Wednesday, February 3, 2016

One of Those Trade Posts That's, Like, a Bunch of Trade Posts

The time for trades and trade posts is NOW. With Mardi Gras entering full-swing tomorrow evening, I'm going to be indisposed for the next week, then after that it's going to be doctors' appointments and finishing the nursery and umpteen other things before this baby comes. I have my work cut out, fellow card collectors, but I'm up to it.

On top of that, one of the issues with not being able to fully access Blogger from work is that it's harder to keep up with trade posts. Before I would simply upload images in a logical order at home and write the words the next day at work during my down time (which can be rather ample, especially around Mardi Gras when pretty much the entire city is checked-out). Sadly, that is no longer possible.

Tonight I decided to sit and quantify exactly how behind on trade posts I've gotten: eighteen. I am eighteen trade posts behind.

I suck.

Here are a few to get that number a little lower:

AJ aka The Lost Collector sent me a PWE with two "cards" in it. Those parentheses are because one of the cards is a mini poster from the unsung but markedly above-average 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated. It's kind of the perfect swing shot. You're damn right I'm counting this one as a card.

Also in that package was this oddball autograph from way back in '92. I've seen an autographed version of this bad boy (that's your cue, magicpapa!), but I have no immediate plans to chase it. This reg version will do nicely for now.

Thanks, AJ! As always, I've got a ton of nice Yankees set aside just for you.

The hilarious Thorzul sent me an awesome package of Mariners stars that I believe qualifies as a Bipping. First, some Tinos:

Here's Tino back when he played for the right team (just kidding, AJ) as well as a not-so-easily-found Topps Black Gold certified redemption card.

We're not to the bipping yet, but this is a very nice selection of '90's Edgars including the infamous Ring Leaders insert that just insists that you look at it first.

I know what you're thinking - still not the bipping.

Again, some high-quality 90's insert and what may be my favorite non-Griffey-cameo Buhner card of all time.


There it is. There's your Bip. Nine copies of Buhner's '92 Upper Deck Homerun Heroes card. Ridiculous. I like that we get to see the little bat boy in the background here. Adorable.

Thank you, Thorzul! I'm still on the lookout for '92 and '93 Topps Golds for your set build. Those are tough to come across. Somebody go pull Thorzul's trigger! I've been tempted on more than one occasion...

A package filled with shiny 90's Griffeys in top loaders is one thing, but check out what Brad of Brad's Blog sent along with these:

This is truly one of the great inserts of the 90's. I have no idea what made PSA give this little beauty a 7 - it looks near-perfect to me. This card even made my Top 30 Griffey Acquisitions of the Year list along with the die-cut parallel I had to pay out the ear for.

Amazing card, Brad. I'm not worthy. I owe you big for this one.

Here's some great PC additions from Jim at GCRL along with another one of those Katrina batting helmet stickers I've started collecting. Good eye!

Wilson had a bizarre stance as you can see on that late-issue Pacific base card, but the man made it work. Thank you, Jim! It's been a while, but you know I have some double-plays and Dodger love set aside for you.

Kerry of Cards on Cards, in addition to being a PWE master, also seems to be a master of timing.

I had literally just learned that this insert comes in three different foil colorways when I came home to a PWE from Kerry that included this gold version of Junior's 1st Home Run insert from 2015 Series 2. I already had the silver, so finding one in the mailbox the day I learn it exists was a treat.

Kerry also threw in Chuck Finley's almost-sunset card. He had only one more Topps base card in the 2003 set with the Cardinals before hanging it up. Too bad - I'd like to have seen a return of the Chuckstache. Oh, well. Thanks, Kerry!

Angus of Dawg Day Cards sent this selection of Super Star Collectable Action Marbles (yes, they misspelled "collectible" right in the title) because they have a Griffey in them and so that I could make sure the non-Griffey marbles can make it out to the right people. I'm finally ready to begin doing just that. I know the package is a little dinged up, but the marbles inside are perfect. He also included a pair of sealed oddball minis, but the scan I took of them didn't come out all that well. Doesn't matter - I'll also be shipping them off to other bloggers in the coming weeks. Thanks, Angus! These are pretty cool.

This looks like the regular Leaf Certified Materials base card, but there is a small difference that's hard to spot for most people. Not Josh of Royals and Randoms, though.

