Thursday, April 1, 2021

Random Card Post: 1984 Topps Glossy Mike Schmidt

Nothing to see here,  just a blue collar guy from Dayton, Ohio posing for a baseball card photo.

1984 Topps Glossy - Mike Schmidt

"Philadelphia is the only city, where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day." 

-Mike Schmidt

"Pete Rose  is the most likable arrogant person I've ever met." 

-Mike Schmidt

"If you're associated with the Philadelphia media or town, you look for negatives. I don't know if there's something about their upbringing or they have too many hoagies, or too much cream cheese." 

-Mike Schmidt


Monday, March 29, 2021

March Mail Roundup

Another month has flown by. I stopped today to take a look at all of the cards I acquired in March, and it was another great month of grabbing singles. The sports card market is still blazing hot, and I'm still taking full advantage of that by continuing to sell cards that I'm ready to move on from. The eBay Standard Envelope mailing option is, in my opinion, one of the greatest things to happen to our hobby in the past decade. It's really enticed me to list some PWE-ship cards that I never would have considered listing. 

As I send cards out, I'm able to bring cards in. 

Tiger Woods - 2001 Upper Deck RC

I wish I would have grabbed this last year when it was a $10 card, but better late than never. This rookie card is almost one of those "must haves" for any collector. Tiger is consistently ranked amongst the greatest athletes of all time. I wanted to grab one in good condition, and paid a little extra for that luxury. If all goes according to plan, this will be the next 1987 Fleer Jordan and it will pay for my kid's college tuition some day. 

Nolan Arenado 
2013 Bowman Draft Base
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome
2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Refractor

Is it just me, or has Nolan Arenado become one of the most under-appreciated players in baseball in the last year or two? Playing in Colorado probably hasn't help him. That should change when he's a big time factor in the middle of the lineup for the Cardinals, who will try to contend with the Cubs for the top spot in the NL Central. 

Just in case you've forgotten about this dude, from 2015-2019, he never had less than 37 HRS and 110 RBI in a season. In that five year strech, he led the NL in HRs three times, and led the entire league in RBI twice. 

Oh, and he's won a Gold Glove in every single season that he's been in the majors. Yep, eight for eight. He's only 30 years old -- and aside from the 2020 season that was fluky for so many top players -- he's showing no signs of slowing down.

You can have your Sotos and Acunas - I'll take my Arenados, thank you very much. I grabbed this lot of three cards for $27 total. 

Jared Oliva - 2019 Bowman Draft Chrome Refractor Autograph #/499

The 25 year old Jared Oliva was looking to have a shot at the major league roster this year. The Pirates are lacking depth in the outfield and I thought Oliva had a chance to grab a backup spot. After collecting only a few hits in spring training, he was optioned to the minor league camp last week. The former 7th round pick will try to prove himself in AAA. 

Sydney Crosby - 2005-06 Upper Deck Trilogy Rookie Premiere #/999

Casually sliding in one of the largest single card purchases I've ever made. As I watch more hockey, I'm really starting to appreciate the greatness of players like Sydney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Connor McDavid. I've had the privilege of watch Sid in person a few times and it doesn't take long to understand that you're watching a master of his craft. 

I was really hoping to land a card with a serial number on it, but it can get pricey. I've been keeping an eye on a few Sid rookies for a few months, and finally found one I was comfortable pulling the trigger on. 

This one was in my price range. It's super clean - great surface, sharp edges and corners. There is one flaw on the card, which the seller was kind enough to highlight so it wasn't a surprise. Check out the pictures below and you can see the chipping right along the bottom center of the back. I decided it's a flaw that I can live with, and the price reflected it.  

Like I said - very minor, and I can definitely live with it. The rest of the card is nearly flawless. 

