Saturday, March 30, 2019

I'm Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

You know that scene from "Jaws" where the chief (played by Roy Scheider) sees the shark for the first time and slowly backs into the cabin to tell Quint (played by Robert Shaw) "you're gonna need a bigger boat."? Yeah, that's the way I felt when my mom sprouted a mega-haul of old cards on me today.

My mom told me a co-worker of hers had been doing some spring cleaning and found boxes and bins of old cards her sons had collected. I was expecting a few small boxes but nothing like this. Essentially it boiled down to either my mom took these or they were going in the trash. 

She brought cards over and I looked through the boxes briefly to gauge what I had unexpectedly and unknowingly got myself into. It looks to be a good solid mix of all four sports and lots of stuff from mid-80s through the early 2000s.

As you can see from the picture, there's four different boxes ... one big brown box which I found out is stuffed from top to bottom and side to side with nothing but loose cards, a bin containing several 300-500 count storage boxes along with a few small binders and a very tattered shoebox at the bottom. Finally, there are the two black shoeboxes in the front.

Over the next few weeks (and possibly months) I'll be sorting and organizing my way through these and showing my finds. I'll be starting with the two black shoeboxes, which by the way are stuffed from stem to stern with cards. 

I don't know what you think, but I think I'm definitely going to need a bigger boat.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Heritage 2019: Blasting Into the Past

Finally, the baseball card gods graced at least one of my local Targets with some Heritage. I told myself I wasn't going to go crazy so I grabbed a blaster and a few loose packs. Also, I didn't want to go crazy because I wasn't sure if I would like the cards as 1970, while not a bad design, isn't exactly an awesome design either. Anyway, I was excited to open this so let's see what the highlights are.

On to the cards ...

As per tradition here, the first card from the first pack, and it's ex-Red Mike Leake. He performed amicably last season, his first full campaign with Seattle going an even 10-10 over 31 starts with a 4.36 ERA in just over 185 innings. He'll be joined in Seattle this year with some other ex-Reds in Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion.

Some more base cards. Not only is the photography good on these but each of these also has a uniform patch of some sort. In regards to the cards themselves, I think Topps did a good job on them. I wasn't expecting much but to say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. The fronts are nice, the backs (which you'll see shortly) are well done, and the photography, while mostly posed shots, is very clear.

Not all the cards are posed shots. At first, I thought these may have been "action variations" but they weren't. Just in-game photos of these guys in their new(er) threads.

Nice to see the return of the All-Star set actually being called the "Sporting News" all-stars. 

Obligatory Reds cards. Jose Peraza will be the starting second baseman for the next 2-3 months as Scooter Gennett recovers from a groin injury. Tyler Mahle made the team as the fifth starter while Alex Wood works out his back issues. 

These are not just any base cards ... they're the dreaded short prints. Matt Kemp is now a Red (side note: can't wait to get my first Reds cards of the offseason acquisitions). Dee Gordon is not only a short print but a variation.

Here's the back of the card. Notice anything? That's right! It's a French variation. I haven't seen too many of these shared on the blogs so these might be tough to pull. Regardless, I think it's pretty neat and a nice tribute to O-Pee-Chee cards.

Here's something I didn't expect, a Chrome parallel. They're very shiny and the stock feels a touch thicker. On this one, I like how it looks like J.D. Martinez kind of pops out of the background. These are also numbered to /999.

Moving on to inserts, I like the groovy 70s feel of these. 

These too. Not sure why Thurman Munson is called the "un-rookie". 

Sure, "Then and Now", "Flashbacks", and "New Age Performers" are standard when it comes to Heritage, but there were also some unique inserts that came as well. First, there this 1970 candy lid style card of Mike Trout. I'm not sure how to store this, especially with the tab on the bottom. Penny sleeve maybe for now? These are found only at Target.

My favorite insert of the bunch, this Clayton Kershaw Scratch-Off. Inside is a scratch off board where you could play a game of "scratch off baseball" against another person and on the back you keep score. I bet it'd be pretty fun actually.

As for the rest, the packs and blaster netted me a nice fat stack of cards that will be filed away shortly.  I'll be getting more of these, maybe some loose packs at Target or dime singles from the upcoming card show.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Miscellaneous Maildays

The flow of mail in the CCHQ mailbox had slowed to a trickle recently, however I did receive a few small things here and there recently that can be combined into one blog post.

Peter from Baseball Every Night sent over a small sampling of Indians cards via PWE. There were two of the Encarnacion card, which is ok. My favorite of this batch though is the Joe Carter card. Really, how can you go wrong with Joe Carter Indians cards?

Tom at Angels in Order recently did a clearance of some old baseball books he had and he offered some up to the blogging community for a nominal fee each. I picked up one of my favorites, "Big Hair and Plastic Grass". If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it as it chronicles the craziness of 70s baseball in a fun and easy to follow way. It doesn't get too much into the weeds of stats and behind the scenes antics either, which I appreciate.

