Friday, January 29, 2021

Something in the water

I've wanted this card for years, but never acted it on it until just last week.
It's not a pricey card and can be had for a few bucks, if that. I just let it sit in my eBay saved searched, checking occasionally. While I am actively trying to de-clutter my collection, I decided to make room for it because it's just so cool.

In a very 1990s move, 1998 Flair put a new spin on their popular Wave of the Future insert set. They put actual water - or some form of liquid - inside of the card!

The card is made of a soft plastic, and the liquid has some glitter in it to help it shimmer even more. The card actually reminds me of a baby's teething toys. You know, the kind you freeze so the baby can gnaw their gums on it.

This card is an extreme example, but I miss card companies trying things. I don't call this innovation, but more so how competition breeded the desire to stand out and make an effort to try something new. We don't get that anymore.

Flair was a premium brand, and a card like this was one of the untouchables for a kid growing up. I'm glad to have it 23 years later, and impressed that the wave is still fluid and hasn't dried up. Literally.

What a fun card.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Sup, JediJeff?!

It has been a few years since we had traded, but JediJeff of 2x3 Heroes dropped back into my DMs asking for my address. The last correspondence I had with him (according to gmail) was 2017, so it was awesome to hear from him this past November. 

And, let's just say Jeff brought it. Not sure if he had just been setting some cards aside or what, but what a great package it was. Two team bags full of goodies.
Where to begin? Let's start with Yankees legend Bert Campaneris. Just kidding, but I always enjoy the opportunity to show Campaneris as a Yankee because I know many find it appalling to see him in pinstripes. Hey, he hit a career high .322 with the Yankees. Like I said, legend. I have the 84 Topps, but the 83 Traded is new.
Ok, on to some more of the traditional hits if I didn't offend you too much. My favorite - easily - was an Aaron Judge rookie card. But not just any RC. Topps Chrome Refractor RC! That is so so pretty, new to my collection, and a really generous card for Jeff to send. That card immediately goes in my "good box."
There were a couple card with pieces of jersey or metal in them. The Yogi coin is really cool. I live about 10 minutes from the Yogi Berra museum and I have never been. That's pretty lame. Once this all clears up I am going to go.
Three A&G jerseys of, sadly, former Yankees. Well, I believe Tanaka will be a former Yankee, as it doesn't look like the Yanks are bringing him back. Jacoby Ellsbury is a free agent...dude doesn't even have a minor league deal anywhere. Is he done?
This is a little but of an odd one, but gladly will add it to my Jeter collection. It's a Sage Sportkings jersey. The card is...of a jersey. The limits of no MLB or MLBPA license! But of course I'll count it as another Jeter relic. It's definitely unique.
Here's a few other cards that really jumped out at me. No one pimps a homer like Aaron Hicks.
Thanks, Jeff! Appreciate reconnecting and appreciate the awesome package!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

I don't know why, but can I have this, kid?

I don't have any particular connection to Hank Aaron. No real story about what he meant to me or a vivid memory or anything. I just knew him as a mythical baseball name and figure.

I'd actually say that one of my first memories of him is the scene in The Sandlot when Babe Ruth's ghost grabs Benny's Hank Aaron card and asks if he can keep it. I always found it to be a nice touch and a heartfelt moment in the movie.

"I don't know why, but can I have this, kid?"
Very generous of Benny to give up a card like that. I certainly wouldn't. Babe Ruth can go find his own '54 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card. 

My Hank Aaron card collection is very modest. I'd say if Babe Ruth's ghost were to visit me, he'd probably want this card:
This was a Listia score for me back in 2014. I fully admit that I don't know if it's real, but a lot of these were produced and signed, and it checks out compared to others I've seen. Here's my post about winning that card on the credits-based auction site.

I do have a few vintage Aarons, although so does my son. Several of you have sent me son some really nice cards for the HOF binder I keep for him (even though he cares more about Charizard than any Hall of Famer). Still, one day he'll enjoy a card like this, courtesy of Zippy Zappy:
The baseball world has lost a lot of great ones recently. The numbers keep mounting up. And it always hurts to lose a legend.

RIP, Hammerin' Hank.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Your way, right away

Burger King has been a part of baseball card collecting for a long time. Most of us probably think of the late '70s BK issues, at least I do. You know, the Topps cards that were the same as the flagship, just with different card numbers. Reggie Jackson's and Thurman Munson's 1979 Topps Burger King always come to mind when I think of that.
Mark Hoyle once sent me that whole set via PWE back in 2015, which was amazing.

In the late '80s, they went the more conventional oddball-type route with their All-Pro Series. The image below is ripped from but I can't figure out how to caption on new Blogger. So sorry, Beckett.
Buy 1986 Burger King All-Pro Sports Cards Online | Baseball Card Value &  Checklist - Beckett
I have come across the cards above far more than one I have wanted even more, which is a Tino Martinez from the 1999 Fleer Burger King set. However, I finally snagged the card I wanted:
No BK logo on the front, but there it is on the back. Interesting choice working with Fleer on this one. 