Immanuel Quickley - 2020-21 NBA Hoops 

My little Knicks PC barely ever makes it on the blog, but it's been picking up some steam now that we're becoming a competitive team again, and there are actually some players worth rooting for. As a pseudo-Kentucky fan, I watch nearly every one of Immanuel Quickley's games at the collegiate level. I'm definitely biased, but I was pumped when the Knicks drafted him. He's already looking like a late-first-round steal and potentially one of the top five picks in the draft. I let the Hoops craze die down for about a month after it's release and then grabbed this for $4.

2020 Prizm Draft Prospects - Elijah Hughes Auto

Speaking of $4 pickups, I grabbed this Elijah Hughes auto. Hughes was the catalyst for 'Cuse's success last year. A lanky 6'6 shooter, his game is built for the NBA. He was selcted by the Jazz in the middle of the second round. He's bounced between the G-League and the big leagues and I hope he'll be able to stick at some point. 

Kevin Durant - 2007-08 Topps RC

The last pickup is another beauty. This is considered Durant's "true" rookie. The Nets are going to be NBA Finals worthy this year, and I wanted to grab a Durant rookie before they make their run and the prices skyrocket. If all goes according to recent events, we may be looking at a Lakers-Nets final... and it would be one for the ages. If the Nets can pull it off, Durant would be the odds-on favorite for MVP. Each of those steps falling into place might be a long-shot parlay, but this would be a hell of a card to own if it happens. 

It's a classic 2000's rookie card. You have to love the old baggy Sonics jersey. I really do miss Topps basketball cards. I have a lot of gripes with Topps, but it would be fun to see them produce licensed hoops cards and give Panini a competition. 

Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully I'll get another post up before the April Mail Roundup, but no promises!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

February Mail Roundup

I feel like the sports card trading hobby is in a great place right now. It's not perfect (it never will be) and I know a lot of collectors have their gripes. Prices are on the rise, and you can't find retail. And yes, that sucks. 

But lot of great things are happening too:

  • TCDB trades have picked up
  • The market has more buyers than ever, and I've been able to sell cards that have no place in my collection - and historically had few buyers.
  • One of my friends who hasn't collected since he was a child is getting back into cards and it's been fun to chat with someone about cards without using the internet as a medium.
  • I believe many "dormant" collectors are resurfacing to sell some old cards that are becoming valuable again, and that means options for buyers.
  • With all the activity surrounding the hobby, I've also felt more engaged than usual. In the past, it was just us bloggers in our little corner of the internet - some us just writing, some doing some trades, and maybe some buying and selling on eBay, COMC, and SportsLots. It seems like the hobby is more integrated with society now, if that makes any sense.

I think my February Mail Roundup is a great representation of these trends. I bought some singles on eBay, traded on TCDB, traded with a blogger, and even traded with a non-blogger who contacted me because of my blog - miracles do happen!

Let's start with eBay pickups: 

Andrew McCutchen - 2010 Topps Chrome Refractor

Starting off with my favorite pickup of the month. I'm no Collecting Cutch, but I do have a nice little stash of Cutch cards. His 2010 card is one of my favorites, and there are still several variations of this card that I'd like to get my hands on. This purchase ran me a whopping $4, and if you're asking me, that's absurdly low for a second year refractor of a player of his calibur. Lately, I'm really loving the Topps All-Star Rookie cards with the gold cup. More on that to follow.

Stan Lee - 2015 Topps

Although it's technically a sports card since it's part of the Flagship set, here's a rare non-sports add for me. This card is a must-have for any Marvel fan.

Juan Soto - 2019 Topps

As I write this post, I'm learning that I'm becoming more and more of a fan of the Topps Rookie Cup. It's a classic logo, and like the "RC" logo, I think it does add some value to the card. As card prices soar, the price of star rookies are soaring as well. I'm fine with that trend, but it means I seldom own any star rookie cards. Second year cards are the next best thing. I grabbed a few of these for $2 each. I guess that's my version of "investing."

Alexandre Texier - 2019-20 Upper Deck Artifacts RC #/999

A small pickup for the Blue Jackets PC.