Finally, a rather unique piece. A while back Matt over at Parts of My Past (formerly Sport Card Collectors) talked about how he had obtained an autographed 8x10 of Pat Sajak and Vanna White of "Wheel of Fortune" fame. Being a long time fan of the show, I figured I would try my luck. I filled out the request form, got an email back the next day asking for my address, and then a few weeks later, there it was! My first ever TTM autograph request. This is a really cool piece that I'm going to find a frame for and put up on my desk at work.

That gets me caught up on some mail then. I picked up some cards from both Target and Walmart recently so expect to see those coming up shortly.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Two Packs of 2017 BBM Baseball Cards 1st Version

These are the last two baseball packs I had laying around that Ryan sent over with his care package a while back. I'm pretty excited to open these as the batch of loose cards were super cool.

The layout here is 10 cards per pack. I like the action photo on the Takuya Shindoh card. The "Cross Squall" care is one of the insert sets. I'm not sure what it means by "Cross Squall" but it's a pretty neat looking card.

The other four cards of the first pack. For some reason, the Jorge Rondon name sounds familiar. I looked up his stats and he only appeared in 13 big league games from 2014-16, so not sure why that name stands out to me. I like the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks team card. Capping off the pack is a Tsuyoshi Wada reprint card.

Here's the next pack and the first six cards. My favorites here are the Toshiro Miyazaki and Yoshifumi Okada cards. No inserts in this pack. One thing I find unique about the teams here is how some of the uniforms are very similar to MLB teams such as the Miyazaki (who's uniform reminds me of the Royals) and the Okada (who reminds me of the White Sox) cards I mentioned.

Here are three more from the pack including another Tsuyoshi Wada card.

Finally, here's the best card I pulled from either pack .... Yusei Kikuchi. Yes, that Yusei Kikuchi. I had to double check when I pulled it out that it was the right player and sure enough, it was. While it's not a rookie card or anything, I still think it's pretty cool to get a card of the top Japanese players in MLB right now.

So that's two packs of 2017 BBM Baseball 1st version. The Kikuchi card was definitely the highlight card but also, I enjoyed opening packs from overseas. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Reds Opening Day Pitchers

2018 Topps Opening Day - Team Traditions and Celebrations #TTC-ODP - Opening Day Parade - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of
Yesterday, the Reds named Luis Castillo the starting pitcher for Opening Day 2019. I think it's a good choice as he was by far the best starter the Reds had last year in the dumpster fire of a rotation they had. Hearing this gave me an idea for a blog post, that would be looking back at the Reds Opening Day starters since 2000. Since I'm currently nowhere near my card collection as I write this, I'll use COMC for help in showing off some cards and I'll provide some quick notes as well.

2018 Topps Now - Road to Opening Day #OD-318 - Homer Bailey - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Homer Bailey - 2018

Homer Bailey got the call for Opening Day and it went down as one of his 14 losses of the season. The Reds went 3-15 in the first 18 games in 2018 which saw Bryan Price get canned after the miserable start and Jim Riggleman leading the team the rest of the way.

2017 Topps Update Series - [Base] #US285 - Scott Feldman - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Scott Feldman - 2017

The well traveled Scott Feldman took the mound for the Reds on Opening Day in 2017 and didn't fare too well. He allowed 3 earned runs, 7 hits, and 2 walks in only 4 2/3 innings. Feldman's lone season with the Reds was his last of a 13-year career.

2016 Topps Heritage High Number - [Base] #604 - Raisel Iglesias - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Raisel Iglesias - 2016

Iglesias was probably the best choice to start in 2016 as the Reds rotation consisted of such notables as John Lamb, Tim Adelman, and Brandon Finnegan.

2015 Topps Archives - [Base] #159 - Johnny Cueto - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Johnny Cueto - 2012-2015

Johnny Cueto started four straight Opening Day games for the Reds, beginning with the 2012 season where they just steamrolled the NL Central and culminating in 2015 where he'd start his final Opening Day in red before being shipped to Kansas City at the trade deadline.

2011 Topps Opening Day - [Base] #28 - Edinson Volquez - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Edinson Volquez -2011

The Reds in 2011 had just come off their first winning season since 2000 and a surprise NL Central title. Volquez got the Opening Day assignment in which turned out to be his last season in Cincinnati. 

2010 Topps Heritage - [Base] #9 - Aaron Harang - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Aaron Harang - 2006-2010

Aaron Harang was one of the few reliable pitchers (aside from Bronson Arroyo) in the Reds rotation in the mid-2000s. Acquired from Oakland in 2003 for Jose Guillen, he spent 8 seasons in red. His best season with the Reds was 2007 where he went 16-6 with a 3.73 ERA. 

