Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cavalcade of Keepers 1

Welcome to the first installment of a new feature where we take a look at a few cards from the Keeper Box.

While I don't plan on always having a theme, today we are looking at five players from the 1995 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves.  Enjoy!

1998 Stadium Club John Smoltz #149

A unique shot of John - or of any pitcher for that matter - in a leaping wall catch.  I have to assume this is staged because I cannot even imagine the turn of events that would lead to a situation like this during an actual play.  Pitchers at the wall shots have got to be far rarer than pitchers at the plate.  The shadow here is great, and you can't fault John's acting - look at that focus.  I'm sold.

1995 Fleer Pro-Visions Greg Maddux #4

When I quit collecting cards back in the very late 90's I kept a small album of cards I just really liked.  This was one of the very few to make that cut - an original keeper.  Check out the brightly-colored, larger-than-life illustration by Wayne Anthony Still along with a touch of gold foil.  Say what you want about '95 Fleer; this is a great insert.  I'll probably show way more of these in future posts.

This is a Where's Waldo?-type setup where you have to find something in the crowd, presumably Bazooka Joe.  I just enjoy checking out all the colorful characters in the background.  Now why is Chipper playing outfield?

1994 Donruss Elite Fred McGriff #58 #/10000

On the opposite end of the spectrum from that last card is this extremely fancy befoiled number from Donruss' super high-end.  All die-cut and shiny with a great textured field between the border and the photo (that a scan doesn't do justice), I highly recommend picking up one of your favorite player.  The folks at Leaf really put a lot of work into these.  Beautiful.

1996 Pinnacle Christie Brinkley Collection Ryan Klesko #2

One of the most bizarre inserts ever made in my opinion, the Christie Brinkley Collection featured a bunch of stars from the Indians and Braves.  I can't really make fun of this insert for two reasons.  First, pretty lady.


Second, the photography is rock-solid.  Seriously - these cards are beautiful.  Every card has a fun/unique pose by some great 90's players.  At least two of them have babies on them.  This is not Klesko's only surfing card, but I think it's his best.

Thanks for reading!

Jeepers Keepers

When it comes to Griffeys, I am the Statue of Liberty. “Give me your creased, your damaged, your dinged corners yearning to breathe acid-free archival storage media.” The same is true for a handful of player collections.

On the other hand, I am the freakin’ NSA recruitment board for everything else. The very few who make it past my several levels of security checks and personal evaluations eventually find themselves penny-sleeved and meticulously organized in a 5000-count card storage box.

I call these “Keepers.” I call the box – get this – the “Keeper Box.”

You may remember this box as the one I decorated with a bunch of cards. There has to be something really great about a card for it to make it into that box.

There are a few other levels of keeper-dom I maintain in addition to the big box. For example, I have a box just for cards with great photography:

Another for funny cards:

This one is where I keep any and all cards I can find from the first two sets of Fleer Metal Universe (I hope to build a set someday):

My box of super-nice keepers, those being cards that are too good for a modest penny sleeve:

Then I have this box that holds all my non-baseball cards, including Saints, football, basketball, a bunch of miscellaneous non-sports cards, and a few checklists and promotional/offer cards:

My oldest box, dedicated entirely to pumping out set after set of ’89 Donruss:

And finally, here is where I keep all my complete sets:

Back to the Keeper Box. Being that this is a Griffey blog, these cards never get the attention they probably deserve. For that reason I’m going to start a new feature, the Cavalcade of Keepers. These posts will feature a handful of non-Griffeys that deserve a scan and a snarky review.

So look out for that.

Can We Talk about Trades for a Minute?

I'm going to give you all a little peek into how my trade pipeline works.  The endgame here is to trade more but also to share best practices (Not that letting trade fodder build up into a massive pile until it just gets so big that you have to spend a whole night figuring out who you set each card aside for is a good practice).

As you can see I was a busy boy last Wednesday night, and a very unpopular guy in the line at the Post Office on Thursday morning.  I don't send these to guilt anyone into sending me Griffeys - it's mostly just to get all this stuff out of my house, but also it's because I don't ever really know who I owe cards to and who I don't.  So if I've sent one of you three unanswered trade packages in a row, sorry?  And if you've sent me the same, let me know.

Allow me to show you what I’m working with.  My trade fodder is divided up into three parts: Teams, Players, and Premiums.


My teams are divided up into separate long boxes and labeled appropriately.  My quality control standards for these are very high.  I’ve already gone through every card in every box you see and pulled out all the overproduction-era “junk wax” that I don’t consider of high enough quality to trade.  All that’s left is the good stuff, mostly pre-’85 and post’95.