Trade with TCDB member Leftydunc:

Josh Anderson - 2015-16 Upper Deck Young Guns

A small PWE trade through TCDB netted me this Josh Anderson Young Guns. I sent off two 2020 Bowman prospect cards, and in return I was fortunate to see this in my mailbox. Anderson was one of my favorite Blue Jackets over the past two years. Sadly he was dealt this offseason, but I still plan on collecting him. Young Guns cards can be tough to come by, so this was an exciting add for me.

Liam Foudy - 2020-21 Upper Deck Artifacts #/999

(L) Seth Jones - 2018-19 Upper Deck Ice Green
(R) Sergei Bobrovsky - 2020-21 Upper Deck Artifacts - Threads of Time Relic

A pattern is developing where I see a nice Blue Jackets card on Doug's blog, I inquire about it, and then he sends me the card along with some other awesome stuff. That was the case here, with me inquiring about the Foudy card. The Jones parallel and the Bobrovsky relic were bonuses as well as some other base card that I didn't photograph.

 Thankfully I had a good handful of Raptors cards to send Doug's way to return the favor. Thanks, Doug!

Trade with Oren, a nice man who reads my blog:

Seth Jones - 2014-15 Upper Deck Canvas
Sergei Bobrovsky - 2017-18 O-Pee-Chee OPC Mini 

Malachi Richardson - 2016-17 Donruss Optic Orange #/199
Michael Carter Williams - 2014-15 Panini NBA Hoops Blue #/349

(L) Jerome Bettis - 2015 Donruss 
(R) Trevor Williams - 2021 Topps Gold Foil

I had the rare opportunity to trade with a blog-reader who does not have a blog himself. I got a nice email from Oren, who had some cards that he thought I might like. He had a great assortment of items for my PC, sending something for my Blue Jackets, Syracuse Alum, Steelers, and Pirates PCs. He sent me a list of players he collects, and we were able to work out a PWE swap. Thanks for the trade, Oren. It's nice to know someone out there reads the blog!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

2021 Topps Series 1 Blaster Box Break

Baseball season is around the corner, and that means Topps Series 1 is beginning to hit (and hopefully stay on) the shelves.

Last week I randomly logged on to Twitter at about 8:30 AM for absolutely no good reason. I saw two posts announcing that Target had 2021 Series 1 Blasters on their website, and I was lucky to grab a few. I think they were live for about 20-30 minutes before selling out. Considering the state of the card market that's basically an eternity. I don't make a habit out of getting on Twitter early in the morning so I feel lucky to have seen the deal. I've noticed some other collectors have had luck finding some on shelves, so hopefully this is not a product that retail flippers will target. I don't know why they would. 

The package arrived to me yesterday and I busted open a blaster.

Here's the base design. The tiny nameplate is catching a ton of heat and rightfully so. I don't love the diagonal name, and I really don't like the blue graphic coming from the left side of the card. I have no problem with the logo and accompanying banner in the bottom right, but the addition of the nonsense on the left side is totally unnecessary. 

On the plus side, I really like the white border. I'm a BIG border guy. I also like the Topps silver 70th anniversary stamp. 

To conclude my thoughts on this year's design: It's more of the same from Topps. Some good, some bad. 

A quick look at the backs.

Now on to the packs. 7 Packs, 14 cards in each: 

Pack One

The first card I pulled in 2021 is a Pirate! Maybe it's a World Series omen. Highlights in this pack are the Luis Robert Rookie Cup and the Buster Posey 1952 Insert. Based on this box, you're going to find two inserts per pack. 

Pack Two

This pack opened up with yet another Bucco, so this is an undeniable sign that the Pirates will in the World Series this year. Jokes aside, this was a great start to a team set. This was a great pack. The Mattingly 1986 design is a beautiful card. I love the black and white theme. Joey Bart is a bigger-name Rookie, and the Deivi Garcia rookie is a great pull too. 

