Friday, February 26, 2016

You've Got Mail #16: Wes (jaybarkerfan)

My mailbox took quite the beating last week for its official indoctrination as part of the #SuperTraders group. First up, was this package from Wes. Being the maniacal mind that he is, it was stuffed full of all kinds of goodies. 

A quick side note, I was trying a new setting on my scanner that didn't quite work out so if these scans look a little fuzzy, blame the scanner. Let's start with this, a Pedro Villarreal autograph. While he wasn't the best pitcher in the Reds bullpen last year, he was respectable and figures to at least be in the equation for a bullpen gig this year, perhaps as a 7th inning guy.

These were from the Museum Collection box break he did to kick things off. The Votto card really stands out with the red uniform against the muted background. Getting newer cards of Big Red Machine players is always great. Could Joe Morgan be a new PC guy? Time will tell. Fun fact about Joe Morgan: he owns a Honda dealership about 20 minutes from my house.

Ok, I have to come clean here. I love 1993 Donruss. It's a clean, simple design, the nameplate and team logo on the bottom have the feeling of a TV graphic, and the photography is great. When I was a kid, I got a box of it as a "get well" present from my mom after a really bad illness where I was hospitalized for a few days.

As always with a package from Wes, there's a mix of new and old. Juan Francisco is a guy who just never really panned out with the Reds. He holds the record for the second longest home run ever hit at Great American Ballpark (502 feet) but was traded to the Braves shortly after since there was really no room for him for the Reds current closer by default, J.J. Hoover.

Old guys on old cards. Notice the position on the Bench card ... third base!

And of course, old guys on new cards! It's nice to see Jose Rijo finally getting some love on some newer products. The Bench card is great because it's simple.

Along with baseball, Wes threw in some Bengals cards as well. Let's start with this Andy Dalton die-cut.

More Dalton and some A.J. Green. I'm guessing "Rookies and Stars" is some sort of Panini brand? It's gotta be as I don't remember Topps football cards looking this good.

Speaking of Topps football, here's a pink parallel of the aforementioned A.J. Green and a green parallel of Jeremy Hill. I see a camo design in them too. I wonder if they are parallels of the parallels? If so, I think I'm living in a parallel universe.

A few others to close out the batch. The Tyler Kroft card is another pink version/variant/parallel/what-have-you. It doesn't have the camo design either. Not a big fan of Finest but the A.J. Green card will fit nicely in my Bengals binder.

Big thanks to Wes for including me in this group and and sending these cards. I'm in the midst of compiling and sorting stuff for all Super Traders (and a few outside the group as well) and will hopefully have the first wave of stuff going out in mid-to-late March.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Back Packs #2: 1990 Donruss!

While everyone in the #SuperTraders group is showing off the first wave of packages they've gotten in, I felt like opening another one of the old packs I have lying around. This time I'm diving into a pack of the assault on the eyes known as 1990 Donruss. I got this out of one of those repacks I picked up from Walgreens recently. I'm not expecting much but who knows. This pack includes 16 cards and three puzzle pieces.

#260 - Cecil Espy
#254 - Jack Howell

#248 - Kevin Gross
#243 - Dave Henderson

#238 - Jim Eisenreich
#232 - John Farrell

#228 - Ellis Burks
#280 - Mike Boddicker

#277 - Don Slaught
#271 - Jeff Blauser

#265 - David Cone
#259 - Phil Bradley

#253 - Steve Rosenberg
#16 - Lou Whitaker (Diamond Kings)

#242 - Chris Sabo
#231 - Jimmy Key
Puzzle pieces

Unfortunately, this was a pretty much a dud of a pack with the only highlights being Chris Sabo, David Cone, Dave Henderson and a nice Lou Whitaker Diamond Kings card. I've got some fun packs lined up for this series in the coming weeks including some 1993 Topps fat packs. As for the super trader packages, I'm sorting through packages received last week from Wes, Adam, and Brian and will show them off soon!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

You've Got Mail #15: Highly Subjective & Completely Arbitrary

My first official trade package as part of the "Super Traders" group that Wes (aka Jaybarkerfan) put together (and graciously included me in) arrived in the mail the other day. It just happened to be from the gracious soul known as Brian from Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary and proved to pack a huge punch in a small package.

It started innocently enough with these two nice cards from Upper Deck's last baseball set in 2010.

It also had these random cards included within ... mid-90's Reds cards are always a plus.

Here's where things started to get interesting ... this Drew Stubbs autograph was unexpected. Even though he wasn't the greatest lead-off guy, he could make contact and had a monster year in 2010.

This 1972 Topps card of Ross Grimsley posing in a field with a bullpen jacket on looks innocent enough, right?

But then I flipped it over and BOOM! It's a blank back! I had no idea that this even existed!

I've saved the best three for last.

First, we have a very nice 1950 Bowman of Reds Hall of Famer Ewell Blackwell. Nicknamed "The Whip", he was one of the Reds best pitchers of the late 1940s and early 1950s. His best season was 1947 with a 22-8 record and 2.47 ERA over 33 starts. The same season he also boasted 23 complete games, 193 strikeouts, and 6 shutouts in 273 innings pitched.

Going backwards, there was also this 1949 Bowman of Hank Sauer. I'm not too familiar with him but the back boasts him as one of "baseball best sluggers" and apparently won the 1952 NL MVP award as a member of the Cubs. A quick check of his bio on Baseball Reference says that he was traded to the Cubs by the Reds for Peanuts Lowrey and Harry Walker.

