Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Screw You

When I was a kid, screw down cases were reserved for only my most special cards.

However, now the Twitter hobby gatekeepers have deemed them absurd and a nuisance. Anytime someone shows a card in a screw down, it's followed by "hope it didn't mess with the condition" or "get that out the screw down right now." 

I never remember ever buying a screw down case, so I'm not sure how they even came into my possession as a kid. Probably from a family member who moved on from collecting. I didn't have a lot of them, maybe five or six. But I knew that screw downs should be reserved for my most special cards. That's why my 1967 Topps Giants team card went in there. It was my oldest card. It had Willie Mays on it...somewhere.

I liked how they stacked and connected, except for that one that was a different brand. I hated that one.

It was a chore to put a card into a screw down. I had to secure a screwdriver from somewhere, and my Dad's tools were off limits because people would take them and not return them. Boy, can I relate to that now. Luckily my Swiss army knife had a pop out Phillips head. It was painstaking, but it would do.

I've since rescued most of my cards from screw downs, not because I am committing a 2021 hobby sin, but because they are bulky and annoying to store. However, recently I bought a small collection from a guy around my age, and there was a card in a screw down. I think he thought the same way I did as a kid: that the screw down was reserved for the rarest and oldest of cards.
That is what he had in his screw down. Not a bad choice, at all. And the card was beat up, but that didn't matter. The crease down the middle? Who cares! This was a Mantle (and Mays and Killebrew), and a card like that deserved a screw down.
I decided to rescue it last night, even though it won't grade high, because that's what you're supposed to do with cards now. The card will now go into my growing Mickey Mantle collection, which will increase by two when an incoming shipment arrives. I treated myself, a little.
But I didn't want to leave a perfectly good screw down case to waste. So I found a card to put into it to keep that premium, high end feel. Bel-air's finest:

Friday, March 26, 2021

Even repacks are turning into duds

Before cards disappeared from shelves, one constant to scratch the pack ripping itch were the Fairfield repacks that can be found at Walgreen's stores around the country.

Prior to the pandemic, they were plentiful. Always stacked five or six deep in the toy row. They had a clear window on the front, where you could choose your destiny. Alex Rodriguez 2012 Gypsy Queen or Topps Update Eric Hosmer rainbow foil?

Like everything else retail, the fun of these repacks has been sucked dry.

The windows that have you that glimpse are gone. Hits have gone from 1:4 to 1:8. Now, I never bought these for the no-name player hits, but I still enjoyed an autograph or jersey that could serve as trade bait...you know, before everyone defected to TCDB to trade. 
The other day I was at a Walgreen's in a neighboring town, and stopped in. Just like the one in my town, the card area was picked dry except for one lonely repack. So I did what any cardboard addict would do.

I bought it.

And let's just say, it was probably the worst repack I have ever bought. The oddballs were not existent. The "four guaranteed HOFers" didn't exist as they had in the past. It was literally a brick of church thrift store junk wax, without nearly anything interesting or of note.

Maybe I got a crappy one, or maybe these just are going this direction.

The best card of the bunch was probably this.
Maybe these will net me something on TCDB.
At least I got three cards older than me?
I'm not exaggerating, unfortunately. I know the eye can be in the beholder, but even the most creative of card minds couldn't find much to say about this turd sandwich of a repack.

I'm still glad I rescued it, and I hope that this was just an exception, as these are usually pretty fun.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Year 2

This is a straight up filler post, but trying to clean out my scanned folder just a touch. 

I'm really looking forward to a second - and full - season of Gerrit Cole in Pinstripes. He was excellent last year, and it's been a long time since the Yankees had a pitcher who I considered it "can't miss" TV. 

It would be cool to see him win a Cy Young, although I'm not optimistic that'll happen. Too much has to go right. However, if healthy he'll be in the thick of it.

My Cole collection is small, but growing. I'm not going after his cards with any sort of dedication, other than mostly adding his Yankees base cards on TCDB and trading for them when the opportunity arrives. I still do want his 2021 Topps photo variation, shown from above.

One admittedly weird card I did buy was a relic from 2020 Diamind Kings. While he's listed as playing for New York, the relics are obviously from his previous stops. I am uncertain if they are actually from the Pirates as Astros, as both of those clubs use these colors in some fashion.
It's a bit of a odd relic, with the swatch windows in the four corners of the frame. I bought it some time ago, so I must've gotten a good deal or won an auction with a low bid.

Regardless, it's a Gerrit Cole card. And a nice reminder that he's a Yankee...even if this card doesn't scream it.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Cards attached to cards

Recently, Kerry at Cards on Cards held another free card event. 

I feel like every time he does, there's something there that I want. Usually it's a Yankee. But in this instance, it was something else that caught my eye:
Look at that! A full, unperforated set of 1990 McDonald's SI for Kids Michael Jordan cards. I remember seeing these in my friends collection as a kid and being envious of them. The fact that Kerry had two full sets up for grabs was incredibly generous, and I couldn't claim one of them fast enough.

