Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A trade with Gavin

OK, you already know I lucked in to a SSP RC of Cody Bellinger a while back.  When I posted about it, I mentioned that I wasn't shopping it, but would entertain offers.  Well, Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown did not hesitate!  I received an offer right quick, and after some back and forth, we struck a deal.

Now in a few years, when Bellinger is the next Trout, his SSP RC will be worth quite a pretty penny. (Can you imagine what a SSP version of the 2011 Update Trout would fetch???)  And I hope that does happen, as I always wish well for my trade partners.  But I prefer vintage over modern, and I have lots of holes in my collection to fill.  And for those reasons, Gavin's offer was really nice for me and my collection.

First up, 4 cards I definitely wanted!

A Pre-RC of the new Junior!  I still need a good solid RC of Tatis, but this was a welcome addition.  Then an 'almost' beautiful RC of my favorite young-un, Juan Soto.  I say almost, because the expression on his face isn't too endearing.  That's the best you could find, Topps???  Then the Bellinger replacement RC, very thoughtful of Gavin to replace the RC he was getting from me.  And lastly, the type of card I rarely, if ever, get in trade offers!  The Gold Label Bullion insert featuring McGwire!!  Needed it!

That was a great start to the trade, but the kicker was vintage, as I mentioned earlier...

Here it is!

Yup, it's 'only' a 3, but I love me some old Willie Mays!!

And in typical Gavin style, he included this custom of brawlin ballplayers! Always appreciated. Thanks for the trade Gavin!
Hard to believe I was able to parley 98 cents (what I paid for the original Bellinger) into the 6 cards in this post!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Condition is secondary - games we played

I'm sure this has been a topic on the blogs before, but did anyone ever play "knock down the leaner" as a kid?  Or even know what that is?  For the uninitiated, it's a baseball card throwing game that would be basically blasphemy today!

Here is the basic idea (though my brothers and I didn't quite do it this way).  Two or more players set up, each with their own stack of baseball cards, a set distance from a wall.  Each player takes a turn throwing one of their cards toward the wall (we used a frisbee-like throwing motion), trying to get as close to the wall as possible.  Whoever flips their card closest to the wall wins the round.  I don't know what they win exactly.  If one of the players gets a 'leaner', where the thrown card ends up leaning against the wall, then each player gets three cards to try to knock the leaner from its wall perch.  The first one to knock down the leaner gets all the cards thrown!

As with any childhood game, I am sure there are endless variations, but my brothers and I usually skipped the attempt to toss a leaner, and just set one up manually.  Then we took cracks at it until someone successfully dislodged it.  Winner takes all the cards!

Seaver the Leaner

I remember as we got older and started to understand that the condition of our cards was important, we got a little more sophisticated in our gambling.  First, only commons would get thrown, never anything potentially valuable.  And we would bet on each round, using Beckett prices as our guide.  So if one player bet a 1987 Topps Canseco, which booked for $1.25, then the other players would have to put in one or more cards that added up to that value.  Winner take all!  It was OK to put in a couple of cards to get up to the value of the pot, but I had one friend that always wanted to put in a bunch of commons, which at the time, Beckett valued at 5 cents each.  So if the pot was 75 cents, he would try to put in 15 commons.  We didn't like that.  But that's why rules can be changed, right?

Today, I doubt this kind of game is played much.  Not only are most card collectors adults, but condition of your cards is maybe the most important thing there is.  Fortunately, we now have MILLIONS of cards that are encased in sturdy plastic cases!!

I would dearly love it if I walked into a card show and saw some old guys tossing graded cards with flicks of their wrists, trying to knock down a leaner.  That. Would. Be. Great.

Probably not good for the walls though.

Did you play something like knock down the leaner?  Did you have another cool game with cards?

Monday, March 22, 2021

Five from Igor

Many thanks for the well wishes on my last post.  Time for better things!

I decided to try an easy post to get back in the swing of things, hence this "5 From" post. 

Today, we look at the five favorite Juan Gonzalez cards in my collection. Juan does not have many of the 'big dollar' cards that some of the previous "5 From" posts have shown off.  He was a really big name for a few years in the 90s, but lack of longevity and some steroids whispers took the shine right off of him for collectors.  But that just makes it possible to get some of the harder to find inserts of him at affordable prices.

Here's an example.  This card is in my collection, but doesn't make the top 5 Juans for me.  It is some kind of strange Leaf card from 1998.  They seem to have had a bunch of different die cut variations.  X-Axis, Y-Axis and Z-Axis, with variations within those designations too.  This is a Y-Axis version.  Not a bad card.

I got this out of a quarter box, I think, 10 years ago.  It came in a top loader with a price sticker that said it was the "Y-Axis Die Cut - RARE" and a $150 price tag!  Oh how the mighty have fallen, but at one time, to at least one seller, this was a pretty pricy card.