The Bucco streak ends, but this packed yielded another three rookies, as well as an Acuna Home Run Challenge card. I've never actually submitted one. Maybe this will be the year.

Pack Four

The (former) Buccos return with both a Josh Bell base card and a 1952 insert. I'm sad to see Josh leave Pittsburgh, but I am fully onboard with the rebuild. His best years could have been wasted in Pittsburgh. I will continue to collect him, even in Nats gear.

The other insert is part of the "70 Years of Topps" set. This pack also had a Joey Bart base rookie. 

Pack Five

Pack five contains my favorite insert that I've seen in Topps flagship in quite some time: Chrome 1952 Topps Redux. In terms of blogger-collectors, I think I'm in the minority here - but I love retro designs redone in chrome. Turkey Red Chrome, Allen and Ginter Chrome, give me all of the chrome.

I pulled one 1952 Chrome, and it's Max Scherzer. I don't think my picture does it justice. It's pretty. It has the refractor-shine, but it isn't overdone. 

Pack Six

Another Pirate, Colin Moran makes an appearance. Another 1986 insert with Christian Yelich, and a 1952 insert of Javy Baez. 

Pack Seven

One last (former) Pirate, Chris Archer. I was excited to pull a Rainbow parallel of Rookie Jesus Sanchez. I don't know a ton about him, but I do know that he has been in the Marlins top prospect rankings for a few years. I didn't realize he had debuted in the majors. It looks like he had only 25 ABs last year. Maybe he'll be a bigger part of the Marlins outfield this year. I'll definitely be holding this one in hopes he takes off soon.

Commemorative 70th Anniversary Patch Pack

Each blaster guarantees one of these. There are only 25 in the set. The whole set consists of Hall of Famers and a few soon-to-be HOFers (Kershaw, Trout, Miggy, etc.). I loathe manufactured patch cards for several reasons - the main reason being that they're a pain to store. I don't have any toploaders that fit them naturally and you can't squeeze them into a penny sleeve. I usually just list my patch cards on eBay right after getting them and consider it a $5 rebate on the box. It's always great to see Ken Griffey Jr., but his fate will likely be the same as his predecessors. 

I'll be cataloguing these into TCDB today, and aside from the rookies everything here is for trade. 

Thanks for reading.


Monday, February 8, 2021

2017-18 Upper Deck Hockey Series 1 and Series 2 Blaster Box Break

I don't think I can classify myself as an NHL fan just yet. It's not that I don't like the league or the sport (I love it) but I don't watch enough hockey outside of the Blue Jackets. Aside from CBJ and the perennial All-Stars, I couldn't name you more than 25 hockey players in the NHL. 

I didn't grow up watching hockey. Baseball, basketball, and football were always on the TV. But never hockey. It's funny how much of an impact that's had on me as a fan. I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's really tough to "get into" a new sport as a adult. When you're a kid, you play the video games, you collect the cards, and you watch the games. Your appetite is for sport is enormous and you can never consume enough.

With that said, I'm trying to get into the league as a whole. I know the Blue Jackets up and down, inside and out. But I want to be a fan of the NHL. I'm hoping that collecting hockey cards and studying them will help me learn. In a rare trip to Wal-Mart back in the fall I stumbled upon some 2017-18 Series 1 and Series 2 blasters on clearance. I'm not even sure what Walmart's clearance discount is, but it's less than MSRP so that's a win! Hockey products were the only ones on the shelves, and seem to be immune to retail flippers (for now). 

I've been sitting on these boxes for a while, just waiting for the right opportunity to open them. The recent start of hockey season got me anxious, and I've begun to update my wantlist on TCDB to reflect the Blue Jackets cards that I'm looking for. I tried to drum up some trades, and I quickly realized that my tiny hockey collection offers little-to-no trade bait for others. Remembering that I had these two blasters stashed away, I tore them open. 

