Friday, July 31, 2020

Overpriced base cards

**quick aside, on many of my recent posts, after I publish the post, I can't get them to show up on people's blog rolls or in RSS readers.  Anyone know why?  Doesn't always happen, but sometimes.**

As I have come back to the hobby recently, I keep finding things that I am a little confused about.  Nothing major.  Mush of the hobby is still run by money and prospecting, and knowing that answers a lot of my questions.  But on some of these, I just need someone who has been around to fill me in.  And a lot of my readers have loads of that kind of experience.  So I will be asking questions now and then, hoping for any and all input you may have.

Today's questions are about basketball cards, next time will be baseball.

Here are some basic prices gleaned from recently completed Ebay sales for Lebron James Topps and Topps Chrome cards

2004-05 topps $85-125
2004-05 topps Chrome $200-250
2005-06 topps $15-25
2005-06 topps Chrome no good data
2006-07 topps $5-10
2006-07 topps Chrome $50-100
2007-08 topps $2-8
2007-08 topps Chrome $25-50

So far I think I get it.  The Chrome cards are more expensive, and the basic dollars go down every year, as we get further into Lebron's career.

Then comes the 2008-09 set, and the pattern changes, at least for Lebron (and Kobe, but more on that later).  Why are the LeBron and Kobe cards sooooo much more expensive than the rest of the 08-09 Topps and Topps Chrome sets? Are they short printed? I don't see an indication of that really.  Is it just some mass hysteria?

2008-09 Lebron - non-Chrome $30-$70
2008-09 Lebron - Chrome $80-$150

Those prices are not in line with the gradual decline as we go through his career.  In fact, they are a massive u-turn!!

And as for Kobe, I didn't do the year-by-year lead up in prices, but his 08-09 topps cards are even crazier:

Here are the ranges for some recent sales on Ebay:
Kobe(Lebron guarding) non-Chrome - between $40 and $125
Kobe(Lebron guarding) Chrome - between $125 and $1000!!!

Pretty intense.  Obviously, these two would have the highest priced base cards in most sets, but this year especially, they seem out of whack.  Am I right?  Is this the same story as other years of Topps cards and I just haven't done the research?  Is there more to the story or something I am missing?

On another note, while I was researching those prices on Ebay, I noticed that there are 2 copies of this card currently for sale:

It is an 08-09 Radiance (don't know anything about that set, honestly).  One is up for $1699 and another for $2370 (graded 9.5).  No bids on either, no surprise, but my question is what would you expect a copy of this card to go for in reality world?  I have one of the 299 copies of this card that exist, so I would be very interested.

Monday, July 27, 2020

More rare than a 1/1

What is more rare than a 1/1?????

This guy!!
Check out the numbering...
Even lower than 1/1, it's a 000/000!  This should score me a fortune on the Bay!!  Even though it has some wear on the edges, since it has a population of zero, condition shouldn't matter, right???

OK, I am sure a lot of you have already seen these.  It's a 1998 Topps Stars - Pre-Production Sample.  There were 6 cards in the Pre-Production set.  They were sent to dealers and media to promote the set, and are not particularly rare.

Since I don't remember where I got this card, it's possible that one of you sent it to me.  Anyone want to fess up?

Thursday, July 23, 2020

An oddball

My son was trying to get at some stuff in the back of my card closet the other day, when I heard a rip.  Sounded like cardboard.  Oh no!  Well it did turn out to be sports cards that were ripped, but it could have been worse.  The cards in question were already pretty beat up.

Here is the culprit holding the casualty of war.

An 81 Donruss uncut sheet!!  It is no longer an 81 Donruss un-ripped sheet, but I will forgive the boy.

As you might be able to see, the rip happened in the top right section of this picture. Right where his hand is holding the sheet.  Still not exactly sure how he did that, but whatever.  The sheet was already in bad shape.

When I got this, it was rolled up kind of tightly, so it has some creases:

The edges are awful.

There is surface wear as well.

