30 December 2013

What eBay Hath Wrought 30: A Bunch of Josh Reddick Stuff

Over the past couple of months I have added a few things to my Josh Reddick PC by way of eBay. This is sort of a catch-all to get me (sort of) up to date on them. I got the Allen & Ginter's autograph for a couple of bucks. Not too bad. I also added a couple of legitimate parallels to my 2013 Topps Super-Rainbow. Topps used the same picture of Reddick for Opening Day, Flagship, Topps Chrome, and Topps Mini, so I am combining them to see how many I can get. I think I am up over 25 variations now. I showed them to my wife the other day and she didn't understand why I would try to do something like that. The Sapphire parallel looks a lot like the Blue Sparkle Wrapper Redemption parallel, but it is serially-numbered, so it is different. The scan of the Camo parallel looks a lot like the Camo Refractor parallel from Topps Chrome, but in real life the cards look pretty different. I guess the logo is different, too, but who looks at stuff like that?

2013 Allen & Ginter's Framed Mini Autograph, 2013 Topps Sapphire #15 / 25,
2013 Topps Camo # 66 / 99
I also added an illegitimate parallel to the Super-Rainbow, in the form of this Wal-Mart Blue card that made it out of the factory with no foil stamping. This is not the sort of thing I would seek out regularly, but it does add one more slightly different card to the stack.

I also got this pretty neat card from the Sega Card-Gen set out of Japan. I sure do like these things. Most of my other ones are from the Blue Jays, and this was the first Reddick I've seen on eBay. Pretty cool stuff.

The seller also included these soccer cards that appear to be from a similar sort of set done up by Panini? I am not sure if they are actually part of a game, but the rating system shown on the cards sure seems to be consistent with your standard sports video game.

The back of the cards repeats the ratings from the front, and also shows a diagram of a soccer field with colored squares seemingly representing where the player's relative strengths lie. Along the right side of the field are percentages? maybe signifying how much time the player spends in a particular third of the field? I really don't know.

Pretty cool freebies, if you ask me. I like this kind of stuff, with ratings and colored squares and the metric system.

29 December 2013

The Die is Cast 1: Why? Because Race Car.

Lionel Racing was clearing out a bunch of 2012 NASCAR die-cast (they still are, too) and I thought that was the perfect opportunity to get myself some little metal cars. These things are pretty cool. I got a couple of Dale Earnhardt Jr. cars and a couple of Danica Patrick cars. I had to get an AMP Energy car even though I am trying to cut back on the energy drinks and I also got a National Guard-sponsored car since I've spent around 40% of my life as a Guardsman. I got the Batman movie car there on the left because it was $8 and I couldn't pass up that deal. My favorite Danica Patrick car is that blacked-out Stealth variant on the right, although the other one is pretty nice too. Behind the cars you can see the patron saints of pop culture, who help me to get my homework done when I really am struggling to get going.

I don't really know where I am going with the whole die-cast thing, but I sure do like the cars. They can be pretty expensive, especially if you are buying the current models. The ones on clearance are generally there for a reason. I will need to focus pretty tightly on one or two specific subjects of interest or risk spending way too much money on them. Maybe I will order one or two of my favorite drivers per year and keep it at that. The ones I really want right now are the pink-accented Breast Cancer Awareness cars for Earnhardt Jr. and Patrick, as well as an orange AMP car that is out for Earnhardt Jr. There are a couple of camouflage variants sponsored by various military services that I like, but I am trying to decide whether I want to start collecting past cars or pick a definite starting point and work forward from there, avoiding the problem of trying to deal with the backlog of previous releases. Anyway, these aren't going to be an extremely frequent thing for me to post, but I imagine I will pick up a new one from time to time.

28 December 2013

Pack of the Day 47: 2013 Bowman Chrome Hobby Box #2

This is the final box of cards I came home with from my local shop's 20th anniversary party. It has been so long since I scanned these cards and began this post that I have misplaced the sheet of paper I had with all of the data I had regarding how many cards I pulled from the base set and whatnot.

