07 July 2018

June 2018 Loot Locker

I got my baseball Loot Locker for June a couple of days ago, so here's my monthly breakdown. As usual, I ordered the Triple Play locker instead of the All-Star. The Triple Play costs a little more, but also includes a couple more packs. There is also a high-end Grand Slam option, as well as similar options for the other major sports.

Loot Lockers ship in a 400-count card box with a locker-themed sticker on top to advertise for the company and their partner, collecting supply company Ultra-Pro.

Here is the line-up for June. I got the usual pack of Ultra-Pro top loaders and sleeves, a little bag of candy, 2 packs of 2018 Bowman, 3 packs of 2018 Topps Series 2, and 3 packs of 2018 Topps Pro Debut. Let's break down the estimated cost of the included packs, to see if $30 + $5 shipping is a good deal for this month's Loot Locker. My method is to take the hobby box price from major online retailers, divide by the number of packs in a box, and then multiply by the number of packs in the locker.

2018 Bowman: $152.95 / 24 packs = $6.37 x 2 packs = $12.75
2018 Topps Series 2: $64.95 / 36 = $1.80 x 3 packs = $5.41
2018 Topps Pro Debut: $69.95 / 24 = $2.91 x 3 packs = $8.74

$12.75 + $5.41 + $8.74 = $26.90

That number is on the low end of the values I've see over the 6 months I've been keeping track. It can probably be attributed largely to the drop in prices on boxes of Bowman recently. They went from $7.50 a pack in May to $6.37 per pack in June. If you go with the $7.50 value for Bowman, this box is right about where my calculated average Triple Play Loot Locker 'value' has been over the last few months.

The two Bowman packs yielded two 2018 RoY Favorites inserts and not much else. Rafael Devers is struggling a bit so far in 2018, and Francisco Mejia seems to be fighting with the Indians over playing anywhere but catcher, which seems to be delaying his move back to the MLB roster from AAA.

The Pro Debut packs gave me a couple of Pomo Night Uniforms inserts, a MiLB Leaps and Bounds insert of A.J. Puk, and a base card of Ronald Acuna. Nothing else from the packs really jumped out at me.

The 2018 Topps Series 2 gave me a short-printed Greg Maddux variation. This photo variation card is the type that falls approximately one per box. I also got an All-Star insert of Frank Thomas, a Gold parallel of Jonathan Lucroy, and a Topps Salute insert of Austin Hays.

That wasn't the greatest break ever, but busting packs is a lottery. I am tempted to skip July, but the pack lineup for July includes Allen & Ginter, Stadium Club, and Optic. That's a hard group to pass up. I guess we'll see.

06 July 2018

Danica Patrick Rookie Tape Autograph

I have to work the weekend and it's already getting late, so this is going to be a quick post. Probably. Sometimes I get long-winded on quick posts.

I have pretty much given up on being a completist collector when it comes to my player collections. There are so many products and parallels and hits out there that it's pretty much impossible to get everything made for an individual. That goes double when you're trying to collect cardboard featuring a star whose cards drive whole product lines. Although I do try to get as many cards for my collections as possible, I don't chase everything with equal zeal. But every so often I find something unique or different that I have to have.

That was the case with this 2011 Press Pass Eclipse Signature Series Rookie Tape autograph card of Danica Patrick. For people who aren't sure what Rookie Tape is, it's a yellow tape stripe that is put on the back of a car to let other drivers know that a racer hasn't raced that track before. There are different conventions and rules about it, but it is basically a bright marker on a car to let people know you're new. So this card contains a strip of tape, probably from Danica Patrick's Nationwide Series car, as she hadn't raced at the top level of NASCAR yet when this card was produced. The card is numbered # 09 / 11, so this isn't an easy one to find.

I happened to stumble across this listing very soon after it was posted to eBay. The price was too good and the relic was too unique for me to pass it up. I hit the Buy It Now pretty quickly and soon it was in my hands.

This isn't a very good picture of it, but the relic window is pretty deep, so the authentication sticker had to make a pretty big dip to get from the card surface down to the signature on the tape. Usually autographs are on the surface of the card (or on a sticker on the card), so you don't get a stepped authentication sticker like this.

