Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Round-trip on the Night Train: A trade with Gavin

So I have evidently moved in the “posting whenever I damn feel like it” phase of my blog. I’ve let some trades fall by the way, but I’m pretty sure I’ve thanked anyone who send me something or at least shouted out at them on twitter.

But one trade I certainly wanted to talk about here at the mothership was a recent swap I made with Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown. You can see what I send to him here, (with an excellent reference to Night Train bum wine) the jewel of the package was that 25/25 Carlos Correa autograph I won a few weeks back.

Gavin and I agreed to some base items for the swap and agreed to each throw in some other fun stuff as well. He sent a whole priority box my way. It was full to the tabs… but full of what?

Well, half full of CDs. Yes, in our digital and enviro-friendly age, Gavin made the wise choice and substituted used CDs for backing peanuts. I’m more of classic rock guy and have to admit that I had only head of a few of the discs he sent along. My wife, however, having been an alt-rock girl and JNCO jeans wearer, knew most of them and actually had cassettes of more than one. So they’ve found a good home, Gavin.

As for (cardboard) singles, I was most taken with this smooth-looking fellow here…

…yes! One of the most prized Topps RCs of the single-series era. Behind the Yount and Brett duo from 1975 and the 1980 Rickey Henderson, this was always king of the mid-90s price book for that era. And it’s a hell of a nice-looking card. It’ll go with my growing 1979 set.

My other single request (TLR joke? I dunno, I’m tired), was this dork…

Rob Dork!!! Before blocking me on Twitter, this guy threw 12 lousy innings for a lousy Brewers team in 1995. He never had a real Brewers card, so this one counts for my all-time Brewers collection. My total, as of this writing, now stands at 361 different Brewers signed cards. Not bad.

First, he needed to be freed some his plastic prison.

There we go! Fit for the binder!

I also asked for a few stacks of cards that Gavin had posted about a while back in a trade bait post. I got a couple of nice stacks of Stadium Club.

Which included these two ridiculous beauties. Once I get my stuff together, I’m gonna try and build me some TSC.

He also included some vintage fun. Look at this whopping stack of 1971s!

I have put this set into full build-mode since I got this package (more on that in my next post).

And my god, I love these cards.

We’ve got a flying Cookie…

A twisted Brooksie…

And a perplexed Hodges.

And one of my favorite early Brewers cards, Danny Walton looking mean in what appears to be a metal helmet. Yikes.

But Gavin, being Gavin, did not stop there.

Hey, it’s Heritage season, so here’s a Ryan Braun from ’08, back before everyone hated his guts. Did you know Braun didn’t have a base card in 2009 Heritage, only an All-Star? Yeah, weird.

Here’s a shiny Lucroy, who still needs a team for next season. He sent along a whole stack of Brewers.

And hey, here’s a Carlos Go… or wait, a Kris Davis? You know how people say their on-purpose errors look stupid? Well, their accidental ones don’t look much better.

A stack of Brewers minor leaguers to go into my small minor league collection.

And what would a Gavin package be without customs? This one is a great take on 1958 Topps, commemorating the Braves triumph over the Yanks in 1957.

Whoa! A 1-of-1 sketch card! And of Don Money, a Brewers great who gets almost no attention in sets these days. A very nice addition and a hell of good likeness of the Moneyman.

And more custom fun… a BBCB magnet featuring a fun Griffey RC mash-up.

It has a place on the rat cage in my office!

And that rat cage, our old cage, is in the office because (the music swells) we have new rats!

Meet Penguin (with the brown) and Pinecone. They’re gonna live in the office for a few weeks until we can introduce them to our older pair (the Grans, we call them). I’ve already given them a few cards and they’ve enjoyed chomping them and dragging them around the cage. It stays in the family, I tell ya.

Anyway, thanks for the swap, Gavin… and check back soon for the start of my very Mod 1971 Topps adventure.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2018 Topps Heritage Preview: Brewers and (kinda/sorta?) Pilots

I’ve gotten way backed up on posting about trades and whatnot and, while that stuff is still to come, I wanted to do a quick post today about the recently-released checklist for 2018 Heritage, which hits stores later this month.

I have mixed feelings on Heritage. It is usually a pretty good-looking set and definitely the kind of product I’d go for, but it’s also pretty damn expensive. Especially for someone mostly interested in putting together a base set. My primary interest in it then, as usual, is for the Brewers. So let’s take a look at that list…

10 Davies/Kershaw/Grienke LL
13 Domingo Santana
17 Zach Davies
49 Stephen Vogt
62 Eric Thames
150 Josh Hader
155 Orlando Arcia
204 Travis Shaw
242 Jimmy Nelson
243 Keon Broxton
283 Brett Phillips
313 Corey Knebel
344 Manny Pina
380 Eric Sogard
394 Woodruff/Wilkerson/Williams
406 Ryan Braun SP
407 Lewis Brinson SP
432 Chase Anderson SP
458 Jonathan Villar SP
493 Hernan Perez SP

Once again, Topps has pleasantly surprised me. It’s a solid group and has the much anticipated – by me, anyway – debut Brewers cards of Manny Pina, Eric Sogard and Stephen Vogt. Pina and Hader will also carry the big ass All Star Rookie trophy, which is always a nice touch. There will also be a trifecta of Brewers rookie pitchers on W/W/W card, showcasing three hurlers who debuted at the end of last season. I was hoping for a card of Jacob Barnes, who is yet without a major league card, but maybe he’ll show up in the high numbers set, if they do one this year.

