Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Steve Garvey!

Look at the FOCUS!

Steve Garvey is 64 today.  Steve is a Capricorn and has six (did I read that right? SIX?) kids.  Way to go, Steve!  Must be all that focus.

Join the festivities at GCRL today.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Custom Pack from Cards on Cards


Kerry from Cards on Cards has proven time and time again that he knows what I like, so when I got a custom pack in the mail I was all excited.  I even showed my wife, "Look!  He made me a pack of cards.  Isn't that cool?"

She wasn't into it, but I applaud her effort at feigning interest.  It could have been worse.  One time she just came out and said "Why do you collect little pictures of men??"  I haven't thought of a good answer yet.

But enough about her.  Here are some awesome little pictures of men from that pack:

Ron Swaboda is a news guy here in New Orleans, and I didn't find out he ever played ball until I started collecting again.  Everybody I show his cards to gets a big kick out of them.  Jim Mora, former coach of the Saints, once reamed him pretty bad for asking a question.  There's a YouTube video of it out there somewhere.

Chuck and Will, both quality native Louisiana baseballers.  This Finley shows off his bodacious locks pretty well.  People throw the word "mullet" around.  That is no mullet - it's just long hair.

Now here's what everybody came to see:

Upper Deck did a great job on this set.  These are always welcome.

The more 2001 Donruss cards I see, the more I like them - especially this Fan Club card as I didn't have it.  I wonder if 2014 Donruss is going to be half as good as this set was.  I saw some previews and it looks OK, but you really don't know until you hold the cards.  Fingers crossed...

I don't mind a scratched e-Card - it's a great design.  And I think that Panini sticker on the right is a new one to me.  I'll have to check.

A lot of people hate on Upper Deck X, and I know why.  I agree with them, but there's no denying that the 6-tiered Xponential insert is a nice little set of cards.  Plus this one has a rare shot of Griffey in the short-lived #3.

Thanks for the great pack, Kerry!  That is a really fun way of sending cards you have there...

My First Trade With My First Blog: Another Saintsational Trade Post

John from My First Blog is running a contest for who can send him the most Braves cards that he needs.  This tactic is remarkably effective as everybody has reams of Braves, right?  I saw it as an opportunity put some extra cardboard where it may be appreciated.  In exchange John sent me a big, hairy man-stack of Saints cards and a couple of Griffeys.  Not bad....

I can't show you ALL the cards he sent, but here's a quick look at some of the standouts:

You knew what this was.  You hear it every time you watch a prime time Saints game.  Drew Brees is the savior of the damn city and all that.  Well, yeah, it's true.  We love him more than red beans and rice, and we love red beans and rice.  He'll never pay for another drink in this town for as long as he lives.

I pulled at least one of all the main guys from the Superbowl victory.  No Tracy Porter, but I'm proud to say I caught beads from him at the big Victory Parade a few years back.  It was negative 200 degrees out there, but every Saints fan for 200 miles made it out.  It was the farthest I've ever walked after parking a car, and there's a two-mile track at the park we like to go to.

Thanks a ton, John!  I'll keep my eyes peeled for more Braves hits to send you.

And sorry to get all New Orleans-y on everybody.  I have no excuse.

The Requisite COMC Black Friday Post

I only scooped up about a half dozen or so of the following cards during the Black Friday sale.  It ended up taking me another week or so before I finally added enough that it was worth it to get them all shipped.   

All in all, there’s a lot happening with this COMC shipment.  I’m particularly excited about one card here that fulfills one of my collecting goals for 2013 that I’ve been neglecting all year.  I also completed a few insert sets as you will see. Enjoy!

I was all squinty-eyed and suspicious about the very idea of this insert set, but I’ve gotta say it looks pretty darn good all assembled.  I still need the scarce Home Run card and the 1/1 Cycle card.  Then again, if I mark the Cycle card down as ungettable I’m already 75% of the way finished.

These were the last holdouts from the Series 1 design.  The Triumvirate is complete.  Well, Triumvirate plus a mini.

And these round out the Series 2 Chasing History trio.  That Ballparks insert has a great depiction of the Kingdome (which I never got to see); and it doesn’t look like it, but it’s numbered out of 8000.