What's a little annoying is that I realized I could get a full uncut sheet for a little more had I searched for it. Meh, I don't want to store an uncut sheet anyways.

Fleer issued a set through Burger King to honor the Yankees 1998 World Series title. The sheet also came with a 1999 schedule attached. There are 27 cards in the set, and were distributed locally in the NYC area.

The Tino for me doesn't pop up often, but maybe because I should have been searching for the uncut sheets this whole time. Who knows? But glad to finally have it.

And I didn't even need to eat a Whopper to get it. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Update keeping me busy despite being the worst set ever

We all know that 2020 Topps Update is one of the worst sets ever. 

It truly is.

I don't envy what Topps had to do here. They work on advanced print runs and they did what they could with it, including a random assortment of newly signed or traded players. The rest was choc full of past All-Stars, active leaders, and Home Run Derby cards. 

Many said "why even have it?" and I am going to assume it has to do with advance sales and obligations, and the headache of canceling a product release. It's not as easy as "ah, nevermind, we just won't do it." 

However, since Tino Martinez is taking up card number US-122, I've been busy tracking down many of the parallels that come along with it. I haven't paid crazy amounts, but as a player collector, I pick up what I can. A nice assortment has slowly been coming in:

Here is a smattering of what has trickled in, highlighted by the Independence Day /76:
The Stars and Stripes fit this card so well, matching up with the red, white, and blue All-Star jersey. Easily my favorite parallel of the group.

Standard rainbow foil:
Father's Day Powered Blue /50:
Apparently this one is "hot pink" Mother's Day /50. Topps and I have different definitions of hot pink.
Target Red and Walmart Blue and Meijer Purple...whatever Meijers are. I've never seen one of the stores in real life.
Including the base card, I have nine versions of this card. Here is what I am still missing:
  • Gold /2012 (these keep popping up on eBay but are overpriced)
  • Vintage Stock /99
  • Advanced Stats /300
  • Gold Foil
  • Memorial Day Camo /25
  • Platinum /1
  • Any of the plates
I should be able to track down the Gold Foil and Advanced Stats. The others might be tough. We'll see.

But for a very crappy set, I sure have been keeping an out for the ones on the list above.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Two kind TCDB gestures

Card bloggers are known for establishing relationships and going out of their way to make fellow collectors happy.

While relationships on TCDB are less personal for the most part, I'm starting to see that same generosity flow through.

Two recent occurrences really stood out to me.

I've made a few trades with member kapa64. One trade we were going to make, he couldn't locate one of the cards he was going to send me. Sadly it's happened to me a couple times, so I get it. The card either gets misplaced or TCDB incorrectly marks it as still in your collection after it has changed hands. Usually people are understanding, so of course I was. Not a big deal. It's just baseball cards.

A few weeks later, a PWE from him showed up with the card he couldn't find. It was nice of him to go out of his way to send it when we didn't have a trade in the works. The card is from 2002-03 UD Superstars, a multi-sport set. I haven't seen this Tino often, so really appreciated him sending it after I had written it off.
The next was was from Jim aka jimetal7212. He braved a card show recently, and knowing I was THE Tino guy (his words!), grabbed a low-numbered card in hopes I didn't have it. Turns out I did - womp womp - but Jim was kind enough to still send it my way. Look at this beauty!
Jim also said he is a regular reader and accesses my blog through TCDB, which I thought was equally cool.

I thank both of these guys for their generosity, and for further proof of why TCDB is awesome.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The need to feel even

For many of us, we receive packages with a note that reads something like, "No need to send anything back. Just wanted to get rid of these."

Except it never seems to work that way.

Like so many others, I always feel like I have a debt to others who send me cards. No matter if the person said we're good and they need nothing in return, there is that unofficial score in my brain that says I'm behind and need to make things right.

I know I'm not alone feeling like this. 

Earlier this week, I received a bubble mailer from Coach Tom at Waiting Til Next Year. A few weeks ago, I sent Tom a few Cubs items I received from the Cubs Race to Wrigley Virtual 5K I ran. I think I sent a small bag and the Cubs shirt that came in the race package.

I told Tom I didn't need anything in return. I wasn't lying! I truthfully had no use for the Cubs gear, and even if he didn't use them himself, I knew he could find a good home for the items. I wanted and expected nothing. I kept the race medal and that's all I needed.

In his note, Tom acknowledged that I said that, but also said "you must know that's not how I operate."

So Tom sent me a few cards, I'm sure to make himself feel better. It wasn't necessary, but the cards were great.

