Wednesday, June 7, 2017

My Best Griffey Acquisitions of 2016: The Runners-Up

[Note: I cut this list short because I want to post these great cards but never had the time to finish it as I originally planned. Still, here's most of what was to be the runners-up post for best Griffey Acquisitions of 2016. Enjoy!]

The Top 30 Griffey Acquisitions list is my favorite post to make all year. It’s a challenge putting it together as I have to go through a year’s worth of eBay and COMC histories as well as trades and purchases with bloggers and through social media groups, not to mention cards acquired at card shows. But it’s so fun reliving my Griffey-collecting year that all the work I put into this post hardly feels like work at all.

These are scans of Griffeys that, while they aren’t Top 30 material this year, deserve a mention. It’s my biggest runner-up post ever, too, so forgive the page load time. And with the extremely limited blog posting I’ve given you for the past few months, this will be the first time I’ve shown most of these. Enjoy!

We're starting off with an autohgraphed card. That’s right – an autographed card did not crack the Top 30 this year. I never would have expected this to happen. Griffey card snob level: expert.

1991 Score All-Star Jumbo Autograph w/ COA (The Score Board, Inc.)

In all fairness if the Top 30 list was any longer, this would be card #31. These cards were sold by the company Score Board Inc. and sold via home shopping channels with COA’s. They could have chosen a better card for mass-signing; but hey, it’s on-card and the price was right.

1992-98 Highland Mint Topps Mint-Cards Bronze #KG92

Here’s another after-market warlock. This is Griffey’s 1992 Topps base card in the form of a heavy brass ingot with a custom screw-down case and COA. The COA is a little weird to me. I mean, if it was autographed that would be one thing, but it’s a heavy brass reproduction of a baseball card. It would be like going to New York and buying a souvenir with a certificate that says “This is an authentic reproduction of the Statue of Liberty.” Reproductions by definition are not authentic, so why waste paper on a COA? Anyway, it’s kind of awesome, so here it is.

1992 McDonalds Limited Edition Collector Pins (set of 3)

I already had the complete set of three McDonald’s pin cards, but here are all three again with the pins still on them! They’re a bitch to store, but you can’t say I don’t have that McDonald’s pin checklist on lockdown.

1992 MTV 3rd Annual Rock n' Jock Softball Challenge #3 /20000

I used to watch these Rock n’ Jock things on MTV with my older sisters. This card is so perfectly 1992 I can’t even stand it. On the short-list of my favorite oddballs.

1993 Alrak Ken Griffey Jr. Bellevue Youth Baseball Benefit #NoN

Just a well-executed oddball from the heyday of oddball brands like Alrak. They’ve produced a lot of "what am I looking at?" Griffeys in their time, and this is one of the best.

1993-95 Cardtoons Big Bang Bucks #BB-8

Cardtoons is back! I found this by accident which is the same way I discovered all the other goofball Cardtoons cards I’ve picked up over the years. It’s the same illustration as on the “Ken Spiffy, Jr.” card from the same brand, but on a wacky currency design. Cards like these have made several Top Griffey Acquisitions lists in the past, so I couldn’t not give this thing a mention.

1993 Mothers Cookies Mariners Team Set

Mother’s Cookies made a lot of Griffey cards, but for some reason this one from 1993 is the toughest to find. I had to buy the entire team set to get one which was fine with me as it also included PC’s Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner.

1993 Topps Finest #110 4x6 Jumbo

It was the Golden Age of jumbos for the sake of jumbos…

1993 Upper Deck Fifth Anniversary #A1 10x12 Jumbo

I mean, really. The Golden Age. Just the case this thing came in is weighty and darn impressive. Photographed with giant baby for scale.

1994 Mothers Cookies #4

Another gem from the cookie-era.

1994 Studio Gold Series Stars #4 #/5000

I’ve had the silver one for ages and it’s so nice that I always wondered how it wasn’t serial-numbered. I only just learned about these even coming in gold and finally with some well-deserved serial numbers.

1994 Topps Spanish x3

How many of these did Topps even make? They are super tough to find.

1995 Score Platinum Team Sets Seattle Mariners

Here’s another set I bought in its entirety in order to get not just the two Griffeys therein but also some beautiful cards for Randy Johnson, both Martinez(es? ez? ‘s?), Jay Buhner, and Dan Wilson. The cost of the whole set was actually less than the cost of the two Griffeys alone. Fun fact, and many of you more seasoned collectors may already know this: if you want a specific card from a scarce set, be sure to price the full set, too. Oftentimes it is around the same price or even cheaper than the single card you’re after. I’ve seen this time and time again with Griffey cards. It still boggles my mind.

