Thursday, July 30, 2020

Nick’s Super Stuffed PWE of Super Stuff

It seems like Thursday is becoming my regular posting day. I hadn’t really intended it to be that way but with work being incredibly busy right now, it’s the one night of the week where I don’t have much going on.

So, might as well use my time to write about baseball cards, right?

Anyway, I received a bunch of cards in a PWE from Dimebox Nick after I claimed a card or two on one of his last “Free Card Fridays”.

I don’t remember which ones I chose but I think the Christian Yelich card shown above was one of them. With Nick being the kind card sharing soul that he is, he also stuffed the PWE with as much as stuff as humanly possible.

A couple of Jose Ramirez cards. The Big League card was my first in-person look at that product this year as this arrived before my massive Card Barrel order I wrote about last week. 

No, you’re not seeing double. Yes, it’s kinda the same card but different. The left one is the holiday variation and the other one is Topps Chrome. I’m not too big on those Holiday variants but I have a really good idea for that card for when the Christmas tree goes up later this year.

Now, here’s where things get really interesting. First, we’ve got this 1978 TCMA of Reds shortstop Leo Cardenas. Funny story is that I only know Leo Cardenas from getting his autograph on an index card at the local mall when I was a kid. I had no clue who he was at the time but he was sitting at a table in the middle of the mall signing autographs for free. I don’t remember if it was part of a card show or what, but I just remember him sitting at a table by the fountain signing autographs.

I love me some vintage cards, it’s even better if it’s vintage Expos. I don’t know much about Ron Hunt honestly but after looking him up on Baseball Reference, it turns out he led all of Major League Baseball in HBP (that’s hit by pitch) for six straight seasons! Between 1968 and 1973, he was hit by 176 pitches with 50 of those coming in 1971. Oh, he was also a two-time All Star and finished second in ROY balloting in 1963 behind some guy you may have heard of named Pete Rose.

Sticking with the Expos theme, here’s some interesting oddball cards. I’m not familiar with the “Stuart” brand but a quick glance on TCDB tells me that Stuart is some kind of bakery. I’m guessing these are team issue or issued by the Stuart Company itself. I’m not sure but these are really, really neat. The Doug Flynn card really stands out to me because of the white Expos uniforms.

Here’s the backs if you’re curious. Pretty plain and simple, nothing exciting really. Just the basic vital stats and a quick blurb about each persons career.

Here’s another oddball from a company named Provigo of Floyd Youmans who only spent five years in the majors, all with the Expos. Fun fact ... Floyd Youmans led the National League in walks in 1986 with 118. Yes, 118 walks in 219 innings.

Finally, we come to this batch of 1970 cards. While these may look like any other mild-mannered 1970 cards, they’re not. They’re actually 1970 O-Pee-Chee cards ... and Expos nonetheless (well, except for Tommy Helms). It’s really such a treat when I can add really cool cards like this to my collection. 

And the backs, both English and French. But I’m showing these mainly for the cartoons because, honestly, who doesn’t love cartoons.

That wraps up a super stuffed PWE from Nick. Big thanks to him for sending these cards my way. I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Roll Out the (Card) Barrel

The expression on Jose Rijo's face pretty much equals my expression when I received my first order from Card Barrel.

With with whole pandemic going on, I was having the itch to get some cards from 2020 so I could get caught up on what I missed out on while I was on my card hiatus. 

A while back, everyone was touting the site so I looked there. I just couldn't get past how difficult the site was to use, so that wasn't for me. Then, I remembered that Dimebox Nick always mentioned the site Card Barrel. So I checked them out. 

And ... WOW!

Suffice to say they checked every box I was looking for ... good selection? Yes. Easy to use site? Yes. Low prices? Yes. Fast shipping? Yes. 

My goal was to put together and order over $25 to qualify for free shipping. I ended up spending more than that. Just over a week later my cards arrived and I was very happy with the end result.

The first thing I had to start digging for was 2020 Topps. I'm definitely more of a "visual buyer" meaning I have to see what the card looks like in order for me to determine if I want to buy it, that's the one downside to Card Barrel, there are no images. But, I figured out a way around that buy having COMC open in a separate window and once I saw a card I liked, I dropped it into my Card Barrel cart.

The prices on Card Barrel are very reasonable. Most of the 2020 singles I bought were less than a dollar a piece, with many of them hovering at around 20 to 30 cents each. For less than the cost of several hanger packs or even a blaster from Target, I managed to get a ton of 2020 Series 1 singles I wanted.

I tried to run the gamut of different things as you can tell by the previous scans. Yes, I went for the Reds cards but I also grabbed some of players I like, some throwback uniform cards, and just some generally fun cards.

Horizontal cards are always really cool. So cool, in fact, I made the collage of horizontal cards my new iPad background.

I tried to get a little bit from every 2020 set released so far. Opening Day cards are really my thing but I do dig the mascot cards and the "Opening Day" card of Great American Ball Park last year is just awesome.

When I placed my order a while back, Big League had just come out and Series 2 was on it's way. I nabbed a few Big League cards and I'm definitely planning on going back for more. The Mike Moustakas card is my first of him in a Reds uniform. I had to get the David Price Dodgers card as well. 

My main draw for wanting to buy cards was to pick up Heritage singles. I grabbed 15 Heritage singles I wanted, again for less than the price of a hobby pack.

Obligatory Reds cards. 

Here's a sunset card of C.C. Sabathia and Jurickson Profar sporting the new Padres threads.

