Wednesday, April 18, 2018

You've Got Mail #85: The Collector

Over the years I've found one truth about card collecting to be evident ... there is no wrong way to collect. What works for one person will not work for another person. Some may be deeply into team collecting or player collecting. Hey that works. Others, like me, may be more scattered around the map where I collect a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Recently, frequent blog commenter and author of the simply title blog "The Collector" Chris dropped me an email about wanting to do a bit of a swap. I agreed and soon there after a rather large envelope was dropped on my doorstep by the completely unfriendly mailman, who I tend to believe collects nothing but sneers while he's making his rounds. While I won't hit on everything that Chris sent, I'll touch upon the highlights for me.

These Topps Finest cards I've never seen before and they're pretty neat cards. The Reds from 94-97 had a pretty formidable team with a solid line-up and some pretty good pitching. I often think that people forget about Pete Schourek and John Smiley being part of that rotation. Eddie Taubensee was a solid defensive catcher as well. 

I always dug Jose Rijo and I thought it was so cool when he made his comeback in 2001-2002. While he wasn't the same power pitcher he was in the early 90s before he got injured, it was still pretty remarkable to see him comeback from all those injuries and pitch another season and a half. Fun fact, he was the starting pitcher for the last game at Cinergy Field/Riverfront Stadium. Speaking of players who came back from injuries, Devin Mesoraco is healthy this season for the first time is what seems like forever. However, he's been supplanted in the depth chart by Tucker Barnhart, who won a Gold Glove last season. 

Old school Reds cards are always welcomed too. 1981 Topps is one of those sets that most people tend to forget about as is falls right in between two really nice sets, 1980 and 1982, and it's one I don't really see a lot of singles available from. I think that might have a lot to do with the fact there wasn't a very strong rookie class with Tim Raines, Harold Baines, Kirk Gibson, Fernando Valenzuela, and Bob Walk being the top RCs available. This particular card was not one of the top rookie cards in the set as none of these guys would up being ... um, well ... household names. I'll be setting this card aside to do a standalone post on it one of these days.

This is my first experience with 1991 Fleer football and I'm not fully convinced that it's an improvement over it's baseball cousin. Sure, the bright yellow border is replaced by a green border but there is nothing in the background except for a generic sunset color. The name plate on the bottom looks like it was done on a typewriter.

On the flip side, these are some pretty awesome looking cards. The photography on these Fleer Ultra cards is just phenomenal, especially for 1992. The Bengals themselves were not good in 1992, their first season under Dave Shula. Tim Krumrie recorded 4 sacks that season along with 97 tackles and Tim McGee had 35 receptions for total of 408 yards on a Bengals squad that finished 5-11 that year, good enough for dead last in the AFC Central.

One of my side collections is "shiny cards" and do these ever fit the bill. I don't get the chance to buy much O-Pee-Chee Platinum, mainly because singles are impossibly hard to find around my area, but I do love getting them in trades. There's really no good reason I haven't added Mike Smith to my official hockey player collection, I think that might have to change here soon. The card that really takes the cake of these in the Jaromir Jagr team logos die-cut. The picture just really doesn't do it justice.

Chris also hit upon two of my main hockey player collections. First, these two cards of a young Shane Doan. This past season was the first season is as long as I can remember without Doan at the helm of the Coyotes as captain and I think they felt it, finishing with 70 points (29-41-12 overall) and the second worst record in the league. They do have a nice foundation with Clayton Keller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Max Domi along with Derek Stepan at center and Niklas Hjalmarsson on defense so it'll be interesting to see where they go next year.

Long time readers will know that Martin Brodeur is my top hockey player collection. His cards make up about half of my Devils cards alone and these are some really awesome adds to the collection. While I'm not out to get every card of his ever, I'll keep getting cards of his until I feel I have a decent amount. That's pretty much the way I manage every mini-collection within the collection, once I feel I have a decent amount of a certain thing, then I ease up.