2005 Topps - [Base] #108 - Paul Wilson - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Paul Wilson - 2005

Paul Wilson pitched all of 9 games for the Reds in 2005 after being one of the better starters the Reds has in 2003 and 2004. Opening Day 2005 though will always live in Reds lore as the game where the Reds won on a walk-off homer by Joe Randa in the bottom of the 9th.

2004 Topps - [Base] #528 - Cory Lidle - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Cory Lidle - 2004

Cory Lidle's lone season with the Reds in 2004 was highlighted by his Opening Day start against the Cubs. However, he didn't even last the whole season with the team. He was traded to the Phillies in August for two minor leaguers and a player to be named later.

2003 Topps - [Base] #542 - Jimmy Haynes - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Jimmy Haynes - 2003

Jimmy Haynes has the designation of being the person to throw the very first pitch at Great American Ball Park in 2003. Honestly, that was probably the highlight of a 2003 season where he only won 2 games in 18 starts.

2002 Upper Deck 40 Man - [Base] #975 - Joey Hamilton - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Joey Hamilton - 2002

I have zero recollection of Joey Hamilton pitching for the Reds in 2002. However, he has the honor of starting the final Opening Day in Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field history. 

2001 Upper Deck Victory - [Base] #526 - Pete Harnisch - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Pete Harnisch - 2000-2001

The Reds picked up Harnisch as a free agent before the 1998 season and was one of their better pitchers through the 2000 season before injuries set in again in 2001 and he only pitched in 7 games. The 2000 Reds squad went 85-77, finishing second in the NL Central. The 2001 squad bottomed out at 66-96 finishing dead last.

So there it is, every Reds Opening Day starter since 2000. I didn't remember half of these pitchers and some I forgot even played for the team. This was a pretty fun walk through the past and looking at the 2000s, I'd forgotten how bad some of those teams were (especially that 2001 team). Here's hoping the 2019 team can be one of the better teams in recent memory.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Retail Repack Adventures #19: The Return

I've been lacking for inspiration lately. So in order to get my creative juices flowing again, I went back and looked through some old posts for inspiration ... and I found it.

Long time readers of this blog will know that I had an ongoing series where I was reviewing repacks from Walgreens and Target. The series went dormant a while back but it was something everyone seemed to enjoy reading about, so I've decided to bring back the "Retail Repack Adventures" series.

The family and I stopped at the local Target today as they had a good sale on printers. I found some Heritage (of which I got three loose packs and a blaster) along with said printer. Once we got home and I got the printer set up, I thought the best way to test out the scanning function would be to dive into the repack.

This is one of those 50-card, 4-pack deals for $7.99. Let's see what's inside ...

Here's the "bonus prize", a blind bag of MLB TeenyMates that contains two figures and puzzle pieces of some sort. I didn't open it as I decided to save it for my six-year-old's Easter basket.

The 50-card mini box was about what I expected, lots of junk wax commons. However, I did manage to find a nice batch of keepers for my collection. First, here's some cards from the 90s. I like the black text on the green background of 1992 Fleer. The Mark McGwire Stadium Club card is a member's choice parallel card which is pretty neat. I don't mind 1990 Donruss all that much as there are far worse Donruss sets out there (1988 and 1989 for example). 

Some stuff from the 80s contingent that was contained within. Pretty decent selection here with some 87 Donruss, 86 Topps, a Roger Clemens All-Star card (on which he is named as a "right hand pitcher") and a pretty cool Wille Upshaw night card from 1989 Upper Deck.

Some mid-2000s cards. Nice action shot on the Chase Utley card.

More modern stuff here with three straight 2017 Topps Chrome cards of three really good players. I've said numerous times I'm not a buyer of Topps Chrome but should I find them in a bargain bin or a repack box, I won't complain.

Cool! A Freddie Freeman rookie card!

Another mix of some newer stuff, including P-Town Tom's favorite player, Dan Vogelbach. The Roberto Osuna card is my first Topps Finest card in who knows how long.

The hell? This isn't a basketball repack. This is one of three random basketball cards I found in the box and the only one I'll keep, probably. Basketball isn't really my thing but for now, I'll hang onto it.

Now, time for the four packs and I was actually pleasantly surprised by what they included. Three packs from 2018 and the requisite junk wax pack.

My favorites from the 2018 Topps Series 1 pack. Even though these card are a year old, they're still great. Probably my favorite Topps flagship design since 2012.

The Opening Day pack was only seven cards so I decided to scan them all.

Three highlights from the 1990 Upper Deck pack. I know I've already got the Barry Larkin card (probably three times over) but my favorite here is the Randy Bush card. It's him in the batting cage obviously before a game. I love how great the background is as well.

Finally, four cards from the Topps Big League pack. The John Smoltz card I know is one I don't have. Same with Victor Robles. The other two I think are dupes but I'll have to double check.

So, that's a 50-card, 4-pack repack from Target. Some decent stuff here to be honest and I liked that the packs were mostly 2018. I'm going to be getting back into the swing of things now that I feel re-inspired. Never thought inspiration would come from a repack.