04 July 2018

2010 SEGA Card Gen Lot

My 4th of July didn't go exactly as planned. We were going to take the kids to the water park, but I woke up with a headache, dizzy spells, and an upset stomach. So my wife and kids went to the water park and I mostly stayed in bed. I did manage to go out and get a handful of fireworks in the late afternoon, and after my family came home I went outside to set them off. It kind of stunk to be sick on the holiday, but I am feeling a little better this evening and should be able to make it in to work in the morning.

I have a full set of 2013 SEGA Card Gen cards and a pretty large number of cards from the 2012 set, but I don't have many from the earlier versions of the product out of Japan. A bunch of 2010 SEGA Card Gen cards came up on eBay recently, and I grabbed a fair number of them. For the most part I didn't bite on any of the higher-priced big names, but I got a lot of other guys from the set. Kendrys Morales' Wikipedia page says that MLB mistakenly called him 'Kendry' until May 2011, and you can see that on his card here.

I did wind up grabbing one big name in this lot, opting to pay a little more to get that Lance Berkman card into my collection. Other than that, this scan has a lot of relief pitchers and a couple of starters. And Nate McLouth.

Here are some card backs for you. I love all of the trading card game / video game imagery on these cards, with the star ratings and the power bars for different attributes. It seems odd to me that Lance Berkman has a relatively low total score of 75 and an 8-star rating, but I am guessing that certain attributes are worth more stars than others.

Here are the last eight cards from this lot. Carlos Gomez made the GIF and video circuit today for beating up a cooler with his bat. I hope he feels better now. I like that picture of Rod Barajas in his catching gear.

The seller also included a quartet of shiny bonus cards in the package. The highlight is probably that Jose Bautista in the upper left, but I also like that Refractory Dylan Bundy in the lower left.

02 July 2018

Deadlift Lolita - It's SO Time - CD Single with Autographs

I've posted about Deadlift Lolita before. They are a kawaiicore (a blend of J-pop and heavy metal) band made up of professional wrestlers and bodybuilders Ladybeard and Reika Saiki. Their first cd single was called Muscle Cocktail, and I recently saw on Twitter that they'd released a second single entitled It's 躁タイム! I think that roughly translates to It's SO Time! I went ahead and placed an order on Ladybeard's website. I don't think the site mentioned this when I made my order, but now the item description says that the first 40 orders will include an autograph and an instant photo.

My copy of the single was autographed by Ladybeard and Reika Saiki. That makes this a pretty cool bit of swag.

The back of the cd sleeve has the track listing and pictures of the group, which I believe come from Japan Weekend Madrid, where the music video for It's SO Time! was filmed.

An instant photo with additional autographs was included in the package as well. Considering the price that Reika Saiki autographs from the BBM True Heart wrestling card sets go for, two autographs for the price of a cd (even with shipping that tripled the cost of the purchase) is a nice deal.

For anyone who is curious, here is the official music video for the song. It's not my favorite song by them, but it's decent. My favorites from them are Six-Pack Twins, Pump Up JAPAN, and Muscle Cocktail.

Contested Shots 33: Big Fun Game Cards from John Miller

I've been away from my blog for a while. My June output of 3 posts was the fewest in a month ever on this blog. I went to a Weird Al Yankovic concert in Spokane with my wife at the end of May. It was a pretty good show once Al and his band came out. The opening act was a set by comedian Emo Phillips, and it just didn't resonate with me. He had some funny jokes, but a lot of his set was (in my opinion) unfunny or kind of mean-spirited. As he went on, I started to regret spending the money it took to get tickets, hotel, and transportation to the venue. Luckily, Weird Al put on a great show and I felt much better about things when it was all over. Here is a link to the setlist from the concert, for anyone who wants to see what songs he did.

During the first couple of weeks in June, my friend/coworker who was fighting Stage IV Melanoma started visiting the hospital for headaches and other complications. He had a scan done, and the doctor told him that the cancer had spread into his brain, and they were pretty much out of treatment options. On the 15th, he went into the hospital again, and on the 16th he was alive but largely unresponsive. He would wake up from time to time over the weekend, but most of his friends and family visited to say goodbye to him. On the night of the 17th he woke up and felt a lot better, so they got him set up with hospice care and he went home on the 18th. On the 19th he went back into being unresponsive, and the nurses said it looked like his organs were starting to shut down. On the morning of the 22nd he died.