1995 Upper Deck #100 Electric Diamond Gold

I busted a TON of this product back in the ‘90’s and again in 2013 and only ever pulled two Electric Diamond Golds: Jim Abbott and Jeff Conine. Not bad pulls, but I’ve known for a while the Griffey was going to be a challenge. One finally fell in my lap very late this year which was great timing as I needed it for the 1996 Beckett Tribute checklist. There’s nothing special about the card apart from the color of the foil, so I should resent it; but I love ’95 Upper Deck enough that the worst this card gets from me is mild indifference.

1996 Leaf Limited Pennant Craze #4

Mid-90’s Leaf is some of my favorite cardboard, especially when it’s not cardboard but FELT! So felty!

1996 Leaf Statistical Standouts #/2500

Another mid-90’s leaf, Statistical Standouts was a perennially tough pull. They’ve even held their value pretty well over the years. So they remain relatively tough to this day. It’s a great insert timeline, though.

1996 Select Certified League Preview #1 (w/ Hideo Nomo)

This is a very pretty card from the days when Hideo Nomo was the hottest name in the hobby. That sidearm thing had everybody fah-reaking out and paying $12.00 or more for common base cards. I remember it well. This was probably a $100 card back then.

1996 Studio Press Proof Gold /500

Just a rare parallel from a time when rare parallels seemed somehow even rarer.

1997 Donruss Fabric of the Game Superstar Material #5 #/500

Fabric of the Game was a tiered insert with two Griffeys in it of which this is the slightly rarer one. While this card is made of wood, other cards in the set were made with more unusual materials such as leather which I would have liked to see.

1997 Finest #342

This year’s Finest base set was multi-tiered in terms of rarity, and of all the Griffeys in all the tiers, this is the rarest one. There is also a refractor, an embossed, and an embossed refractor which you should just give up on right now because you’re never going to own it. Except you, magicpapa – you totally own it.

1997 Fleer #206 Tiffany

This almost made the Top 30 list because the Tiffany parallel from this year was such a tough pull at roughly one per box. This doesn’t sound too bad until you consider that the base set was huge, so landing a specific player was much harder. I had never even seen one of these until I got this Griffey in the mail - they just don’t come up for sale often. If you see one for your PC guy, stay on it until it’s yours.

1997 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle #10 (w/ Bagwell, Young, Caminiti, Jones, Piazza, Bonds, Burks, Sheffield, Smoltz, Thomas, Knoblauch, Thome, A-rod, I-rod, Belle, Gonzalez, Pettitt)

It’s a 90’s collector’s dream! So much love and so much ire on one card, and with Dufex printing no less!

1997 Pinnacle X-Press Melting Pot Samples #6

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’ve got to love a card of which there are more samples in the world than the card being sampled. I still haven’t pinned down the real deal, but I’m also in no hurry. I already have the sample, you see.

1998 Leaf Rookies & Stars Cross Training #2 #/1000

Here is the rarest non-parallel Griffey you can get from 1998 Leaf Rookies & Stars, a set burgeoning with cool, serial-numbered Griffeys.

1998 Pinnacle Epix Play Emerald #E1

These are complicated so I will save the in-depth description for a proper post. Suffice it to say that of the twelve total Griffeys there are to be had in this insert, this is the ninth rarest; and Emerald cards in general are the rarest color. I’m not confident I’ll ever find it in me to spend what is needed to complete this thing, but they are pretty.

1998 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle Collector Club Box Set #KEGR

This is Griffey’s card from the Pinnacle version of Topps Stadium Club, but as Pinnacle went bankrupt soon after the club was created it wasn’t around for long at all. The membership came with a t-shirt, so if anyone knows where there might be an XL of that laying around, I’ll pay handsomely. Like, Pinnacle t-shirt handsome.

1998 SP Authentic 300 HR Commemorative Trade Card

I also got the #/1300 jumbo commemorative card you traded this card for, but there’s something about the trade card that is so much cooler. I like to imagine this was pulled from a pack many years after the deadline passed, and everyone involved had a good laugh.

1998 Stadium Club Triumvirate #T16B

Everybody loves Triumvirate cards! Most collectors remember them from the ‘90’s, and those that don’t were reminded when Topps brought the insert back in the newest generations of Stadium Club. The insert, later renamed “3x3” (boo this), included two Griffeys per set for two years (1998 and 1999), each available in three parallels. That makes for a total of twelve Griffeys, some of which get awfully expensive, even now.

1998 Stadium Club Royal Court

It’s not all that rare – I just really like the design here. Purple cards FTW!