Finally, there's the gem of the whole batch and a card I wasn't familiar with. This is a 1939 Play Ball card of Billy Myers, shortstop for the Reds and part of the back-to-back NL pennant winners in 1939-40 and member of the 1940 World Series champion team. His stats aren't all that impressive but he did manage to get inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1966.

A big thank you to Brian for sending this my way and who outdid himself on this PWE. I'll dig up some Twins in return for you!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Back Packs #1: 1992 Upper Deck!

I seem to have accumulated a decent amount of junk wax packs recently and what better way to dig my way through them than to start up a blog series. It seems like every blog has some sort of ongoing feature with pack ripping, so I figured I'd start one up too. I'm calling this "Back Packs" because I'll be ripping into old packs of stuff I collect. While this will mainly be baseball, there will be some other stuff from time to time, but the main focus will be baseball packs. They may not be all from the junk wax era either, it just depends on what I find at the flea market, card shows, etc.

To start this off, I'm going to tear into a pack of 1992 Upper Deck. This came out of one of the Walgreens repacks I've been known to pick up on occasion. This is one of my favorite designs of the early 90s, mainly because of the fun team logos at the bottom right of each card and the awesome photography. There are 15 cards in a pack for this and I'll show all of them and comment on certain cards as I go. 

#667 - Bryan Hickerson RC
#691 - John Barfield

#522 - Dave Parker
#554 - Tino Martinez

Two good players here. I had no clue that Dave Parker was still playing in 92, let alone with the Blue Jays. The thing I remember Tino Martinez for is winning the Home Run Derby in 1997 at Jacobs Field.

#486 - Zane Smith
#427 - Von Hayes

#353 - Greg Maddux
#362 - Kevin McReynolds

I really like the Maddux card. It's rare that you find cards of pitchers doing something other than pitching.

#209 - Mike Devereaux
#252 - Tony Pena

#114 - Hubie Brooks
#102 - Hector Villanueva

#44 - Steve Avery PP
#71 - Jeff Plympton RC
Ted Williams Heroes insert card

This was a very bland pack, only three decent pulls in Parker, Martinez, and Maddux and I guess Tony Pena could be thrown in there too. Never was a big fan of the Baseball Heroes insert set. It's a good thing this came in the retail repack (review coming soon) as I wouldn't have bought this on my own.

Hope you liked this premiere edition of "Back Packs". It might still be a little rough around the edges but after a few of these, I'll get the hang of it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

You've Got Mail #14: 2x3 Heroes

The 2016 baseball card season may be upon us but 2015 still lingers, especially with the contest winnings I got from proprietor of the 2x3 Heroes blog and noted White Sox enthusiast, Jeff. I entered and much to my surprise won a nice bubble mailer full of 2015 Topps.

Since Jeff is such a fan of the White Sox, let's start there. The Konerko card is a great send-off card and I really like Abreu in the throwback Sox jersey.

The north siders are primed for a huge 2016 after making it all the way to the NLCS this year and Rizzo is one of the guys I'm looking forward to seeing on a regular basis, since the Reds and Cubs are in the same division. It was awesome to see the Correa rookie in the batch! Even though I'm not much of a rookie collector/prospector, it was a card I was secretly hoping I would pull. 

Here are a few more main set highlights. That catch that Moustakas is making looks painful. Russell is another of the great batch of youngsters that the Cubs have.

These were the only inserts in the batch. The more I see of them, the more I like the tape measure blast cards. Can't say I've come across the rarities insert in the packs of 2015 flagship I opened but its a pretty cool card.

Finally, as is no secret, I'm putting together the set of all the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby cards. Besides the ones shown above, there were probably 5-7 others that I didn't scan in. 

Big thanks to Jeff for the great envelope of 2015 Topps. I haven't opened any 2016 Topps yet but I will eventually, although I'm sort of leaning towards Heritage being the first 2016 packs I buy. It's going to be hard to beat 2015 though, especially since there is so much cool stuff from then yet to discover.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2015-16 Upper Deck Series 1 Jumbo Packs!

The family and I stopped at Target a while back, right before New Year's, and were looking for a few post-Christmas things and my wife was looking for a game for the Nintendo DS she got for Christmas. As usual, whenever I'm at Target, I have to check out the card section. It was picked pretty clean but there was some hockey stuff left, namely and bunch of Series 1 blasters and the three fat packs you see above. I figured that the fat packs were a better value so I grabbed all three of them. I tore into them ta while back and here's what I found. 

The insert cards that were included. The one thing I would have liked to have seen would've been more inserts as there was only one per pack. Probably one of my favorite things about the Upper Deck base set are the UD Portraits inserts.

As you can imagine, with only one insert per pack, the rest of it was filled with base cards. I'll have to see how many I have but I might consider putting this together. Lots of good names here with Weber, Kucherov, Pasternak, and Thornton.

Another batch of base cards. Fleury, Krejci, and Stepan are the highlights here.

And to close this out, a bunch of horizontals. I really like Dallas' green uniforms. I know I've shown the Giroux before on here when I broke the tin a while back. Ovechkin simply has this "I'm awesome and I know it" pose and to close it out, a card that shows Buffalo's purple sweaters in all their glory.

I probably won't get any more fat packs since there was only one insert per pack and I was hoping for more. I would say that if you're going to buy this retail, then the collectible tin will be your best bet.