As far as inserts go, it’s mostly snoozers and parallels, the one major exception being the waaaaay cool multi-player poster insert. Of course, it is limited to 50 copies, which is total bullshit. I want one of those to pin to my wall, not send into PSA. It’s a great idea that Topps muffed by making way too rare. Seed them 1:12 or something like that, and I’m thrilled and wanna collect them all. Now I’d be afraid to even touch one. Barf.

But the insert set I’m really interested in is the 1969 Seattle Pilots autograph set. As 1969 was the only year for the Pilots before they moved to Milwaukee and became our Brewers, Topps is celebrating with a set of SIGNED cards by legends of the brief Pilots franchise.

(Checks list)

Ok, scratch that last part.

Here is the list of “Pilots” included in the set:

SPA-BE Bill Edgerton
SPA-BP Bill Parsons
SPA-BR Bob Richmond
SPA-BS Bernie Smith
SPA-BST Buzz Stephen
SPA-DB Dick Baney
SPA-DBA Dick Bates
SPA-FK Frank Kimball
SPA-FS Fred Stanley
SPA-JB Jim Bouton
SPA-MR Mike Rollyson
SPA-PK Pete Koegel
SPA-RH Roric Harrison
SPA-RK Ron Kotick
SPA-RP Ray Peters

Now, the 1969 Pilots saw 53 different players see game action. And who did they chose to represent the club?

Edgerton: 4 innings pitched for Pilots
Parsons: Drafted by Pilots, debuted with Brewers in 1971
Richmond: 50th pick in expansion draft, never played in MLB
Smith: Traded to Pilots after 1969 season, debuted with Brewers
Stephen: 14 games with Pilots Arizona League team
Baney: Nine games with Pilots
Bates: Pitched 1.2 innings with Pilots
Kimball: Played A ball in Pilots system
Stanley: 17 games with Pilots
Bouton: 57 (!!!!!) games with Pilots
Rollyson: Invited to spring training by the Pilots, never played pro ball
Kogel: Half-season for Pilots AZ league team
Harrison: Half-season for Pilots AZ league team
Kotick: Eight games with Pilots A ball team
Peters: Full season in Pilots’ system, two games with Brewers in 1970

So out of 15 subjects, only five actually played for the Pilots and only one of those spent more than a few weeks with the team. This group saw more action in the Arizona Instructional League in 1969 than in the Emerald City. While I am all for digging up some long-lost ball players for modern sets, this is just… odd. Is it lazy? Is Topps being cheap? I’m kind of at a loss here.

That said, I still really want some of the cards in this set. Parsons, Edgerton, Ellsworth, Peters, Kogel, Bates, Baney, and Smith are ALL needs for my all-time Brewers set, sigs I have yet been able to find on Brewers/Pilots cards elsewhere. So despite all my harrumphing, I am very interested in this set as a whole and really REALLY hope they’re not limited to 10 copies per card or something absurd like that. Wait and see is all I’ve got, I guess.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

WOW Factor: A Crazy-Loaded Prize Package from Iron Lion Collectables

I mostly avoid high-end cards. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than five or six bucks for a pack in my whole life and the idea of dropping hundred on a box of fancy-deal product with the hopes of landing something rare and cool just doesn’t do much for me. Of course, plenty of other folks do. And a brand new shop in Colorado Springs (home to more than just Brewers prospects with terribly skewed statistics) carries all kinds of this stuff. THE IRON LION is opening this Saturday, Feb 17. In the run-up to their opening, they have been doing a bunch of give-aways and breaks on their facebook page. Encouraged by the Daily Dimwit, I threw my hat into the give-away ring.

This happened right around the time I was called out of town for all that awful family stuff that has consumed most of the last three weeks. I had planned to watch a facebook break and give-away of some Bowman’s Best stuff, but got distracted and forgot about it. The next day, the Dimwit messaged me on Twitter telling me I had won, saying something like, “WOW!!!!”

Ok, I thought. I checked out the video on facebook when I had a moment, just glancing at it, and saw that I had been picked out of over 100 entrants. So maybe that was the wow? I hate to say that I didn’t care about the prize, but with everything going on, it just wasn’t a priority. It wasn’t until later, when I watched the video, that I understood the wow.

