Affair cards fall 1:2 and are very nice. I don't understand the premise of the set at all, but the cards look great and I was very happy to get a Judge. Probably the second nicest insert set after the 1983 Chrome Refractors.

As for the hanger box, nothing specular, but a solid break for $10. I prefer these to blasters since you get about the same amount of cards, but the 72-card brick is less fun to open. Basically you have about 35 cards on top, the inserts all stuck together in the middle, then all of the horizontal cards pack together as well. Kind of weird and unexciting.

I managed two Torres cards this time, which is great. I guess neither is his true flagship RC because of the 2018 Series 2 SP (which I don't have....GRRR). The debut card of him coming out of the dugout is great. And the AS card isn't a shot of him from the game, as he didn't play due to injury.
Stanton was the card on top of the bricks, and I love cards of trade deadline acquisitions.
I got a nice Ohtani!

And a great looking Bo Jackson.
The Bruce Harper cards come 2 per hanger at Target. The design is a little too political for me, but I get it. Washington DC.

That's it. Overall, I did ok with the break given the players I got, but I still think I should have spent the $30 on something else. But I always feel like that after buying retail.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Landing a Japan-Fractor

I first heard about Japan refractors from Zippy Zappy over at Torres Up Cards. I don't quite remember the context, but I remember being surprised to see these existed. (Kenny, I looked for a bit but was unable to find your post. Or maybe it was a Twitter post. I don't know). Maybe it was a Gary Sanchez card?

I wasn't quite sure where these existed (other than Japan, duh) or how frequently they were inserted into packs, but it was cool to know they were out there. Never did I think I'd land one of one of the main guys I collect.

Every couple of days I take a look at my Ty Hensley saved search on eBay. Usually it consists of stuff I already have, plus some ridiculously over-prized Rize brand cards from the same seller. I wish I could just ignore all of those from my saved search. They've been listed for years and never budge.

Anyways, once every blue moon a Hensley pops up I need - a printing plate or a low numbered autograph. Usually, they are over-priced because YANKEES 1ST ROUND PICK!

But like I said, once in a blue moon a card comes by that wows me. This was one of those times.

I was shocked when a 2012 Bowman Sterling Japan-Fractor popped up. I have a ton of the regular Bowman Sterling autographs, as well as the refractor and gold refractor. But this! This I had no idea it even existed. And it was numbered to just 5. With a starting bid of .99.

I immediately bid and placed a $12 bid. After a few days, someone outbid me. I was worried it might be someone who goes hard after these Japan-fractors. I bid it back up with a max bid of $25, thinking I would go a little higher since I'd likely never see this card again. Luckily, it ended at $13 and I was the winner. It showed up Saturday!

According to Cardboard Connection, these were actually the debut set of the Japan-Fractor, and "Japan-Fractor" is actually the name of the parallel. I wasn't sure if that was made up, but it looks to be the actual given name.

At the time, I assume these looked incredibly unique. Don't get me wrong, they still look great, but I also think I've seen this refractor design on a few cards now. Here's an example:
They also mostly look blue online, but they are a lot more silver in person. I've had a hard time seeing the blue I was expecting.

Still, for a player collector, nothing is better when I rare card like this comes out of nowhere and you're able to score it for a few bucks. Next to my SuperFractor, I have to say that this might be next in line as the crown jewel of my Ty Hensley collection.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Winnings from Wes

A couple weeks back, I got a nice package from Wes over at Jaybarkerfan's Junk Willingham Rising Area 40. He's been holding some giveaways as he accumulates a massive amount of packs to bust.

My winnings were one card and a toy:

A cool graded mini of Jordan Matthews. I let me son display this in his room, as he likes football cards and thought the graded case was neat.
Wes also included this Skeletor toy. I certainly remember this guy from He-Man. It's a small figure, but very cool looking. I believe it may have come from a bling bag, but I'm not 100% certain.

Thanks, as always, Wes! Can't wait to watch you bust those packs.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Cards on Cards saves me a lot of time

First off, before getting into the post below, I have seen a few bloggers do this so I'll join the party. I've admittedly been less than stellar over the past year about sending out cards and return packages. My collection is a little unorganized, and instead of diving in, some nights I just ignore it. It feels daunting to go and pull cards for people from the heaping piles of cards I need to find a place for.

So if I owe you cards, or feel you haven't gotten a return package from me, please feel free to shoot me an email or Twitter DM. I try to keep up and make mental notes, but I'm sure I've missed a few. This would never be intentional, so if you're waiting on something or just feel like I should reciprocate a package or two, please drop me a line!


Someone who I always feel like I owe cards to is Kerry from Cards on Cards. He always sends me a ton of Yankees and Knicks, and I can never keep up. I do have a large stack of Blazers and Cardinals set aside for him, but I have to get my act together and send before the holidays.

A few weeks back, I got an unexpected mailer from Kerry. I didn't buy many new cards over the summer, as the releases were happening faster than I could keep up. Plus, my Target never restocked cards.

So out of nowhere, this package showed up with a ton of Yankees needs from 2018 sets I didn't buy. It saved me a ton of time (and $) not having to hunt down many of these cards and sets. Where to begin?

I'll start with a <fire emoji> set: Topps Fire. These cards are cool, but I've never seen them at Target. Happy to have a few!
Next I'll go with Big League. I'm still torn on this set. Overall, I liked it, but would have rather had year 3 of Bunt. The Severino is a numbered parallel to just 100.
I got some Topps Chrome Update last week, but didn't get any regular ol' Chrome. The Judge pink (or purple?) is so cool. And I can't say enough about how much I love the 1983 Chrome Refractors. Holy crap are these nice. Nicest cards of 2018. Don't @ me.
There was a healthy stack of Heritage as well. The Stanton/Judge card is a 2018 favorite of mine.

I love this card, as I have fond memories of collecting the '93 set. I do wish they made actual gold name versions of these (as far as I know they didn't).
Here are a few more cards that stuck out to me. The Dellin diecut is too cool.
There was plenty more, but as you can see, Kerry really helped me check off a ton of 2018 Yanks I didn't have. Thanks, Kerry!