Thursday, July 28, 2016

You've Got Mail #43: Baseball Every Night

I've got a good selection of the base cards I want from 2016 flagship but hardly any of the inserts. However, in stepped Peter from Baseball Every Night with some of the First Pitch inserts from this year. I enjoyed last year's First Pitch cards so I wanted to try to some from this year too. Since Peter didn't want them, I gladly took them off his hands. While I won't show every card, I'll show off the celebrities I've heard of.

I don't follow boxing at all but some of the MMA news sites I read cover boxing occasionally and I've seen Miguel Cotto's name on occasion, most of it was in conjunction with his fight with Canelo Alvarez last November, which he lost by the way. The picture of former President Bush isn't exactly the most flattering but according to the back of the card, it was right after he suffered a fall and was in a neck brace because of it. Regardless, still pretty cool to have a card of a former President.

I'm not ashamed to say I've got a few James Taylor songs on my iPad. I wouldn't consider myself a fan of his music but I do enjoy listening to "Fire and Rain" on occasion. Just like I'm not a big James Taylor fan, I wouldn't consider myself a golf fan either. I used to play when I was in high school and on occasion after that and will watch a little bit on TV, but that's mainly if I can't find anything else to watch and it's just for background noise.

Good gosh, that's a pretty garish outfit on Don Cherry! However, being the hockey fan that I am, when I saw his name listed in the checklist, I knew I had to have it, mainly because it's a nice blend of my two favorite sports to watch on TV. Speaking of blending sports, Jim Harbaugh definitely went all out, donning the full Tigers uniform, right down to the hat. 

As far as these First Pitch cards go, the line-up wasn't as exciting this year as it was last year when there were cards of Jeff Bridges, Melissa McCarthy, and Metallica among others. For what it is though, it's pretty fun and something nice to break up the monotony when you're opening tons of packs of flagship cards.

Peter also threw in this signed Dave Christian hockey card since he's not a hockey kind of person but I totally am. I'm not too familiar with Mr. Christian so let's see what ye olde hockey reference has to say. Apparently he had a very long career from the 1979-80 season to the 1993-94 season with Winnipeg, Washington, Boston, St. Louis, and Chicago. 

So there we go, a handful of first pitches and a neat signed hockey card. Another fun package in the books! Speaking of fun, don't forget to stop by on August 1st at Noon eastern for an announcement of something really fun coming in the fall!

Monday, July 25, 2016

You've Got Mail #42: Highly Subjective & Completely Arbitrary

I've been trading with Brian of the Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary blog since last summer. I've sent him a few things, he's sent a few PWEs in return. His latest envelope packed a huge punch.

I'll start with these Tony Perez cards. I was a little confused when I saw them as I thought "wait a minute, why are there two Perez cards from 1977 Topps?" I thought maybe the Expos one was a Traded card but when I flipped them over to verify, it clicked, the Expos card in an O-Pee-Chee! I should have figured, knowing Brian is the master of old school OPC cards. 

1992 Donruss isn't one of my favorite designs but at lot of oddballs used the design that year, from Coca-Cola to McDonalds as is evidenced by the McDonald's MVP logo in the top right. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm lacking in Larkin cards from his later years but this E-X card definitely fills a nice spot in that void.

I thought this card was perhaps from one of the Archives sets from the past few years but I was wrong. It's a 2014 Topps Chrome 1989 design. I'm not sure if these were inserts but it's pretty interesting. 1989 Topps is one of the most over produced sets ever but the design is much, much better than the bland 1988 and the very neon-y 1990 set.

Unlike the Hamilton card, I knew this was from Archives. Rob Dibble seems to get his fair share of cards from Topps but the other members of the Nasty Boys bullpen, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers, seem to have zero cardboard love from the major card companies. This is a really cool addition to the Reds binder but I have to ask, what is that on the back of Dibble's head? Is that his hair? If so, that has to be one epic mullet.

Micah Owings came over to the Reds as one of the players to be named later in the Adam Dunn trade in 2008. Although he was a pitcher, Dusty Baker used him more as a pinch hitter since he was one of the best hitting pitchers in the league and hung around for a couple years and left after the 2010 season. Until I saw this card, I'd kind of forgotten about his stint as a Red.