Of course there is some time overlap of sets that are too good not to be considered tradable.  For example, ’92 Ultra made the cut as did ’91 Studio; but I defy you to find a single ‘90 Donruss Red Menace or ’89 Topps.  This is not a judgment of these sets per se, but I have to assume any team collector worth his salt already has every card from those sets.  I won’t waste shipping money or space in a package on them.


When I go through new cards I also pull out the good guys.  Everyone from Hank Aaron to Jordan Zimmerman is represented here.  I save them for the sole purpose of mailing them to others who collect specific dudes.  This box (now boxes) has gotten a bit ridiculous.  Just the stack of Nolan Ryans in here is enough to choke a grown panda.

The good thing about these is that I could always dump them on eBay as player lots, and odds are that someone out there will pay actual money for them.  I’ve paid for blind Griffey lots, sometimes up to $0.25 per card. I don’t want to do this – it would be a desperation move, but we’re getting there.


This is the good stuff: relics, autos, cool numbered parallels, manu-patches, manu-relics, manu-manu – the stuff I have no real good reason to keep and that might even book for a few bucks.  Some of this will find its way to eBay, some to COMC, but the majority (I hope) will end up in trade packages.

Cards in the premium box find their way to specific bloggers, trade packages by team, and the occasional PWE.  Every now and again I sift through and slap a couple of cards up on eBay or mail them out to COMC.  Just general trade bait here, really.

I also have an unofficial trade shelf where I throw anything that I know a specific blogger would appreciate. After the trade storm of this last week, here is what the shelf looks like as I write this:

Mostly empty as you can see, and a few stacks for specific guys separated by post-it notes.  A few of you I don't have addresses for, but I read your blogs.  You've already got cards here, too.

The Brass Tacks:

What I need is to downsize, and I’m willing to make concessions to do so.  What I’m offering is any combination of teams and/or specific players you may want.  In exchange, I’ll take anything.

Really – anything.

As long as it consists of fewer cards to store and has an approximate value (collector value, not necessarily book value) relative to what I mail to you, I don’t really care what it is.  I’d prefer Griffeys or cards from my player collections, obvy, but I don’t really care all that much.  Just send me something cool.  That’s all I really want.

So e-mail, comment, send me a carrier pigeon - whatever you want.  Let's trade, bro.

This is me taking the trading bull by the horns

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Box of 2014 Finest

I knew when I saw the design for Finest this year I would be buying some.  I had the day off and called my LCS.  He had one box, and I took it.  It's the first box I've ever busted right there in the shop.  My hope was to pull a Griffey auto which is the only Griffey you can hope to get.  The box contained two mini-boxes (pictured above), each with one auto.  So, was one of those auto's the Griffey?

No it was not.  Here is the pair of autos I pulled.  I appreciate the on-cardness of these autos, and that Michael Choice one is a blue refractor.  Meh.  At least the cards look good.

I am crazy about the 90's throwback inserts in this set.  Here is the Abreu refractor of the Sterling insert based on the '96 design.  Gorgeous.

I also pulled a few of the '94 throwback insert, one of my favorite Finest base card designs.  They even copied the original card back designs perfectly.  Bravo.

A pretty card, for sure, but nothing particularly spesh.  We've all seen cards like this before.

The Warriors die-cut refractors, another 90's insert, look great.  Very fancy.

Here are a few of my refractors.  One issue with these cards is that they are so colorful as-is that it's impossible to tell what color refractor you have.  You have to go by what the card is numbered out of.  Mr. Donaldson is a gold refractor, Johnson is a green, and Castellanos is a blue.

I also pulled a pair of xfractors, including one of the more sought-after rookies in the set, Masahiro Tanaka.  These look ca-razy.

Here are the regular refreactors, a nice mix of stars.  The refractors really do look fantastic.

Here's a clutch of base cards for you to enjoy:

I'm not crazy about what I pulled, guys, but I am a big fan of this set.  The packs really were a blast to open.  I'll keep a few and put the rest on eBay.

