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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trade Post - - Baseball Set Help

Not too long ago, out of the blue, I got a comment from another collector offering up some set help.  Everybody's favorite Brewer fan, Thorzul, must have gotten bored one day and decided send some stuff my way for help with my sets.  I didn't know Thorzul collected hockey cards.

Oh wait a second.  That's right.  I do have some baseball sets that I was trying to put together.  Specifically, last years Bowman and Topps.  I got caught up in all the frenzy and mayhem when Bowman hit the streets last year and bought a bunch.  I also at some point decided it was a good idea to start trying to accumulate the base Topps set every year.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I've just been distracted with all the new sets for hockey, the garage collection, and other things that I forgot about baseball.  Sorry.

At any rate, a package from Milwaukee arrived despite the 30 inches of snow and the 4-5 ft. piles covering our neighborhood mailboxes.  Thorzul was kind enough to send 8 cards my way in the name of set help.  I thought I would take a moment and share my first baseball cards of 2011 that aren't 2011 Topps. 

2010 Bowman Chrome Neil Medchill

This guy was drafted by the Angels in 2005, the Mets in 2008, and the Yankees in 2009.  I really hate how Chrome scans.  Does anyone out there have a better way to get these to scan correctly?  They come out black when I scan them and I do an auto photo fix so you can at least see a little of the background.  I've tried doing the photo instead of scan thing but it just doesn't work out the way I want it.

 2010 Bowman Topps 100 Ivan DeJesus

2010 Bowman Topps 100 Simon Castro

2010 Bowman Topps 100 Zach McAllister

I decided to take on the Topps 100 set.  These are supposed to feature the top 100 rookies in baseball last year.  Although looking back, I don't know how many of these guys will actually be considered TOP.

2010 Topps Legendary Lineage Duke Snider/Andre Ethier

Quite a few collectors were not fans of these inserts.  I kind of like them but my only thing is in an album, you have to cock your head to the side to really see them.  Plus, I think where Topps dropped the ball was by placing different combinations of players on some of the cards that made no sense at all.  I get players on the same team, I even get players at the same position.  But there were some interesting pairings that left something to the imagination.

 2010 Topps More Tales Of the Game Intracity Sweep

2010 Topps More Tales of the Game Mile High Humidor

The interesting thing about these two is that I did need TOG-6 and TOG-8.  What I didn't know was that apparently in the Update set, they came out with a More Tales of the Game set.  These cards are MTOG-6 and MTOG-8.  So I needed these too, I just didn't know it yet.

And finally, one for my Pirates collection that I don't think I had:

2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Gold Doug Mientkiewicz #56/2008

Thanks again, Thorzul.  I always appreciate a little set help.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blaster Box Break - - 2010-11 Donruss Hockey

I already have a ton of these and am down to three cards for a complete base set.  As for the Rated Rookies, well that's another story.  But the point is, I need more Donruss like I need a hole in the head.

Well I'm starting to think I have a hole in my head.  I just couldn't help myself.  I have already hit my Du-Point on Upper Deck and O-Pee-Chee and since the only other hockey on the shelf at the store was Certified, Donruss won out on the "calling my name" war.  In case you were wondering what's Du-Point...that's the temperature where water vapor condenses into water or in my case, the point in time when every box/pack/blaster etc. that I open is filled with nothing but duplicates and crap.  I don't know if I invented the term but I like the way it sounds.

So again, to recap.  I have a load of these now so if anyone else is collecting the base, let me know what you need and I may have it.  But hindsight is always 20/20 and I am glad I picked this one up.  The first reason is that I generally use the box logos to "decorate" the plain cardboard boxes that the larger sets are housed in.  It mixes it up from the standard sharpie writing that is usually found on these.  Since everything I had obtained up to this point was from rack packs, I had nothing to adhere to the box.  Second reason...this:

In case you may not be able to see the scan, this is a Die-Cut Gems Autograph redemption.  Why is this exciting?  These are supposed to be case hits.  Case hits in hobby boxes.  1 per case.  Did I mention this is a case hit?  I didn't know cases also included retail blasters.  I'm not complaining though.  Off to the interwebs to find out who exactly is Card #1 in this set is.

I already knew who it was in the regular base set but wasn't sure on the autos.  The Die Cut Gems Auto's are supposed to be numbered /25 and according to Panini's website (which I have been on way too much lately) there are 140 (maybe 141 if I miscounted) autos available. So my thoughts were confirmed.  This was a redemption for the true Great 8, the future Hall of Famer (in my opinion), The Finnish Flash...Teemu Selanne.

