Friday, October 30, 2020

A graded goat

In my eyes, 1998 Donruss Crusade is the greatest insert set of all time. 

That subject is, of course, up for debate and a personal belief. But no matter how many amazing inserts I've seen - from die cuts to clear cuts and everything in between - nothing knocks 1998 Donruss Crusade off of the pedestal I have put it on. 

I can't explain my fascination.

For me, I think it stems back to this being one of the first big-time insert sets Tino Martinez was included in. The card-year of 1998 saw his insert set inclusion soar, which happens when you're the first baseman of the Yankees coming off a 44-HR, 141-RBI season. 

I see posts by guys like Junior Junkie and realize how many amazing inset sets Tino never even sniffed, so perhaps I like this one because he was finally included in the cool kids club.

However, 1998 Crusade isn't very exclusive. It's a 130-card insert set with parallels. That's something I complain about now: larger insert sets with multiple versions. But sorry, this isn't some crappy "Baseball's Greatest Moments" or "Gold Standard" uninspired crap we've gotten over the past decade.

The cards themselves are beautiful, and are becoming harder to find for a reasonable price. If you do an eBay search, they aren't cheap. Most of the common guys still go for about $20. And a weird printing error occurred where there are lines smack dab through them, like my first Tino Crusade has.

Argh. Lines!

That's why I was keen to buy this PSA 9 when it popped up on eBay and I had some eBay Bucks burning a hole in my pocket. A 9 is pretty darn good, and look, no lines! Not that I care much for graded cards. I only have a couple of graded Tino cards.
However, a graded card, of my favorite player, in the greatest insert set of all time? Don't have to twist my arm.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Unchartered waters

I know very little about vintage basketball cards.

Most of us can take a look at any baseball card from the 50s, 60s, or 70s and know exactly what year the set is from. But if you showed me a basketball card from that timeframe? I'd have no idea.

In my quest to stay somewhat interested in cards right now, I've started to look at some vintage basketball cards. Given I'm a Syracuse University alum, I thought it was time to pick up some Dave Bing cards. Bing is one of the greatest NBA players of all time, despite being very under-appreciated. 

I hope to pick up a RC, but I started with a couple cards from other points of his career. Anyone know what year this is from without looking? Me neither!
It's from 1970-71 Topps. When I bought it on eBay, I expected it to be the size of a mini. Wrong! It's bigger than a traditional card. How would I know? I was very surprised when I opened the envelope and saw it.

See what I mean? Making uneducated purchases. Many would call that dumb. Including me.

Here's the second Bing I bought. Any idea on the year?
Well, it's later in his career, as he's a Celtic. But it's from 1978-79 Topps. It doesn't look much like it's baseball counterparts from 1978 nor 1979, although I do see some early '80s baseball cards in a few of the design elements.

It's kind of dumb of me to make these types of uninformed purchases, but we're only talking a few bucks. If anything, it's fairly enjoyable to see a completely new design from an era where we're all familiar with what the baseball cards looked like.

I'll probably work to complete the Dave Bing Topps run, as vintage basketball is picking up steam from a lot of collectors and investors. Might as well snag 'em now while I can...even if I'm buying cards I know very little about.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

My Topps Yankees ALIVE!

I thought I had no shot at continuing my Topps Yankees Project for 2020, but out of nowhere a few days ago, this showed up:
Let me take a step back. For those not familiar, my Topps Yankees Project is a collecting project I started in 2011. The project consists of one signed Yankees Topps card from every year since 1951. All autographs were obtained by me through the mail (TTM), and there are no repeating players. 

I sent a batch of cards out at spring training for 2020, and none came back. Then COVID-19 and stuff. And I did stop sending TTMs during that time, except I sent three requests to Yankee Stadium once Series 2 came out. I know, hypocrite!

After hearing nothing, I assumed I was going to have to try again next spring, but luckily Mr. Mike Ford came through for me and I can check 2020 off the list.

I am due to once again scan the entire project. For now, I'll link back to the last time I did that in 2017 here.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Vroom Vroom - A different kind of relic

I've mentioned a few times that I'm a bit bored with baseball cards currently. I'd say it's the result of 2020, with cards not readily available to open. And even if I do stumble upon some, the sets are pretty lackluster.

Some of it has to do with also coming down from the emotional collecting high of 1,000 Tino cards. I'm not chasing down his cards with the same vigor after hitting that milestone.

Maybe I'll change my blog to "The Bored Collector."


So in searching for some fulfillment, I've seen a few blogs show some racing cards. No, I do not plan on collecting racing cards, although I did buy the Lewis Hamilton Topps Now card. But I don't plan on collecting nor buying any packs.

However, I did see a few relics shown off, and they are pretty damn cool! Race-used tires! Firesuits! Gloves! SHEET METAL!

That's cool. That's more fun than a plan gray swatch.

So off to eBay I went to sample a few of these.

The first I bought was a race-used tire card. This was a cheapy. Daniel Hemric. He's made most of his starts in the XFinity and Truck series, although does have a few Cup starts to his name. He actually was the 2019 Cup Series Rookie of the Year, although it was more by default than anything else. This tire relic is pretty cool though, featuring three pieces of tire, and one with some fibers!
The next card I snagged was a quad-relic of Cup mainstay Ryan Blaney. Now we're talking. This is a fun one. It contains two pieces of sheet metal, one piece of fire suit, and one piece of...I don't know. It's rubbery, but not tire rubber. At least I don't think it's tire rubber. It could be. I'd say it's either shoe or glove? That's my biggest complain with these NASCAR cards: that the cards don't say what the relics are. Similar to baseball relic cards, it's all very vague.
The last card is a dual sheet metal card of Clint Bowyer. I actually thought the relic piece on the left would be rubber, but it's not. It's metal. I'm thinking it's from the front of Bowyer's car, from the "grill" area or from the fake headlights. Looks like grill. Not sure!
I doubt I'll pick up more of these. I basically paid money just to look at them. But they sure are cool and more fun than "jersey that is not from any particular season, game, or event."