First off, a Robinson Cano signed card! A Cano autograph has been on my 'most wanted' for ages. I just never got around to getting one. It's sad that Cano is now a repeat PED offender. I assume the market for his cards had tanked pretty hard as a result. Yet I never did have that autograph, until now. Very cool!
I had vaguely seen the Onyx Vintage set that was out, but hadn't;t acquired any. And Tom also delivered my first autograph of Yankees prospect Esteven Florial! Very cool! Florial made his debut last year and collected a hit. Hopefully there are plenty more of those to come.
Although we were even to begin with, I really do appreciate these cards.

Now the only question I need to send Tom something back?

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Pay attention and stick to singles, stupid

For the most part, I don't pay much attention to a lot of the custom sets Topps sells exclusively online. These are mostly the Throwback Thursday or other curated sets, whether from athletes, artists, or influencers.

However, my interest was piqued when I saw that Derek Jeter was curating a 52-card set. I got the email, flipped through the checklist, and saw that there were two Tino Martinez cards. For a $19.99 price tag, I was in.

Or so I thought. I clearly just did not read the product description carefully. I thought my $19.99 purchase was giving me a 52-card boxed set.

It wasn't.

It was getting me one 10-card pack of the Topps x Derek Jeter set. ONE PACK!

By the time the realization was made, it was too late. I had clicked purchase. I should have known from the get-go. Outside of maybe a blaster or a hanger, when can you ever get anything like a full set from Topps for $20? I don't know, I just thought I was getting a small set from them. It was honestly a case of just believing what I wanted without clearly reading the description. A stupid mistake, and I was entirely at fault.

I'm not blaming Topps. I'm blaming me. Another sucker.

So I waited, but I wasn't very excited for it to arrive. My silver lining was that maybe I would get an autograph, which fell 1:12 packs. Not too outlandish. That would ease the sting. Or maybe I'd get a low numbered parallel or something. Maybe fate would give me a Tino 1/1 or something. There are cardboard gods, right?

Maybe this mistake would turn into a happy accident! 

It's didn't.

My pack arrived last week, and this was the fruit of my $20.

First, the box is nice. Props for that. I wish the cards looked like that, actually.
Here's how the pack was wrapped. It looked like a mini pop tart.
And here are ALL ten of my cards at two bucks a pop.

The first card was a David Ortiz, so I was pretty doomed off the bat. No fancy parallel. No autograph. No Tino.

It's not entirely all bad. The two Jeters are cool. Mattingly is cool. Backwards hat Bernie is cool. Sweet Ichiro too. Even the Tim Raines is pretty cool warming up for a game.

But man, for $20? I could have bought something much better. As many around these parts say, stick to singles and buying exactly what you want.

I know better.

I've already picked up the Tino cards for about $2 a piece, and one has already come:
I should have done that from the start. Read carefully, everyone.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

47 Months Later...

I haven't been sending out TTM requests anymore, but once in a while self-addressed stamped envelopes with my writing on them end up in my mailbox.

Yesterday was such a day. Not knowing who might have returned a signed card, I opened it and these three cards popped out:
Wily Mo Pena! (Or Willi Mo Pena according to the Bowman card above). Good lord. I couldn't remember sending this this one so to my handy record-keeping spreadsheet I went. I sent it to Cleveland Indians spring training on February 22, 2017! That was 47 months ago! Or 1,417 days ago. That's crazy.

Thanks goodness I haven't moved addresses since 2016.

It just goes to show that you truly can never write-off a TTM request. It also goes to show how important it is to keep records. My current spreadsheet only dates back to 2015. I lost a few hundred records to a work computer malfunction back in 2015. Dumb. That's why I use google sheets now, and always have access to it.

Thanks to Mr. Wily Mo Pena for returning these cards signed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

First card of the year of a first year player

Yesterday, the first card I got in 2021 showed up on my doorstep.

I've always enjoyed prospect cards, but have yet to add a card of 2020 Yankees first rounder Austin Wells. Realizing Bowman Draft had come out, I did a quick search on eBay for Wells' card in the set. As expected, the Yankees tax was on him, as even the base cards were a little more than I wanted to pay.

Then I saw it!

For the same price as most of the base cards, someone had listed a gold parallel numbered to 50. I quickly added it to my card and felt like I had scored.

This was on Jan 1, so the seller shipped it very quickly, and yesterday it arrived. I was glad with my purchase, even if the graders out there will immediately see that the centering is off. Maybe that's why it was cheap! Numbered 48/50, it's a solid 1st year card.
But there was an unadvertised bonus!

The seller also threw in the lowly base card, the same card which felt a little overpriced at a few bucks. Even though it was a mere throw-in, I was thrilled!
Not bad for my first two cards of the year. Now let's hope there's a minor league season and Wells can show why he was a first round pick.