Monday, November 28, 2016

Pack War: 2015-16 SP Authentic vs. 2016 Topps Update

Back at the end of October, my family and I visited my aunt and uncle up near Akron. While my wife, my mom and everyone else went shopping, my uncle offered me the invitation to head out to the card shops. I gladly obliged. The first place we hit up was Medina Sports Cards. There were really no singles to be had so I settled on some packs ... two packs of 2015-16 SP Authentic hockey and two packs of 2016 Topps Update. I've decided to match these against each other in a pack war of sorts. Let's see what is contained within ...

Since SP Authentic only yields five cards per pack, I'll just show everything. The first pack presented two Ducks, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Oilers and Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets. The insert card was an authentic moments insert of the Islanders. Not the best pack, but not bad either.

The second pack of SP Authentic wasn't much either but these are still some nice cards to add to the hockey binder. The Upper Deck Update card in the middle threw me off when I saw it but then I realized they're insert cards in this particular product. 

Here's the best from the packs of Update. Aside from the gawdy All-Star jerseys, there's a few things of note here. The Mike Clevinger card is one of those fancy image variations and the Chris Capuano is a foil parallel. As far as the inserts go, I personally think the Franklin card is pretty much useless but I really dig the Mike Trout Fire insert. I could be wrong but I believe that was actually issued as one of Topps' last football products earlier this year.

These weren't the best packs but they scratched the itch to rip so I won't complain too terribly. As far as a winner goes, I'm going to call it pretty much a draw. SP Authentic, while only having five cards per pack, lead in the quality department with some really nice cards. Topps won in the variety department with the image variation, the foil parallel and the Fire insert.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Blasting Some Heritage High Numbers

I feel like I've been bombarding everyone with trade package catch-up posts as of late, so I'll take some time over the next few posts for some non-trade package posts.

Every time I take a trip to Target, I have to take a gander at the card aisle. Most of the time, I can easily pass on some of the stuff they have there, other times there is stuff that tempts me. Such is the case with this blaster of Heritage High Number. Silly me, I forgot to take a picture of the box but if you've seen a pack, then you've seen the box design. Anyway, I was on a Heritage kick after opening a few packs from the card shop a while back and felt like ripping into some more. This will be a quick break so I'm not going to waste any more time.

My box was a Cubs heavy box with six cards in eight packs. Even though I seemed to be one of the few people on the planet pulling for the Indians in the World Series this year, I'm still happy for the Cubs finally winning it all. 

Cingrani was the lone Red I pulled out of the box. However, I was delighted to get a Trevor Story rookie card. It's too bad that he got hurt and couldn't finish the season as I really would have been curious to see what he could have finished a full year with.

Insert cards! The Rookie Performers and Award Winners cards definitely liven things up a bit.

My "hit" of the box, for lack of a better term, was this Chrome insert of Tanner Roark. I guess I could have done worse with that. I also got two of the dreaded short prints in the "Shark" (no I'm not even going to try to spell his name) and Jose Berrios. Unfortunately, I didn't get any of the variations.

Heritage is pretty straight forward. When you get a box or some packs, you know you're not getting anything fancy but that's sometimes the beauty of it. I know the variations, color swaps, etc. can be annoying to some people, but to me, that's what makes Heritage fun. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

You've Got Mail #51: The Angels in Order

I really, really try to keep my cards in order. Right now, I'm undergoing a re-organization project that I've been working on and off on since the summer time. I've got most of my Reds cards in order with them all neatly stored and double-bagged in binders. Someone else who likes to keep their cards in order is Tom, over at The Angels in Order. He's slowed down on his blogging recently but emailed me a while back to confirm my address as he had some things to send over.

I remember Dick Perez being the artist for the Donruss Diamond Kings cards in the 80s and 90s but I had no idea that he did Allen & Ginter sketch cards in the mid to late 2000s. This particular card is of the 2007 variety, back when Adam Dunn would routinely launch balls into orbit from Great American Ballpark. I could imagine this definitely being a Diamond King card if Donruss hadn't gone by the wayside just a few years before.

Speaking of keeping cards in order, I should have put these in order when I scanned them. Oh well. Needless to say, there was a nice variety here.

Until I saw these in the package, I'd never seen these cards before. They are definitely my favorites of the batch. These particular cards are from the 2007 SP Legendary Cuts line and have a really sleek design, at least in my opinion. Anything from the 2000s I'm definitely unfamiliar with so these are definitely needed. 