Anyway, on to the top 5!

5. 1999 Topps Gold Label - Race to Aaron - A pretty card for sure, and it features my all time favorite ballplayer, Hank Aaron.  Gold Label is still one of my favorite sets.  Gonzalez never quite threatened any of Aaron's marks.

4. 1999 EX Century - Favorites for Fenway - I am not sure exactly what about this card is so appealing to me.  It is kind of a hodgepodge design wise.  The blue toned background of Fenway kind of clashes with the colorful player photo.  And as far as I can tell, none of the players in the insert set played for the Red Sox.  Good framing of Gonzalez though.

I saw some pics of versions of these with red or yellow toned backgrounds, but TCDB does not reference them, so I don't know what the deal is there.

The spaces between the blueish lines are actually transparent, here is another pic of the card with something behind it so you can tell:
I really need the McGwire of this set!!

3. 1997 EX 2000 - Hall or Nothing - Another see through EX mini-masterpiece card!  Die cut too, you know I like those.

2. 1994 Finest Refractor - This is my biggest dollar value Juan Gone card.  I'll take any refractors from this far back, regardless of player.

And #1...

1990 Donruss Reverse Negative - This is #1 purely for sentimental reasons.  Back in the day, reverse negative 'errors' were both a common occurrence (Dale Murphy, John Littlefield) and highly sought after.  This one caught everyone's attention in 1990, but enough were produced that it isn't really worth anything these days.  Still awesome!!!

Anyone got any Juan Gone suggestions?  Are there cards of his I should really have a copy of?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Catching up

 Well, it's been one of those times again...  I haven't posted in 10 days.  It's nothing serious, but I've been down and unable to get much done outside of work.  There are a number of us out on the blogosphere that have (hopefully minor) mental health issues from time to time.  But thankfully, cards have been rolling in from several of you, and that definitely helped, so thanks!

I apologize that I still can't get myself to scan and write much, but a huge thanks go out to...

Jay from Card Hemorrhage shot me an awesomely eclectic package of cards that had me smiling.  There was a great selection that had some set needs and players I love, but the kicker was an APBA game card of Earl Campbell!!  I loved APBA back in the day, if you don't know what it is, use the googlebox.

Madding from Cards on Cards sent me a 2021 Topps Blaster!!!!!!!!  I won a NFL Playoffs contest on his blog, and this was my prize.  I have not opened new packs in quite a few years, so it was a real treat for me.  And kind of awesomely, the first card out of the blaster from a top Cardinals fan was Yadier Molina.  I imagine Kerry waving his hands mystically over the blasters in a Target, dowsing for Cardinals.  OK, probably not, but if he did, then it worked.

Jeremy from Topps Cards That Never Were sent me a big bunch of Alan Embree cards in response to my plea for help a while back.  Definitely got me going in the right direction for my daughter's Alan Embree Project (NOT The Alan Parson's Project).  And he went the extra mile by sending 5 ProVisions cards I had mentioned I was looking for!  Very thoughtful!!

Canadian reader Derek also popped in with some Embree's and some Mark McGwire Panini stickers from the late 80s/early 90s that I needed.  This isn't the first package Derek has sent my way, and I am working on some stuff to send up north!

I also made a trade with Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown. He jumped on my timid offer to trade the SSP Bellinger I lucked into, and quickly proposed a trade that I loved.  Hopefully Bellinger will have a great career, and Gavin's card will be one of the jewels of his collection!

And it turns out I got enough energy up to do a single scan, here is one card from each of the packages in this post.  Thanks everyone!!

Monday, March 8, 2021

My first Sportlots dive is a smashing success

I am slowly moving into the 21st century, and along with that comes buying cards online. I have obviously purchased on Ebay, but not really anywhere else.  I have not bought from COMC or BaseballCardStore.ca yet.  Maybe soon.  But I decided to jump in on Sportlots. And my first ever Sportlots order went rather well.  I bought cards from several sellers, but not enough to take advantage of the Sportlots Box option.

My main purpose was to make some progress on my 2011 Topps Chrome Refractors set build.  I hadn't scratched anything off that list for what seemed like a year.  So I knocked off about 40!  I still need several big ones: Mantle, Ichiro, Pujols, Verlander, Kershaw and (ouch) Freddie Freeman.  The Freeman may keep me from completing this set in the long run, but right now I am at 175/220 cards, or 79.5% complete.  So I gotta try.  Anyone have a Freeman for trade, I would love a crack at it. Or any of them left on my wantlist!

I also picked up some new McGwires.  I think there were about 20.  I already put them away, so no pics.  I am now at 1240 unique McGwires.

OK, time for some pics.  

