Friday, March 29, 2013

Marlins Game Tomorrow: Who Should I Watch?

The Marlins are coming to play an exhibition game in New Orleans tomorrow (Saturday)!

Well, more accurately they are coming to Metairie, my suburb of New Orleans.  They are playing our local AAA team the New Orleans Zephyrs who are also their affiliate.  This will be the first major league baseball game in New Orleans since 1999.

14 years ago.

While we are not a baseball town, this is a huge deal.  Jefferson Parish (we say parish where you probably say county), which is my parish, has declared March 30th to be Baseball Day!

I hope someday to get March 24th named Ken Griffey, Jr. Day.  Baby steps....

It will also be the first major league game I've been to since 4 days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  And the 4th major league game I've been to in my whole life.  I'm very excited.

I'm not up on current events and players.  So I ask you: who should I be looking out for?  Any new players or recent trades I should know about?  What about the current state of the team?  I put it to you, fellow bloggers and readers, as I am most decidedly out of the loop.

Tomorrow morning I go to the post office to drop off a bunch of trade packages, then it's off to the ballpark with the family.  And just in case, I grabbed a stack of Marlins from 2013 Topps for possible autograph purposes.  Fingers crossed.....

Happy Easter/holiday/weekend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's Time to Get Serious: Getting Rid of Surplus Cardboard

Welcome to my mass trading strategy

I have too many cards.  I've filled up four 3200-count cardboard boxes and have enough overflow to justify filling another one.  I was doing well for a while there, but now it's time to buckle down and mail away some cardboard.  You want some?

I have divided these thousands of cards up by team.  I now have massive stacks of every team in baseball that I am highly motivated to get rid of. 
I started with four boxes full of cards and a bunch of overflow:

Last week I spent my evenings watching Netflix and dividing up these cards by team a few thousand at a time:

I then bricked out the team stacks into a size that allows for four bricks to fit in a $6.00 flat rate Priority Mail box.  Here's some of what I've done so far:

Each brick is a random mix of cards from the 80's through today including stars, rookies, inserts, and parallels.

The next step is to find people who want the cards....

I'm easy and not looking to profit.  I want these cards to have good homes, and I'd prefer it to be worthwhile paying to ship them all.

What I need are Griffeys.  There are a few other themes I pursue in my collection, but the focus is Ken Griffey, Jr.  If you have some and like a certain team, shoot me an e-mail.  I'll drop a cardboard bomb on you.  Just tell me a team and a number.

Quantity is up to you and what your Griffeys are worth to you.  A standard package is 4 bricks of your team.  If you plan on sending an obscene number of Griffeys and I can accommodate filling a larger box, we can make that happen.  Maybe you only have a couple and feel guilty asking for a whole box?  I can send you two in a bubble mailer instead.  I don't plan on negotiating - you make the call.

Don't be shy.  I plan on sending these out every Saturday until they are gone and only Griffeys remain.  If there are other bloggers you know who collect specific teams, send them on over.  I will answer everyone, primarily in the evenings.

My e-mail is TJV504 at gmail dot com.  Let's get silly.

Assenmacher and Serpico: a Trade Post

I received a pair of trade packages in the mail this past week from a couple of baseball card blogging all-stars.  Take a gander:

This first one came from Jim over at gcrl.   He's crazy about the Dodgers and double-play cards (of which I have another stack saved up), and he seems to know what I like.

I've always been a Maddux fan ever since my lttle league team was the Braves.  That Cy Young Winner card on the top right has always been a favorite, as has the '89 Topps.

The Thrill - that Bowman card on th right is a new one on me.

A pitcher at the plate!  I normally send these to Dime Box Nick, but this one stays...

My favorite Upper Deck set and a numbered SPx - yes. 

That is some kind of hat/hockey hybrid Franken-mullet. 
This will fit nicely in my Bad Hair Day collection.  Great name, too.

Have I mentioned I also collect Griffeys?

This is the one-per-box 5" x 7" checklist.  That hologram is huge!

I've never see a Black & Gold redemption card before.  It's got a tiny little Griffey on it.  Part of me wants to cut it out, and if this were 20 years ago I probably would....

I have pulled these out of repack boxes before, and they look amazing.  I've never seen the Griffey before.  This was a very exciting find!

Thanks, Jim!  I've got a healthy stack of double-play cards I'm mailing to you Saturday.