I haven't decided what I want to do with this one yet.  I checked Ebay for sales on the Die-Cut autos and it is a mixed bag on the finished auctions.  They have some that have gone for as little as $.99 and others that have pulled upward of $27 (Mike Modano) to $33 (Jonathan Toews).  My other option would be to scratch it and redeem it.  A Selanne autograph would be a very cool addition to the collection.  Although, I could use a few bucks in the PP account.  What to do, what to do?

At this point, it would be a little anti-climactic to talk about anything else that might have been in the box but since I committed to the break, I'll finish.  We have all already seen our fair share of the base cards.  Here are some now:

The rest of the box was typical of a normal retail blaster.  There are only 8 packs per box with 10 cards per pack (80 cards for the numerically declined).  The non-base cards come in about 1:2 packs.  I pulled 1 Rated Rookie and 3 inserts.  Here they are:

 Jay Miller - Tough Times

This is a 10 card set that features players known for their "extra grit" on the ice.  Also available in autographed version.  Most collector's seem to want this set so traders should be hard to come by.  I think I have only 3 or 4 so far.

 Pamela Anderson - Fans Of The Game

Another subset that I really see no need for.  I can't complain about this one but the purpose and idea of the set is kind of lame.  It's only 5 cards and can also be found in the autograph form.  Apparently Pam is a Canucks fan but that's to be expected since she is from B.C.  I have Willa Ford too from another pile I obtained at some point.  I don't know if she counts as a fan since she's married to a hockey player.  I'm still happy I have not obtained a Bieber.  Very happy.  If I get one, it gets burned.

 Jamie McBain - Rated Rookie

The "other" Hurricane rookie.  I'm not doing to well with any of the top 10-12 guys in this year's rookie class.  Maybe my luck will change soon.  There are 50 of these and unless you plan on picking up hobby boxes, good luck finding them from busting wax.  At one per blaster, you will need another mortgage on your house to afford them.  I'll get them eventually.

Braydon Coburn - The Ultimate Draft

Everyone hates these cards but I kind of like them.  It is sort of a rip-off of Upper Deck's Draft Day Gem set from last year but the design of these with the stats on the front and the color combination just seem to work for me.  I know, that's amazing considering my hate/hate relationship with Panini.

Again, if anyone needs some base for a set or two, let me know and I can check my piles.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Things Rescued From Auction

For some reason, don't ask me why, I have been trolling the Bay quite frequently lately looking for different items to fill in some gaps in my collection.  One of those gaps has been some missing cards from my Penguins and Steelers tribute card-o-rama.

Those of you that have been around for any length of time may remember this post about my wife's contribution to my madness way back in when.  She brought these home to my utter amazement and even permitted me to hang them up.  If you recall, I had decided to use one frame to feature all the Pittsburgh Steelers that have been elected to the Hall of Fame (or at least as many that would fit).  The other frame would be for the Trib Total Media All Time Penguins team which features 15 players and 5 Honorable Mentions. 

Since I decided to put them up, I have been trying to find the perfect cards of each player to put in.  The holders are snap-tite's that anchor themselves by sliding in and out of pre-mounted strips.  I'm sure many of you have seen these before.  The problem lies in the fact that the holders are vertical.  If you want them to look nice and uniform, the card images have to also be vertical.  My other dilemma has been that I didn't want to duplicate any set designs.  So if I have a 1974 Topps Franco Harris, I need to have some other year for Joe Greene. 

Les Binkley and Randy Carlyle have been my two Penguins that I have yet to fill in since I can't seem to find any Binkley's and the only two Carlyle cards I have currently are already being used (one in a set and the other year/brand is already represented in the frame).  Despite the two holes, the frame filled up quickly as most of card collection is hockey and I have been actively accumulating stuff since the mid-80s.

As for the Steeler frame, that has been a bit harder to fill.  First, I limited my Steelers to only those that spent the bulk of their careers with the team, were integral in building the team, or spent the most productive of their careers in Pittsburgh.  This helped to eliminate Cal Hubbard, Marion Motley, Bill Hewitt, and Len Dawson.  It took out Greasy Neale too since he was a coach for only one year.  I also didn't include Dick Lebeau because although a pivotal coach in Steelers history, he was elected for his playing days with Detroit.  He will almost certainly go in as a coach down the road.

So I was down to 20 players/coaches/owners that had to be filled in.  The players with modern cards (ie. 1960s to today) were easy.  The bump in my road came with The Chairman Of the Board Art Rooney, Dan Rooney, Bert Bell, Bill Dudley, Ernie Stautner, Walt Kiesling, Bobby Layne and John Henry Johnson.  I also didn't have a vertical card of Chuck Noll but do have a temporary one in its place. 