See that little "Sample" on the top? I almost missed it myself. Josh sent me this Griffey need MONTHS ago, and I finally found the scan to show you fine people. I already have a few neat Royals I got special at the LCS to send your way. Thanks a bunch!

Thanks to all you guys for the goodies. It's amazing to come home to an envelope or little yellow bubble mailer full of surprises. Y'all are awesome trade buddies. There more trade posts coming starring Gavin, Corey, Chris, Larry, Doug, Fuji, Jeff, Wes, and Greg. Look out for those, and thanks for reading!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Great Griffey Frankenset: Page 16

Welcome to Page 16 of the Great Griffey Frankenset!

If you're not familiar with the idea of a frankenset, it is a customized set of cards properly sequenced by card number that all tie into a connecting theme. Some frankenset themes include whole teams, mini-collections, and even just generally great cards or photos. This is the first frankenset I'm aware of that is made up of just one player: Ken Griffey, Jr., the man of a million cards. I took the liberty of including things like inserts, parallels, cameos, and oddballs for the sake of variety and because it's just more fun that way. Enjoy!

Here is page 16 of the Great Griffey Frankenset:

Completeness of page: 8/9

Completeness of the Frankenset so far: 99% (143/144)

Team distribution so far: Mariners: 102/143 (71%), Reds: 37/143 (26%), White Sox: 1/143 (1%), No team indicated: 2/143 (1%)

Approximate retail value of this page: $81.50 ($2999.25 running total)

Page 16 Notes: Here we are, folks. This is the page that contains our first hole. There doesn’t seem to be a legitimate Griffey #141, so I’ve made a concession to ensure no blank spaces in the Frankenset. Yes, this space has a big ol’ asterisk on it as the card is not really card #141, but it’s as close as we’re going to get until somebody issues a Griffey numbered 141. You hear me, Topps, Upper Deck, and Panini? Need a Griffey #141 here. A little help…?

Page 16:

136. 1999 Upper Deck Encore #136 Homer Odyssey

This card makes me smile. It’s a baseball card tribute to an ancient Greek poem. What? Cute name, and the columns really hammer it home.

137. 1999 Skybox Premium #137

Team–colored motion lines? Epic slide? Yes, please.

138. 2001 Topps Fusion #138 (Topps Gallery Awards Gallery #28)

Here is the Topps Gallery Griffey from the bizarre Fusion set which gave us a little taste of five different Topps products in a single set. There are two other Griffeys in this product, but I believe I’ve made it abundantly clear that I’m a Gallery guy through and through. Sadly, the closest thing we have to this kind of set nowadays is Archives. I’d love to see Fusion come back with retired players.

139. 2006 Ultra #139 Gold Medallion

Sure, late Ultra designs began to run together, but there’s no denying the greatness of that nameplate or the accompanying home run hero shot complete with dropped bat.

140. 2013 Topps Update Tony Gwynn #US140 SP (cameo)

One of my greatest pack pulls of all time and certainly one of the greatest Griffey cameo cards. Oh, and without a doubt my favorite Tony Gwynn card ever-ever.

141. N/A (2007 Topps Moments & Milestones #46 RBI 141 Black #/29)

Sigh. There are two Griffey, Sr. cards numbered 141, but I figure this is a more appropriate placeholder until a proper Junior card is found. It’s card #46 in the set, but it’s also for RBI #141 (which is impressive in itself). That’s as close to a card number as I could get. I’m not mad, tho. Frankly I’m amazed it got this far. And Griffey cards are still being made, so there’s hope. Now, who wants to see how much further this thing goes before there’s another gap (hint: pretty darn high, actually)?

142. 1999 Upper Deck UD Choice #142

I’m still bummed about the empty slot. Let’s just get as far away from #141 as possible, shall we?

143. 1994 Sportflics 2000 #143

I don’t care for most lenticular cards. They tend to be blurry, hard to scan, and only a small number of them look presentable to adult me. This one, though, has a colorful back and is one of the best-looking cards of its kind. Check out that great moving nameplate.

