30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ignorance is Bliss

There's at least a little truth behind the saying, "ignorance is bliss".

When I was a kid, my family always read The Mercury News and watched the evening news.  These days, I don't have a newspaper subscription and the only time I watch the news is when I'm at my parent's house or I'm looking for a specific news event online.  The truth is... I'm tired of constantly hearing about police brutality, child abuse, rising crime rates, racism, and people arguing over whether Donald Trump is going to actually "make America great again".

Would I be better off knowing my current events?  Sure.  But at what expense?

No, I'd rather spend my free time doing other things like...

1.  Driving up to Pacifica and enjoying the beautiful scenery at Rockaway Beach.

Listening to the waves crash into the rocks is so soothing, it makes you forget the bumper to bumper traffic you're forced to sit in on the drive home.

2.  Catching up with friends over crab sandwiches at Nick's Seashore Restaurant.

3.  Coming home and opening up a generous care package from Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders.

He targeted several cards off of my set wantlists...

Sent me a new Matsui jersey card to my Japanese PC...

In addition to this relic, he also sent me a handful of other cards that will go towards a variety of other PC's...

Added a pair of 8x10's to my collection that will be hung up in my classroom...

I'll also be bringing in these Kenner SLU's and this cool Ben Grieve Pinnacle Inside can into my classroom as well...

He threw in two Jason Giambi autographs that I added to my IP/TTM autograph binder...

And finally... Dennis hooked me up with this Detroit Tigers ticket stub...

But this wasn't any run-of-the-mill ticket stub.  Kurt Suzuki launched a home run off of Daniel Norris in the top of the fourth inning.

Dennis... sorry to break the news to you (I told you the news sucks)... but Kurt hasn't hit #100 yet.  However it doesn't bother me one bit.  This ticket stub is still super cool and is displayed on my office desk.

Thank you so much for this super generous care package.  As always... you'll be receiving my Tigers, Wolverines, and Manninghams in the future.

Have a safe and entertaining New Year's Eve!  See you next year.  Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Never Say Never

The art of trading sports cards is one of the biggest components of our hobby.  It's one of the reasons I started collecting back in the early 80's.  My memory sucks these days... but one thing that vividly stands out about my childhood is sitting on the front porch trading cards with my friends.  This trend continued throughout my childhood and into my college years.  And when I returned to the hobby in 2008, it was one of my favorite things to do.  I'd spend at least a few hours each week sitting on Sports Card Forum and Card Collectors World browsing peoples' trade bait, sending personal messages, responding to personal messages, and exchanging cardboard.

Sadly... those days are in the past for reasons I listed here a few weeks ago.  But out of the blue... less than two weeks after I removed myself from the Super Trader's Group... a fellow blogger and I hashed out an actual trade.  I'm not talking about a blind trade either.  I'll still do these from time to time.  I'm talking about the kind of trade where he we exchanged specific cards.  That's something I haven't done in probably two... maybe three years.

Right before Christmas, I wrote a post about Topps and their buybacks.  That's where Jim over at Cards as I See Them noticed my 1969 Topps Willie Davis buyback.  He asked if I was planning on keeping it and I explained that I'm handpicking a single vintage buyback from every year and that if he had another 1969 card to replace it... the Davis was his.  He emailed me a list of four solid names and I chose this one:

A week later... Mr. Monday is now the 1969 Topps representative in my buyback project.  Thank you Jim for this simple and smooth transaction.  I hope Willie arrived safely.

I'd love to say that this trade made me rethink the whole idea of trading... but it really hasn't.  Like I mentioned earlier in the month and earlier in the post... I'm just not into it anymore.  But thanks to Jim... I would never say never.

On a side note...

The same day I received the Monday... I also received the present from my Secret Santa.  It's this 1984 Fleer Update Pete Rose:

I absolutely love this card for a bunch of reasons:

#1:  It features Rose on the Montreal Expos.

#2:  It's from one of the most iconic sets from the 80's.

#3:  The card's design and colors go perfectly with the Montreal Expos' colors.

#4:  It features the MLB Hit King bunting.

Thank you Secret Santa... whoever you are!  I'm super excited to finally be able to cross this one off of my list.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Holiday Packs, Printing Plates, & Packages

Merry Christmas!

Back in July, Blowout Cards had their Leaf Holiday Packs on sale, so I picked up twenty of them in hopes of pulling something cool for the collection.

If you've never seen these before, they kind multisport grab bags.  There's everything from baseball to tennis and printing plates to autographs.  I've ripped into these in the past and they're really hit or miss.  But isn't that true whenever we bust packs?