Here's the Griffeys I need from 2014 Finest:

Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG
Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG Xfractor #/199
Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG Blue Refractor #/125
Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG Black Refractor #/99
Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG Gold Refractor #/50
Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG Red Refractor #/25
Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG Atomic Refractor #/5
Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG Superfractor 1/1
Autographed Finest Greats #FGA-KG Printing Plate 1/1 (four total, one per color)

Ho hum.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Very Unique Griffey Artifact

I received a surprise package in the mail from Corey of Tim Wallach fame, and inside was one of the most unique Griffey collectables I've come across.  Here it is:

It's a game program from the Connie Mack World Series in New Mexico, the championship for a league of 16 and 17-year-olds.  It seems Griffey played in the league at some point because this year he was inducted into the CMWS Hall of Fame.  Here's a write-up from within the program:

He wasn't alone, either:

Something especially fun about this package from Corey is that he knows Griffey's "host family."  The players are too young to be in hotels, I guess, so they stay with local families wile they play in the Series.  It would seem Griffey is still pals with his original host family and went for a visit.  Here is a picture Corey included of Junior with his host family's dog, Mack:

Frickin' adorbs, right?  I want to hang out with this dude.

There were also a bunch of game tickets, both used and un-used, in the program and a nice, long letter from Corey explaining it all.  I was spouting to my wife for 15 minutes about this one.  Amazing package, Corey.  Thank you!

Corey also mentioned that there was a team from NOLA in the tournament this year, the Bill Hood Broncos.  Every New Orleanian knows Bill Hood Chevrolet - I'm thinking it must be the same guy.

Thanks again, Corey!  I need a hell of a lot of Wallachs to get even with you now...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Post Sort-'em

JJHQ is overrun by cardboard at the moment, so before I started pouring over the stacks of cardboard on my desk that need to be dealt with, I decided to go ahead and do a Griffey sort.

Before the sort the numbers were 7,868 total, 3,284 unique, and a dupe ratio of 2.400.  You may notice these numbers are different from the last sort post.  That's because I removed 78 Griffeys from the collection as part of a trade that is currently in the works.  Nothing unique - all dupes.  While I don't normally like to reduce my total number of Griffeys, it had a favorable effect on the numbers and I know those Griffeys will brighten someone's day.

As for today's sort the total number of Griffeys added was 117.  Of those, 63 are new to the collection.  That puts this sort at a duplicate ratio of 1.857.

The new counts are 7,985 total, 3,347 unique, and a collection dupe ratio of 2.386.  We're only 15 cards away from a big milestone, boys!  A celebration is in order.

I don't have any pictures appropriate for this post.  Oh, wait - yes I do:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

COMC Whoppers

There are a bunch of Griffeys on COMC that have been making my mouse finger twitch for some time, and this past week I finally pulled the trigger on a whole bunch of 'em.  Buyer's remorse be damned!

It's Griffey time:

I've been drooling for this one ever since the first time I saw it atop PATP's blog.  What a concept.  I'm kind of surprised it's only been done the once.  Tough find, but I finally landed her.

This one, too - a very difficult card to land.  The whole insert set is just impossible to pin down.  I pulled the Frank Thomas from a pack back in '98, and while I love it I always really wanted the Griffey.  How much did I want it?

Well, the seller had this up for $15.24, but I thought that was a little steep, so I offered $10.  And wouldn't you know it?  The seller upped the price to $20.24 and counter-offered at $15.24, the original price.  Normally I would say to hell with him, but I really wanted this thing.  I countered at $12.25, almost splitting the difference.  I didn't expect him to take it, and I was right.  He countered at $14.25.  I called it a win and accepted.  Now here it sits on my scanner.  Happy day!

This is a really beautiful insert I could never find for a good price, and I still haven't.  I paid a premium for this card because of the numeration.  I consider it worth it, though.

Here's two of my favorite Griffey card backs:

That Peter Max back is amazing and different on every card in the set.  And the Gold Leaf Stars?  It's number ten.  Ten....out of 10,000.  I just think that's really cool.

While I'm not that crazy about this set design, I can't not pick up a base card when it becomes available.  There are still so many more timelines to do.

I'm also a sucker for reasonably-priced Tek patterns.  Somebody on COMC has a bunch of these on COMC right now for five buck each.  He's dreamin'.  These were less than $1.50 each, and that's where they belong.

I've been looking for a clean Diamond Pearls insert for a while.  It's a beautiful card, but the surfaces get damaged so easily in the pack.  I'm still not certain how I'm going to store it.  Should I risk the binder?

Okay, not a Junior, but a Griffey nonetheless.  This one won't be counted in the collection, but how could I pass it up?  It's stunning.

Cameos!  These are all different, and none of them are the regular base card.  Can you spot all the differences?

Finally, one of the great things about cameos is the cheap parallels.  Case in point: these two cards.

That wasn't 10% of the goodies I got, but I've got to save some for the set posts, don't I?

I know this entire post was essentially bragging.  I promise more actual content in future posts.