Monday, January 22, 2018

Retail Repack Adventures #12

For those not familiar with this series, I grab the Fairfield repacks from local retail establishments (Walgreens and Target) and bust these open and take a look at what's inside. There really is no set goal, aside from a few minutes of fun opening a mystery brick of cards. Since this is a new year and a blog "re-launch" so to speak, not only do I have baseball ones to break into, I've also got a few hockey ones. I figured for this go round, I should go with what I'm familiar with, that being a baseball 100-card brick, before diving headlong some of the other ones. This is the twelfth in a series.

Our cover boy, Joe Mauer. It's interesting to see that 2017 Heritage has already found it's way into these. When that came out last spring, it disappeared from retail shelves almost immediately as everyone and their brother wanted to get their hands on it. Even when the high number set came out last fall, the same thing happened. All this means that I didn't get in on the action as much as I would've liked. 

As usual, there was a load of Topps base cards, mainly from 2013 this time around. I didn't feel like scanning all of them but these were my favorites. 

I love it when old school Upper Deck makes it's way into these boxes. I really don't have a whole lot of 1990 Upper Deck in my collection so that's a nice addition. Did you happen to notice how empty the stands are behind Dennis Rasmussen? I think my favorite card of the 1991 batch has to be the Tom Foley card, simply because of the Expos powder blue road uniforms.

I've got a factory set of 1992 Topps sitting in my garage I need to sort at some point but this is always a set I've enjoyed, mainly as it's the first Topps set I remember from childhood.

The other thing I always found fascinating with 1992 Topps is the fact they put a picture of the team's home stadium on the back (space permitting). While it never was a great picture, I personally always found it pretty cool to see a picture of a team's stadium on the back of the card, especially when it was a stadium, like the Kingdome for example, that I never saw on TV back then.

One thing that keeps drawing me back to these repacks is the variety contained within. Sure, there's a bunch of cards from the present day but always buried in the middle are cards from the mid 80s, such as the case with these 1985 Topps cards. I've always liked 85 Topps, dating back to the days as a kid where I bought a lot of them from an antique shop and maybe, one day, I might actually put the set together. Of course, I have to finish 1984 Topps first.

Speaking of 80s cards, here's some from 1987 Donruss. While I really enjoy Donruss sets from the early to mid 80s, after this set things kind of nose dive for a few years. Mike Moore was a pretty decent pitcher for the Mariners in the 80s, his best season coming in 1985 where he finished 10th in Cy Young voting and had a 17-10 record with a 3.46 ERA. Two years later in 1987 though? Not good. He led all of baseball in losses with 19.

Bedrosian was one of the better NL pitchers of the 80s, turning primarily into a reliever when he joined the Phillies. 1987 was an All-Star season for him with 40 saves and winner of the NL Cy Young Award. In four seasons with the Phillies, he posted 103 saves over 287.1 innings and a 3.29 ERA.

Some cards from a few of my favorite sets of the 80s. I think 1981 Donruss gets a bad rap, sure it was hastily produced but it still has a few redeeming qualities such as the general design. If I ever finish off 1984 Topps, my next project might be 1984 Donruss, not sure though but I really do like the design. Also, Mike Smithson may not be the most notable pitcher ever but I really dig the Twins home uniform he's sporting!

Standard operating procedure with these is that I have to show off any Reds cards included. A bunch of cards here I've seen a million times before and one dude I've never heard of.

Here's a curiosity, I wasn't expecting a Bowman Chrome refractor to come out of this. It took me a moment as I was thrown off by the facsimile signature but I realized this wasn't the 1-in-4 "hit" that the box proclaimed. Instead, it was a 2011 Bowman Chrome of Cory Riordan, a pitcher who has washed out of the minors with two different organizations and played the 2017 season for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League.

As with any repack, there's bound to be tons of junk wax. Here's the best of what was included. Nice to get a card of "Hard Hittin'"Mark Whiten, who famously slugged four homers in a game against the a Reds team in 1993 that, strangely enough, Ray Knight was a coach for.

Some cards from the mid-90s, including a 1995 Fleer card of Tony Gwynn, as if you couldn't tell what it was by the crazy design. One day, I'm planning on reviewing a card of each design from 1995 Fleer baseball (and maybe even football but I'll have to see what I have stashed away).

Some late 90s and early 00s miscellany. I always tend to forget what 2001 Topps looks like until I pull an actual card from somewhere. 

These are not your average 2016 Topps cards. They are, in fact, cards from the team issue sets. I always seem to come across a lot of team issue cards in these which makes me wonder if perhaps those sets get bought from the manufacturer come season's end at overstock prices? Or do they go buy up team sets from closeout places like Ollie's? It's one of those mysteries of life I suppose.

Speaking of closeouts, that about closes out this repack. I guess I should mention as well that the sealed pack contained within was a pack of 1988 Donruss, something I am less than thrilled to open up. Oh well, I suppose I'll just save that for a rainy day post.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

2017-18 UD Series 1 Hockey Jumbo Pack

I missed out on the base Upper Deck hockey set last year so this year I intend on making up for it. For my birthday back in December, I treated myself to some cards and grabbed this and one of those blaster style tins at Target. I haven't had time to bust into the tin yet but I did open this the other day and I figured I should show off my findings. There are 32 cards in the pack which means 8 scans of four cards each. I'll leave comments where I feel necessary

#65 Anthony Mantha
#179 Brandon Sutter
#39 Brent Seabrook
#35 Lee Stempniak

Right off the bat, the thing that struck me was that the team logo was in foil. Not really a fan of that. The design itself too it kinda meh, with the teal and dark red lines at the bottom. Photography is good as always.

