Saturday, March 30, 2019

If you are what they say you are, a Superstar

Back when 2019 Topps Series One came out, I pulled a Lorenzo Cain Brewers photo variation SP. Matt of Summer of '74  was interested in the card, so I shot it his way and told him to send me a Judge autograph in return...or at least something Yankee-related when he got to it.

A few weeks later he said he had something cool to send me, and he was right!

I opened his PWE to find these six cards. I had never seen them!
I consider myself somewhat capable of using Google, but all I can really find are that these are from 1980 TCMA. There are a few listed on COMC, including non-Yanks like Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, and Sandy Koufax.

I think they are great looking cards, and wasn't quite sure if they actually were vintage or a modern day reprint. For the record, I am one who does consider 1980 as "vintage."

Matt, these are really cool and I thank you. It's always fun to open up a card package and out fall cards you've never seen!

Friday, March 29, 2019

My favorite team that didn't win the World Series

The 2003 World Series will forever be the one that got away.

I wanted to go a few ways with this for the contest over at Collecting Cutch.

At first, I wanted to choose 1994. The Yankees were looking primed to come out of the AL in a World Series showdown versus the Expos. I have no doubt that Don Mattingly would have hit .800 in that World Series.

Then I wanted to choose 1995. But I feel like the Yankees needed that crushing 1995 loss to set the stage for 1996. Similar story for 1997 leading into the threepeat 1998-2000 Yanks.

I wanted to choose 2001 because of the epic World Series and what it would have meant to NYC.

I wanted to choose 2010 because the Yankees should have gotten Clif Lee and beat Texas in the ALCS.

I wanted to choose 2017 because the Yankees weren't supposed to contend just yet, but then ended up one game short of going to the World Series.

I wanted to choose 2018, mostly because that means the Red Sox wouldn't have won.

But to me, the ultimate letdown is still 2003. Aaron Boone hit the epic Game 7, extra-inning HR of Tim Wakefield.

That Yankees team was better than the Marlins. They were. But the game isn't played on paper, and the Marlins showed up to play and the Yankees didn't. After the epic series with Boston, it just felt like the Yankees couldn't match that intensity again. Whether they were worn out or expected to win or whatever it might have been, they didn't play well and lost 4 games to 2 in a series that wasn't very close.

What is most disappointing is that guys like Mike Mussina and Jason Giambi had their shots at rings, and the team didn't come through. By no means was this my favorite Yankees team, but I would have loved to see those guys - along with Alfonso Soriano - finally get their rings. Those three never did.

My favorite Yankees team? Hardly. But one I wish would have win? Definitely.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The kind of group break I like

I feel like "card Twitter" is always changing.

For a while, my feed turned into one giant classified ad. I went to work trying to turn off retweets and likes from certain followers, as that was usually the culprit of these showing up. I don't mind seeing these once in a while, but a constant barrage of sales, especially from people I don't know, got on my nerves a little.

My new challenge is now group breaks. I feel like every other Twitter post is from some sort of group breaker that I have no interest in following.

I like some forms of group breaking, but most of it isn't for me. I don't like the horror stories of getting zero cards shipped to you if there isn't a big hit. I don't like some of the shady business of cards getting swapped out for others, or something being opened off camera like that one dude did with the mini football helmet. I know the vast majority are good people, but I'm sure there are several who give them all a bad rap.

This is to not criticize those who participate in these sorts of breaks. It's the way many collect, and that is fine. If that's what makes you happy, then by all means.

I recently quote-tweeted one of these stories about group break shadiness saying that this is why I didn't like them, and Colbey from Cardboard Collections aptly pointed out "except my group breaks." Of course not! Here I am talking about what I don't like about these breaks, when I frequently have bought into group breaks hosted by Colbey or Nachos Grande. But to me, those are much, much different. I trust the people running them, and I trust they are running them as collectors and not big hit chasers. You always know what you're getting with these guys.

Colbey famously runs his "affordable group break" every month or so, and you always get every card of your claimed team. Recently, I had the Yankees + random second team in a 1995-ish product break. The second team I drew was the White Sox.

The highlight for me in this break was 1995 Zenith, and easily the best pull was this rookie (but not his true RC, which were in 1993) of Derek Jeter. The card looks amazing and I'm so glad it was pulled from the break.
1995 Summit was a fun part of the break. I've gotten some of these in trades over the years, but never would have found any growing up. I'm guessing they were in hobby shops mostly? They definitely weren't at CVS.
The third product was Sportflix, which was actually a pretty solid looking set in '95.
As I mentioned, my random second team was the White Sox, which I was pretty happy about because I figured Id'd get some decent Frank Thomas cards. Back in 1995, you wanted to pull cards of Thomas, Griffey, and Piazza. Those were the three. And luckily Thomas well represented in each product:
Pretty good!

And a good break. Colbey, I promise I'll stay in your breaks as long as your promise to keep shipping all the cards!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

A little Extra confusion

About 10% of my Ty Hensley collection is from 2012 Elite Extra.

It's a confusing set. There are a lot of different versions of each card, from Prospects to Aspirations to Status. Plus each parallel has color and die-cut versions. And then autographs of each. Even typing that out made me confused.