Let's start with Series 1 and check out the base cards:

I pulled one Blue Jacket in uniform, and one current Blue Jacket not in uniform. Brandon Dubinsky hasn't played in over a year, and the belief in Columbus is that his career is likely over. A chronic wrist injury has kept him on long-term IR, and he's become an afterthought in Columbus. It's a shame. Although he's not a star, he's been an integral part of the Jackets transition from consistent losing to winning. He was also a great instigator, which peaked in 2015 when he got Sydney Crosby to drop the gloves.

Max Domi is one of many new faces this year, and this is a great photo of him during his time in Arizona.

Each blaster box offers an oversized Young Guns card - I landed Tage Thompson.

The 2017-18 Young Guns group isn't super loaded, but I think I made out well. Filip Chytil is only 22, and he's shown some flashes for the Rangers at the center position. He's a former first rounder draft pick with upside. Evgeny Svechnikov, maybe best known as the older brother of Andrei Svechnikov, is still waiting to catch his stride in the big leagues, as is Lucas Wallmark.

Above is a look at the other inserts that I pulled. I like the UD Canvas cards, and I think Upper deck does a fantastic job with the photography. 

On to the box of Series 2: 

The Series 2 box was more generous with Blue Jackets. Cam Atkinson makes an appearance here, who has been a consistent top-liner in Columbus for almost a decade. 

Ryan Murray was traded this offseason, and Mikko Koivu is another new face in Columbus. 

Here's the oversized Young Guns that was living in the S2 box. For whatever reason, this card didn't come wrapped and was just floating around the inside of the box. The corners are a bit soft due to the lack of protection. 

Young Guns - Tim Heed and Samuel Blais.

To close it out, here's a look at the three inserts that I pulled. I was surprised to see an O-Pee-Chee card in show up here, so I did some digging and learned that OPC Update cards are only inserted into UD Series 2. Being so new to hockey cards, this was new to me. It's a cool concept, although I imagine that could be frustrating for those who are building OPC sets.

There we have have it. A fun little retail break and nice beginning to my hockey collection. 

For the few hockey traders out there in the blogosphere that stopped by - everything here is for trade.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Box Break and Review: 2019-20 Panini NBA Hoops Premium Stock Hybrid Box

The Pirates are not a good baseball team right now. They're fully committing to a rebuild and I'm OK with it. They're trading away their major league talent for very young prospects, so there's not a ton for me to chase in the baseball world. Couple that with the fact that the card market staying red hot, and it's caused me to spend most of January "hobby time" selling as opposed to buying cards. 

As my cards funds have built up, I wanted to treat myself. In a shameless effort to continue milking the 2019 rookie class, Panini decided to re-release 2019-20 NBA Hoops during the 2020-21 season with a new product called NBA Hoops Premium Stock. It's NBA Hoops as we know it with two changes: New photography, and a chrome finish.

I'm a sucker for chrome, and NBA Hoops is one of my favorite basketball products. I had my eye a box of this for a while, and was excited to get a decent-enough price on Blowout to pull the trigger on a "Hybrid" box, aka, a Hobby Box.

Each Hybrid box only contains 24 cards. There are no guaranteed autos, which is unusual for a hobby box, but Hoops has never been an autograph-centric product. In this instance I'm totally OK with it. A guaranteed auto would jack up the price, and there's a 99% chance I'd pull a no-name.

One thing I love about the Hybrid boxes is that all of the cards are Flash parallels, pictured above. They pop off the card a little more than the standard chrome and have a rainbow refractor glean to them, along with the north-south striping. These are your "base cards" for a Hybrid box, but they are not true base cards. The true base cards exist in the retail products and have more a standard chrome finish. Think: Topps Chrome.

Here's an example of the standard chrome from eBay:

Here are all of my veteran base cards:

Getting just 24 cards isn't ideal, but the fact that that all cards are guaranteed to be Flash parallels is cool. No one too notable here except SGA.