I've been on a bit of an SI for Kids kick lately, as I recently bought and older Jordan and Shaq, as well as a Nastia Liuken and Shawn Johnson. Since around 2014 or so, I've been receiving SI for Kids with unused airline miles. That actually has led to some really great first cards in my collection of people like Collin Morinkawa, Dustin Johnson, Simone Biles, and more. It also led to a recent $700 sale of a Naomi Osaka card from the magazine. Crazy!

However, the Jordans are for me to keep. MJ cards continue to be sought after, and something like this will always have a place in my collection.

Kerry didn't just send the Jordans. He sent me a big brick of Yanks. Along with the Jordans, this was stuck between two pieces of cardboard:
That is cool! It's a box loader card from 2020 Stadium Club. Are we bringing back Fleer Extra Bases?!

There was also a bunch of Yankees Turkey Reds, as well as Allen & Ginter cards, whose set designs are now nearly impossible to tell year over year.
I was happy to find this Jeter from 2020 Topps, as well as a 2021 insert of Gleyber Torres.
Thanks for the awesome package, Kerry!

Friday, March 19, 2021

Let the Madness begin

One of the best times of the year for sports is upon us: March Madness. This officially kicks off a time in the sporting calendar where we'll get three weeks of exciting college hoops, followed by Opening Day, and then the Masters. Sign me up. All that's missing is the mid-April start of the NBA Playoffs, which will happen in May this year.

My school, Syracuse, plays tonight against San Diego State. After a fairly mediocre season, I wasn't so sure they'd make the Tournament, so I was happy with an 11-seed at large bid. They could lose by 20 points tonight, or go on a Final Four run, and neither outcome would surprise me. 

Over the past few weeks, I've acquired a few small card collections, and some of the cards in the boxes consisted of early '90s basketball. Outside of plucking out the Jordans, Shaqs, and other Hall of Famers, I also set aside the Syracuse guys. I have nice stack going, but no clear direction. I don't know if I want to have a "Syracuse Binder" or display them in a frame or something. Regardless, I have been adding to that stack.

My next Syracuse card pickup will hopefully be a Carmelo Anthony autograph. I'm on the hunt for one.

In the latest boxes of cards that I went through, here are a few who left their mark on Syracuse and played at the next level:
Good luck to your respective schools if they are dancing this week. Who are you pulling for?

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Tino > Bagwell

Take a look at this card from 1998 Pinnacle Plus:
That's Tino Martinez on the front. 

That's Jeff Bagwell on the back. 

According to Pinnacle, Tino was better than Jeff Bagwell in 1997. Why else would Tino be on the front, while Bagwell is stuff on the back with the legal language? Pinnacle wouldn't lie to you.

Let's see how they stacked up in 1997. Coincidentally, it was both of their age 29 seasons.

Tino had the edge in BA (.296 to .286), Hits (176 to 162), HRs (44 to 43), RBI (141 to 135), Less Ks (75 to 122),  TB (342 to 336)

Bagwell was better in Runs (109 to 96), Doubles (40 to 31), SB (31 to 3), BB (127 to 75), OBP (.425 to .371),  SLG (.592 to .577), OPS+ (168 to 143), WAR (7.7 to 5.1)

So I guess Bagwell was a bit better in 1997. But Tino pulls ahead with his 1997 HR Derby win, as well as a post-season homer. Sorry, Jeff.

Oh, and Tino won 4 World Series. Bagwell did not. Sure, Bags is in the HOF...but Tino's rings are shinier.

Anyways, they both had a a great 1997. For Tino, it was a career year. For Bagwell, it was a fairly standard year. Cool to see them on the same card.

But Tino will always be on the front. Just sayin...

Monday, March 15, 2021

Too big, too small, just right

One of the most fun parts of the Trading Card Database is that I often trade for Tino Martinez that I have never seen. If it's on my wantlist, I'll trade pretty much anything I have listed. However, there are instances where I've been surprised at what comes back.
For example, I was not expecting this card to be oversized when it arrived. It was simply listed as a 1998 Upper Deck New York Yankees All-Star #460 with a print run of 10,000. No clue, but I didn't have it. So when this showed up, I was caught off guard.
Here's how it compares to a regular card. When pictured, as it was on TCDB, it looked like a standard card. But it's not. It's quite large. In the end, I felt bad for requesting this card and the person having to use a larger than usual envelope. It wasn't my intention at all. 

