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.

29 November 2013

What eBay Hath Wrought 28: Josh Reddick Photo Variation and a Sparkly Blue Dickey

I picked up a couple of cards on eBay recently. First up is the Chrome version of the Josh Reddick 'sunglasses' variant from 2013 Topps, although the Reddick one is more known for the beard than the sunglasses. I got the regular version of this card a while back, so now I've got both of them.

I also picked up a Blue Sparkle Wrapper Redemption card of R.A. Dickey. It's a pretty decent-looking parallel, but there's not much else to say about it. I guess this is kind of a boring post, but it fills some space and gives you a couple of pictures to look at.

28 November 2013

Rainbow in the Dark 4: Josh Reddick 2013 Bowman and Bowman Chrome

Here is another rainbow I've been working on, although as with the other ones I've posted I have hit a bit of a stalling point with this one. I also realized that I have failed to scan the Bowman base card, the State & Hometown parallel, and the Gold parallel. I will have to do that at some point in the near future.

Base, Gold Parallel, State & Hometown Parallel

Silver Ice, Blue # 041 / 500, Orange # 134 / 250, Chrome Base

Chrome Refractor, Chrome Green Refractor, Chrome Blue Refractor # 220 / 250, Chrome Purple Refractor # 013 / 199

Chrome Gold Refractor # 43 / 50, Chrome Pink Refractor # 18 / 35, Chrome Black Refractor # 09 / 15, Chrome Yellow Refractor # 04 / 10

27 November 2013

Pack of the Day 44: 2013 Topps Mini Baseball Boxes #4, #5, and #6

Box 4
Base Cards - 226 / 660 - 34.24%
Doubles - 0
I didn't even bother scanning any base cards. It was late at night and I just wanted to be done.
Chasing History - 6 - Roberto Clemente, Mariano Rivera, Dylan Bundy, Yu Darvish, Stephen Strasburg, Justin Verlander
These are all doubles of cards I pulled in the previous three boxes. They seem to go in runs, so if you pull one guy you can almost guess who the others in the box will be. It irritates me. Anyway, by the time I am done I will have three or four copies of many of these cards and not be very close to completing the set.

Gold Parallels # / 62 - 3 - Rickie Weeks, Darwin Barney, Scott Sizemore

I don't find any of these particularly exciting, although the Weeks and the Barney have decent photos.

Pink Parallels # / 25 - 1 - Clayton Kershaw
This is the big hit in this box, for sure. A couple of them have sold on eBay for around $20 each.
"But wait!" I hear you cry, "That can't be the big hit of the box! Isn't there a relic or autograph in each box?"
Yes, there is.
Relic - 1 - Hank Conger
I don't even know who this guy is.

Cyan Printing Plate - 1 - Jose Quintana
I did also pull a printing plate from Box 4, but it's not a big name and I don't think it quite beats out Kershaw for "Hit of the Box" honors.

Box 5
Base Cards - 217 / 660 - 32.88%
Doubles - 4
This box seems to have been shorted a few cards. I am not entirely sure what's going on with it. There should only be a one or two card variance between boxes. This was the only box out of six that contained an autograph, and it was also the only one that had doubles in it. I don't know if the missing cards, the autograph, and the doubles are related to each other or if it's just a weird box.
Chasing History - 6 - Cal Ripken Jr., Yogi Berra, Ty Cobb, Johan Santana, A-Roid, Yu Darvish
Johan Santana is the only one of these that is new to me. The other five cards exactly match those pulled from Box 3, just swapping out Santana for Strasburg. This is getting irritating.

Gold Parallels # / 62 - 3 - Derek Holland, Chase Utley, Corey Hart
Derek Holland is a decent pull for a little player collection I am putting together of his cards. Chase Utley is a pretty good pull. I don't have much to say about Corey Hart one way or the other.
Pink Parallels # / 25 - Starling Marte, Drew Hutchison
The Marte is a pretty good pull for another player collection. Although Hutchison plays for another favorite team of mine, he doesn't really move the needle for me. I do like the combination of blue uniforms and pink borders.

Black Parallel # / 5 - 1 - Hiroki Kuroda

It's always nice to hit something numbered out of five. Kuroda isn't a player I chase, necessarily, but he's a decent player on a high-profile team.

Autograph - 1 - Colby Rasmus
This is a decent pull from the Blue Jays. Rasmus isn't the biggest name on the team, but he's a decent player and his last name is the series of letters that begins my last name. It certainly beats the Hank Conger or Jordan Lyles relics of boxes past.

Box 6
Chasing History - 6 - Cal Ripken Jr., Ty Cobb, A-Roid, Yu Darvish, Stephen Strasburg, Justin Verlander
Here we go again. This bunch of cards also exactly replicates those found in Box 3, only this time replacing Yogi Berra with Justin Verlander, who I had pulled previously from Boxes 1 and 4. This also marks the fourth box in a row that I've pulled Darvish's card. I like the guy, but I don't need four copies of this card.

Gold Parallels # / 62 - 4 - Jemile Weeks, Stephen Strasburg, Welington Castillo, Matt Cain
This completes my collection of the Weeks brothers, since I got Rickie's Gold card out of Box 4. Cespedes makes a cameo here. A couple of years ago Strasburg was the Puig of his day, with his cards selling like they were made of pure unicorn pee. I don't really know how the card community feels about him anymore. Cain is a pretty good pull, too. Castillo is a guy whose name I've seen, but I don't know anything about him.

Pink Parallels # / 25 - 2 - Daniel Descalso, Nate McLouth

These are a couple of decent action shots, but I don't have much else to say about them. That McLouth picture is pretty good, though. Someone needs to remind him to breathe, though. He wouldn't want to pass out while running the bases.