I broke down and bought the other two Mariners from this insert.  I don’t count them as Griffeys, but they do get positions of honor beside their brother card in the Griffey binders.

I got hooked on this ridiculous set, and through no fault of my own (fate keeps delivering them to me) I now have U-N-I-O-R.  So, I guess I’m on the lookout for the J card now.  I’ll admit it - I’m a little excited about having them all together at last.

That cell phone card from Skybox Thunder is one of the funniest cards I own.  More on that later.  Check out the super scarce ball card - only 55.  This thing was heavily discounted for how few there are, and the set is a total mystery to me.  I just couldn’t pass it up.

I’ve only ever seen one silver parallel from this Finest set in person - now I have a Griffey in that color.  I’m a huge fan of that Moon card, too.  I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I love reprints of overproduction-era cards.  They feel so naughty.  Well, here’s two of them, one from 2013 Bowman and the other from 2001 Donruss.  Yes, that’s the Diamond King from the Red Menace set.  Yikes. 

Not too familiar with that Leaf Greats card, but it’s from 2011 (there are so few Juniors from 2011) and serial numbered.

I’m sorry, is that Vegas-themed insert?  Come to papa!

Here are three super fun mid-90’s Griffeys and a 2013 Upper Deck Griffey.  What?  That’s right.  Apparently this was made just for the National.  Great-looking design, comfortable-looking sweatpants - this card can do no harm.

I said it in January: I want to obtain an autographed Griffey card in 2013.  I realized only recently that I hadn’t done so yet, so I quit using up all my COMC credits on nonsense and bade my time until I had enough to snag this on-card beauty.  Did I mention that this card is 18 years old?  Boom: legal, bro!  I’m gonna go buy some Boone’s Farm, put some Reel Big Fish, and we can get this party started right.

Guess what is no longer a functioning number?  If you guessed 1-800-456-2007, you're right, smartass.

Top Ten Griffey Acquisitions of 2013

It's been one heck of a year for the Griffey collection which has more than tripled (almost quadrupled) in size over the last 12 months.  I've added some very high-quality little cardboard bits to this thing and at great expense, and showing them off almost makes the crushing weight of my crippling debt feel worthwhile.  Enjoy!

First are a few honorable mentions that all came very close to appearing on the final list here.

Honorable Mentions:

1999 Skybox Thunder Dial 1 #D3

If you've ever gotten the chance to read the blurbs on the back of any Skybox Thunder card, you know why it made this list.  It's a neat card and everything, but the cringe-tastic"cool urban" prose on the back of every base card and insert pushed this bad boy over the top for getting a mention here.  Don't believe me?

More apostrophes than an Irish phone book.

This next card is another insert, this time from 1998 Topps:

1998 Topps Etch-A-Sketch #ES3

You can't deny the universal appeal of this card.  Even my wife likes it.  You could probably show it to your Mom and she would like it.  It's clever.  Not Top 10 clever, but up there.

2000 Pacific Crown Cramer's Choice #9

These used to command ridonkulous prices back in the 90's as they were such incredibly difficult pulls with super low insertion ratios.  The die-cut award shape and a bit of foil are the only gimmicks here apart from the scarcity, but it's getting a mention here just for the legend that surrounds it.

1995 Leaf Gold Leaf Stars #4

I've mentioned my deep affection for 1995 Leaf.  When I made the decision to acquire every Griffey from this set, I thought that this would be the most difficult one to land as it has the lowest stated insertion rate.  It seems that the Statistical Standouts insert is just as hard if not harder to find.  Still, I was extremely excited to find this at a card show early in the year.  One of my best show finds.

[Funny story: while I was assembling this post, I finally landed a 1995 Leaf Statistical Standouts.  That makes the whole set!  More on that later...]
2013 Topps Manufactured Rookie Card Patch #RCP19

You know that moment when you crack open a blaster and you grab the unmarked silver pack that contains your bonus card, and you feel through the mylar that the inset on the card inside is rectangular, and you know you got a rookie patch?  At that point it doesn’t matter what player you got - you already won.  Rookie patches are cool.  Go ahead and call them a cop-out - I agree with you - but they’re still cool.  We're all just going to have to learn to live with that.