While we're looking at the veteran base cards, I'll take the time to point out a major printing flaw that unfortunately made an appearance in my box. See the image above, and notice the lines that I circled in red. Those thick solid lines on the border of these four cards are not supposed to be there. They're so well centered in the middle of the card that at first glance, they almost look as if they're part of the design. Sadly, they are not.

To be fair, I was warned about these flaws prior to purchasing. I saw some pictures on Twitter that showed some of the print flaws. I got the box anyway and figured "It won't happen to me!" And of course it did. Live and learn.

Here we see the Flash Red parallels. Cool to pull a Knick, would be better to pull a Knick that plays more than 0.0 minutes per game.

This one is my favorite of the three Reds. The Tribute cards are part of the base set, but have a nice throwback design. Sweet picture of Iverson.

I pulled one Green Flash parallel, which is numbered to /99. 

I also pulled a Purple Flash parallel, numbered to /35. I'm excited that it's a rookie. Quinndary Weatherspoon certainly wouldn't be my first choice for a short printed rookie, but I'll gladly take it. The Spurs have done a fantastic job of developing young players lately - Keldon John and Lonnie Walker come to mind - so this could be a good card to stash away.

Each box promises two Silvers. Both of mine were vets.

Here are my rookies. Kabengele and Schofield are still waiting to see some real minutes. Alexander-Walker has worked his way into the Pelicans rotation and has been a solid role player for them this season.

The Wizards suck, but one of their bright spots is their young forward, Rui Hachimura. He's awesome and this is a sweet card.

This one definitely felt good. Zion is undoubtedly one of the guys you want to see when opening a 2019-20 basketball product, and this card alone makes the break worth it for me. For a while, hitting a Zion meant the card went straight to eBay to help reimburse your box/pack purchase. Selling this on eBay today would earn me back about 25-30% of my purchase price, and that's not worth it to me. I think we're transitioning into "hold" territory with Zion. 

And you know why it's best to hold? Because Zion isn't the hot new thing anymore. He's not a prospect. Therefore the value of his cards is declining. The hilarious part is, the dude is actually panning out. Remember all that hype around him? Well, it's actually happening!! The hype was real! He's 19th in the league in PPG, 30th in RPG, and 9th in FG% - in what is essentially his first full season. Better yet, he's been fully healthy and hasn't any injury concerns. He has a real chance to be an All-Star this year.

But, he's not a rookie anymore! He's not the next big thing! So no one cares about him anymore. I think I'll hang onto this one for a while.

Each box promises one Rookie Photo Variation per box, which is an enticing offer since the rookie class is so loaded. Here's mine. Doumbouya hasn't seen a ton of minutes for Detroit but at least he's a consistent part of their bench rotation. Detroit is bad - very bad - so I hope they'll give him a bigger role and to see what they have in him. 


Overall Design: The Hoops design is always clean, and this year is no different. The new photography and chrome finish only add to the appeal for me, and I really love the Flash parallels.

The Hits: No guaranteed autographs or memorabilia products. Hits will come in the form of short printed parallels. You could also make an argument that the top rookies are hits. With a good amount of color and a loaded rookie class, there's plenty to chase here.

Positives: Card design, checklist, array of parallels. 

Negatives: Potential printing lines on cards, no guaranteed hits, recycled product/money grab by Panini.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10. This is a really fun product. There's no question that Panini is "pulling a Topps" here, if you will, by slapping a new card stock on an existing product. I'm not upset about it. In this case, they took a product I already love and made it better. I was leaning towards a rating of 9 out of 10, but the print lines are definitely a real problem and seem to be relatively common. That earned a half point deduction. Otherwise, there aren't any major drawbacks. It's not a perfect product, but it's pretty awesome. It's definitely expensive, but compared to other 2019-20 basketball products it's actually pretty affordable. Grab it if you have the means.

Thanks for reading!