There is even crud on the back side.  I had it tested and this is not a booger:

But despite the condition issues, it is still one of my favorite oddball, tough to store collectibles

By my quick count, there are 10 Hall of Famers on the sheet, along with Pete Rose, who, when I look at his stats, seems like he might have the resume to make it someday.

So a seeming tragedy turns into an easy post.  Not what I would have wanted, but hey, silver linings.

Here are a few more shots of the sheet, the rip is easily viewable if you enlarge the first one, it goes right through Toby Harrah and Duane Kuiper.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Fun with Plastic!

Today's post shows off a recent Ebay win.  Due to my ongoing scanner issues, you will have to make do with some mediocre pics with some glare.

Perma-Graphics!  Doesn't have the name recognition that Topps, Fleer or Donruss have, does it.  But for anyone who likes 80's oddballs, this seems like a must have set! I found 2 or 3 of these cards in my collection and they prompted me to take a look at collecting the whole set.  I think that Perma-Graphics made 3 sets of these from 1981-83, so this set would be the last one they made. 

Here is what I won.  Unfortunately, I didn't get the whole set (yet).  I now have 25 of the 36 cards in the 1983 set.  Oh yeah, one more card that didn't make it in the pic above:

The set is wonderful, little plastic 'credit cards' with rounded edges.  They feel sturdy and have a smooth, almost glossy finish.  The checklist is pretty refreshing too.  Back then it would have probably been considered all superstars, but now it is a mixture of the greatest HOFers of the early 80s and a bunch of fan favorites that kids today might not recognize.  I'm talking about guys like George Hendricks, Al Oliver, Darrell Porter, Doug DeCinces and Hal McRae.  Who is in there that you liked?

Here are a few closeups of some of the cards I especially liked this morning:

Dawson in an Expos uni has always been something that catches my eye.  Not sure why.

There were 6 Cardinals in the lot I bought!  Seems like overrepresentation in a 36 card set, but I can't argue with any of the inclusions.  The Cardinals were one of my favorite teams in the 80s.  And really, for someone who doesn't team collect, they are still one of my favorites.

A couple of Angels!  Carew is one of my all time faves.  Since Batting Average is on the outs these days, I wonder if he would be appreciated as much if he played today.  Decinces always seemed underrated to me.  He was a steady fielder with a good bat and was a glue guy on the teams he played for.  Unfortunately, in recent years, he has had some trouble with the law over financial issues like insider trading.  To tie it all together, Carew testified at Decinces' trial, as a character witness.  Strange.

Another Angel.  Hmm, I focused on only 2 teams here, sorry!  I love the sunglasses on Reggie in this pic.

And here is the back of the cards.  Career stats, a decent blurb for each player and the highlight, right there at the bottom.  Zoom in and take a look.  It says 'The bearer of this card is a certified fan and is entitled to all ensuing rights and privileges'.  That's hilarious!!  Based on that line alone, I would guess that these were targeted directly at kids.  But when I think about it, all cards back then were directly targeted at kids.  How the world has changed...

I still need 3 Gary Carter, 9 Dale Murphy, 14 Mike Schmidt, 19 George Brett, 21 Cecil Cooper, 23 Rollie Fingers, 24 Damaso Garcia, 26 Rickey Henderson, 31 Jim Rice, 32 Gorman Thomas, 36 Robin Yount.  A few HOFers, but no insanely priced guys in that list, so it seems doable.  If you have any of them for trade, hit me up!  I also wouldn't mind cards from the 81 or 82 sets.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Modern resurrection

Not a lot in the way of pics in this post, my scanner is still out of commission.  Not sure when I will get a new one.

Anyway, you might have read a recent post about a bunch of Mark McGwire cards sent to me by Matt over at Sport Card Collectors.  The thing about these particular McGwires was that they were all from 2010 or newer.  Which is a section of my McGwire collection that lags way behind his playing days.  That's OK by me, because I prefer playing days cards whenever possible!  But as I tried to enter the new cards into, I was shocked to see how many newer McGwires there were!