I was glad to pull copies of the Dickey and Reddick base cards as I had them already for my base set but not for the respective rainbows I am putting together for them. Milone and Encarnacion are included in the photo simply because I like them as players and they balanced out the scan nicely.

For the prospects I just looked for the most obviously-posed cards in the box. That Jack Leathersich pose is especially nice, although Kyle Smith and Dustin Geiger have that artsy "looking away from the camera and dreaming of a call-up" vibe to them.

These are all base Refractors. Harper isn't a bad pull. I guess Trumbo and Longoria aren't too bad, either, but I kind of have a Harper PC. I really need to set up a system for organizing my cards. Right now my system is to put the card on top of the least precarious-looking stack of cards.

My prospect Refractor is of C.J. Edwards. Who is C.J. Edwards? I don't know.

My Risin' Thru The Ranks mini-Refractor is another C.J., this time C.J. Cron. I think I have a couple of his cards, but other than that I don't know anything about him.

I think this set is called Bowman Sapphire Greatest Rookie Reprints or something. Ken Griffey Jr. is a pretty good pull, and breaks my streak of guys named C.J. and also my streak of guys who I don't know anything about.

I got a Blue Refractor of Matt Kemp, which is pretty nice with the blue uniform and all. My Google tells me that these are numbered out of # / 250. 

I also got this Purple Refractor of B.J. Boyd, another guy who goes by his initials. I am told these are numbered out of # / 199. So I didn't pull any crazy colored Refractors out of either of my Bowman Chrome boxes. Oh well.

The promised autograph from this box comes from Luis Torrens, a Yankees prospect who I have also never heard of. Every time I see this card it really bothers me that his signature is off to the right like that. I just want to nudge it over a little bit into the center.

According to the box lid, every third box contains an extra prospect autograph. I guess this was the third box, because I also got this Refractor autograph of Victor Roache, numbered out of # / 500, if I recall the number correctly.

So that's the end of the second box of Bowman Chrome that I came home from the party with. I guess the Bowman Black Collection autograph of Mac Williamson from the first box is the big hit. Nothing else too exciting came from the boxes. All told, I probably wouldn't buy this product again, but I wouldn't turn down another free box of it. I was bouncing back and forth between this and a box of regular Chrome while I was in the shop, and I don't know if I made the right choice. I will never know. I can't remember if that wraps up the posts for my stuff from the party or not. There is one more box. It is NASCAR stuff, so I know you folks will actively avoid clicking the link to read it, but I don't care. I will write about it and post it anyway because I like that stuff. Maybe I am a little too defensive about my NASCAR stuff. Maybe I will do a while week of alternating posts covering NASCAR stuff and My Little Pony cards.

26 December 2013

At the Trade Deadline 12: Not a Trade

I am going to label this as a trade post, but in reality there was no trade. This envelope just showed up in the mail on Tuesday with a nifty Topps Tribute parallel of R.A. Dickey and a note from Judson over at My Cardboard Habit. It was a nice little surprise for Christmas as I did not have a huge amount of card action for the holiday. I like the blue color of the background and I like that it is numbered, in this case # 24 / 99.

I did get a Mega Box of Topps Update in an Amazon flash sale (nothing really exciting outside of an Update Chrome Gold parallel of James Shields # 115 / 250) for $10. I am still woefully short of completing the Topps Chrome Update series. With two packs of Chrome per Mega Box and four cards per pack with one of those generally being an insert, it can get pretty tedious trying to get a set built from your 6.5 base cards for $15 a whack, especially when you get a pack worth of doubles in your box. I'm not sure when this post transitioned from an expression of gratitude for the nice card from My Cardboard Habit into a rant about building the Update Chrome set, but I suppose I should get back to happier things. I am currently 40% complete with the set, and I will probably try to source the remaining cards I need from the secondary market. I already have everything I want from the regular Update set, so it is hard to justify spending $15 on a Mega Box that might net me a handful of the cards I need when I can get everything on my want list for just over $30. I guess the trade-off is that when I buy singles I don't have the chance of pulling a serially-numbered Puig or something, but the odds on that are minuscule anyway. I am much more likely to pull a not-that-rare James Shields parallel.