144. 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated #144 Baseball's Best Overall Player

 A bit generic design-wise, but who am I to nay-say a giant blue ribbon that heralds The Kid as “Baseball’s Best Overall Player?” Sports Illustrated knows exactly how to win me over. This thing could have been a crayon drawing on looseleaf paper and it would still be on this list (provided it was numbered appropriately, of course).

Here is the back of Page 16:

 Thanks for reading, and look for Page 17 next week!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

15 (Plus 1) for '15: Year in Review

I purposefully did not set any goals for myself this year. Instead I played it loose, shot from the hip, went with the flow, and innumerable other idioms for operating without a plan. Things happened naturally, and I'm happy to report that everything turned out pretty well, as it often does. Here's a list of the good stuff that happened at The Junior Junkie this year:

1. The best year ever for Griffey acquisitions

It really was. From cool 90's inserts I just learned about to white whales I've only dreamed of owning, a great many triggers were pulled this year. I don't like to say "never," but acquisitions like this will never happen again. NEVER.

2. Wallet card

This concept was introduced just weeks before my wife and I were to fly to Alaska to see theNorthern Lights. On top of that we were returning home to two weeks of Mardi Gras. What timing! Upper Deck even took notice. I continue to not be able to thank Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown enough for starting the whole thing.

Page 1

3. The Great Griffey Frankenset

The newestfeature, and time-consuming as it is, it's been a lot of fun, too. I'm amazed at how many card numbers I've been able to find with Griffey on them. While I'll continue to have a new page go up every Friday for the foreseeable future, I'm undecided about whether I should end it at #300 or continue until we simply run out of cards. We'll see, I guess.

From the SPx Timeline

4. New Design Timelines

This is now the longest-running feature on this blog. I didn't add quite as many as last year since I've already done most of the major sets, but I got a few in. And there are still plenty left to go.


5. Hit some milestones

Total acquisitions are down, but that didn't keep us from passing the 4000 unique Griffey milestone. I expect 5K to be a close call in 2016 if it happens at all. Fingers crossed. In addition to this I also reached 500 posts which is neat but not quite as fun as another 1000 Griffeys.

The receipt

6. Had one big, crazy trade day

The poor lady at the post office was in training, too. I like to think I made her an expert. One side-effect of this trading project is that I perfected my Tradelist which is what helped me get so many cards out to so many people. I feel another one of these crazy trade days coming on soon...

7. Finally collated all my 1989 Donruss base cards

It was thankless work, but it made for some cool pictures.

This is most of it

8. Came clean about my Bill Murray Card Collection

I'll admit it - I kept this secret for so long because I didn't want any competition in getting these great cards. Once I was confident I had all of them, it was time to speak up and let everyone know these things exist. I'm not saying it was my doing, but I can confirm that the prices on older Bill Murray cards have never been higher.

9. Completed the Online Database of Ken Griffey, Jr. Baseball Card Cameos

I've been putting this thing together for well over a year and finally thought I had them all. I was wrong, of course. Two additional Griffey cameos were pointed out to me within a day or two and I've since found yet another unconfirmed cameo on a Sean Casey card. Still, I'm happy with how many we've been able to find. Plus I like saying "database." Sounds like I'm doing something technical and important.

10. Told you everything I know about the 1989 Upper Deck Rookie

This post owns all kinds of records here: longest post, most words, most research, most hours put into it, and I expect it to be one of the most-read posts on this blog over the long term. It was several weeks before I was comfortable enough to finally hit "Publish."

11. Started a social media movement

Not a very successful one, mind you. I continue to put the cards out there, end we've officially gone multi-coastal and international; but people aren't as quick to tweet about them as I was hoping. Maybe I should double my efforts. #randomactsofcardness

I took this picture thirty seconds ago. I had to edit one thing out in yellow. You may never know what that is...

12. Moved to a new card room

Man, was this a big move. It took a solid week to get everything where I wanted it to be, and I'm still fine-tuning, but it's become a great space to sit and do card things without interruption. I just got a small flat panel in there hooked up to a DVD, VCR, DVDR, and Apple TV, so I can do everything from digitize old video tapes to stream HD movies directly off my laptop. Man, I love technology. God help me when this room becomes inundated with baby stuff.