I spent a lot of time at the hospital and his house during that period, trying to help out and be supportive of him and his family. My wife was out of town, so I had taken leave from work for the week to take care of my kids, and so I had a lot of open time to devote to being there. I had been in the in the same military unit as my friend for quite a while, starting in 2003, and from 2008 on, we worked in the same building at our day jobs. A couple of his brothers were also coworkers of mine at different times, and a couple of years ago he helped me get into my current job. Our work group grew pretty close over those two years, and it is a pretty big blow to have him gone. He'd been fighting cancer for a while, but we hoped he would be around a little longer. He just went downhill really fast there at the end.

I had a ticket to the WWE Live show in Boise the evening of the 22nd, and I decided to go ahead and go to the show. It was good to get away from things for a few hours, and the wrestling was pretty entertaining. There weren't quite as many of my favorites on the card as there have been at previous shows I've attended, but it was still good.

Last week was pretty much taken up by my friend's wake, his funeral, and the military memorial ceremony they held for him at the base I work on. This weekend my kids took turns being sick, and I am trying to fit in some comp time at work to make up for all the time I missed over the last half of June.

I've still been collecting cards, but I haven't had much motivation to blog about them lately. I'm at the point where I am so far behind that it feels like too much work to get caught up. Hopefully I can get back into a rhythm in my life that includes posting with more frequency.

I got a package in the mail from John Miller of the Johnny's Trading Spot blog the other day. He recently put on a Big Fun Game, which is a contest where participants pick a random number to reveal a prize package. There are options to steal prizes or exchange them, My original selection was a lot of rookie cards, but it was stolen, so my next selection wound up being a bunch of vintage cardboard, mostly from the 70's. That's a fun year in cardboard history, so I was pretty happy to win it.

I mentioned that most of the cards were from the 70's, but this Carl Yastrzemski / Chuck Schilling Sox Sockers card comes from 1964 Topps, which makes it 2 years younger than my parents!

I like these team photo cards, although in many of them you can't really tell who is who. The manager cards are kind of neat as well. Imagine how small the checklists of today might be if rookies still had to share one card between three or four of them, instead of getting a couple cards each in a set!

Here is a fun quartet of cards from the 1976 checklist, with some nice classic baseball card poses on display.

Next we move into 1977, with some really eye-catching (or eye-searing, depending on the taste of the viewer) uniforms on display. I love those colorful Astros uniforms, and that red Cleveland look is pretty cool.

I am not as enamored of these 1978 cards, but there are some gems here still. I like that pose and the uniform on the Adrian Devine card in the upper left, and the evidence of a large plug of tobacco in the cheek of Jeff Byrd.

I close out the vintage cards with some more 1978 cards and a lone 1979. I like how close the Jim Clancy and Mark Littell poses are to each other. Ben Oglivie, John Scott, and Sal Bando all look like they mean business with those bats in their hands. Good stuff here.

The final card in the package was a 2006 Topps Mickey Mantle Home Run History insert card. I wasn't in the hobby in 2006, so I wasn't familiar with this insert set. Apparently Topps made a big cross-brand set with cards for each one of Mantle's career home runs. Card #HR1 was available in 2006 Topps Series 1, and later cards in the set were inserted in other products during 2006 and 2007. It must have been a nightmare to complete the set.

Thanks for the contest and the prize, John Miller! It was fun to participate, and this was a fun batch of cards to sort through!

10 June 2018

Pack of the Day 187: Two Boxes of 2017 Topps Legends of WWE

Topps had a sale on their website over the Memorial Day weekend, and one of the items on sale was Hobby boxes of 2017 Topps Legends of WWE. These things sell for $95-100 each on most card sites, and I got two boxes with shipping for about $73.50 apiece. Each box promises four hits, with three of those being guaranteed autographs. I opened a box of this stuff a few months ago that had four autographs in it.

Between the two boxes, I pulled a total of 74 base cards, with 51 singles and 23 doubles. That means two boxes got me about half of a base set. As shown in this scan, I tend to favor the wrestling legends from my youth, but the set features a lot of older names that I'm not that familiar with. I do kind of wish that Hulk Hogan would get invited back to the WWE and some of these sets. It is kind of distracting to see cards of all his contemporaries, but to never pull a card of one of the most famous wrestlers ever.