Speaking of cards that are needed, Tom also threw in a healthy stack of 1984 Topps for my ongoing set build. I still need to update the want list and should have some time to do that soon.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go get these in order.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Wacky Wrestling VHS Boxes #6

It's that time again! Time for another WWE tent pole PPV event (Survivor Series) which means its another entry in the Wacky Wrestling VHS Boxes series. This is the one-year mark of the series which started last year on Survivor Series Sunday. Join me in raising a glass for this series surviving one year by reading about some old wrestling tapes. 

Invasion '92

My first memory of this tape has nothing to do with actually watching it. When I was a kid, the video store down the street had two WWF tapes, Royal Rumble 1992 and SummerSlam 1994. I constantly rented both of those on a revolving basis. The Royal Rumble tape I remember had Mean Gene at the beginning hocking new releases, one of those being Invasion 92. Many, many years later I found this on eBay at a more than reasonable price and picked it up. While the matches like Hulk Hogan vs. Typhoon and Randy Savage vs. Virgil may not be five star classic, the pure nostalgia of seeing Sean Mooney and the Coliseum Video crew cosplaying as the crew from the USS Enterprise throughout the whole tape worth it.

Monday Night Raw: Prime Cuts

Back in the summer, on a trip up to Maverick's card shop in Kettering, I stopped in to another cool place a few doors down in the same shopping center called Game Swap. I think I've mentioned this before but the place has the exact feel of a video store from the 1990s. DVDs sectioned off by genre, old VHS tapes along the wall, arcade games for 50 cents, and other assorted movie and TV stuff. Toward the end of the VHS wall, they have a section for "sports" and bunched in with said sports tapes are the wrestling tapes. Mostly the tapes are stuff from the Attitude Era but occasionally there's an old Coliseum Video tape hanging out there as well. Such was the case with this tape. There are a few fun matches on here like Mr. Perfect vs. Doink, a 20-man battle royal, and three title changes. The Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty match on here though is definitely recommended viewing. Couple that with the fact that I'm pretty sure this is the only tape Rick Martel was ever featured on the cover of and I'd say this is a really fun tape.

Supertape 4

What's that in your VCR? It's super! It's a tape! It's a Supertape! I always thought that the Supertape name was sort of limiting. Would this still be called "Supertape" if it was re-released on Blu-Ray? Perhaps I'm putting too much though into these things. Anyway, the Supertape series took over the original Best of the WWF Series and this is the 4th of the said series. Only one more Supertape was released after this and that was in January of 1992. Anyway, it's been a while since I've watched this tape but there are some interesting bouts on here, especially Undertaker vs. Tugboat where Undertaker is actually going by the name of Kane the Undertaker, which was shortly after his debut. 

In Your House #1 (May 1995)

Let's end this with a first, the first In Your House that is. In Your House was a series created in 1995 to be ran on the months where there wasn't a tentpole event or King of the Ring. This first one took place on Mother's Day 1995 and has a pretty interesting card. I like the fact that they threw in two bonus matches to make this feel a little bit special. By the way, look at Sid on the cover of this. He looks like he's ready to just ... well, I don't know what. 

Hope everyone enjoys Survivor Series tonight. If anything else, it's definitely going to be an interesting show. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Four Packs of 2016 Topps Heritage High Numbers

I'll admit it, I was a little harsh on Heritage this year. The first four packs I opened back in the spring did absolutely nothing for me and the design was very bland with generic poses. As I mentioned a few posts back, I was at the card shop to get some supplies and wanted some packs to rip as well. There wasn't much that caught my interest, so I decided to give Heritage another try with some High Numbers packs. I wasn't expecting much based on my previous experience. I won't break it down pack by pack but I'll show off some of the better cards I pulled. 

So far, so good. Three decent rookies here and the Stephenson card is a short print landing 1 in every three packs. I'm not too familiar the Goeddel as I don't follow the Phillies that close but judging by his 2016 stats, he seems to be a serviceable outfielder.

Hazelbaker and Story had quite the hot start out of the gate at the beginning of the season (that feels like eons ago) but Hazelbaker fizzled off while Story kept plugging away until an injury ended his season. I like the Rookie Performers insert set as it provides a bit of color to an otherwise bland design.

When I pulled out the Joe Maddon card, I thought for a split second it was a relic card because of the design. Alas, it was not to be but still, another nice insert card. 

Lastly, the Mookie Betts/Xander Bogaerts "Beantown Belters" card is another insert according to the official checklist, although it could be easily be mistaken for a part of the main set. I like the background of the Tim Anderson card and could pass as a true "sunset card" as it appears the photo was taken at dusk.

I'm still not a big fan of the design but these four packs did help change my opinion of Heritage this year. I think the problem with my initial packs was that I didn't do my research and know what to look for. This time I did and was pretty happy with my findings. Happy enough, in fact, to go get a blaster of this at Target. That's another story for another day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

You've Got Mail #50: Cards on Cards

Kerry over at Cards on Cards is one of the good guys around the hobby, despite him being a Cardinals fan. Recently, he dropped some unexpected mail on me loaded with good stuff. 