Here's a bunch of random Reds cards spanning players from many different times. I personally like the John Franco and the Joey Votto cards from this batch.

Anytime I see vintage in a package or PWE, it makes it that much better. Dave Bristol has that look of an old school manager with the tobacco in the cheek and seems to be a non-nonsense individual.

These old school Expos cards are super cool. The K-Mart Tim Raines is really cool, especially since the closet K-Mart to me is closing at the end of July. Never mind about how the 1985 Fleer card scanned in, my scanner doesn't seem to like that particular set. I find it interesting how Dan Driessen followed Tony Perez at first base with the Reds after Perez was traded to the Expos and then he did the same thing with the Expos after he was traded by the Reds. Speaking of strange players with the Expos, everyone seems to forget that Pete Rose had a brief run with the Expos in 1984. I'm not sure what the Rose card is from but it's a nice Rose Expos card that I didn't know existed. The back is really strange though ...

I'm guessing that this was part of a Pete Rose poster or puzzle. Regardless, it's pretty cool.

I'll end with some always wonderful vintage Expos cards. The 1975 set is growing on me so I'm pretty happy when I see random singles from the set thrown in trade packs. I'm not exactly sure who Chuck Taylor is, but somehow I don't think he's involved with Converse shoes.

With that, another wild PWE comes to an end. Don't forget, check the blog on August 1st at Noon for a big announcement regarding a super cool project I'll be working on this fall.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

1 Year Anniversary Post

Happy first birthday to the blog!

I started this blog a year ago as a way to help me stay involved in a hobby that I love. Over the past year, I've traded and chatted cards with some great people along the way, too many to mention to be honest. If I went through the list and named everyone then I know I'd leave someone out. So, in general, thank you to everyone I've traded with and who has read and commented on my work over the past year. I really appreciate it.

With birthdays comes a time of reflection. Thinking about the past year and all the cards I've accumulated, I've decided that I need to do a good sized purge as the limited storage space I have for cards is quickly running out. I have two giant boxes of commons, a 1600-count box, and about 3-4 binders I need to go through. So, I've decided to do the following:

1. Keep. I know there are some hidden gems in the boxes and binders and those I'll be hanging on to. My baseball collection is divided up by team so anything I keep will then be sorted by team for proper storage.

2. Trade. As is, my trade box is stuffed full right now so I need to empty it. If you get a package from me, consider it my way of saying thanks for supporting the blog. While I won't send out a ton of stuff all at once, things will slowly trickle out. I have a decent amount of stuff set aside for those who are regulars around these parts and a few others I owe stuff too.

3. Donate. Any unwanted junk wax commons (looking at you 1989 Topps and 1990 Donruss) and excess duplicates will be donated locally. This will already be done by the time this post goes live.

After this, my collection should finally be organized and down to a manageable level.

I'll be slowing down on blogging and writing for now. You may have already noticed that things have slowed down a bit this month. Starting this week, the blog will be updated when I can find time. I can't guarantee a set posting scheduled but I won't let it lie dormant either. I've got some posts in the can already scheduled so you'll be seeing those soon. Once those have gone live, then it'll be when and where I can find time.

The most important thing I'm going into year two with is to bring back the "fun" aspect of everything, which is something I feel I've strayed away from in recent months. In the spirit of fun, I've got something really exciting coming up this fall that I really think everyone will enjoy. Details on that will be revealed on August 1st at Noon EST.

Again, thank you everyone for supporting the blog over this past year. Here's to a great year two! Stay close, there's lots more fun to come.

Monday, July 18, 2016

You've Got Mail #41: Waiting 'Til Next Year

Back in the early spring, I entered a contest that P-Town Tom was running based on what he had pilfered from an estate sale. I'd forgotten I won a prize until he emailed me and the other winner informing us that our prizes were in the mail.

When I think of the term "Endless Summer", I think of the summer of 2003 when I was fresh out of high school and my friends and I were working as shift managers and projection booth operators at a run down dump of a dollar cinema on the west side of Hamilton, Ohio. Our pay rate was just above peanuts and the place was falling apart but we had a lot of fun while trying to keep ourselves entertained since no one came to see movies as the nice theater was just around the corner and we had little to no business being in charge. I still look back fondly on those days, just as I'm sure that some people do during the summers that the Big Red Machine was clicking on all cylinders when Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and all the others were winning NL pennants and World Series titles. Those days are looked back fondly by most, if not all, Reds fans, just as the summer of 2003 is for me. 