This time around, I was really pleased with what I pulled.  There were the typical prospects that will provide me some entertainment as I track their progress over the course of their careers.  Plus I was pretty excited to pull an autograph from a legendary football coach.

But the highlight was definitely pulling several printing plates of hall of famers, including this beautiful Chipper Jones:

I didn't have time to individually scan the other cards, because I wanted to show off a pair of holiday care packages from fellow bloggers.

The first package arrived two weeks ago from Jim over at Cards As I See Them.  It's the Kurt Suzuki out of the online exclusive 2016 Topps Chrome Sapphire set:

There are only 250 sets produced and they were originally sold for $1,500 each.  And since Kurt was left off of the regular Chrome baseball checklist, this will probably be the only 2016 Kurt Suzuki refractor I add to my binder this year.  Thanks Jim!

The other holiday package I received was shipped by Adam over at Infield Fly Rule.  He sent me a bunch of cards that fit a variety of my collections ranging from Frank Thomas to San Diego Padres:

But my favorite card in the package was this 2016 Topps MLB Wacky Packages card:

I've been a huge fan of this product ever since their release... and one day I'll get around to adding the other 89 cards from the set to my collection.  Thanks Adam!

I hope all of you are enjoying a safe holiday season with your families and loved ones.  Merry Christmas and sayonara!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Stop the Insanity!

When I first started seeing Gavin's custom rip cards popping up all over the blogosphere... I began crossing my fingers and hoping I was one of the lucky recipients for a few reasons:

#1:  Gavin's customs are awesome.

#2:  It would be a new Tony Gwynn card for my collection.

#3:  I wanted one of the sweet mini magnet cards everyone else was finding inside of their rip cards.

Yesterday, I finally opened up Gavin's care package and my wish was granted.

Back in 1998... collectors who purchased packs of Pinnacle Zenith were faced with the same dilemma that Gavin presented all of us.  Do we keep these creative custom cards intact?  Or do we rip them open to see what secret miniature card is embedded within it?

Obviously he wanted us to rip them... and it's not very wise to go against the creator's wishes.  However... sometimes you've got to take a stand and follow that feeling in your gut.  And that's exactly what I did.

Sorry Gavin... but I refuse to "rip".

After seeing P-Town Tom mutilate his card... I just had to stop the insanity and try something different.  That's when I took out my box cutter and used the same technique on my Gwynn... as I did with those Dare to Tear cards nearly two decades ago.

The result?  See for yourself.  Here's what I discovered inside of my rip card:

A new 1/1 for my Gwynn PC.  Sorry Mr. Refrigerator... this magnet is going into the Gwynn collection... right next to this completely intact rip card:

And this custom San Diego State Aztecs card:

Thank you Gavin for the awesome new additions to my Gwynn PC.  I also really appreciate the other three cards you sent:

Hopefully my holiday care package arrived safely on your doorstep in time for your special day.

Happy birthday Gavin!  To everyone else... happy holidays and sayonara!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Made to be Broken

Outside of speeding on the freeway, playing poker with friends, or walking outside of the crosswalk every now and then... I'm usually pretty good about obeying the law.

But a few months ago, I chose to walk on the wild side, live the life of a rebel, go against the grain, and modify the traditional Reverse Box Break rules.

As far as I can tell, Brian over at Pirates Treasure Room came up with the term with the help of Plain Gray Swatch... which essentially means to build a custom box of cards based on what collectors would typically pull from an unopened hobby box.

I focused my attention on this year's Topps Tribute, because I really liked the look of the autographs and relics when they started hitting the open market back in July.  Collectors were guaranteed to pull three autographs and three relics with approximately eleven base cards and one parallel from each factory sealed box.

However after scouring eBay, Beckett, and COMC... I discovered that Topps failed to include any of my main PC players on the base card checklist, so I made the executive decision to substitute the eleven base cards and one serial numbered parallel with three more autographs.

Here's a breakdown for my custom box of 2016 Topps Tribute baseball:

6 Autographs
3 Relics
0 Serial Numbered Parallels
0 Base Cards

When I started this project back in early August, boxes of this stuff were selling in the $240 to $260 price range, so that's the budget I set for myself.  Was I able to stay within my budget?  Let's find out...