One of my favorite sets of the 80s is 1986 Topps, mainly because of the design. The Tony Perez card in the middle is a card I didn't think I needed until I actually got it. Now that I have it, I don't need it anymore. It's a nice sunset card and I like the image of Perez high-fiving Eric Davis. It's sort of symbolic of the old celebrating with the new as Davis would be an anchor of the Reds outfield until he was traded to the Dodgers following the 1991 season.

These three guys are poised to be part of the future for a Reds team that was pretty bad this past season. Peraza came over as part of the Todd Frazier deal last offseason and after getting some seasoning at Triple A early in the year, made his mark by being able to play a handful of different positions. Garrett should be with the team either in 2017 or 2018 at the latest and Stephenson is probably the top catching prospect the Reds have.

Reds cards weren't the only thing included in the package though as there was a plethora of St. Louis Browns cards. The Browns were one of the worst teams in the American League, consistently finishing at the bottom of the standings and making one World Series appearance in their history. After the 1953 season, the Browns were sold and moved to Baltimore to become the Orioles. Since then, the Orioles have pretty much distanced themselves from their past at the Browns. Even though the Browns were pretty miserable for most of their existence, they still had some pretty notable players, including Hall of Famer George Sisler, who isn't exactly a household name, except to historians of the game, and Rick Ferrell who started his career with the Browns in 1929. 

Not only are these Browns cards, but they are Conlon cards as well which makes them doubly appreciated. Of this batch, I think the only one of these people I've ever heard of before is Jimmy Austin.

These cards are curious. They are definitely Conlon photos but I've never seen this particular set before. According to the Trading Card Database, these are part of the Conlon World Wide Sport series. I like the fact they are full bleed photos but there is no name on the front of the card, plus it seems like there is a brown hue over them when compared to the black bordered Conlon set.

Reds and Browns ... I'd say this was quite the colorful package.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Card Shop Goodies

I'll take a break today from catching up on trade packages to show off a few spoils from a recent trip to the card shop. I needed a few supplies a while back and happened to be in the area of Hooterville Sports Cards one Saturday, so I stopped in to grab what I needed. However, I can't go into a card shop and not buy cards.

I noticed there was a box full of memorabilia cards that were marked down to $2.50 each. There's no way I'm not going to dig through something like that. There were mostly baseball and basketball and some decent selections as well. I nabbed the Sosa and the Vizquel from the box. Further down the counter, next to the hockey packs, I saw a smaller box of cards that had discounted hockey cards. From that, I grabbed the Doug Weight card, mainly because he's listed as member of the Blues but it has a Hurricanes piece on it.

I also wanted to grab some packs to rip. While I scoured over the hockey and the baseball packs, nothing was really jumping out at me. I noticed that Heritage High Number and I felt that I should give Heritage another try, as I wasn't too impressed with the initial four packs I purchased back in the spring. So, I picked up four packs of the high number and I'll save what I got for another day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

You've Got Mail #49: Sportscards From the Dollar Store

Having a connection north of the border is nice. You get sent things like hockey cards and ketchup flavored potato chips that are nearly impossible to find. Speaking of friends of the north, Douglas of Sportscards From the Dollar Store sprung a package on me filled with some Columbus Blue Jackets and a few other cards (but sadly no ketchup chips) after I left a comment about a Marion Gaborik card on his blog.

Here's the aforementioned Gaborik card, along with a Brandon Saad and a very foil-y Sergei Bobrovsky. Saad was a huge pickup for the Jackets in a trade with Chicago before the 2015-16 season. While the Jackets stunk up the joint at the beginning of last season, Saad gives them a pretty solid name to build around. 

Every time I see Rick Nash, I still think it's weird to see him in a Rangers uniform. I still think of him as a Blue Jacket as he was one of their first homegrown talents. Thanks to Douglas, not only has my Nash collection expanded with these cards, I've also added him to my hockey PC list. Also, side note, I wish Panini still made hockey cards as anything from the Contenders line is just aces in my book.

Besides Rick Nash, there was a nice selection of former Blue Jackets stars included as well. I'd forgotten that R.J. Umberger had suited up for them but I definitely remembered Ryan Johansen and Sergei Federov. 

Blue Jackets cards weren't the only thing Douglas included. There were these Reds and Bengals cards which helped pad out the package a bit. I wasn't planning on buying any 2016 Stadium Club this year but the cards I've gotten from other fellow traders, along with the Billy Hamilton card included, I've finally decided to give in and try to find a cheap box or perhaps a blaster around Christmas time. With that, another great trade package comes to an end.