While this card won't cause me to go on a deep thought stream of consciousness like I did with the first card, this is still a really fun and unique card from 2001 Topps Chrome. It captures Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan from the 1970s and then Reds stars Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin. Too bad Griffey would miss nearly the whole 2001 season when he suffered a bad leg injury during the opening week of the season and Larkin was only three years away from retirement. Still, this is a really cool looking card and I'm curious to see what other combos there were like this for other teams.

My Sean Casey collection is slowly growing thanks through trades such as this. Never was a big fan of Stadium Clubs insert cards simply because they put so much thought into the photography and the base card design, it feels like the insert are simply afterthoughts. The Topps Finest card though I really dig and believe me it's better in person than it is in the scan.

This card, though, is the new winner in the Sean Casey collection. On the eve of Opening Day 1998, the Reds traded off Dave Burba, who had been one of their most consistent pitchers, to Cleveland for a kid no one had ever heard of named Sean Casey. I love everything about this card, the young Sean Casey not knowing the huge impact he'd have on the Reds, the red pinstripe jerseys before the Reds went crazy and put black into their logo, and cavernous old Riverfront Stadium with the green of the astroturf, the different colored levels where if you went to a game and someone asked where you sat, you simply said "the green seats" or "the red seats", and sitting in the big old stadium watching a team just playing to break even with not a care in the world. Those were some great days and some good times and this one Sean Casey card brought a huge smile to my face when I saw it.

I picked up the standard version of this card last year at a card show, so I was pretty surprised to find this in the package. Last year's Archives had two Reds players in their "Fan Favorites" autograph line, Joe Oliver and Jose Rijo, and I'm trying to track down both of them. This is the silver parallel version (side note: I had no clue there were parallel versions of these) and the signature is a bit better than the standard version. I'm still on the lookout for the Rijo but it's proven difficult to find.

Speaking of Jose Rijo, here's a card of his along with a few others from 1993 Flair. I never really got many of these cards during my initial run of collecting as a kid but the ones I did get were really cool. All these years later, they still hold up quite well. The Reds in 1993 were still a fairly sold team, having some leftover parts from the 1990 World Series team along with some veterans from other club and younger players.

The Griffey Jr. Reds collection slowly grows. It seems like most everyone has forgotten about his time in Cincinnati but I haven't. Yes, his star faded while he was here but the championships that were promised never materialized, mainly because the pitching was incredibly suspect. 

These are certainly an interesting lot. I like the framed design on them but what's with the word on the side of the card? If it's supposed to describe emotion, it failed. None of the words are anywhere near some sort of emotion, such as "torque". Imagine if torque was an emotion? "How are you today, Al?" I'm just torque, Pete." Doesn't quite work does it.

A good smattering of cards from many different years and sets. I'm not sure if the Ron Gant card would be classified as a refractor or not but he definitely had a huge year and won the NL Comeback Player of the Year in his only season with the Reds. He defected to the nasty Cardinals after that year though. The Tyler Stephenson card is from this year's Topps Pro Debut set, of which I'm sitting on four packs that I have yet to open.

Getting new Barry Larkin cards for the Reds binder is always welcome. I seem to have a good number of cards from his early days and the mid-90s but I don't have a lot from his later years. The Flair is a super nice card and features a Barry Bonds cameo and the SPx card is a nice later year addition.

This card though is one of the best cards in the package. I have zero of these Topps Finest cards as I was never really much of a Finest person. This card is super cool and it's definitely going to have a featured spot in the binder.

Last thing I'll show off here is this box topper from last year's Allen & Ginter. This was wedged in between two pieces of cardboard that I thought was just there to protect the cards during shipping. I almost threw it away but then caught a glimpse of this hanging out in between. Good thing I didn't toss it in the trash because this is really cool. I'm not too big on oversized cards but this will be a nice thing to put in my box of good stuff.