Back on topic; thank you for the surprise in the mailbox, Judson. It was a lot of fun to have a nice PC card show up unexpectedly.

25 December 2013

Just the Commons, Ma'am 2: Copycat

I ordered a few things from Just Commons a while back, sparked mostly by a blog post I saw featuring a card that I just had to have. I will get to that card in a minute, but first I will show the stuff I got to get my order across the $10 free shipping threshold.

First I had to fill out my set of World Baseball Classic inserts from this year's Topps Series 2. I like seeing all of the colorful uniforms and I like the design of the set, too. Topps also released a higher-end product devoted to the WBC this year under the Tribute moniker. I would like to get a few cards from that set. The relics in the Tribute WBC set are especially nice. The autographs would also look good, if not for the fact that they are stickers that really stand out on the cards.

Then I grabbed a few things I was still missing from the Opening Day insert sets. I probably should have grabbed two copies of the Reddick card so that I could have one for my PC and one for the set, but I'm sure I can pick one up later if I ever really feel the need.

In addition to the Superstar Celebrations cards I also added a few Play Hard inserts to my cart.

I was also able to fill out the Mascots set, with Paws, Orbit, Pirate Parrot, and Raymond, who I hear is loved by everybody.

Last, but not least, I grabbed a Verlander Opening Day Stars 3-D card and the last couple of Ballpark Fun Cards I needed. Now to complete my version of the set I just need one more Opening Day Stars 3-D card and a big pile of the blue sparkly parallels, which seem to have dried up a bit on the secondary market. Or maybe I have been ignoring them in my pursuit of the Gold parallels from Topps Archives.

I already had copies of these Bowman base cards of Josh Reddick and R.A. Dickey as part of the set I put together (maybe I just bought a set, I can't remember), but I needed them for inclusion in the respective rainbows I am building of these particular cards.

And here is the card that started it all. I saw someone post the Derek Holland card on their blog and mention that it could be found in the $2.00 autographs and relics section of Just Commons, so I had to chase it down and add that sweet mustache to my collection. It'd be nicer on a product with logos and whatnot, but I can live with it. I also grabbed up autographs from Tommy Milone and J.D. Martinez, but the Holland was the card that started this whole thing. I'm pretty happy with it.

20 December 2013

What eBay Hath Wrought 29, Rainbow in the Dark 5: Addition to the R.A. Dickey Bowman Rainbow and Some Other eBay Stuff

Over the last couple of weeks I have added a few cards to my collection and instead of giving them individual posts of their own I thought I would just shotgun them all into this one post. The common thread among these cards is that they all came from eBay. First up is another addition to my R.A. Dickey 2013 Bowman rainbow. This is the Bowman Chrome Black Refractor, numbered # 05 / 15. I am running out of cards in this rainbow that are feasible for me to acquire, but I will be keeping an eye out for others just in case.

It is hard to nail down an 'expected' price for any given card, as it seems like the range can be quite large depending on how many copies of it have popped up recently, what new sets have come out, when the auction ends, and any number of other factors. I think I paid more for this than I did for the Topps Chrome Atomic Refractor that was numbered out of # / 10. Josh Reddick has two Atomic Refractors on eBay at the moment, but both of them are priced exorbitantly. One is over double what I paid for the Atomic Dickey, and one is about quadruple. I want the card, but not for that price.

Some Reddick cards that I was able to add to my Reddick Topps Super-Rainbow hail from the Topps Mini set. I wasn't able to pull any of his colored parallels from the boxes I opened, but I was able to get the Gold and Pink parallels from eBay, numbered out of # / 62 and # / 25, respectively. I usually don't type these posts up at home, so I don't know the actual numbers on these cards. That pink and green is pretty garish. I love it.