One of the final aspects of my collecting is teams, both old and new. I like collecting defunct teams because it tells the history of the sport through cards. Such as these 1991-92 NHL Pro Set cards of the  long gone Hartford Whalers. While I'm not too familiar with these particular players, I'll be looking them up at some point.

As far as current hockey teams, the Devils are definitely my favorite. They made it into the playoffs this season as the first wild card but got assigned the buzzsaw known as the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. As much as I would like to see it, I don't think they'll get past that round. Here we've got a few Devils past and present with Cory Schneider, Adam Henrique, and Joe Nieuwendyk to put the bow on this trade package.

While there was a ton of other stuff Chris included that didn't necessarily make the cut to be featured here, I appreciate all that was sent and it afforded me a nice amount of quality quiet time to sort these. Thanks for the trade Chris!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Retail Repack Adventures #16

As I was putting some cards away the other day, I took inventory of just exactly how many of these 100-card bricks I have sitting around. Not including this particular one, I've got two baseball oness and two hockey ones left. I guess this is a good a time as any to tear into this.

As usual, the cover card. This time is a 2017 Donruss Optic of Freddie Freeman. I bought a box of Optic back in 2016 and wasn't impressed with it. I don't mind getting Optic (or Chrome) singles here and there but I'm not going to be buying any packs of it.

The one thing I like about these repacks is that you find little random cards like this. How this card of factory set limited edition card of Albert Pujols would up in this re-pack at a Walgreens in the middle of the country, I'll never know.

Here's something I never really knew I was searching for until I found it, that being this 1986 Topps Tom Seaver. His official "sunset card" would come the following year in the 1987 Topps set but 1986 was his last active year of pitching. For a White Sox squad that was on their way to finishing 4th in the AL West that year, he appeared in 12 games, going 2-6 with a 4.38 ERA. In June of that year, he was swapped to Boston for Steve Lyons where he appeared in 16 more games. Overall, in his sunset season he went 7-13 with a 4.03 ERA in 28 games.

2000 Topps I always think is a bit of an under appreciated set for a few reasons. First, the design was pretty clean both front and back. Second, there was a plethora of nice action shots (see the Barry Larkin card) and finally, it's the first set of the new millennium for gosh sakes! Now, all that being said, the Craig Biggio card certainly didn't Chrome up very well since it's a basic posed shot. And yes, that's my reflection you see at the bottom of the card. 

Man, this repack is rife with Hall of Famers. Here's a few from the middle of the junk wax era. Yeah, the 1990 Donruss set may be bowling shoe ugly, but the Diamond Kings card, well at least this particular one, are pretty nice looking. It almost makes me want to get a box of it on the cheap and tear into it.

Random minor league cards are always fun to find in these repacks and boy are these random. On the left, we have Bob Davidson of the Albany-Colonie Yankees, someone who literally was one and done in the majors. Not one season and done, but one inning done. He pitched one whole inning in his major league career, presumably at the end of the Yankees season in 1989, at left with an 18.00 ERA. As for the 1989 Albany-Colonie Yankees? They finished 92-48 in the Eastern League that season.

The other card of this duo was a mystery until I started doing research for this article. It turns out that it's a 1980 team issue card from the Nashville Sounds, which oddly enough, was a Yankees affiliate in the 1980. Anyway, Ted Wilborn played in 121 games for the Sounds that year, hitting .270 with 6 HRS and 63 RBIs. He also had a very brief career in the majors, appearing in only 30 games with the Blue Jays and Yankees over parts of the 1979 and 1980 seasons.

Here's something I found rather curious on the back of the Ted Wilborn card, it looks more like business card instead of a baseball card. Sure, it's got the vital info of the player but look at the bottom right, there is the photographer's name, address, and phone number. Also, there is no date or stats or anything. I don't think I've ever really seen a card like this before. For curiosity sake, I plugged the address into Google Maps just to see what came up ...

And wouldn't you know it, looks like the photographer is still in business after all these years.