If you read Nachos Grande you may have seen his series of Topps Heritage American Heroes.  It's a very cool set I'd like to pick up someday.  You may also know that Chris puts up growing trade stacks you can claim if you have cards to trade him.  Well, I'm sitting on a trove of Barry Larkins, and he posted this guy:

It was my buddy Jason's birthday Tuesday.  He and I pride ourselves on the wacky presents we get for each other (for Christmas I got him an autographed photo of Michael Dukakis).  Jason is positively obsessed with Serpico.  The man, the story, the Pacino movie - all that.  When Mr. Grande posted this card, I pounced.  I also nabbed a few others from the same stack including a Roger Clemens and a Vince Coleman among others, but the star of the show was Detective Frank Serpico. 

I was then inspired to hop on eBay and pick up this relic for pretty cheap:

It's gonna be fun to give these to Jason!  I appreciate the help, Chris.

Oh, Chris has stickers, too.  How cool is that?

Thanks again, Chris!  We should do a proper trade involving lots of cards.  I have stacks of Reds an no intention of hanging on to them.  I need to do a better job of shedding cardboard weight.  I think I'll work on a mass trade strategy today.

Happy hump day, everybody!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Box of 1995 Collector's Choice

In my collection: 9 regular and 1 Silver Signature base, 6 regular and 2 SS Best of the 90's, 4 regular and 1 SS What's the Call, 2 You Crash The Game 8/24 Silver, 1 YCTG Silver Set Redemption Card

Griffey looks: friendly

Is this a good Griffey card? Yes.  Everybody loves Collector's Choice.

The set: Collector's Choice was created by Upper Deck to enter into a more affordable market.  While the cards didn't contain all the crazy foil and light-refracting ballyhoo of their higher-end sets, the producton value was high and the photography and design appealing.  For that reason Collector's Choice lives up to its name to this day - a favorite among collectors. 

As a kid with little money I bought plenty of Collector's Choice packs back in the day.  They were only 99 cents and offered a lot of bang for that buck.  I probably amassed more CC cards than any other set in my time of hardcore pack-ripping.

So, as a way to relive those glory days, I bought this last week:

All I wanted was any Griffey gold signature.  The Michael Jordan would also be cool as would be the A-rod rookie.  The Ripken from this set is neat, too.  Let's see some base cards:

There are two parallels of the base set: Silver Signature (2:1 packs) and Gold Signature (1:35 packs).  This is one of my favorite iterations of the parallel (or, as we used to call them when value was all that mattered, "multipliers") in baseball card history.  Simple, but elegant.  I'm a big fan.

Unfortunately the signature always went on the short side, even on the horizontal cards.  It's my only complaint with the whole set.

All the parallels you see above are silver signature.  This box produced one gold signature: Geronimo "Not Griffey" Berroa.  I didn't scan his card out of spite.  Moving on....

I recently sent this one off to Night Owl - it is arguably the most bizarre card from 1995 Collector's Choice.  It depicts a last-minute inset of R. Kelly in a Dodgers cap.  Can't blame them for wanting to keep current with the whole "single series" idea of this set, but this is the only card that contains such an inset.

The biggest stars of the day got the full-bleed treatment:

I think that's Ben McDonald with Ripken.  Frank Thomas could really move for such a burly guy.  And check out Bonds, "I didn't do it!"  Yeah, you totally did.

Makes me wonder why they didn't make the whole set like this.  They look great.  Moreover, check out the backs of these long-time stars:

Don't you love big, beautiful stat boxes?  These cards were icons the day they came out.  They are bringing sexy back.

Here is an ingenious ploy to keep the set in a single series while staying up-to-date.  There were five of these mail-in cards that, sadly, are a few years past being usable.  The only redeeming quality?  You guessed it: Marquis Grissom wearing what could be argued is a smile.  Calm down, ladies. 

This is the Best of the 90's subset.  There is no perfect binder spot for that one on the right - just file it after Todd Zeile and get on with your life.

These have a bit of a slanted Rocko's Modern Life quality, dontcha think?

You've seen the What's the Call subset on this blog before - these are probably my favorite animation cards ever made.  It's the second year Collector's Choice featured Stumpy the Ump who time travelled here from the 50's.  The backs give a wacky situation and you have to guess the correct umpire ruling, which is hard even for some umpires.  It really is one of the most fun subsets I've ever pulled from a pack.  An interesting read and wacky caricatures of your favorite players. 