I'm not a fan of minis, but in this instance I at least knew what I was getting in this trade. I would not be caught off guard with the annoyingness of the size on this trade, as I was well-prepared for it.
Ahhhh, that's better. The last Tino that came in via TCDB was jussssst right.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Look who Flew in

A great recent development in the card blogging world was the return of Rockies fan and blogger Johnny aka Hiflew, who runs Cards from the Quarry. His blog is very purply, and it's nice to see him come back into the fold. He's still been collecting and keeping his want lists up to date, and has found a lot of success selling on SportLots.

No matter, seeing him come back has been fun, and we've stirred up a few minor trades when we posts his PWE trade bait. It's always fun because he includes cards from mostly every team that are up for grabs.

Hiflew and I go way back, to the point where when he confirmed my address for our latest trade, it was an address I had THREE addresses and a lifetime ago. 

I sent him a few Rockies he didn't have, and in return, these cool numbered Yanks showed up:
That's Hall of Famer Mike Mussina /50, as well as a super shiny Miguel Andujar from Donruss. Perfect cards for some cards I has laying around, including a hard-to-find 2011 red parallel that Hiflew needed. Simple, effective trade. Everyone wins.

Good to see you back in these parts, Johnny. And thanks for the trade. If you haven't checked out Cards from the Quarry, do so here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021


I went to write a different post today, but saw that it would be post #2400, so I figured I needed to show a Tino card.  Tino was number 24 with the Yankees, so that's a nice round number that connects back to him.

My latest Tino, number 1,087 in my collection, comes from 2020 Topps Update Chrome Sapphire. It took me a bit to find one at a good price, as they were all a bit much for a Tino single.
It looks awesome in person. While Topps is very boring, it's hard to argue with this type of printing technology, even if it is 25 years old or so. The blue is very striking, and the shine is brilliant, which was hard to capture in a scan.

You can almost see the 24 on his back, which would have been appropriate for post 2400. In another fun bit of synergy, it's post #424 that tags Tino, which is good for 17.67% of my posts. That's a lot of posts about one person, but when he is the central figure of my collection, that's going to happen. Pretty stalkerish, eh?

So within the past month I've hit 10 years blogging and 2400 posts. Not too shabby at all!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Tino on an '86

Tino Martinez is the subject of two different autographs in 2021. The first is a sticker autograph on the 70 Years of Baseball set. While I plan to pick it up at some point, I haven't yet.

The second is the one I've been focused on, which is the 35th Anniversary set, which features the 1986 Topps design and an on-card autograph.

I haven't managed to snag the unnumbered card yet, but I did pick up the red parallel version, which is actually pretty cool looking. It's numbered to 25.
While we all know that the red is supposed to be white, I like this spin on an old design. In fact, I'd love if Topps did this to their reprints more. Because we know they are going to run out reprints and former designs every single year.  And I like when they Chrome or Refractor old designs. The '52 Redux cards are boring, but the Chrome Refractory ones are not. 

In fact, I think they should consider color swaps quite a bit more. The red looks good, and so does the gold, from what I've seen.

I hope this is a trend that continues. Next year, we'll get 1987 Topps as the 35th design. I think we've all had enough of that. But the parallels have potential if they'd switch up the colors of the borders. And all white border, or a black border, on a 1987 could look very interesting. 

I don't mind reimagining some of these past designs. They've lost a bit of how sacred they are by Topps shoving them down our throats in multiple products per year. If you're going to repurpose, give us something new. Do some color or texture swaps.

Tino on an '86 looks cool. But Tino on an '86 with red looks even cooler.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Napkin Doon stops by for an update

When I first started blogging in 2011, Napkin Doon was one of my first blogging friends. We swapped cards a few times, all while enjoying very friendly banter.

Napkin Doon's blog was fun to follow, between the in-person auctions held at his local card shop, his running of the BIG FUN GAME, and his trials and tribulations to find the best hot dog in his area...something I think his insides are still dealing with.

On this date in 2014, Napkin Doon made his final goodbye post, written here.

Since then, we remain friends and often trade card-related stories. On the anniversary of his last blog post, I decided to do a quick catch up with the legend himself. Enjoy!

The Lost Collector: It's been 7 years since you hung up your blogging keyboard. Ever thought of a comeback?  

Napkin Doon: 7 years!  Wow, I didn’t realize it had been that long.   Nah, I just honestly don’t have anything in the well.   I am working on a writing project on my own relating to cards, and I’ve thought about using that as blog material, but that’s all I would have so my content would be limited.  