I guess the silver lining is that as a player collector of a guy who doesn't have many cards, it always gives me something new to chase and discover.

Every now and then on eBay, one of these pops up that I don't have. At this point it's usually the lower numbered autographs, although I swear Elite Extra is still putting out new versions of these just to confuse me. I didn't even have to check my 'have' list when this showed up in my saved search. I knew I needed it.
It only set me back a few bucks, and is numbered to just 08/10.

Sure, this set is confusing. But at least it's something that always offers a challenge to chase, and for that, I'll put up with a little confusion any day.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Zapped...before Christmas

Over the past few months, I have received two very generous card packages that I've been slow to properly show. They are sort of daunting to scan, which admittedly is the main reason. Each were incredible, but honestly it's just easier sometimes to show off the smaller ones.

One of these was from Zippy Zappy, who for some reason, kept telling me sorry it was taking him so long for a proper zapping. I always thought this was silly, as he owed me nothing.

While I was away for Christmas, a large flat rate box arrived. I figured it likely had one of his repacked hobby boxes, which are always fun. But I was wrong. Here's what was inside.

Yes, there were some of his famous repacks, but not in a box. Instead he sent a full on binder, and some other odds and ends, including a Yankees CD from 1998, which looks to have a collection of Stadium songs and game calls, as well as an Ultra Pro ball case. I have a few signed baseballs that are unprotected, so this will go to good use.
The packs were mostly minor league team sets, which should create some good TTM folder.

On to the binder, which had a custom Luis Torrens taped onto the front, and an Eric Jagielo glass autograph taped onto the inside. Side note - Zippy and I probably spent a lot of money on Jagielo cards, who was one of three Yankees first rounders with Ian Clarkin and Aaron Judge. If we had only funneled all the money into Judge early on...
So I took a pretty easy way out and snapped a bunch of photos to really help show the assortment. It was a really fun binder to flip through, and I've actually still got it intact.
There was a page of almost all relics and autographs, and here are a few. Crazy to see Wilkerman Garcia as a "throw in", as he got SUPER expensive at one point after 2015, but has had a couple of uninspiring seasons since.

This is a new Tino to my collection! If I want to get up over 1,000 Tinos, I should just focus on Topps Tek. That would get me there with all the variations and patterns.
Here's a different assortment of cards I particularly enjoyed as well.
ZZ, this post didn't really do you generosity justice, but thank you for thinking of me.

Monday, March 18, 2019

TTM Success: Dirk Nowitzki

After two decades in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki will be hanging it up after this season.

I've always enjoyed watching Dirk play. There was something so lovable about him, and he turned laughing-stock Dallas into a NBA title contender and eventual champion. He had a very unique game for a 7-footer, shooting lights out all over the court with his patented fadeaway jumper.

He has also been a very gracious TTM signer for his fans. I actually received a success from him five or six years ago, but I didn't prep the card and it bubbled very badly. I never got around to sending him another request until just recently, and I threw this card into a recent COMC order because I figured it 1. would't bubble and 2. would look pretty good.
I was right! It came out great.

Thanks Dirk, and enjoy retirement!

Friday, March 15, 2019

A badass TTM on a badass card of a badass player

Pat Neshek is the best TTM signer out there. There's really no comparison. Maybe Bobby Shantz or Virgil Trucks, but no current player serves his autograph-seeking fans better.

When Neshek's 2019 Heritage came out, an homage to the card below, I felt like it needed to be signed.
Image result for lowell palmer topps

So I shot him a TTM request to Phillies spring training, and he was kind enough to return the card signed in a few days time.

It looks awesome, and I'd imagine he's going to be signing a lot of these for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Precious Metal Gems

It would be accurate to say that I was most into cards in the late '90s. My collection right now is certainly better than it was then due to having some disposable income and the wonders of blog-to-blog trading, but in terms of my love for the hobby, the late '90s take the cake.

The one thing I missed out where crazy insert, like the ones going for big money nowadays that aged extremely well. Probably the most high-end cards I bought were Fleer Ultra, and I did pull some nice cards out of those. I remember pulling a few 1:36 cards and being pretty excited. This one comes to mind:
Image result for nick van exel ultra rising stars
Image from COMC
Definitely not a valuable card, but it was a decent insert at the time in a set that would be considered fairly tough.

What I did miss out on were the big time cards - notably inserts and parallels - that have absolutely skyrocketed in value since the late '90s. In fact, a Michael Jordan 1997-98 Precious Metal Gems card just sold for....$350,100! Read about it here if you missed it.
Image result for michael jordan precious metal gems
Image from Sports Collectors Daily
But I didn't completely miss the boat. In fact, around this time, I bought a Tino Martinez Precious Metal Gem of my own. I probably got it on the internet/message board for $20-25, but I don't remember the exact transaction. Still, it's not a card that pops up often, and it would cost me a lot more if I wanted it today.
Sure, I missed the boat on life-changing cards in the late '90s, but at least I was smart enough to grab one of my favorite player at the time. It's one of my most prized Tino cards, and is easily one of my rarest and most high-end cards.