Sunday, October 22, 2017

Cards From the North

It's been a long time ... a very long time since I've had cards grace my mailbox so when a random package arrived from Douglas of Sportscards From the Dollar Store recently, I was giddy with excitement that someone actually sent me cards in the mail!

As always, a package from Douglas has a nice variety. As much as I like the Edd Roush card here, I think I have to talk a bit about the Royce Clayton card. Clayton was at the near the end of his career in 2006 when he was acquired by the Reds from the Nationals in a bonkers trade still questioned by some fans to this day. It was a weird trade where the Reds got Clayton, Bill Bray, Gary Majewski, and one other for Austin Kearns, Ryan Wagner, and another player. To this day, I don't think anyone is sure what the Reds were trying to accomplish with that trade. Clayton finished the year as the Reds shortstop then moved on to Toronto as a free agent after the season.

Getting new Blue Jackets cards is always a blast, especially since they may be the lone major league team in Columbus soon (another story for another day) and I'm hoping I can maybe find some decent priced ones at the card show next week. The top three are from last year's Upper Deck Champs set, which is basically their version of A&G. It was a pretty cool product and it's something I hope they bring back this year. Brandon Saad was shipped back to Chicago after two seasons but in return, the Jackets managed to steal Artemi Panarin in return in a shocker of a deal.

This card was definitely one of the best of the batch and is a fantastic addition to my Brodeur collection. It's a thick card, really shiny, and has an amazing picture on it getting Brodeur in mid-catch to save a goal. 

The other thing I can count on for Douglas to send is lots and lots of Bengals cards, and there were a lot. So I'll go through them quickly. First, there were these neat cards of past Bengals QBs, although many try to forget the Jeff Blake era.

Joe Mixon was the Bengals top pick in the draft this past summer and has seen a lot of action recently, especially since the Bengals dropped Ken Zampese as their offensive coordinator and replaced him with Bill Lazor. The offense that had been sleepy in the first two games, woke up once Lazer was installed, and Mixon seemed to get more carries.

There was also this nice batch of Andy Dalton cards. My collection of his is slowly growing with some quality additions like this.

Same can be said for A.J. Green, one of my favorite players to watch on the Bengals. I'm starting to get a decent collection of cards of his as well.

There were also a nice batch of parallels included in the package as well, these were the best of the batch.

Thanks to Douglas for sending all these great cards over, I greatly appreciate it. I'll try to find some stuff to send back to you at some point.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

That's Just (O) Pee-Chee: A Jumbo Pack of 2017-18 O-Pee-Chee

Retail jumbo packs are always fun to rip open. For about five or six bucks (the price of 1 1/2 or 2 packs in the card shop), you get about 30 cards give or take. This particular pack had 32 cards. I debated on whether or not I should've actually bought it while I was in the store as O-Pee-Chee is primarily base cards. I was fearful that if I did get it then I'd be wasting my money as it'd be base cards of players I probably don't know. I know, the moral dilemmas of a card collector. Before I thought too long and hard about it, I threw it in the cart and brought it home.

I saw a box break video online recently of the Beckett crew opening some of this so I had a pretty decent idea of what to expect. The fronts are nice and simple with some great photos and a pretty decent design, especially with the team logo featured prominently on the bottom left. These are some of the better veteran players I got from my pack.

The backs are clean as well with a simple but old-school sort of feel. And ... gasp! ... career stats!!

Here's a couple of the young stars who saw action last season. The one bad thing about this being an early season release is that it doesn't have the new crop of rookies like Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick in it.

Here are the inserts you can expect in a jumbo pack. It's always great to get a team checklist card. The Sam Reinhart card is a retro design. I've yet to try to figure out if the retro designs are parallels or inserts, regardless I dig them.

The other issue with O-Pee-Chee being an early season release is that it still has players with their previous teams. Mike Smith is now the #1 goalie in Calgary, ironically replacing Elliott who moved on to the Flyers.

Wrapping up the pack, here's a couple of my favorites to watch from my two favorite Canadian teams. Tkachuk if you couldn't tell by the name is the son of former Coyotes and Blues star Keith Tkachuk. He's also got a brother, Brady, coming up the ranks and might be in next year's NHL draft. Larsson was what Edmonton got in return from the Devils in the Taylor Hall deal a few years ago and I really enjoyed seeing Edmonton in their playoff run last year.

Overall, I'd say I was pretty satisfied with my return on investment here. Would I get another jumbo pack for five buck? Probably as I got a good handful of players I like and some fun cards to boot. You can't really ask for much more than that.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

First Face-Off

The NHL season may already be in full swing but as far as minor league hockey goes, their season is just getting started. Case in point, my wife, son, and I went to the Cincinnati Cyclones opening game last night with a friend of ours and her son.

We managed to procure second row seats for just $15 each (not including fees) and had a really fun time throughout. We even snuck down to the first row since no one bothered to take those seats until halfway through the game. While I didn't take too many pictures, here's what the view from our seats looked like looking towards center ice ...