Check out these killer rookies: A-rod and Jeter both in the same rookie subset.  Very fun to pull from the same pile of packs.  Nomar is the only big name in the Future Foundations subset, and Nolan is the best of three other decades not mentioned here.


Ah, You Crash the Game.  I would find a way to take four paragraphs explaining how this insert works.  Since brevity is the soul of wit, let's see what Baseballcardpedia says:

The 60-card interactive set features three cards of 20 players, each with a different date on it. If the player hit a home run on that date, the collector could redeem the card for an enhanced set of all 20 players. The expiration date for redeeming these cards was February 1, 1996.  All cards were also available in a rarer Gold parallel.

That was beautifully succinct.  Upper Deck's flagship set had something similar called "Predictor" that was the same idea but with more than just home runs.

Hey, look at this guy:

Let's get this out of the way early: I don't know who that lady is, nor how she got into this photo and then that photo got onto the base card.  I was hoping the blurb on the back would clue us in, but no luck.

I like to think that woman is the Upper Deck representative and Griffey was playing around and invited her into the picture because she goes around taking so many other peoples' pictures.  Or perhaps she's the same rep that's been taking all his Upper Deck photos since the famous '89 rookie and they now have a work-based friendship he wanted to commemorate.  I really have no idea, but Griffey is friendly like that.

Here's a list of all possible reasons this photo exists:

- She is an Upper Deck rep, and they are friends - This is not unreasonable, but there's no way she wears that hat on the reg.  Plus she looks retired.
- She won a contest - This is extremely plausible when you consider all the Upper Deck logos they put on her.  This is the best one so far.
- She has a serious ailment - They would never make the poor old woman kneel if she was ill enough to get to be on a Griffey card.
- She is Jay Buhner's mom - On second thought, this is the best one so far.  Still, I'm going with "She won a contest."

So, those are my best guesses.  If you know, give us a shout-out.

Here is the silver signature:

This is back when people were so proud of the fact that they were living in the 90's.  Everybody was like, "Aw, dude.  Welcome to the nineties, man."  Then they would turn up their Ace of Base CD's way too loud and play Sonic on Sega Genesis before cruising to Blockbuster Music in their Geo Prisms.  Those were tough times.

Anyway, Griffey was among the best of.....that.

Voici la signature argentée:

I always liked that Buhner is helping to catch the bird on a stretcher so the reader knows the bird is going to be alright.

Buhner looks the exact same in both the 1994 and 1995 WTC cards, but they made Griffey look completely different:

That's the 1994 version on the left.  I think he looks more like Robin Harris, the Dad in Bebe's Kids.

Aquí está la plata firma:

Griffey hit a home run on August 24th, 1995, making this card a winner.  Sadly I probably pulled this from a pack long after that.  Had I pulled it in a timely manner and mailed it to the address of note, I would have received a whole set of cards that looked like this:

This card was included in a recent trade stack from Larry the Legend of Emerald City Diamond Gems, so I don't feel so bad about never exchanging the card.  It's one less Griffey I don't have.

Speaking of which, here's all the Griffeys of 1995 Collector's Choice I don't have:

Promo Card
#62 Best of the 90's Gold Signature
#70 Gold Signature
#88 What's the Call? Gold Signature
#P172 Promo
CG8A You Crash the Game Gold
CG8B You Crash the Game 8/24 Gold (winner)
CG8C You Crash the Game 9/15 Silver
CG8C You Crash the Game 9/15 Gold

It's mostly Gold parallels I need.  They were seeded 1:35 packs, and the box came with 36 packs.  This means I conceivably could pull two from that box. 

Instead of taking my chances, I set aside one pack for a fellow blogger who is crazy about Collector's Choice but too young to have enjoyed it.

And if he pulls a gold signature Griffey, I'm gonna kill him!

Funny thing: that box produced one Griffey: a What's the Call subset which I already have lots of.  Not really funny.  Depressing.

Mind you this is an entirely different set from Collector's Choice Special Edition which had a wonky little foil box that said SE and a lot of blue for some reason.  CCSE was pretty awesome, too.  It gets it's own post.

Just for fun, here's all the silver signature parallel cards next to their regular versions:

Stay warm!