I also added a couple more of the 2013 Topps Archives Gold cards to my set. With a couple more that are pending shipping, I am just four away from having the whole set. I don't really know what to say about these cards anymore. I think Musial completed the 50-card subset in the 1990 Topps design. The other three designs still have at least one card that I'm missing.

Joey Votto is pretty happy on this card. The Archives set seems to have a lot of happy dudes in it, so that's pretty cool. I've still got to get Manny Machado, Ken Griffey Jr., Robin Yount, and Ryne Sandberg to complete my set. Someone commented on here a while back offering the Sandberg for trade, and I will need to get back to them on that. I have been buried under a mountain of schoolwork and life stuff lately, so I have not made the time to stay up on blog comments and e-mails like I should.

02 December 2013

Pack of the Day 46: 2013 Topps Archives Hobby Box

I am getting close to finishing my posts on the stuff I got at the 20th Anniversary Party at my local card shop. This box of 2013 Topps Archives was one of the two boxes I won in the drawings for prizes. In my chase to get a full set of the Gold parallels and most of the other insert sets I have accumulated quite a few base cards. I know I have one full base set, and there is probably at least one more in my card boxes. I didn't think I should go without posting a scan of some base cards, though, so I flipped through the stack and picked one of my favorites from each design in the set.

Mini Tall-Boys - 5 - Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Dylan Bundy, Robinson Cano, Roberto Clemente

These were all doubles for me. I do like this set design, but they are a pain to store in card pages. I haven't found any pages designed specifically to hold this size of card.

Fan Favorites Short-Print Base Cards - 6 - Fred McGriff, Kent Hrbek, Tim Salmon, Paul Blair, Charlie Hough, Otis Nixon

I am pretty sure the McGriff and Hrbek were new ones for me, but the others were all doubles or triples. I may have four or five of the Otis Nixon cards now. I guess 2 out of 6 isn't too bad, but these short-prints are a pain to collect. I am down to needing just five more of them to complete that part of the set.

1969 4-in-1 Stickers - 3 - Williams/Robinson/Yastrzemski/Cabrera, Cobb/Mays/Griffey Jr./Trout, Baylor/Parker/Davis/Strawberry

I think these were all doubles as well. 

1983 All-Stars - 6 - Bryce Harper, Jim Rice, Giancarlo Stanton, Fred Lynn, Pedro Guerrero, Leon Durham

These were all doubles for me, too. It is a little disappointing that Topps reuses so many photos, even within a set. Fred Lynn is the offender in this case. His SP base card uses the same picture, if I am remembering right.

1972 Basketball Design - 1 - Willie Stargell

I think I had at least two of these already. This is one of the insert sets I haven't yet completed from 2013 Archives. It is a bear to get them out of packs, and their prices on the secondary market are a little higher than I'd like to pay.

1998 Stadium Club Triumvirate Design - 1 - Josh Hamilton

This is another of the insert sets that I haven't been able to complete yet. Hamilton was one of the cards I needed for the set, so this was a decent pull for me. Only 16 more to go!

Gold Parallel # / 199 - 2 - Will Middlebrooks # 060 / 199, Wade Miley # 128 / 199

These were both doubles for me, although any Gold cards I happen to pull are extremely likely to be doubles. I only need 6 more out of the 200-card set. I may have a lead on one of those six if I make some time to respond to my e-mails and blog comments, but the other five continue to elude me.

Fan Favorites Autographs - 1 - Hubie Brooks

I've put together a few of these autographs, but I am not going to pursue all of them. Relic and autograph inserts don't usually make the cut for me when working on completing a set. I don't have any real attachment to the Brooks, but I like the execution on these autographs, with them being on-card in nice blue Sharpie. Brooks kind of went out of his way to avoid the whited-out portion of the card where his signature was supposed to go.

Framed 1973 Mini Auto # / 25 Redemption - 1 - Frank Robinson

Well, this is a pretty decent card to get out of a box of Archives, assuming Topps is able to service the redemptions. A few searches of eBay seem to suggest that none of these cards have actually made it out into the world, so it remains to be seen what they will actually look like.