According to, here are the total number of McGwire cards produced for each year since 1985:

Year # of cards produced Comments
1985 4 Rookie card
1986 2
1987 41
1988 263
1989 166
1990 87
1991 78
1992 75
1993 111
1994 55
1995 86
1996 179
1997 378
1998 1015 Traded to Cardinals mid season
1999 1372 The Mac and Sosa year
2000 692
2001 404
2002 300 Retired after 2001, so the 02 cards are his last playing days cards
2003 91
2004 11
2005 2
2006 0 No cards for 3 years!!
2007 0
2008 0
2009 1
2010 44
2011 5
2012 7
2013 35
2014 396 Wow!  Big jump!
2015 484
2016 510
2017 538
2018 648 More than all but 3 of his playing years!
2019 545
2020 186 This number was 107 three weeks ago. 79 new McGwire cards in 3 weeks!
Total 8811

So as you might be guessing, what I really want to talk about is the proliferation of retired players in today's hobby.  I know it is rampant, and I know that some cool cards are being made, but wow!!

Definitely not the hobby I grew up in.  On the rare occasions that retired players were available in packs growing up, they were usually throw ins or had a special theme.  Topps did the MVP retrospectives in 75 and some all-time greats cards around then (before my time).

Upper Deck started with some retired insert subsets in the early 90's.  Like the Hank Aaron retrospectives.

But this is a whole 'nuther ballgame!

In the last 7 years, McGwire has had 3307 different cards produced (parallels included).  That is 767 more than his first 14 years as a player (85-98)!  And McGwire is by no means the most produced of the retired players.  I'd almost hate to see the numbers on Cal Ripken or Mickey Mantle.

What is driving this phenomenon?  What drives anything in the hobby?  Dollar signs!!  The card companies gotta find a way to sell the 50+ major releases we get on a yearly basis.  (Don't believe me?  Check out's list of major releases for 2019)

Ok, OK.  Gotta calm down.  What are the positives?  Well, I can think of a few.

  • We get some beautiful cards of players we love.  
  • Player collectors can go after a whole new batch of cards every year (though who can get 600+ cards of their favorite in a calendar year???).
  • More people get acquainted with baseball history, something I dearly love.

What are the positives of lots of cards of retired players for you??

Well, it aint gonna change, at least not until the world changes somehow.  So I guess I should embrace it.  And I did enjoy the cards Matt sent, even though they were post-playing days.  But I don't think I will ever hold cards of retired players in the same light as those from their playing days.  That's my two cents and get off my lawn, hehe!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

I can take him or leave him...

We all have players we like. Some of us have players we actively dislike.  And I would think that most of us have players that we are just ambivalent about.  Maybe we know they are a good player, but we don't follow their team.  Maybe they beat your team with a walk off.  Or maybe we just don't know a lot about them.

I look through my keepers and see that I have a number of players that I only have a couple of cards of.  I am pretty sure they are good, and really, that's all it usually takes for me to put a decent number of keepers in my collection.

However, lately I have been reading several posts both on card blogs and regular baseball blogs.  These posts were lauding the careers or accomplishments of baseball players that I didn't really have a strong feeling about.  And I found myself being persuaded.  An example is this one about Adrian Beltre.  I never disliked Beltre, but never had a strong affinity for him either.  But the article definitely made me feel like I wanted more Beltres in my collection.  I went through my non-keepers and added 2 right off the bat.  And if I see nice Beltres in the future, I will add those too.  I didn't turn into a Beltre collector or anything, but I definitely feel like my collecting horizons were expanded, and I liked that feeling! A couple of others that I have recently been reminded of by a blog are Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen.

Go Adrian!
So here is what I am hoping.  Below I will make a list of players who I know are pretty good.  Maybe not Hall of Famers, but good players.  And these players are some that I could take or leave.  I'd certainly put their RC in my collection, or a beautiful colorful insert or die cut, but maybe not a lot of other cards.

I want you to talk me into loving these guys!!  Here's how it works.  You don't just comment that this one guy was awesome and why would I not love him.  Nope, here's where I get a little crazy.  I want you to guest post on this blog about the player you are passionate about.  You write the post and provide any images you want and send them to me.  I will put your work into a post and add my response at the end of it.