But let’s build up to that!

First off, it was two boxes.. or mini boxes or whatever the hell. A big stack of Bowman’s Best 2016 packs and a few packs of Panini Absolute football.

Some of these base card names I recognize…

And I certainly know Dan Fouts, one of the numbered cards I got. That Josh McCown is out of 25. I am unfamiliar with him, but know enough to be certain that if he is a former Browns QB… as in a QB that the Browns did not want anymore, he must be terrible.

In the Bowman product, the base is split between vets and rookies and prospects.

Here’s ol’ Mike Trout. I must admit, these cards are very sharp. The effects and photos are very well-defined and the foil shimmer adds to the almost 3-D effect.

Here is one of the prospect cards, Mr. Universeandbeyond, Aaron Judge. These use the same basic design as the vets, just with the team logo “slash” thing in the background going in the other direction.

And, of course, there were refractors. Lots of ‘em. I got some decent vets, including Trout, Rizzo, and this Kenta Maeda RC. I also the Scwarber and Aaron Nola RCs fractor-style.

And then some prospect fractos. Number 1 pick Mickey Moniak was probably the top find here.

And then some inserts.

And some more inserts, with one having that “cracked” foil effect. I think that’s what they call a “Superfractor.”

And a blue parallel of Michael Conforto, who had a pretty good season last year with the Mets.

And what I assume is the box’s promised base superfractor Atomic refractor.

And a pair of very cool 1996 Best tribute cards.

Now let’s get to the hits…

T.Y. Hilton patch card, numbered out of 25. He has made four straight Pro Bowls, so that’s not bad. UPDATE: This card has been traded.

Kenny G!!! According to Pro Football Reference, this fellow played for the Lions last year, but also signed a four-year deal with the Titans before the season? Anyway, he seems to have a sense of humor. UPDATE: This card has been traded.

G’s nickname is Babytron, a play (I assume) on Megatron. Laquon Treadwell is nicknamed Megaquon. He was a first round pick in 2016.

David Johnson ball/jersey/helmet(?) card. How do they cram a helmet sliver into a card? Anyway, he was real good in 2016, but missed most of last season.

Bowman’s Best promises four sigs per box. Here is sig one: Padres prospect Anderson Espinoza. (UPDATE: This card has been traded.) Not much I can say about him. This, honestly, is the kind of stuff I would expect from these high-end products. Cards shiny as hell, relics that look bonkers, and autographs of fringe prospects. If this prize package ended here, I’d be perfectly happy with it. But things are about to get crazy. Buckle up, kids.

Here was the big Panini Auto. I recognized the name, but didn’t realize he was the top draft pick last time around and seemed to impress people in his rookie season with the Bears. It’s numbered out of 100.

Nolan Arenado is just 26 and probably the best third baseman in the game. He’s a regular 2-3 win player on defense and has claimed two home run crowns and three Silver Sluggers over the past three years. An absolute stud.

And here is a World Champion stud! Carlos was just 22 years old last year and missed part of the season with an injury, but still hit .315 with 24 homers to lead the Astros to the world title. The sky is the limit for this kid, and I was thrilled to add his signature to my collection.

Back to football… A redemption card! I haven’t been in possession of a redemption card since I pulled a Signature Rookies voucher for a Shawn Respert autograph. This was back when I still followed the Bucks and I was thrilled to pull it. Sadly, Respert didn’t do much in the NBA and had his career cut short by stomach cancer. So will this yield me something better???

Whoa! A Dan Marino etched crystal card? Damn. And a one-per case insert at that. I’ve looked these up online and they look hella-sharp.

So what can top all of this stuff? How can this package get any better? Let’s count it down!




BOOM! ANOTHER Correa autograph, the Superfractor variety, numbered 25/25. This was pretty stunning. It’s probably the most valuable modern card I’ve ever owned. It’s the kind of card that makes one of these boxes actually worth the sky-high price tag. This, dear readers, was the WOW. UPDATE: This card has been traded.

And now, I don’t really know what to do. I def want to keep some of the Best cards and the Arenado auto and the first Correa auto. But I am more than willing to spread the other stuff around to those who would appreciate it more than I. I have no interest at all in football cards (save for Bo Jackson) and as long as I have one Correa auto to keep, I’m be glad to swap the fractory version.

So that’s a lot of product up for grabs! I’m not QUITE so generous as to do simple blind trades for the big stuff, but I’d be interested in creative swaps. I don’t want to sell them and I’d prefer to keep things within the blogging circle, as opposed to posting on a trading forum. I am in need of some major Topps baseball rookies for my set-building. Like the ’76 Eck, the ’79 Ozzie, the ’82 Ripken… oh, and that pesky 2011 Trout.

Any suggestions? Any offers? Anyone want to share in the WOW?