13. Completed a few sets

Mostly Griffey stuff, of course. These include all four 2015 Topps Birth Year Coin/Stamp Relics, all the 2015 Topps Factory Set Chrome Refractor Reprints (regular and gold), and most notably, the massive 100-card 2008 SPx American Hero set. In addition to these I also acquired at least one of every 90's Finest Refractor, all of the Donruss Elite Series Inserts, all the rare early Donruss Previews, and every Topps Gallery of Heroes Griffey.


14. Assembled my (and a few other peoples') Best Binder Page

This was something I've wanted to do for a long time, and I finally had a few hours to kill at home to sit and do it. I'm also excited by the response I got from the blogging community for the project. I had a lot of folks e-mail me scans of their own selections to photoshop into a binder page, and it's been a blast to see all the interesting cards other folks have been choosing for their own pages.

One tough cookie

15. Set a goal

I announced that I would try to complete the 1996 Beckett Ken Griffey, Jr. Tribute Checklist by year's end 2016. That checklist that has terrorized me for 20 years. I've gotten a lot of the big cards out of the way, too, but there's still a long way to go. I needed 157 cards from the list when I announced, and now I need 98. That makes me 87% of the way there. That last bit is going to be tough, though, because I also...

+1. Made a lil' Junkie

...and he looks like a cabbage

Our little 1/1 is still sealed, but we'll be busting that pack in March. Expect a blogging slow-down for 2016.

Thanks to all the other great bloggers, traders, readers, and Griffey guys that helped make this the best year ever in my cardboard career. You guys are all damn cool in my book.

2016 is going to be a hell of a year!

The Top 30 Griffey Acquisitions of 2015: The Top Ten

I've waited months to put this list together. Frankly, I'm still wondering if I got everything in its right place. Doesn't matter - here it is. I finished 2015 having added 717 new unique Griffeys to the collection, but had I added only these ten, it would still have been my biggest year ever. Grab a towel:

10. 1998 E-X2001 Destination Cooperstown #7

I hope you like extremely scarce 90’s inserts because this list is full of them, and few are more rare than this guy. I did the math, and based on perfectly reasonable estimates where needed, I figured out that there are roughly a hundred of these floating around. That's super rare by 1998 standards. Of those hundred, I have to wonder how many have their original string? 'Cause mine does!

9. 1988 Best San Bernardino Spirit #1 Regular and Platinum /1300

As Junior’s pre-rookies go, these are the ones you want. The blue regular version is not all that uncommon, but that platinum version can get hella-‘spensive, even with 1300 of them to be had. Given the history and, well, blatant exploitation via parallels of Griffey cards that would happen over the next almost thirty years, how perfect is it that even this, the first Griffey card, has its own pricey parallel?

8. 1996 Ultra Hitting Machines Regular and Gold Medallion

The card design here speaks for itself. I’m just going to throw some numbers at you. The regular insert (right) is 1:288 packs. The Gold Medallion parallel (left) is ten times rarer at 1:2880. The ten cards in the insert bring the odds of pulling the Griffey Gold Medallion to 1:28,800 packs. Today’s pack odds with their 1/1’s and #/10 patch autos have some astronomical odds, but back in 1996 these cards may as well have been made of gold. No patches, no autograph, and yet without a doubt one of the toughest-to-pull inserts of all time.

7. 1997 E-X2000 Cut Above

Sure, Hitting Machines was cool, but it wasn’t big, shiny saw blade cool. This bad boy set the bar for die-cut cards for years to come. Even now, 19 years later, collectors look back at this insert wistfully, yearning for a simpler time when decent hits were super badass inserts with crazy, envelope-pushing designs instead of the simple, soulless white or gray jersey swatches or sticker autos of some rookie you don’t recognize and probably won’t hear from again. Even with a print line I love this card more than any relic or auto I’ve pulled in the last ten years.

6. 1997 Upper Deck UD3 Superb Signatures

The difference between Mariners autographs and Reds autographs is night and day in both price and availability. What you're looking at here is simply one of the greatest Griffey autos you can get. It's super early for an autographed insert, it includes a unique combination of wood grain and translucent film, and the auto itself is in blue ball point pen. It's so plebeian, like he was signing a check to pay the gas bill. The only other cards signed in pen that I can think of are Sweet Spot with their bits of baseball embedded in the card, but those all came out in the 2000's when autograph hits popped up in nearly every box you could buy. This one here is something special and a true trophy in its day.