1998 Topps Gallery Gallery of Heroes Jumbo #GH 1

At a bar here in NOLA called “St. Joe’s,” there is a little piece of men’s room graffiti that I giggle at every time I go for some blueberry mojitos. It reads, “If you don’t like Morrissey, I don’t f***ing trust you.” Now, I like Morrissey. I don’t LOVE Morrissey, at least not enough to write such a powerful statement about him on a wall. But I recognize that to this person, if you like any music at all, you should be able to appreciate Morrissey as good music.

That is exactly how I feel about the stained glass effect of the amazing Gallery of Heroes inserts. Anyone who likes baseball cards at all should have some kind of appreciation for these. If you don’t like Gallery of Heroes, you can just get right on outta here. You are a bum. And you don’t like baseball cards.

Anyway, this is the jumbo version, and it’s just as beautiful as the regular-sized card.

1998 Upper Deck Unparalleled

Check out that wacky 90’s die-cutting!

1999 Skybox Metal Universe Diamond Soul #8

The lenticular fad went away back in 1995, but it wasn’t until this insert four years later that I actually liked a lenticular card. This is a gem of ‘90’s insert craziness.

I need a break from scanning, but before I go, here is a list of all the Pacific inserts I picked up in 2016:

Pacific inserts:
1996 Pacific Crown Collection October Moments #OM06
1996 Pacific Prisms Fence Busters #FB-6
1996 Pacific Prisms Red Hot Stars #RH-7
1997 Pacific Fireworks #FW-11
1998 Pacific Crown Royale #125
1998 Pacific Crown Royale Cramer’s Choice Premium Jumbo
1998 Pacific Invincible Interleague Players AL #11A
1998 Pacific Invincible Team Checklists #26
1998 Pacific Paramount Cooperstown Bound #9
1998 Pacific Revolution Rookies and Hardball Heroes #28
1998 Pacific Invincible Interleague Players AL #11A
1999 Pacific Crown Collection Tape Measure #16
1999 Pacific Crown Royale Century 21 #9
1999 Pacific Paramount Personal Bests #32
2000 Pacific Aurora Dugout View Net-Fusions
2000 Pacific Aurora Scouting Reports #17
2000 Pacific Invincible Holographic Purple #41
2000 Pacific Paramount Cooperstown Bound #9
2000 Pacific Paramount Double Vision #33
2000 Pacific Paramount Maximum Impact #17
2000 Pacific Revolution Foul Pole Net-Fusions #7
2000 Pacific Revolution Triple Header #12
2000 Pacific Revolution Season Opener #12
2000 Pacific Vanguard Cosmic Force #5
2001 Pacific AL Decade's Best #13


Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Look What the Cat Dragged In - a State of the Blog Post

Sorry it’s been so long, fellas. I do miss ya. I miss blogging, trading, and cardboard in general. A few other things I miss are alcohol, staying up past midnight, cursing openly, sleeping past 6, and going out whenever I damn well please; but life has changed a lot since last March.


I go to bed at 9pm every night now. My wife and I can usually be found in the kitchen washing bottles, preparing fresh bottles, cooking dinner, eating said dinner standing up, and wrangling alphabet magnets from around the fridge, all while singing, dancing, and generally entertaining the little one. None of our meals are entirely ours – some of it is broken up into tiny little bits for the boy; and even then there’s no guarantee he’ll eat it. Much of it ends up flung on the floor for no reason at all (thank goodness we have a dog). I should also mention that all of this is indescribably fun and rewarding, even when it’s not. I can’t imagine life without it.

So I don’t really have time for card blogging, and frankly I barely have time for cards at all. BUT (it’s a big but), I do have a confession to make:

I’ve been cheating on the hobby.

A lot of my collecting effort (and budget) has gone to my burgeoning vinyl collection. I have a good reason for that: we can actually enjoy the vinyl collection together. I can put a record on and we can listen to it as a family. And we’ve been doing exactly that for a few months now – at least a record a night, always something different. We sing, dance around, play bongos. He has a little plastic guitar, xylophone, maracas, harmonica, tambourine – the whole nine. It’s really fun.

I designed and built this cabinet myself to contain it all, and this is still only half of the collection.

Card collecting, despite all the trading we do, is a solitary hobby; and even now as I sit poking at my keyboard, I feel like a hermit. I can hear my wife and son on the other side of the wall behind me, playing; and I’m in here, typing about cardboard. I love this hobby, but I can’t justify that.

No one knows my collection the way I do, and no one else can enjoy it. Not yet, at least. I’m allowing for the fact that someday the boy will be old enough to enjoy cards on the same level as I do, and I’m proud to say that when that happens, he’ll already have a great appreciation for music in multiple genres because record collecting is as much – if not more – fun than card collecting.