The next thing I grabbed was some 2018 Diamond Kings Aurora inserts.  I recently got the Lindor from this set, and I really liked the look.  These are probably old hat for most of you, but I had not really seen them before.  So I went and grabbed a bunch of them!

They look pretty sweet all together like that.  I still need #1 George Springer and #10 Shohei Ohtani to complete the set.  Anyone got those they want to trade?  I wonder when Panini will get with the program and make insert sets that have a total number of cards divisible by nine.  These would look great on a single page in a binder, but having to put the 10th card on a separate page is a bit of a letdown.

Daniel from Its Like Having My Own Card Shop recently showed off his completed sets of the Fleer ProVisions cards from 1991-95, and inspired me to do the same.  They are beautiful little insert sets, and should be easy to finish up.  I grabbed about 10 of them from various years.  Here are my current incomplete sets.  If anyone has any I am missing, I would love to trade for them!


I have the complete run of the regular inserts, with the black borders.  The 4 white bordered cards were factory set only, and I only have the Henderson.  This was the original Pro Visions set, and still may be the best.  Some really great cards in there.

Factory set 1 - Barry Bonds
Factory set 3 - Ryne Sandberg
Factory set 4 - Dave Stewart

1992: Frank is lonely.  For some reason, I only have 1 of the 6 cards in this set. But then, this is probably my least favorite of the whole run. They are not bad at all, just the 'least great'.  Gotta get to work I guess!
1 - Robin Yount
2 - Ken Griffey Jr
3 - Nolan Ryan
4 - Cal Ripken Jr
6 - Dave Justice

I think this will be the toughest of the remaining sets to complete.  Help me out!

3 - Gary Sheffield
4 - Andy Van Slyke
5 - Tom Glavine
6 - Cecil Fielder

Need: 3 - Matt Williams.  I love the creativity.  I also love how each row kind of fits together to make a 3 card panorama.  It's not perfect though.  Look at the Ozzie and Juan cards.  The 'yellow brick road' continues from Ozzie onto Juan's card, but the sky does not match up.  Kind of strange to go to the effort but not complete it.

Complete! These are beautiful, and again, I love how they fit together.  I also get a kick out of the jumping fish on Salmon's card.

And the last card I will highlight from my order was just that.  A highlight!

I purchased a 2017 Topps Update Cody Bellinger RC.  I was supposed to get #US38 (the cheapest Bellinger in the set).  It cost me 98 cents. But the seller had accidentally sent it out in another package.  He contacted me and asked if I would take the #US50 Bellinger instead. At the time, I didn't know the difference, or why Topps put more than one Bellinger in their update set.  Since I was just looking for any decent Bellinger RC, I messaged him a yes.  Then I went and looked at the difference in price between the two on COMC and Ebay.  (Yes, I know there are probably better ways to value a card, but they give a ballpark at least) The price difference was bigger than I thought, so I messaged the seller saying that it was OK by me if he didn't want to send the replacement.  But I never heard back from him.

Anyway, when the cards came, sure enough, there was Bellinger #US50.  OK, cool.  So I went out to try to look it up again, and found that COMC had a different photograph than the card I have.  So off I went to TCDB.com to see what the deal was and...  Wow, he sent me the SSP variation!!

Not the SP.  The SSP!!

Honestly, I like the photos on the regular and SP versions better than this, but it's tough to complain!! It's also hard to gauge the value of this card.  But it isn't insignificant!  There are no copies on COMC, and on Ebay, there are only 4 copies, all graded.  The asking prices range from $499 (an 8.5 grade) to $2490 (a 9.5).  Those prices seem pretty unrealistic though.  I'm sure an ungraded copy would go for significantly less, and I don't plan on grading it.

The card is not actively up for trade, but I am open to offers, of course.  I really like Bellinger, and definitely wanted a good RC of his.  But this is ridiculous. Or overkill.  Words fail me.

I'm pretty sure I will go spend more money with the seller who was so generous.  Not because I think this kind of thing could happen again, but because he deserves some more of my cash!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Alan Embree

 Anyone got any extra Alan Embree cards laying around?  Not important at all, but he went to my daughters High School (so did Richie Sexson) and she has a use for a few of his cards.  I already have some Sexson's for her, so no real need there.

Anyway, I would gladly trade for any extras anyone has laying around!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Singles in the PC - the Finale

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

My "Keepers" collection is organized by player.  For some players, like Pete Rose, Rod Carew, Cal Ripken and many others, there are a lot of cards in the collection.  But for a select few players, I have only a single card.  There are many reasons that could be the case. 

I figured that there would only be around 20 or so of these "single Keepers".  But I was off by quite a bit!  Turns out there were 79.  So that's too many for one post.  I will be showing about 20 per post until I get through them.  Alphabetically!