5. 2004 Upper Deck Etchings A Piece of History 500 Club Game-Used Bat Relic /350

There are a few relic cards in this list – there’s even one I ranked higher than this – but this Upper Deck issue commemorating Junior’s entrance into the 500HR club is my personal favorite. It’s not just a perfect, timeless design – these puppies are scarce. It is said there are 350 copies of each card; but as these are popular among both Griffey collectors and set builders alike (it really is a beautiful set), I believe the majority of those are parked in collections somewhere. I like to think that someday I’ll have the #/25 autographed version someday; but one sold just this week for $4555.00, and I can’t imagine being able to hide that little splurge from my wife for long. This one’ll do for now.

4. 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey #GJ1

What serious Griffey collection would be complete without the world-famous first-ever baseball card relic? Upper Deck hit a home run with this issue as it’s not only the first of its kind, it’s also one of the greatest relic designs ever printed. It just barely edges out the Piece of History relic at #5 because of its significance in the hobby (and for that lovely 90’s Mariners jersey green).

3. 1998 Donruss Crusade #39 Purple #/100

If you’re a 90’s collector who doesn’t read this blog regularly, you’re probably pretty surprised to see this card ranked so low on this list. Or you might be surprised to see it at all - there really aren’t very many of them floating around (there are supposed to be 100, but where are they??). Still, it’s my favorite version of my favorite player on the undisputed king of 90’s inserts. Despite the fact that the red, limited to only 25 copies, comes up for sale only once every few years and sells more like a 1/1 when it does, I’m still perfectly content with the purple version. Actually, content is the wrong word. Ecstatic – I’m bloody ecstatic about it. How it’s not at the top of this list speaks to the sick cardboard still to come.

So you may or may not remember that at the end of my Top 30 Acquisitions list last year I made a not-so-subtle remark that 2015 would be the year I finally landed a Griffey/Mantle dual auto. I even made this picture to go with it:


2. 1994 Upper Deck Griffey/Mantle Dual Autograph /1000

This is my Griffey/Mantle Dual Auto. There are 999 others like it but this one is mine.

It was beautiful from the start. Then Mickey freaking Mantle signed it. Then Ken Griffey freakin’ Jr. signed it. Now it is no less than a piece of honest-to-goodness baseball history of the highest order. In James Earl jones’ voice, it is a reminder that all once was good…and could be again. Sure there are 1000 of these guys floating around, and at any given time you can find half a dozen or so for sale on eBay, but those sellers are fools. Every one of these cards is priceless.

I even took it out drinking once.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: how is this not #1? Your query is just. While it’s true you are looking at one of the greatest baseball cards everzzz, the final card in the countdown is just…well…ridiculous. A dynamo. Larger than life. Better than all the things.

And here it is:

1. 2014 Upper Deck 25th Anniversary Promo Autographed 18” x 25” Jumbo /25

The Buddha tells us that joy comes not through possession or ownership but through a wise and loving heart. Well, Buddha needs revision. I can tell you that joy comes two ways, and one of them is through giant autographed Griffeys. How do I describe my feelings towards this card? I guess I can say that for me it transcends the cardboard realm into a place where I can scarcely even call it a collectible. It’s simply one of my favorite things – a new family heirloom I’ll be able to pass along to my son. Or be buried with – we’ll see.

In addition to being one of the rarest Griffeys I’ve ever owned (only 25 copies were signed), this card is also the most difficult to obtain. Like some of the greatest things life has to offer, it cannot be bought – it must be earned. The nice folks at Upper Deck sent it in recognition of my myriad #WalletCard exploits while aurora-hunting in the Yukon and at Mardi Gras here in New Orleans. It absolutely blew me away the night I got it in the mail, and it hangs proudly in my office beside my desk where I look at it often. If there is such a thing as love for an inanimate object, then brother, I’m in it.

That's the list, fellas. In two months I'll have a newborn, a total lack of sleep, and a perpetually empty wallet. That's okay, though - I had my best year a lot. I can take a break. Next year's list has already begun, and it's got some neat stuff, too. I'll be happy to show it to you when the time comes, but it won't be anything like this monster - not by a long shot.

Thanks for reading.