Enough appetizers - It's time for the main course.  Ladies and Gentlemen....

The Top Ten Griffey Acquisitions of 2013

 Number 10:

1997 Stadium Club #50 Matrix

Perhaps it’s a little gauche of me to put a simple parallel from the 90’s on this list, but this particular parallel is a personal favorite that happens to work beautifully with the card design.  If you haven’t seen one in person, go now and pick one out for you favorite 90’s player.  It’s like a foil card and a refractor had a baby disco ball.

Number 9:

2012 Topps Commemorative Gold Team Ring #GTR-KG

This was my first ever manufactured relic.  It's also my thickest, heaviest card in the collection.  I was sent this by Larry from Emerald City Diamond Gems along with a huge box of other Junior cards.  I'm still saving Mariners for Larry to try and make up for the amazing package he put together.  It always reminds me of the generosity of other bloggers.

Number 8:

AJ (The Lost Collector) original 1/1

I appreciate this one in the same way as the above ring card in that it is a gift from a fellow blogger.  The difference here is that this card was hand-drawn.  It's from AJ of The Lost Collector, and it was his entry into my Ultimate Griffey Giveaway back in August.  I call this card my first Griffey 1/1, and it remains so to this day.  AJ can draw, am I right?  Great detail here. 

Number 7:

1998 Topps Gallery Gallery of Heroes #GH1

When I saw this exact design being used as an insert with 2013 Archives I was not surprised at all.  This beautiful stained glass insert came out in the 1998 Topps Gallery set, but it is so timeless and universally appealing that it seemed only natural that Topps bring it back.  Only now do I see how amazing it is that that even happened: a fifteen-year-old insert resurrected for a modern set?  How rare is that?  Kudos to Topps for recognizing a past success and acting on it.

Number 6:

1995 Stadium Club #38 Jody Reed

To me this is one of the great cameo cards.  I saw one when I collected back in 1995, then I forgot what brand and player it was and never saw it again.  Then I got a trade package from Nicky Dime Box with this card in it.  I knew right away it was the missed connection from my youth.  It was providence that Nick recognized it as something I might want and took the time to get it to me.  Thanks again, big guy!

Number 5:

2001 Upper Deck MVP Game Souvenirs Batting Glove #G-KG

Most relics are bit of cloth from a uniform, some are patches or even the occasional bat.  This one is a swatch from Junior’s batting glove, meaning this was on his hands.  And is that a little dirt smudged on there?  Perhaps he slid into second while wearing these, or maybe even stole a base.  How cool is that?  This little relic is what cards like this are supposed to be about.  It’s also the first card I ever got from my “Griffey guy,” a Junior-laden dealer from the local monthly card show.

Number 4:

2013 Topps Update #US140 Tony Gwynn SP

I know, I know - this is the second card in a Top Ten list of Griffey cards that isn’t a Griffey card, but look at it!  A beautiful candid shot of young Griffey just hanging in a dugout with Tony Gwynn, the established All-Star imparting his knowledge on the rookie phenom.  And check out the guy trying to pass a ball down over the railing to be signed.  All of this adds up to one amazing card.  And perhaps most importantly, I pulled this card myself.  I can’t even convey to you how rare that is.

Number 3:

2006 Upper Deck UD Game Patch #UD-KG

This is my first (and only) patch card.  I now understand the appeal of the patch as opposed to just a simple white piece of cloth.  It’s got an amazing, tangible, three-dimensional quality that totally does it for me.  The card is unnumbered but only 11 were made with patches, so scarcity also contributes to this being number three in my 2013 acquisitions.

Number 2:

1995 SP #AU190

This is my first officially-licensed autographed Griffey card.  It was one of my collecting goals for 2013 to land a Griffey auto, and I finally did at the last minute (just last week) when I finally racked up enough COMC credits to snag this one.  Plus it’s on-card as opposed to on-sticker-on-card.  Legit.

Number 1:

The number one card in the countdown is not a printing plate or a 1/1.  It's moderately scarce but I have dozens that are scarcer.  It contains neither a relic nor an autograph.  Heck, it isn’t even numbered. 

It is simply legend.