This was a really great trade package and brought back a lot of fun memories for me from days gone by.  There was other stuff included that I didn't show off but believe me, it was just as good as everything that I showed here.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ghostbusters Trading Cards

Lost in all the hoopla of the new lines of toys, junk food, and the limited time re-release of Ecto Cooler (which I still haven't found by the way) in conjunction with the new Ghostbusters movie, are these ... Ghostbusters trading cards! I've seen other box breaks online and I realized then that I had to get my hands on these.  I managed to get my hands on a box from DA Card World courtesy of my aunt who ordered a box for me since all the local shops were either out of stock or only had a few packs left. Normally I don't partake in non-sports products but these looked too awesome to pass up.


The design of the box and of the packs is really cool. The box has that Slimer green color and the packs have a shiny foil design going on with a dark outline of all the Ghostbusters shooting their proton streams into the dark sky.. The breakdown is 5 cards per pack with 24 packs per box. While a "hits" (autographs, replica patch cards, slime cards, sketch cards, etc) are not guaranteed, most of these have been averaging about 2-3 of these per box. 

Base Set
The base set is 54 cards which makes it perfect to fit in a binder. You get a full base set in a box with a few duplicates thrown in. As you can probably tell the set chronicles the original film. The cards are nice and have a slick front. The backs give a brief paragraph about the scene or character pictured on the front. I was going to go through the base set and chat about my favorites but in the interest of space, I'll just show off the whole set.

There are five major insert sets along with some foil parallels and in this box I got all five complete sets. Each one is pretty unique and fun.

Behind the Scenes: This is probably my least favorite of the batch, mainly because I'm not really into all the behind the scenes stuff of movies and TV. There are some interesting trivia bits on the backs of some of these, for example, did you know the monster on the card on the top left was supposed to be the monster in the library? It was cut because it was deemed too scary. The design on these reminds me of something from the 80s with the green and yellow.

Character Bios: Only seven cards in this set. Each one gives a brief background of the seven main characters in the film. Pretty self explanatory and the design is very clean.

Quote Cards: This is probably my favorite of all the insert sets. The designs are really fun but there are a few here that I wouldn't have included such as the "mass hysteria" quote and the "she's a dog" card. Otherwise, these are great and I'm happy that Winston's line of "Ray, when somone asks you if you're a God, you say yes!" got included.

Sing For Your Specter: Not sure how this fits in but according to the back of the cards it's an original comic two artists came up with for the set. It's interesting and fun for people into comics I guess but not really something I'm into. I do like the art in this though.

Tricks and Traps: So this is cool. I really dig this picture that the nine cards in this set make as it really encompasses a lot of what makes the original film great. All four original Ghosbusters, plus Ecto-1, Stay-Puft, and Slimber. The only nitpick I have about this is that the cards aren't numbered in the right order so you have to mix and match until you form the picture.

Foil Parallels: These are just parallel foil versions of base cards and insert cards, nothing more. It'd be really cool to get the Tricks and Traps set in foil to go along with the regular set.

As I mentioned in the open, there are no guaranteed hits per box but in most breaks I've seen, hits are averaging about 2-3 per box. Autograph cards are 1:30 packs, which falls just outside the realm of the 24 pack box. I got three hits in my box, including an autograph and a really hard pull. Other hits in the product can include slime cards and animation cel cards.

First up is this 1/1 sketch card. I'm not sure who drew it as the artist signature on the back is completely illegible but knowing that it's a 1/1 makes it really neat. You can feel the felt on the front and you can see on the back where some of the ink bled through. Each sketch card in the product is a 1/1 and if you pull one, it's definitely something very unique.

Autographs come 1 in every 30 packs so I was actually expecting not as I usually either get gipped or I get hits of players I really don't care about in my history of breaking boxes. I'm guessing this is from Ghostbusters 2, which I haven't seen in a long, long time but judging by eBay prices, it's one of the better autographs in the set. Obviously I would have preferred Dan Aykroyd but this will do.

Here's a card I really wanted when I saw it on the checklist. Apparently these replica patch cards are a hard pull so in that case I consider myself lucky. These are pretty simple, no frills cards and when I pulled it out of the pack, there was only one other card in the pack with it. I'm not complaining, it's still one of the marquee names.

If you're into the classic Ghostbusters films and cartoons, then this is definitely a product to check out. Like I said, I'm not really into the whole non-sports cards scene but I'm a huge Ghostbusters fan and I couldn't pass these up. Grab a box of these, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.