This was supposed to be an Ebay post though.  Here are a few I picked up to fill in some holes in the Steeler "Hall Of Frame".

 1985 Football Immortals Bill Dudley #37

 1988 Swell Hall Of Fame John Henry Johnson #140

 1991 Enor Hall Of Fame Bert Bell

1991 Enor Hall Of Fame Art Rooney

I know these are odd ball cards from "off the grid" sets but sometimes you have to dig deep.  I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg to get this filled up.  Plus, since it will be on display, I didn't want any of the better cards being exposed to too much light or conditions that would cause fading.  I still want it to look cool though.  I know there is a different Art Rooney card out there with almost the identical photo but I haven't seen any Bert Bell's.  So for now, I will temporarily suspend my rule of 1 card per set in order to accommodate both the Enor cards. 

Oh, and just to round out my purchase for some almost free shipping, I picked up these too.

1976 Wonder Bread Franco Harris #3

T206 Honus Wagner

The Harris was to help complete the Wonder Bread set that I am sort of on-again off-again working on.  The Wagner is because I have always wanted a copy of this card.  I'd take the real thing too if I had a quarter of a million to waste.  If I am going to call myself a Pittsburgh collector, there has to be at least one of these in my Pirates collection.  Now there is.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Trade Post - - More set help

One of my readers hit me up on email the other day and let me know that there would be a little something on the way in the mail.  Michel, another set collector from Texas, decided to help me out with a couple sets and also threw in a few surprises as well.  If anyone has ever traded with Michel, then you know that he is one of the great traders out there and will always surprise you with what he sends.  Let's take a look.

As you can see by the picture, there are some 2010-11 Score and Donruss Hockey in this mix.  You can also see part of my 3 year old's face in the corner there.  He is always curious when new cards come in.

First, the 2010-11 Score Hockey.  I had 145 cards left to complete the set.  This set overall has been a bit of a disappointment for me.  When the original sneak peeks were released earlier this year, I had some high expectations for this set.  Yes it is a low-end product.  Yes it is probably meant for the kids because of the low price point.  But, with a design reminiscent of the 1990-91 set, this was sure to be a hit with 30 something year old collectors that remember the "good ole' days" of collecting. 

Then the set was released and after some quick buzz, a lot of set collectors, including yours truly, realized that this was falling a little flat in a few areas.  The biggest issue for me was the sheer size of the set compared to the collation in the pack out.  At 550 base cards, a box will only net you 252 cards.  With each pack containing a glossy parallel - 36 (just like the football counterpart) and every two packs containing an insert or rookie, it is a bit tough to put together since most boxes are only going to get you 195-200 base cards.  The other issue was the lack of the rookie redemptions to which Panini later scraped their plans without telling collectors and included the cards in the pack out, but short printed the top players instead.  I've already addressed my enthusiasm for that idea.

Now, I'm not saying I don't like the set as a whole.  It has that epic 90-91 design that helped launch many collector's down their hoarding, I mean collecting, path 20 years ago.  There are also some nice inserts for a low end product including the Snow Globe Die-Cut cards, the Net Cam cards which feature a photo from the net cam angle, and the Canada/USA Greats cards.  After 10 rack packs, 2 hobby boxes (although I don't think there is a distinction between hobby or retail), 2 blasters, I still don't have a complete set.  So, Michel sent me 21 from my list. 

The next few were from the 2010-11 Donruss Hockey set.  I am down to 9 on this set because of some great deals on rack packs at Meijer.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that despite the low-end nature of this release, this might be my favorite Panini set so far this year (that isn't saying much).  The design is simple, the photography is good, and the backs actually attempt to mix it up a bit, departing slightly from the typical Panini-esque card back.  I think I have already reviewed these before and said that I wasn't too thrilled by them.  For some reason, however, these have continued to grow on me.  I think that is due to the insert sets.  The Les Gardiens set, the Ice Kings, Tough Times, and Elite inserts are all well done.  At any rate, Michel sent me 6 from my list so I am down to 3...Nick Lidstrom, Evander Kane, and Kyle Okposo.

Finally, the surprises were once again, a plethora of Pittsburgh Steelers for my team collection.  Did I mention they were in the Super Bowl?  Did I mention it was for the 8th time?  Did I mention that...nevermind.  Here is what was in there...

2010 Topps Chrome Maurkice Pouncey and Rashard Mendenhall

2010 Topps Platinum Mike Wallace, Troy Polamalu, and Rashard Mendenhall

2010 Topps Prime Troy Polamalu and 2010 Panini Threads Rashard Mendenhall

2009 Finest Hines Ward

Thanks for all the good stuff, Michel.  I will be searching thoroughly for some stuff off your lists.