Here's a number of Stadium Club singles from last year that I missed out on. I'm a sucker for old ballparks so my favorites of these are the Nolan Ryan and the Hank Aaron.

Last bit of the 2020 cards I ordered were a few singles from the Donruss release this year. I don't mind the design all that much but they just look "meh" without logos. The Rated Rookie cards are really nice though.

This years "throwback" design was the 1986 set. I'm guessing this will be a recurring trend in the Panini products, kind of like Donruss version of Heritage. These are fine and it's nice to see Kevin Mitchell on a 2020 card. But they're nothing like the real thing from 1986. 

Speaking of which ...

I loaded up on 1986 Donruss. Why 1986 Donruss you ask? I have no earthly idea. It was just one of those 80s sets that popped in my head when I was browsing around. I will never complain of getting an Andres Galarraga Rated Rookie card for less than a dollar.

Diamond Kings? Yes please.

Random cards of random guys. One of these days I'm planning on a Donruss appreciation post. Stay tuned for that.

Whenever I try a new card site, I always like to try out their vintage selection. I meant to order a bunch of Pilots cards but I mistakenly ordered this Jim Weaver card. 

The rest of the vintage cards I ordered were actually Pilots cards. I can cross these three off my want list. Skip Lockwood was the most expensive card in my order at $2.49. All four of these cards (including the Jim Weaver card) were categorized as EX/MT on the site and I have to say I was very impressed at the condition.

I didn't just cherry pick cards from sets. Oh no, I attacked my COMC watch list too. I found several cards from there on Card Barrel for a nominal fee, such as this Bronson Arroyo card.

And these "short term stop" cards of Eddie Mathews and Scott Williamson.

And Orioles cards of ... Chris Sabo? Gosh, he looks weird in any uniform other than a Reds uniform.

And here's the Jose Rijo card from the beginning again. This isn't quite his sunset card (that's in the 2003 Topps set) but it's close. Rijo retired for good after the 2002 season after making a triumphant return to the Reds after being out with shoulder injuries for six years. It was a bright spot on some otherwise dismal teams.

My card collection has a gaping hole in it from the late 90s up through 2012. I attacked some of that as well and went after some 2001 Topps. This is a set I always liked for the neat design both front and back (of which I forgot to scan). Of course I grabbed a few Reds cards.

And some former Reds with some very strange teams ... Eric Davis with the Cardinals? Joe Oliver with the Mariners? Willie Greene played for the Cubs?

More random cards of random guys. These are cards I just couldn't pass up at all.

Remember when the Devil Rays went out and tried to purchase their way to a title by signing heavy hitters like Greg Vaughn and Fred McGriff? Yeah, that didn't work out too well did it.

Ok, finally, I also got a few cards from the 2002 Upper Deck Vintage set. I haven't fully committed to putting this set together but I am grabbing cards from it when I can so I can eventually have a starter set for if/when I commit to it. I'm also going to put this into a blog post I'm planning about 1971 Topps and all the sets that have used that design since.

So, that's my first order from Card Barrel. I'm very, very pleased with how it turned out and I'll definitely be going back and ordering again here soon. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

More From the Mailbag

I mentioned a post or two ago nice that I’d received a few cards in the mail from various fellow blogger. After the PWE I received from Fuji, the item to arrive was a bubble mailer from Brian of HSCA. I claimed a few cards on his last “Free Card Friday” and along with those, he sent me some other goodies both baseball and football (yes, I collect football ... mostly Bengals cards).

I’ve already filed the football cards in my non-baseball binder but I’ll show off the baseball cards for sure.

These were the two cards I claimed from Free Card Friday, two anchors of the Expos in the 80s. I can’t believe the Raines Expos card had escaped me for this long but now I’m happy to add it to my collection. Andre Dawson had so many stops late in his career and I don’t remember half of them but the Marlins stint I remember for sure. Do you know what Andre Dawson does now? If you guessed funeral home director, then you’d be right.

Some cool random Reds cards. Gant was the 1995 NL Comeback Player of the Year then left the Reds after one season to join the Cardinals. Buddy Bell is the dad of current Reds manager David Bell and went to college just down the road from me at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Double the pleasure for these Joe Morgan cards from Donruss a few years ago. The regular "Cincinnati" version is on the left and the variant "Big Red Machine" is on the right. Probably one of the better cards Panini has done with Donruss.

These cards have flair! 

Along with everything else, Brian also included two packs of 1993 Donruss Series 2. I'm not currently working on the se (but might in the future) because it's one of my favorite Donruss sets ever.

I'm just going to show these cards as I scanned them because honestly, I don't know which cards came from which pack anymore. I've always liked this set for a few reasons ... the photography was interesting and the lower third had a TV graphics feel to it with the team logo in a diamond and a clean looking name bar for the player and position.

Another reason I like it is that is has great backs. As was the standard with Donruss for most of the 80s and the early 90s, only the previous five seasons of stats are shown. But, more than that, the back features another giant photo of the player that is different from the one on the front, and the "how acquired" field (which I always enjoyed) includes details of trades. For example, this card details the date of the trade with the Pirates and all the players involved. That's really a super cool detail.

I had no clue that Ted Power and Dennis Rasmussen were still playing in 1993, let alone for those particular teams they're shown with.

Since these particular packs were series 2 cards, the real prize is getting Rockies and Marlins cards. I ended up with six of them out of the two packs, only one of which was a Marlins card. I always though these cards were cool because it showed the players in the teams that they were drafted from. If anything else, and I don't end up building the overall set, then I might just settle for the Rockies and Marlins cards.