Is it presumptuous of me to ask you to write my blog for me?  Yes.  Will that stop me?  No.  I'm not forcing anyone!  But I am hoping that you will find a player you love and give it a go!  I don't plan on posting these more than once a week, so if I happen to get a good response, your post might have to wait a while.

Here are the players available.  If you want to claim one, either email me (my email is available in my blogger profile) or comment on this post.  I will try to mark the players who have been claimed.

Lots of these players are current guys, who, I am ashamed to say, I have been kind of ignoring in favor of the past.  I'd like to remedy that though!

Jose Altuve
James Shields
David Price
Manny Machado
Fergie Jenkins - taken
Cole Hamels
Alan Trammel
Don Sutton - taken
Roy Halladay
Andrew McCutchen
Chris Sale - taken
Carlos Beltran
Barry Larkin
Mike Mussina
Matt Holliday
George Springer
Gary Sanchez
Freddie Freeman
Nolan Arenado
Charlie Blackmon

And hey, if you have a player not on this list that you want to spotlight to drum up some love in the hobby for, feel free to suggest it to me!  Any method of making me love your player is acceptable, laud their accomplishments, talk about their uniqueness, show cool baseball cards of them, I don't care!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020


Wow, I have been away for a while!!  There are some reasons (some more valid than others)

1. I got pretty sick (don't worry, not coronavirus!) for almost a week.
2. My printer/scanner went kaput
3. The 4th ended up being pretty fun, but took up a lot of my time

But hopefully I am back, even though I don't have a scanner yet.  I'll try to post about things that don't require my awful photography skills.  I have a bunch of incoming mail and new acquisitions to share, but you will be spared all that for a while.

What I would like to talk about today is how much fun I had while I was sick re-watching Fastball, the 2015 documentary of the great fastball pitchers in the history of baseball.  It's narrated by Kevin Costner, which is good and bad, but we'll get to that in a bit.

I imagine most of you have already seen the show, but if you haven't, it's currently available on the Tubi app if you have a Roku, or if you want to watch it on the net, this link will take you there.

The main crux of the movie is stated in the opening moments when a quote from 'Baseball Magazine':

"No subject has stirred more debate among baseball fans than the speed of the pitchers' fastballs.'

The quote is from 1912.

I guess the point is that this debate, who throws hardest, has been around as long as the game has been.  Not a big surprise!

The show goes on to spotlight some of the hardest throwers in history.  It's a bit of a who's who of fastball pitchers, and for the most part, the list is unsurprising.  But one of my favorite bits is when they spotlight Steve Dalkowski.  Now if you haven't seen the show and don't know who Steve Dalkowski is, I won't ruin it for you.  Go watch it!  Now!!  But I will say that I definitely wanted a Dalkowski rc after watching.
1963 Topps 496 RC Rookie Steve Dalkowski Orioles Vgex
Back in the 80's, I imagine a Steve Dalkowski rc was pretty close to a common card.  But with the internet and this documentary, it has become much pricier.  Take a look at recent ebay sales of the card.  OK, not astronomical, but the average, young fan might be a little confused why it commands a premium.  Hint: It's because of the fastball!  So if you have a spare Dalkowski rc, send it my way!

Oh yeah, I said I'd talk about Costner's narration.  Kevin Costner narrates a lot of stuff about baseball.  And he has been in a lot of movies about baseball.  He's almost the 'number one baseball actor'.  Probably.  And there is a reason for that.  He cares about the game, and that comes out in his narrations.  But since he has done so many, I found myself feeling like he was reusing the same old schtick sometimes.  At one point, I even thought he was going to start up one of the speeches from Field of Dreams!  So there you have it, it's good.  And bad.  Hopefully it won't detract from the show for you, just something I noticed.

My other favorite part of the show is at the end when the various methods for determining a fastball's speed are compared.  The idea is that the earlier methods were less precise than current methods. So the greats are compared using a system that accounts for the problems with earlier speed tests, and an all time fastball champion is crowned.  Is it perfect?  Probably not.  Is their methodology sound?  Couldn't tell you!

But I like the outcome.  Go check it out if you haven't seen it, and if you have, let me know what parts you liked best.