The game itself was pretty competitive with the Cyclones battling back from a 2-0 hole to force overtime. Ultimately though, they lost 3-2 in overtime to Kalamazoo. A pretty good crowd was on hand too but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact it was also $1 beer night so the Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life was flowing like water.

All in all though, it was still a great time and I'm definitely going to try to get back to another game before the season ends. To close this out, here's a picture of my son with the Chik-Fil-A Cow ...

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hang 'Em High

Trying to find Heritage of any sort this year, at least in my neck of the woods, has seemed to be pretty much impossible. Sure, I found packs at the card shop earlier in the spring when the initial batch was released but Heritage High Number ... forget it! Nay a Walmart or a Target has had any sign of it so to say I was pleasantly surprised when I found a slew of hanger boxes at a Target I don't normally go to would be a bit of an understatement.

I had a bit of extra cash on me so I pulled it off the rack, along with a jumbo pack of 17-18 O-Pee-Chee, tossed them in the cart along with the stuff I actually went to Target for (household cleaners, Halloween candy, etc) and headed home.

Since the playoff have commenced and we're neck deep in Division Series action this week, I figured there's no better time than the present to show off some of the highlights.

Everyone knows what these look like, it's 1968 Topps. I picked these particular cards to show off, well, just because commons need some love too every now and then. Plus, you can learn something. For example, did you know that the well-travelled Mat Latos was with the Blue Jays this season? I didn't. Having only appeared in three games for them this season, it's quite possible that it was one of those "blink and you miss it" type of deals. The Rizzo/Bryant card is one of those combo cards that Heritage loves to put out. 

The two most notable rookie cards from the box. 

Two new Reds cards to add to the collection. Storen was a decent arm out of the bullpen this year but went down late in the year to an elbow injury. Mesoraco split the backup duties in 2017 with Stuart Turner and made it into 56 games, the most he's played since 2014. With the Reds signing Tucker Barnhart to a 4-year deal just prior to the end of the season, one has to wonder what Meso's future with the Reds might be.

Two guys from the good Ohio team. The Indians are my pick to win it all this year. I was pulling for them last year but it seemed that I was probably the only one. I think they've got much more power this year in the lineup with Bruce and Encarnacion, both former Reds I might add. 

Apparently the hanger boxes yield one SP per box. This was sandwiched between two insert cards. 

Only two proper insert cards in the box. I like the designs on these, especially the funky background on the Ryon Healy card.

To be honest, I could've just saved the the $9.95 this cost and put it toward something I really wanted but on the flip side it was Heritage and like I mentioned, it's hard to find in these parts. If I feel like getting anymore Heritage, I think it'll be cheap singles from card shows

Sunday, October 8, 2017

2009 Upper Deck Series 2 Value Box

The card section at my local Walmart is an absolute mess. To imagine this, think of everything you see in the card aisle, throw it all into a giant pile, and shove it back on the shelf. Or, maybe even more accurately, think of the Springfield tire fire ...

Actual picture of Walmart's card aisle
Anyway, I was trying to find a rack pack or a jumbo pack of anything interesting since I was in the mood to buy cards. But, alas, it was to no avail as the only things I could find were a few rack packs of basketball cards. I should've stopped there and called it a day. As I was about to give up my search, I looked down to the discount bin and amongst packs of Magic the Gathering and Pokemon strewn about, I saw a value box of 2009 Upper Deck baseball. "How in the heck did that wind up here?" I thought. I saw the price, $3.48 for 75 cards plus a "Starquest" pack, whatever that is. I felt that was justification enough for me to warrant getting it and I tossed it in the cart.

Once I got back home and tended to a few things before the in-laws visited, I had just enough time to tear into it. The 75-card brick was vacuum sealed I guess to prevent damage, not that damage would've hurt 99 percent of them. I thumbed through twice, found a few interesting cards, and put the rest in my sorting box to be paged up.

Here's a handful of the better of the base cards from the brick. The Montero card was the only horizontal card in the batch but I really, really dig it. 

Some cards from the award winners sub-set. I forgot about Cliff Lee's stint in Cleveland so I guess that's one thing that these old value packs can provide, cards of players with teams I'd forgotten they were with.

Three Reds were included in the 75-card brick. Bill Bray was a serviceable reliever for the Reds for a handful of years. I still think the Reds giving up Edison Volquez was a horrible idea.

These "sports" inserts of Derrick Lee and Nolan Ryan. were pretty much the only kind of inserts of any kind in there. 

My favorite base card of the entire box. It's not often that I come across a late career Ken Griffey Jr. card, and it's even less than that when it's a Mariners card. This, right now, becomes my favorite card of Griffey I have in my collection.

So, those are the highlights of the 75-card stack. There was also a three-card pack of Starquest cards. Let's see if I get anything good.