Unfortunately, there are at least 5 of these cards that I have shown recently in this blog.  Sorry to my regular readers!  Here are the final 19 players in my Keepers that I have a single card of:

Reason I only have one: While I am sure that there are other Rudi cards I would want to keep, this here autograph is the only one that has risen to that level so far.  I'm pretty sure I would keep a decent copy of his RC, and several of his other cards look nice, but this will probably be my only Rudi for quite a while.
Reason I only have one: Here is another modern player that I never connected strongly with, but who's RC is worthy of keeping.
Reason I only have one: I'll have more Seager someday.  Definitely need at lease a decent RC. I wasn't actively collecting in his last years in the minors or his first few years in the majors.  The only reason I have this exquisite card is that I found it in a box of cheap, lower end jersey cards for, I think, $6.  Couldn't pass that up!
Reason I only have one: The Moose!! This is definitely an example of a relic card of a non-HOFer.  I would not mind any vintage of Skowron.  Even when he is smiling on card, he looks like he is scowling.  
Reason I only have one: As I thought about it, I am not sure why this is the only Soriano that has made it in so far.  I never had a strong liking for Soriano, but when he went on a hot streak, he was the best player in the game for the duration of the streak.  One of the only 40-40 guys too.  I might look for early refractors of him.
Reason I only have one: Stanky is an interesting guy, I would recommend reading up on him if you aren't familiar.  Hall of Good kind of guy, which makes this relic a keeper!
Reason I only have one: Well, I gotta have the RC!!  I actually quite liked Sutter in the early 80s, but I guess that must have faded.  I would probably consider some nice looking relic, auto or serial numbered card of him in a Cardinals uniform.
Reason I only have one: Gimmie more vintage of Torre!  Actually, not a high priority, but he seems like the kind of guy I would have more of.  Not super expensive, but involved in a lot of baseball history.
Reason I only have one: Hmm, I might get yelled at by some of you Tigers fans about this one.  Only 1 Trammell?!?  Well, if it makes you feel any better, I actually have 2 copies of this card, and I bet you can guess which player the other copy is sorted with.
Reason I only have one: Because I can't find my copy of his T-206 card.  Interesting picture Topps chose here.
Reason I only have one: This is his best looking RC, in my opinion.  I love knuckleballers, so this is a keeper, but it would take a very cool card of Wakefield to add another.
Reason I only have one: If you already know about Herb Washington, then you probably appreciate the card, and if you don't, check it out!  It isn't complicated.  Washington was signed as a baserunner only and never hit or played the field.  This resulted in an awesome card back with unusual stats!

Reason I only have one: I'd love more unique Weaver cards, his 1969 'RC' being highest on my list.  But it's a low priority, so I will have to find them cheap, which just hasn't happened yet.
Reason I only have one: Yikes!!  I'm really in trouble with those Tigers fans now!  A single card of each member of this great double play team?  Oops!  Both Sweet Lou and Trammell are candidates for me to get a relic card, auto or early refractor of, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Reason I only have one: I've talked about this card before, you can read about it here.  I'll gladly take any additional copies of this card you might want to send me.  A White RC might make the collection too.
Reason I only have one: No reason really.  I'd take more of him for the right price, but not chasing him.
Reason I only have one: Nothing cheap has dropped into my lap except this one card of Wills.  I would definitely keep most playing days cards of his, and am actively looking for a copy of the 1960 Topps #389, which features Luis Aparicio stealing 2nd while Wills waits for the throw.  Not sure which player I would sort that one with though.  **quick tie in, Wills was brought in to the A's organization to coach none other than Herb Washington, right up the page a ways.
Reason I only have one: Because I can't find any more for reasonable prices.  Here is another card I will take any of I can get. I'd take any of his other 2010 baseball issues as well.

Which brings us to the end.  I offered a PWE to anyone who guessed the last player in this series, and had a lot of really good guesses.  Here they are, along with how many of each I have in the Keeper Collection:

Ted Williams - 12
Jim Wynn - 0
Carl Yastrzemski - 24
Christian Yelich - 5
Robin Yount - 12
Don Zimmer - 0
Ryan Zimmerman - 0
Eddie Zosky - 0

The only obvious one that got missed was Dave Winfield, at least in my opinion.  But Winfield is not the answer either.  So after all of that leadup, here is the last player having a single card in my Keeper Collection.......






Kevin Youkilis!!  AKA Euclis: The Greek God of Walks!!!!!  I'd keep this card just for that nickname, but Youk was also an integral part of Red Sox championship teams and quite beloved in certain circles.  Even though I am not a Sox fan, I can appreciate that.

-So who in this list should I definitely have more Keepers of??  

-What's your favorite of these 'singles'?

-Which of these 'singles' should I demote from the Keepers collection?