There were 19 Bronze parallels between the two boxes. This is the base-level parallel, which basically shows up in any pack that doesn't have a serially-numbered parallel inside. I thought I got some decent cards among my Bronze pulls.

These were my Silver parallel pulls. The Silver cards are # / 99, and fall 1:8 packs. So in two boxes (12 packs each), you'd expect to pull three of them. The Rock is probably the best card in this group, but I like all three of these.

I also got two Blue parallels, which are # / 50. I wasn't that familiar with Dory Funk Jr., but he is actually a pretty influential wrestler, with a long career and his own wrestling school that has trained plenty of big names.

Legendary Bouts is one of two inserts in the product, and these cards feature famous matches from wrestling history. There are some pretty big names here, like Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage, and Cactus Jack.

The other insert in the product is called Retired Championships, which shows some retired belts and some of the wrestlers who held them. Who knew there were so many belts out there?

I pulled one basic relic card from each box. They are # / 299. That Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat relic card is pretty amazing for a basic relic card.

I pulled base autographs of two female wrestlers and Bronze autographs of two male wrestlers. The base autographs of Alundra Blayze and Wendi Richter are # / 199, while the Bronze cards of Diamond Dallas Page and Ken Shamrock are # / 99. All except the Diamond Dallas Page card carry on-card signatures.

The first big hit of the break is this autographed manu-relic Commemorative Championship Plate Card bearing the autograph of Big Show. I was pretty happy with this card, although it's probably not a huge money card. I like Big Show, and I was glad to get his signature. The card is # 68 / 99. 

The hit of the break has to be this Black parallel of "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase's autographed relic card. The card features a sweet relic swatch and a nice signature with a '$' inscription. It's also # 4 / 5.

While this break wasn't quite as amazing as my previous box was, this product is a lot of fun. I like pulling cards of all the old-school wrestlers, and each box usually produces at least a handful of really neat things. I'd like to pick up more of this product at some point. The price point is a little high, but there is some good stuff that can come out of it. It also feels a little less risky than a true high-end product like Undisputed.

09 June 2018

Rockets from Sport Card Collectors

A while ago, Sport Card Collectors asked about a card I posted on my blog. I don't really like to trade, but I sent him some cards and he sent me some cards.

Most of the package centered around my favorite basketball team, the Houston Rockets. First up are some shiny parallels and inserts of Houston players, including three of my all-time favorite player, Hakeem Olajuwon. I don't collect basketball cards as much as I used to, so there are a lot of card designs here that are new to me.

There were a couple of UFC cards in the package, both from the 2017 Topps UFC Museum Collection product. On the left is a Copper parallel of Germaine de Randamie, and on the right is a Blue Sapphire parallel of Jose Aldo.

Last up are the hits. Shane Battier was one of my favorite Rockets while he was on the team. He was kind of the figurehead of Daryl Morey's analysis-heavy approach to team-building. Battier didn't put up huge conventional stats, but his positioning, shot selection, and cerebral approach to the game increased the team's win probability while he was on the floor. The Prestigious Pros relic from 2010-11 Panini Prestige is numbered # 121 / 499.

The Jason Terry die-cut autograph comes from 2014-15 Panini Donruss is numbered # 12 / 99. I don't know a lot about Terry, but he's been in the NBA for a long time and spent a couple years on the Rockets. He's also 3rd in all-time 3-pointers made, behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. I think maybe Steph Curry, Kyle Korver, and Klay Thompson have a chance at passing him if they play long enough, though.

The highlight of the package was this Apprentice Signatures autograph of Patrick Beverley from 2013-14 Panini Crusade. It is numbered # 05 / 10. I liked Beverley as a Rocket, although I thought at times he showboated a little too much. It wouldn't be a problem, but it felt like every so often he would have an unnecessary turnover or miss a shot because he was showing off. He's a good defender, though, and was overall a solid player for the team.

This was a pretty cool package from Sport Card Collectors. It was especially nice to add so many cards to my oft-neglected basketball collection. Thank you!