Purchase #1: Jose Altuve Blue Autograph  $21.25

eBay Purchase: $18.50 (+ $2.75 shipping)

I picked this card up within a week of Tribute's release.  At the time, I was just starting to build my Altuve PC and the idea of a Reverse Box Break hadn't come to fruition.  However by early August, I had started targeting specific cards, figuring out fair prices, and in September I went on a shopping spree...

Purchase #2:  Frank Thomas Rightful Recognition Orange Auto $60

eBay Purchase: $60 (free shipping)

Prices of Frank Thomas autographs have fallen now that he actively signs cards for just about every Topps product, so I probably should have waited a little longer for one of these.  Well... at least this card fits into two different PC's:  my Frank Thomas PC and my Prime #'s PC.

Purchase #3:  Steve Carlton Orange Auto $15

eBay Purchase: $15 (free shipping)

Purchase #4:  Rickey Henderson Rightful Recognition Orange Auto $42.62

eBay Purchase: $40 (+ $2.62 shipping)

Purchase #5:  Greg Maddux Relic $4

COMC Purchase: $4 (free shipping)

It didn't take me long to figure out that relics were going to be a problem, because I wasn't able to find guys I wanted at reasonable BIN prices on eBay.  By the time I factored in shipping, singles were in the $5 to $8 price range.  That's when I turned to COMC for help.

Purchase #6:  Reggie Jackson Ageless Accolades Auto $37

eBay Purchase: $34.38 (+ $2.62 shipping)

After buying this card, I did a little research and discovered that Topps completely swung and missed on this card, which celebrates Reggie winning the American League MVP Award in 1973.  The problem?  He's featured wearing the uniform the Athletics wore from 1969 to 1971.  Oh well.  It's still nice to add a Reggie on-card autograph to my collection.

Purchase #7:  Buster Posey Green Relic $4

COMC Purchase: $4 (free shipping)

Buster was my first purchase that didn't target a specific PC, but I was happy to add this card to my collection nonetheless.  I've grown to appreciate his game over the years as I've watched him develop into a Bay Area fan favorite.

Purchase #8: Craig Biggio Purple Relic $1.60

Card Show Purchase: $1.60

My third and final relic was actually part of a large lot of cards I picked up at the Serramonte Card Show back in September.  I paid $25 for 40 autographs and relics, which breaks down to $1.60 per card.  I don't really collect Biggio either, but like Buster I don't have any problems with adding this card to my collection.

Purchase #9:  Greg Maddux Rightful Recognition Orange Auto $63.61

eBay Purchase: $61.01 (+ $2.60 shipping)

From the beginning of this project, I knew I wanted one of the cards to be a Greg Maddux autograph and it was nice to wrap up this custom box with such a beautiful card.  Like the Frank Thomas, it actually fits into my Prime #'s PC as well.  It's also the most expensive card in the box.

When all nine purchases are added up, you can see that I ended up spending $249.08... which is falls perfectly within the budget I originally set.

As with most things relating to card collecting, there are pro's and con's with my project.  Let's go ahead and get the negative stuff out of the way.

#1:  Prices for boxes and singles have fallen since its original release.  I've seen boxes sell for as low as $160 on eBay.  Plus online shops have them for around $180 a box.

#2:  Since two of my cards were purchased off of COMC, I had to wait until their Black Friday deal to receive free shipping.  So even though my final purchase was at the end of September, I didn't actually have the entire box in my possession until last week.

#3:  All three of the relic cards I purchased came with the same old vague, "the relic contained in this card is not from any specific game, event, or season" guarantee.  I personally think collectors who spend $250 on a box of cards deserve a better COA.

#4:  Building a box prevents you from pulling high end autographs like Mike Trout, Ichiro Suzuki, or Hank Aaron.

On the other hand, I am very pleased with the outcome of this project for several reasons:

#1:  The cards are shiny and thick.  <insert "that's what she says" joke here>

#2:  All autographs are on-card, which is what originally sold me on this product.

#3:  I was able to hand pick cards that fit into my collection.  What are the odds of me ever buying a box of this stuff and pulling autographs of Mad Dog, The Big Hurt, Lefty, Rickey, Reggie, and Altuve?  My guess is zero.

Overall... I was very happy with the outcome of this project.  In fact, I'll probably do another one next year.

How about you?

Would you ever consider following in Roy-z and Brian's footsteps and doing a Reverse Box Break?

I understand that this pretty much only works for higher end products, since the average collector isn't going to go out and individually buy 360 Topps Series 1 base cards.  But if you've ever dabbled with higher end boxes, then it's another option for you.

I hope everyone is enjoying a safe holiday season.  Happy Thursday and sayonara!