There was plenty of 2016 Topps included as well, these are the best from the mix of standard base cards and team issues. Ben Revere was briefly with the Reds during Spring Training this year but obviously didn't thrill anyone as he was cut towards the end of camp.

2016 Heritage ... still meh.

Some gems from 1990 Fleer that were included. Being a card blogger has afforded me the opportunity to gain a nice appreciation for cards from this time as previously I had just overlooked most of them and kept only the notable stars. Kevin Appier was a fresh faced rookie for the Royals during 1990 and finished third in the ROY voting that season. The photo on the card looks like it was taken during spring training that year as why else would there be a scoreboard in the background. Pedro Guerrero was still going strong in 1990, finishing in the top 25 of MVP voting. He'd hang around with the Cardinals for a few more years after this and finally hung up his spikes in 1992.

Speaking of 1992, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for 1992 Upper Deck. While I'm not trying to complete the set or anything, the design was a favorite of mine as a kid, mainly because of the "alternate logos" (for lack of a better term) and the photography that Upper Deck used on the cards.

I'll close out this repack by showing off a smattering of random cards to finish this up. 1994 was the first year I really liked Stadium Club during its original run as the design was very MTV-ish and Topps tried to be hip and cool. The designs of the previous years I always get mixed up because they all look nearly the same. Also, there's a Carlos Delgado rookie card from Triple Play (did anyone else forget he was a catcher?) and a 1983 Fleer Carney Lansford, which I though was the oldest card in the box until I discovered what year the Ted Wilborn card was from.

I'd say this was one of the better repacks I've torn into in recent memory. Was there some junk? Yes. But for five bucks and a few minutes of enjoyment thumbing through cards that are new to me, I'll take it.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

You've Got Mail #84: Sportscards From the Dollar Store

Lately, I've been the recipient of a flurry of packages. So much so that our mail carrier, as unfriendly as he is, is probably thinking "what the heck are these people ordering all the time?" With all the other stuff I've been writing about lately, I'm behind on trade posts thanks to it. I received this package from Douglas of SCFDS (Sports Cards from the Dollar Store for short) quite unexpectedly as my USPS tracking doesn't include international packages. It was quite welcome nonetheless as packages from Douglas always include a nice variety.

I love me some 2017 Topps Heritage, minors or otherwise. I've written before about my aggravation in finding Heritage in friendly big-box retail establishments so I'll gladly take what I can get. I was super excited to see the Dayton Dragons cards as well, mainly because it seems that Topps has an on again, off again approach to the Dragons and doesn't always include them in minor league sets (at least from what I've seen).

Some Reds cards from the 2000s. I think the Casey might be a dupe but I'm not sure. I know for a fact the Adam Dunn Starquest card isn't.

At first, I thought these were just regular 1973 Topps cards but upon closer inspection, they are 1973 O-Pee-Chee! Wow! The fact that these were included was just tremendous. 

Here's the backs to prove it. They seem a bit brighter than the their American brethren and I love how English and French is just crammed on the back of the card.

It's been a while since I've added any new Bengals cards to my collection. I don't keep up enough with Panini's football cards to know if Prizm is still a thing, it is? Or has it been replaced by Optic?

As usual, any package from Douglas is rife with hockey and this was no exception. There were a great many Martin Brodeur cards to add to my collection, these are my three favorites. Side note, it's nice to see the Devils back in the playoffs this year, I just hope they don't get bounced in the first round by Tampa.

More cards to add to my ever growing Blue Jackets collection. 

And probably my favorite Blue Jackets cards of the bunch. I've always been a sucker for these Panini Contenders cards from both hockey and baseball. These particular ones are just super cool to look at with the black and white close up and then the ticket mock-up on the left. I've got to track me down some more of these.

Thanks for the awesome cards Douglas! You certainly outdid yourself this time. I've got a PWE packed up and ready to go for you, I just need to find time to get to the post office.