#71 Darren Helm
#5 Rickard Rakell
#101 Artturi Lehkonen
#79 Colton Sceviour

Can't say I'm familiar with any of these guys.

#91 Nic Dowd
#75 Leon Draisaitl
#167 Brayden Point
#49 Tyson Barrie

The Oilers are not having a good season but Draisaitl and McDavid along with goalie Cam Talbot make for a good core. I feel like Tyson Barrie has been around forever.

#193 Adam Lowry
#127 J.T. Miller
#159 Jaden Schwartz
#23 Rasmus Ristolainen

I know Lowry's name from watching Jets games on NHL.TV but the rest of these guys I couldn't pick out of a police lineup.

#235 Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson YG
#64 Tyler Seguin
#164 Alex Killorn
#140 Dale Weise

Forsbacka-Karlsson is the sole Young Guns card of the pack and I'm not sure if he's even playing this year. Last year he only showed up in one game with Boston.

#192 Nicklas Backstrom
#110 Mattias Ekholm
#176 William Nylander
#52 David Savard

Nylander has to be my favorite card of this whole pack just because it's a picture from one of the outdoor games (looks like Ottawa was the opponent) and he's got the old style uniform on. 

#152 Joe Thornton
#40 Corey Crawford
#36 Sebastian Aho
#72 Adam Larsson

A foursome of players I actually know! Thornton wins the competition for "best beard in the pack". I watched a Carolina game recently and they are a really, really fun team to watch.

Here's what the backs look like for those that are interested. Pretty clean and basic with complete career stats. 

#6 Ryan Kesler
#102 Carey Price
#80 Derek MacKenzie
#46 Seymon Varlamov

The final four cards of the pack and, to my knowledge, my first Carey Price card. 

Overall, a pretty underwhelming pack, especially for five dollars. Oh well, it was a good introduction to this year's base set and a good primer for when I dive into the tin.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

You've Got Mail #75: All Trade Bait, All the Time

Right before Christmas I received a number of packages in the mail, one of which was from Oscar of everyone's favorite trade bait blog. This was the smallest of the three packages I received from different people so therefore I scanned it in first as the others were quite large.

I'll start this off with two Barry Larkin cards that share a little bit in common. You might be wondering how a card from 2017 can share something in common with a card from 1988. Well, the answer is in the patch on the sleeve of Larkin on the All-Time All-Star card. In 1988, the Reds hosted the All-Star game, which I'm going to guess that picture is from. In that game, a low-scoring affair won by the AL squad 2-1, Larkin went 0-2 in two plate appearances with 1 strikeout. Other Reds in the game didn't fare much better as Chris Sabo appeared only as a pinch runner and registered a stolen base and pitcher Danny Jackson didn't even appear in the game. So, we've got a Barry Larkin card from the year the Reds hosted the game and a 2017 card featuring Larkin at bat in the 1988 game. 

Moving on from that, there really is no way to tie these cards together but it's just a nice selection. No, the Morgan isn't an original 1973, it's one of those weird "Berger's Best" inserts. 

A few more random Reds and playing off the 1988 stuff I mentioned previously, 1988 was Dave Concepcion's sunset season where he played a multitude of positions around the infield and even pitched and inning and a third! In 84 games that season, he only hit a paltry .198/.265/.244 and only came up with 8 RBIs in 216 plate appearances. Dibble was a teammate of Concepcion in 1988 but really had a great season in 1989 with a 10-5 record and a 2.09 ERA in 74 games.

The Reds weren't the only team represented, there was a good smattering of Indians cards as well. I know for sure the Kipnis GQ card is a duplicate but the Andrew Miller Heritage card is definitely a great addition.

I'd forgotten that Phil Niekro had played for the Indians in his sunset season of 1987. It wasn't too terribly notable though and after being traded from the Indians to the Blue Jays (which seems even more unusual) he was pretty much done, only appearing in three games as a Jay and being released a month after the trade. He latched on with the Braves for one game at the end of the season before calling it quits. 

Speaking of Blue Jays, getting cards of Joe Carter in an Indians uniform is really a welcome sight. Yeah, he's most remembered for his World Series winning homer in 1993, but he had a pretty good run with the Tribe before being traded to the Padres. Here's an interesting trivia note, the trade from the Indians to the Padres in December of 1989 and then the trade from the Padres to the Blue Jays nearly exactly one year later both involved a member of the Alomar family. For the sake of saving spare you the details but suffice to say, they were both pretty notable trades.

A few more Indians cards. Both of these I like a lot for many different reasons. First, the Eckersley card features him with the old school 70s Indians threads. The Omar Vizquel card has him during the glory days of the Tribe in the 90s celebrating a walk-off victory. I really dig the picture on that.

Here's a whole awesome batch of Expos cards. Pardon the funky look to the 1988 Fleer card, my scanner decided to be grumpy. Take a close look at the Felipe Alou card, notice the position? That's right, it says "coach". I've heard of manager cards but never "coach" cards. Looking into this, it's amazing to me how long Alou stayed with the Expos. He played briefly for them in 1973 and then a year later retired as player and joined up with the organization in many different roles ranging from batting coach to minor league manager. Then in 1992 he became the manager and held that post until 2001.

I'll wrap up this trade package with a few Hall of Famers on top and then Pudge, Ichiro, and Terry Pendleton on the bottom. I'm not sure how those last three cards ended up in the package but I'm not going to complain as definitely helped out with the variety. I think Ichiro cards are some of the coolest cards out there you can get and maybe someday soon, I might add him to my PC collection list.

That wraps up another great trade package from Oscar. A big thank you to him for sending it over and including me as a part of his Christmas mailings.