Also I've been on a hardcore furniture-building kick lately in part because no one makes furniture that can hold all the records I have. I built that cabinet you see up there, and another one for the man cave. I even made the cabinet door out of old records that were no longer serviceable as records.

The record door!

So between building furniture, collecting records to fill said furniture, and oh yeah, raising a child, my time is spent. So the time has come to rethink those parts of the hobby I will stick with, and those I need to let go.

I am holding on to the Griffeys, most of the complete sets, the best trade fodder, all my non-Griffey keepers, and a few other things for when he is older and can appreciate them with me. BUT, I am letting go of a large quantities of cards. In fact, as of this past weekend the deed is already done.


I put this massive lot of cards on Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace for $250, expecting to sell it for around $200 – and that’s exactly what happened. While I got interested parties from both sources (a lot of folks wanted to come over and dig through the boxes, but I wasn’t having that – I just wanted them gone), I ended up pulling the trigger with a young guy via Craigslist named Jeremy. He’s a fellow collector with two kids who lives near me and totally understands my position. He's a vintage set builder, so I've linked him to a few blogs here. Now all those boxes are now gone, but don’t worry. I still have plenty to trade.

No regerts!

Part of me wants to start liquidating some Griffeys, too; maybe start by unloading my Griffey duplicates in one big lot, then some of the choice cards from my personal collection, specifically ones that are worth a few bucks but to which I have no emotional attachment. For now I am fighting that urge, but it’s hard. Have you seen what Griffeys are going for recently? The Crusade purple is going for more than double what I paid, and the ’93 Finest refractor is going for triple. It is bananas. This kind of seller’s market hasn’t existed since the ‘90’s. I assume it’s the HOF induction that reminded a bunch of grown-up 90’s kids how much they used to want these cards.

Speaking of liquidation, this is not the only hobby that I have been slowly backing out of. Much to my wife’s delight I have been selling off my precious poster/print collection, piece by piece. I’ve even let go of several Radiohead posters which have always been the cornerstone of the collection (like Griffey is for my cards). I’ve made a lot of Radiohead poster collectors very happy in the last several weeks as some of the posters I’ve been selling off are truly scarce and very difficult to let go. It’s been nice having an extra inflow of cash, too, as my toy instrument expense is up 8000% this quarter.

A few recent pickups

There is one area of the collection in which I’ve made some real progress, and that’s the 20-year checklist. Remember that? I probably don’t need to tell you that I did not, in fact, complete the checklist by the self-imposed deadline of December 31st, 2016; but I am ridiculously close. I think I only need 13 more cards which puts me somewhere between 98 and 99 percent complete. I can’t wait to put this thing to bed, but it is taking longer than I thought I would…

Also the Griffey Generosity Box is still out there. We should see an update via blog post from the most recent recipient very soon!

Oh, and I joined the most recent Nachos Grande group break despite the fact that there are NO GRIFFEYS in Archives this year. Grrrr....

So long story short, I’ve slowed down considerably. I still search for Griffeys and follow the hobby on social media, but I haven’t been reading the blogs because I feel guilty about not posting, trading, or even simple things like building the new flagship base set. I still buy a few cards a week on COMC, but the majority of my collecting budget now goes to Discogs, a database and marketplace for record collectors.

As for what to expect from me going forward? I’m sorry to say not much. I will not be posting with any kind of regularity. I was hoping to at least continue features like the Great Griffey Frankenset and Design Timelines, but nope. I was excited to find the time to complete my Best Griffey Acquisitions of the Year posts (here are links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) back in February (a month late), but a huge chunk of that (the runners-up) got cut because I didn’t have time to put it together. Big, research-intensive posts of yesteryear are simply not in the cards – pun intended.

Still, I have a few posts waiting in the wings that I'll try and bang out of the coming weeks. And I don't even want to think about how far behind I am on trade posts.

I do ask that anyone I owe cards to drop me an e-mail/tweet/whatevs and I will send you stuff. I’m sure there’s a ton I meant to send out that’s slipped my mind completely (because I suck at this now).

Again, I’m still collecting Griffeys, buying the occasional pack, and sniping new Griffeys on eBay and COMC semi-regularly, but card collecting as a whole has taken a back seat where it is nestled between a diaper bag and a car seat base. Oh, and it’s sticky for no apparent reason.

Don’t give up on me yet, though. Keep me on your blog roll. This post is not me bowing out of the blogsphere – quite the opposite. I’m letting you know that I’m still here, and I still plan on surprising you every now and again. Like today. Surprised?