TLC: I know you are still collecting these days. What are you focused on?
ND: I’ve been pretty good about sticking to my Topps base run project (complete base cards of HOF players and favorites), and my 1952 Bowman album.   I’m about ½ done with Bowman and have made a goal to finish it by end of 2023.   The Mantle and Mays cards are going to be rough though.   The Topps base run has been my favorite project by far, because I can knock off some great players without spending too much money, but it’s also fun to chip away at the big names.  I had made Hank Aaron a priority this year, but his death and the overall card craziness has made that a tougher go.  Some recent completions: Ozzie Smith, Fred Lynn, Toby Harrah, Dave Parker:  
TLC: Show us a recent pickup!
ND: I don’t spend what I consider big money on cards.   However, I had a 2011 Trout Rookie I was ok parting with, and basically traded it for a 1955 Roberto Clemente Rookie.    It’s graded by a Canadian company that I’ve never heard of, but that’s fine with me.  It kept the cost lower than a PSA version I’m sure.   I’m so happy to own this card!    I still have a ways to go to finish the Topps Clemente base run, but this was a big step for me.

I also just bought a T206 Kid Elberfeld but it hadn’t arrived in time to send a picture.


TLC: What big card pickup is next on your radar?

ND: I really want a T206 Hughie Jennings with his hands in the air (look it up, it’s cool).   I want to get all 4 of the “Big 4” Baltimore Orioles from the late 1800s eventually and he’s next.
Or I’d like to get a Sandy Koufax rookie.   I debated between getting a Clemente Rookie, or getting both a Bob Gibson & Koufax rookie with my Trout money but went for the Clemente.  Unfortunately Gibson passed away after that and his cards got more expensive, and Koufax cards got way more expensive along with all the other cards that have shot up in value over the past year.   As I said, I don’t spend big money on cards, so I’ll have to find some stuff to sell to pay these higher priced goals.
In a little more manageable price range, my next goals are a Bob Uecker rookie and/or a Mike Schmidt rookie.  VGEX condition is all I need.
TLC: What product are you most excited about in 2021?

ND: Not to sound negative or aloof, but nothing really.    With my focus on the past instead of the present or future, I don’t find myself looking to see what releases are on the horizon like I used to.   Plus, the Rangers stink and there is no one I’m all that psyched about collecting.  There are a couple of former Razorbacks that have started getting Bowman cards that I’ll probably try to pick up, but other than that, meh.   Truly, I had started getting away from wax purchases (not completely but mostly) before the card craze hit again, so not being able to readily buy cards in stores these days hasn’t bothered me as much as it would have a few years ago.  
TLC: Thoughts on Project 70?

ND: I like it! I liked Project 2020 too.  Mostly I just enjoy seeing what gets released each day, knowing I won’t buy many at all (unlike Project 2020).  I enjoy checking in with you, Lost Collector, each day to see what you think of the releases even though you don’t buy many either.   Our tastes are different, so I like hearing what you find appealing even when you are wrong.  
I will buy the Ermsy cards as they come out because they are awesome.  With 70 artists, Ermsy’s cards will release about 1 per month, so I can handle that.   I also look forward to seeing what an artist named Ron English puts out.  His work looks pretty wild so I hope he makes some cool cards.  If his are weird enough, I’ll probably get his set too.   

TLC: What color crocs do you wear when waiting in line at a retail store for cards? 


ND: I go to my local Walmart barefoot, thank you very much.  Crocs are for rich pretty boys.
TLC: Give us some parting words of wisdom:

ND: Chocolate chip cookies and beer go surprisingly well together, and if you can find it, try Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey.  It’s unbelievably good.   Also, be nice to each other and don’t make fun of how or what other people collect.     Everyone laughed at me back in 2011 when I bought a lot of 200 Mike Trout updates off eBay for $2 each, but who’s laughing now?   That didn’t really happen but close your eyes and imagine if it did.   Now open your eyes.  Were you laughing at me when your eyes were closed?  Think about it.  
There you have it. Good stuff, Nap. Thanks for stopping by, and maybe we'll do this over a peanut butter whiskey next time!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Has it really been 5 years?

Recently, I placed a SportLots order. Not a big deal. A lot of people do.

What was significant for me is that when I was looking at my account, it was the first order that I had placed on the site in five years! I had not ordered anything there since 2016. That's a pretty long time ago.

I really don't know why. It's a site I enjoy and have had only good experiences. But for whatever reason it just hasn't surfaced to the top for me in the last few years.

There wasn't a single instance that caused me to return or think "hey, I should go place an order." More than anything, it's rare when I come across a Tino I need on eBay. Even if it's low-end, it usually runs me $3-5 after shipping. And I'd pay it without blinking because it was a card that wasn't in my collection.

Then recently I was on TCDB looking at my Tino 'wants', which are essentially all cards of his I don't have. I realized a lot of them were readily available on SportLots, so I went looking and put about 22 or so in my cart. After a few days, I checked out, and the envelopes started pouring in.

I usually try to find a seller who has three or four cards and offers budget shipping. I try not to jump into the padded envelope territory unless I can get a bunch, or that they are a bit rarer.

Here's a sampling of what came in. Lots of shine.
Very solid order, and I plan on making the site a more regular part of my card shopping.

Especially as I get closer to 1,100 Tinos...which I happen to be 15 away from now.