Yep ... just as I feared. Three minor stars. On the back, these are all labeled as "turquoise commons", not exactly best way to close out this box.

So, was this worth the $3.50? Probably not and 95% of the cards in the box I could've lived without but still, it was kind of fun to go back in time and gain some new cards for the collection.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Happy October

I'll be honest, September was the absolute pits. Between nearly losing my job and as I currently write this my wife has been in the hospital since last Thursday in downtown Cincinnati with low potassium levels. We're all hopeful that she'll be able to get released tomorrow sometime as she's shown major progress since Thursday night. Because of all this, I've barely been able to enjoy the first part of the Halloween season at all.

That being said, I'm glad to see September disappear for another year and now October, my favorite month of the year, is officially upon us! It's the month of baseball playoffs and the start of hockey season. On the Halloween front, it's the month of monster movies, Halloween parties, pumpkin carving, fall festivals, and trick-or-treating! I'm really going to try to stuff everything Halloween I can into this month.

One seasonal candy I did have the chance to try amidst all the September chaos was the Cookies and Scream M&Ms available at Target. Now, if this bag doesn't ... ahem, scream ... Halloween then I don't know what does. It's dark, it's purple, and you've got Red absolutely terrified of something. 

The M&Ms themselves are shaped just like any other M&M. Some of them are coated in a white dust, some aren't. That's no design flaw, they're just supposed to be like that as it helps with the flavor. Speaking of which, these take just like anything you would find in a cookies and cream ice cream. Between my wife and I, we polished off a whole bag of these in an afternoon, they're that good. So, if you find yourself at a Target, I recommend picking these up.

On the card front, I've got a hanger box of Heritage High Numbers, a random value box of 2009 Upper Deck, a jumbo pack of O-Pee-Chee hockey, and a trade pack I got last week all coming up later this month once my wife gets back home from the hospital and things get back to normal somewhat.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mystery Boxes From a Mystery Yard Sale (continued)

As promised in Tuesday's post, here's the continuation of the cards from the mystery yard sale boxes with my favorites of the 90s cards I found in the haul.

With the 90s cards, Dime Box Nick would've had a field day with some of these. Some cool double play cards and Trevor Hoffman fiddling with a camera.

Some nice rookie cards and early career cards. Ramon Hernandez might be someone I eventually add to my player PC as I always liked him when he was with the Reds. Finding a Konerko Dodgers card was a treat as well although I'm not a big fan of Pacific.

Eric Davis and Joe Oliver are two former Reds shown here with two teams they definitely don't belong with. Davis spent two seasons as a member of the Orioles, 1997 and 1998. The 1997 season wasn't all that great, with him only appearing in 42 games. However, he had a bounce back season in 1998 with the last great year of his career hitting .327/.388/.582 with 28 homers and 89 RBIs in 131 games. He even finished in the top 20 of AL MVP voting that season.

Joe Oliver spent one season as a Brewer in 1995 after playing in only 6 games with the Reds in 1994. He had a nice season appearing in 97 games hitting .273/.332/.439 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs. After the season, he signed again with the Reds as stayed with them for another two years.

More "short term stops" cards including Tom Candiotti as a member of the A's, Joe Carter as an Oriole, and Eddie Murray as an Angel. Terry Steinbach spent three seasons at the end of his career with the Twins, so that doesn't count as short term but I didn't remember it at all until I saw this particular card.

I thought Sportflix cards were just a fad of the 80s, turns out they lasted until the mid 90s. In case you can't make out the players pictured, left to right its Pedro Martinez, Don Mattingly, and Jeff Bagwell.

A couple of neat Jim Thome cards for my collection of his.

Oooo! Shiny cards!!! I really like the Delgado card but the Kenny Lofton All-Star credentials card is really a cool looking card.

These cards scanned like absolute crap but there were a boatload of Roger Clemens Blue Jays cards in the boxes. Juan Guzman is a press proof card numbered 1 of 2000. I'm not sure if that holds much weight but here's the proof ...

Again, not sure if it holds weight like numbered parallels in today's world. Regardless, it's still a nice card.

I wasn't expecting to find Devil Rays cards in here, especially not first year Rays cards. Seeing Wade Boggs in a Rays uniform is still a weird sight.

Diamondbacks cards were in more supply than Rays cards. I don't have many early cards from either team so these definitely will fit in nicely.

Nearly time to wrap this up so I'll show some stuff rapid fire .... first, some Pinnacle Xpress Peak Performance cards of Randy Johnson and Mike Piazza.

Two Pinnacle Mint Collection cards of Cal Ripken Jr. and Andruw Jones.

And I'll put a bow on this treasure trove of a yard sale haul with some 1997 Fleer.

For three bucks, I'd say that I definitely got more value than that out of this, especially due to the sheer number of 90s cards I found that I didn't already have. I really appreciate my step mom picking these up for me.