The promotional material from Topps has the cards looking something like this:

I guess we'll see whenever Topps decides to ship the card out. I am sure that when it arrives there will be a blog post all about it.

Overall this wasn't too bad for a 'free' box of cards. It wasn't really as free as I'd like to think, as you had to buy stuff in order to get tickets for the drawing, but I left with two boxes of cards more than I bought, so these were free enough, I suppose. It will be nice if I can finish this set in time to start working on 2014 Archives.

30 November 2013

Pack of the Day 45: 2013 Bowman Chrome Hobby Box #1

At the local card shop's 20th Anniversary Party a couple of weeks ago I picked some stuff up that I am just now getting around to posting about. I purchased one box of Bowman Chrome and won another one in the prize drawing. I don't remember which box is which, but I guess that doesn't really matter.

2013 Bowman Chrome Hobby Box

Base Cards - 26 / 220 - 11.00%

Given the size of the set, you really don't get a lot of base cards in a box. The box is pretty think anyway, and there are actually two thick cardboard spacers in the bottom just so it will be thick enough to fit a flap for the box lid into it. You get 18 packs in a box, with 4 cards in a pack. I actually expected that the product would have 24 packs because that sticks in my mind as the standard, so I was pretty surprised to find the cardboard spacers and relatively small number of packs in the first box.

Prospects - 34 / 110 - 30.00%

You do get a larger percentage of the Prospects set in the box, but that just means more doubles as you work on finishing the base set. Of course, Topps would have you believe that is a bonus, because LOOK HOW MUCH THESE GUYS COULD BE WORTH SOMEDAY! But these aren't even the cards that sell for big dollars anyway. The cards you really want are the brightly-colored and hopefully autographed Refractors. These base cards are just the vehicle of delivery for those cards. Otherwise you would just be handing Topps a couple of hundred dollars and then hoping they hand back a single shiny card in return.

It would appear that if you are an Astros fan, the various Prospects sets are the way to go. Jose Altuve is the only Astro on the big-league team who appears in other products with any regularity. Portillo is there because the posed photo on his card is pretty good and I needed something to fill that sixth space up and prevent the dreaded uneven scan.

Base Refractors - 2 - Todd Frazier, Ryan Howard
Prospect Refractors - 2 - Tommy Kahnle, Ryan Court
Nothing too crazy here. I wish I had some better filler text for these, but I've got nothing.

Risin' Thru The Ranks - 1 - Alen Hanson

These are mini-cards that fall one per box.

Blue Sapphire Reprint - 1 - Jimmy Rollins

These also fall one per box.

Blue Refractor - 1 - Oswaldo Arcia # 136 / 250

My Refractor pulls out of these two boxes were not that exciting, with both boxes including a Blue and a Purple, the lowest two tiers of serially-numbered Refractor in the product.

Purple Refractor - 1 - Adam Wainwright # 017 / 199

Here is my other colored Refractor from Box #1. Another card for the trade stack.

Bowman Black Collection - 1 - Mac Williamson # 06 / 25

I guess this would be considered the big hit out of these two boxes. The seeding for these autographs is 1:2,565 Hobby packs, so they are pretty rare. They are also apparently quite prone to damage. The corners and edges are all a little bit imperfect, and one edge on the back looks like it may have been deformed a bit by the cutting process. I've read similar complaints about this particular insert online and in the galleries Topps puts up on the Bowman Facebook page, so this appears to be a common problem with the Bowman Black Collection cards. As far as things outside of condition go, I guess this is a pretty good card to pull from a pack of Bowman Chrome. Not very good for set collectors, though, because packs with a Bowman Black card in them don't have any other cards inside. Some of the prices on these things are a little ridiculous, so it would have been nice to get one out of a pack that was in decent shape. I would feel a little guilty trying to sell this one, even if I were careful to outline the flaws it has.