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Waffle House does not have Pancakes

In 2017, I was on a short trip with my son, and he wanted pancakes for breakfast.

Right near our hotel was a Waffle House, so we went there. I figure they'd have pancakes. Guess what?

I was wrong.

I know, I know. That was stupid move by me. It's called WAFFLE House. I know that was an idiotic move by me. But I figured they must have pancakes too. After all, you can get waffles at IHOP. That was my rationale. It's a breakfast joint. Sure they specialize in waffles, but I fully expected regular old pancakes to be buried on the menu somewhere.

They weren't. Lesson learned.

He ended up eating a waffle with a heaping side of bacon. But I still felt dumb. I'm sure I could have found a diner or a Denny's or something. But I took my kid to get pancakes at a place known for waffles. I hope he grows up to be smarter than me.

I don't know why, but when my latest mail day from Wes aka the Pancake King came, I immediately thought of that story and laughed to myself.
Wes offered a mega trade-athon on Twitter where he offered up amazing card after amazing card. He truly did. I claimed five cards - the max - and they were quite a mixture. I still owe Wes a return package, which I'll get mailed out soon, buddy. I promise.

To me, two PINK cards were the crown jewel of my claim:
Look at those rookie studs! The Chase Young Leaf Draft autograph was claimed early on before anyone was paying attention, I think. It's numbered just 7/7 for the 2nd overall pick behind Joe Burrow in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The pink Zion is cool too, and definitely my best Zion RC. I know he's not the hottest card in town anymore, although I think he'll have a decent year 2 because I don't think anyone will be hot enough in the NBA's next rookie class, and that includes LaMelo Ball.

The next card I claimed was a Bernie Williams bat card from Panini. Nice relic of a great Yankee.
The last cards I claimed came after the fact, as I checked out what was left, and landed on these two:
A relic of The Mailman is a cool item to add to the collection. Bol Bol got hot for a while after a scrimmage(!) in Orlando, but I didn't get this card to iNvEsT. My buddy is an Oregon fan so I snagged this for him.

Wes, thanks buddy. The event was amazing, and another reminder of why you're one of the most generous out there.

Monday, October 12, 2020

TTM Success: Vince Carter

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I've decided not to send out TTM requests. 

I was already souring on this part of the hobby well before the world shut down, but once everything started picking up in mid-March, I made the conscious decision not to send unsolicited mail to current or (especially) retired athletes.

Prior to this, I was sending fewer and fewer requests for a several reasons. One, I value my time, and sending letters to people I don't know currently doesn't appeal to me as a way to spend my time. I haven't always felt this way, and maybe I won't forever. Two, it's getting harder and hard to find players that sign. Rebel Random Ramblings (thanks for the tip, Fuji) has a great post on the greed that has entered the TTM hobby, with guys often sending far more than one or two cards. Why anyone needs to send nine cards to a player is beyond me. I guess to sell them.

I'm not stepping away completely. I still plan to continue my Topps Yankees Project, which is still missing 2020! I'll have to try again next spring sometime.

Prior to the pandemic - well, prior to quarantine really starting - I sent a request to future NBA Hall of Fame Vince Carter. Fearing it was his last season (indeed it was), I hoped to secure an autograph of his. I sent this on March 2nd, and last week, this arrived:
Awesome! I've always been a huge fan of Carter, from his days at UNC to his ascension to the NBA's most exciting player, to helping the Nets get to the Finals, to embracing his role as a wise old veteran the past few years. He's been a hell of a player, and I'm happy to add this autograph to my collection.

I wish Mr. Vince Carter nothing but the best in the next chapter of his career.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Free Card Friday - Pink Cards!

Collecting Cutch is once again run his Save Second Base event for Breast Cancer Awareness, featuring pink Andrew McCutchen cards and bouncy gifs all month long. He holds contests throughout, and even donates $1 per blog comment he receives.

I wanted to add to the event with a small Free Card Friday featuring only pink cards. I'm sure I have more, but this is what I could dig up easily.

Please claim one or more cards, and email me your address if I don't have it. These will be shipped in a PWE.

1994 Fleer Ultra Ryan Klesko All-Rookie Team #5 of 10
1992 Score All-Star Game P&G Wade Boggs #4 of 18
1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice You Make The Play Greg Maddux #22
1992 Marvel X-Men Teams Toy Biz variation #71 (corners a bit rough)
And be sure to support Collecting Cutch's month long event for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Free Break Spoils

Kerry over at Cards on Cards was kind enough run a free Bowman Mega Box group break. Such a generous thing to do, and I happily snagged the Yanks. I only landed one card in the break, but it was one of 2019 Yankees first rounder Anthony Volpe.
Look at the shine own that thing. I give Topps a lot of flack for the their uninspired card offerings and designs, but Refractors and X-Fractors and Mojo-fractors and anything else "-fractor" do hold up. The card is gorgeous.

I hate that Volpe lost a year of development. So many minor leaguers just starting their pro careers were robbed of important seasons. I'm sure he took part in many workouts, but it's a bummer when a young kid like this misses a whole year (or more!).

Kerry also busted some some Upper Deck Victory, and I came away with a Tino and a Bernie.
Thanks, Kerry!