Monday, November 7, 2016

You've Got Mail #48: Cards from Dime Box Nick

When I started getting into the card blogging scene, one of the first blogs I discovered was the Dime Boxes blog run by everyone's friend Nick. I've chatted with Nick on Twitter, we've left comments on each others blogs but we've never traded. Until now that is. Nick reached out to me via email saying he had some cards he'd been setting aside for me and needed my address. What arrived a few days later what nothing that I had expected. I thought maybe it was a stack or two of cards that Nick had referred to, instead I got a large bubble mailer nearly bursting at the seams with team bags stuffed full of all kinds of craziness. Settle back, we'll be here for a while.

Instead of starting with the Reds, I'll start off with some Indians cards, like these ultra cool Upper Deck Sweet Spot cards of three certifiable Tribe legends. These are the first Sweet Spot cards I've added to my collection and I must say, they fit the bill quite nicely as this is one of those brands that I really don't come across an awful lot in bargain bins. 

A few oddballs. Every time I see Ralph Kiner in an Indians uniform, I think "wow, that's odd". Oddballs of old school players are always welcomed as they're easy and fun ways to collect older players whose cards my normally be out of my price range.

There was lots of variety as is typical from a package from Nick. Everything from current cards to vintage. I think my favorite of this batch has to be the Kenny Lofton card.

More variety, this time of more recent stuff. I really like the Shin-Soo Choo chrome card ... actually I like all of these!

Some 2016 samples, including my first taste of Allen & Ginter. I like the A&G design, still doesn't mean I'm going buy any packs of it though. I'll grab A&G singles here and there as I feel.

I'll close out the Indians and transition to the Reds with these minis! There were many minis to be had (see what I did there?). I really need to go over to the card shop and see if they have any pages for the tobacco sized cards as I've just got a bunch of them living in penny sleeves for now. If anyone has any good ideas on how to store these in the interim until I get some binder pages, feel free to let me know.

Moving on now to some Reds cards. I'll try to refrain from being repetitive but some repetition will more than likely be inevitable. Some new Jose Rijo cards to add to my ever growing collection. I'd really like to get a few of the cards that are out there from his 2001-02 comeback.

Anyone remember these? I barely do. It's evident that these were issued right when going "online" used to be a unique thing. Now everyone has a computer in their pocket or attached to their hip. I tried to have some fun and pull up the player pages on the Wayback Machine on the Internet Archive, however it didn't work. Anyway, I remember three of the four here playing for the Reds, but not Gabe White. He must've been a one and done type player.

See, I told you that some repetition would be inevitable. Here's two more from Allen & Ginter this year. Cotham did an OK job for the Reds but wasn't anything too special. Peraza however, proved that he could play everyday and in multiple positions. Maybe by the time you read this, someone was traded to make room for him.

Some lovely older Reds cards. There's Topps, Fleer, and OPC all represented. A little mini collection I'm working on here and there is post Big Red Machine cards of the "Great Eight" (so, basically anything 1977 or later) so that Concepcion card fits into that collection perfectly but it'll be living in my third Reds binder for now.

More Reds randomness spanning from a Ted Kluzsewski 1952 reprint to a 2015 Topps Heritage of Michael Lorenzen. The Griffey card though is fantastic. It takes me back to his younger days in Seattle making crazy at the wall catches.

Another good batch of cards, including some more Sweet Spot. Seaver's run as a Red is largely forgotten by most people aside from the fact he threw a no-hitter in a Reds uniform. 

More cards from series 2 including one I didn't officially have on my most wanted list, that being the Adam Duvall card. Nick must have read my mind.

I've got a book in my collection filled with nothing but Colon photographs and portraits. Some of the photos used in the book are on these cards as well. Being the amateur historian I am, the thing I really love about the Colon photos provide a glimpse into what baseball was like in the early 20th century. Sure, there are stars of the time like Goose Goslin shown, but there are also lots of lesser known players like Sarge Connally and Sammy West. There was a good batch of these from both the Reds and the Indians, but also cards of the Washington Senators, which will fit into the defunct teams collection for now.

Here's some more cards of defunct teams, mostly the Senators but there's also a stray Kansas City A's card in there. My favorites of this batch are definitely the vintage cards as they will fit well in my vintage card binder. 

I'll wrap up this massive trade package with some always great Expos cards. I'm trying to limit my Expos collection now to mostly cards from before 1987 but when I get cards of Pedro Martinez and Brad Wilkerson, I definitely won't turn them down. The Floyd Youmans Sportflics card is pretty sweet too.

Thanks for the fantastic package Nick. I'm working on some cards to send you in return but my trade fodder is running somewhat low at the moment.