Relic - Hank Conger
Again with the guy I've never heard of taking up valuable BIG HIT SPACE in my box of trading cards.

With all of that complete, here is how these boxes contributed to my attempt at building a set.

At the end of Box 3 I had 507 / 660 (76.82%) base cards and 170 doubles, with no triples to that point.

Box 4

556 / 660 - 84.24% - (+7.42%)

Doubles - 311
Triples - 36

Box 5

593 / 660 - 89.85% - (+5.61%)

Doubles - 438
Triples - 93

Box 6

631 / 660 - 95.61% (+5.76)

Doubles - 528
Triples - 163
Quadruples - 27

After six boxes I have 95% of one set and 80% of another set, so I just decided to buy the 29 remaining cards I needed to build a complete set off of Just Commons. I like busting packs just as much as anyone else, but what are the odds that another box of this stuff will contain those 30 cards? I'm sure there is math for that, but I don't know that math. It would be nice to complete that second set, but I don't really know what I would do with a second set. It would probably not sell for enough to make it worth chasing. It would be nice if I could get a little closer to finishing the Chasing History insert set, but given how the last three boxes went I don't think I can trust this product to give me the cards I need from packs.

26 November 2013

At the Trade Deadline 11: Coot Veal and the Vealtones Trade - A Little of Everything and a Miraculous Recovery

I got some cards in the mail from Dhoff over at Coot Veal and the Vealtones. It took me a while to send a package back out to him, but I sent four or five mailers out last week to various bloggers, Dhoff included, and they should be arriving over the next couple of days.
First up is this Roy Oswalt jersey relic. He had a pretty good run with Houston. While looking at his Wikipedia page, I learned about this incident from his minor league days:

In 1999, when Oswalt was with the Class A Michigan Battle Cats in the Midwest League, he suffered an apparently serious shoulder injury. After a month of pain in his upper shoulder, Oswalt was convinced that his shoulder was torn. Shortly thereafter, he was checking the spark plug wires on his pickup truck. He touched one of the spark plug wires, causing the truck's engine to start. The truck's electric current flowed through Oswalt's body, and consequently the muscles in his hand tightened on the spark plug wire. Unable to let go of it, Oswalt grasped the wire for almost one minute. Oswalt then claimed his foot slipped off the truck's bumper and he was finally "thrown off." After the electric shock, Oswalt told his wife that his shoulder's condition improved and that he no longer felt any pain. According to Sports Illustrated, he reported it thus to his wife: "My truck done shocked the fire out of me, and my arm don't hurt no more.” Apparently, the electric charge loosened accumulated scar tissue in the shoulder. Oswalt claims he has not felt any pain in his shoulder since the incident.
I guess I know what to do next time I am feeling some shoulder pain.

Also included was this jersey relic from Lance Berkman, who also had a pretty good run with the Astros, perennially finishing among the league's MVP candidates. He eventually won a World Series title with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. Also, his nicknames included 'Fat Elvis' and 'Big Puma,' which is a nickname he fabricated and campaigned for after he tired of the 'Fat Elvis' moniker.

Up next are a couple of odd-sized cards and a nice woodgrain-textured mini that reminds me of the paneling in the trailer we lived in for a couple of years early in our marriage.

Jeff Bagwell was well-represented in the package.

As were a number of other Astros. Kazuo Matsui is notable in my memory because I picked him up in fantasy baseball for stolen bases back in 2008, but he spent time on the DL with a rather embarrassing ailment, anal fissures, and was not very effective afterward.

King Felix makes an appearance with a 4-pack of cards...
...and so does Craig Biggio.

Even more Astros make an appearance in the package. Todd Jones is sporting quite a mustache in the upper right corner, and just beneath him Darryl Kile attempts to be the Lady Gaga of baseball with an interesting fashion choice.

No Astros package would be complete without some Nolan Ryan goodness, and there are several nice cards here. He looks especially thrilled to be photographed on the 1987 Donruss card down there in the middle row. I wonder if he plunked the photographer soon after the picture was taken? Team logo stickers are always fun, although it is hard for me to convince myself to ever peel and stick them.

Here are some cards of one of the guys who consistently beat out Roy Oswalt for the Cy Young award. This is not official, but I think Randy Johnson's nickname might have been Daddy Long-Legs. He is one spindly dude. Also, I'm pretty sure he is posing there in the upper right with an early prototype of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Here is a nice group of glamour shots that the Astros send out to modeling agencies looking for manly men to sell flannel outerwear. Look at those mustaches in the top row! It makes me want to drive to Cabela's right now and buy some Realtree camo shirts and a Blaze Orange vest.

Here are a couple more Mariners. That Martinez card comes from the same set as the Astros glamour shots above, but the light background kind of takes away from the effect, in my opinion.

Here are a few more cards for my player collections followed up by some more Astros. Mark Reynolds is one of those guys who can hit a lot of home runs for your fantasy baseball team, but his batting average is atrocious. It's kind of like drafting Dwight Howard in fantasy basketball. You might get some good stats in a lot of categories, but you can say goodbye to your free throw percentage. The risk is usually not worth the reward. I am not a big proponent of punting categories in fantasy sports, as giving up in one category means you have to make up those points elsewhere.


I saved all of the horizontal cards for last because they scan better together than they do mixed in with vertical cards. These feature a mix of all of the categories shown above, with player and team collections being represented to varying degrees.

There were sure a lot of cards in this package to sort through and scan. I appreciate the trade, and there are a lot of choice pieces here that fit nicely into my collection. I hope that my return package will be acceptable in comparison.