Monday, December 23, 2019

This is how I flip cards

There are people that flip cards for profit, I flip them for personal collection cards. That's why I'm not always worried about making the most money on sales or on how much of a cut eBay or PayPal take. Let them have theirs if I can use my profits to procure a few cards that I really want.

Last year I bought a pack of 2018-19 SP Game Used and pulled absolutely zero Lightning cards. Not a big surprise since there were only something like five cards in it. One of the cards I did pick up was a Mats Zuccarello Game Net card from the Winter Classic.

A really nice card. I enjoyed owning it for a little while, but as neither a Rangers fan or a Zuccarello fan I decided to put it up on eBay and see what worth it had on the open market. The answer:  $13.50. Should it have gone for a little more? Possibly, but hey that's the fun of auctions. Someone got a good deal (hopefully I'll get one next year when the Global Series net cords are released).

With the funds safely in my PayPal account I headed over to Check Out My Cards to spend it on some Lightning cards. I figured I'd pick up a couple of rookie cards and maybe an autograph or two. Instead, I found that the pricing on Lightning cards is still a little below where it should be. The glories of a small market hockey team. Instead of three or four cards, I picked up eight. All of them from Upper Deck SP Game Used.

First up (and this was actually an eBay purchase, but it was less than $2.00). Joseph is struggling a bit this season (just had a stint in the AHL) but he still has time to figure it out. So why not pick up a serial numbered rookie card? Technically this is the "rainbow" parallel, but is more readily available than the "base"card which is serial numbered to only 7 (his jersey number).

Added some All Star Skills  Fabrics. All four players who represented the Lightning in Tampa were available for mere pocket change. Seriously, no Kucherov relic card should be available for under $3.00.

Starting the Anthony Cirelli Rookie Rainbow collection. Really hope he doesn't end up in Seattle in the next expansion. Of all the players on the Lightning, he is the one that is probably overshadowed the most by the bigger names. Cirelli is really, really good.

The most perplexing purchase - a 2016-17  Brayden Point Rookie Sweaters #d to 499. It set me back a whopping $1.19. Yes, it's a bland white swatch, but still it's a rookie card of maybe the second best player on the team. That's a travesty.

Grand total spent - $11.41. Not bad in exchange for a card I really didn't want.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Another trade in the books

We're back with another trade post from the Trading Card Database. This one involved a few 2009 Legends of the Game inserts heading out to Wisconsin in exchange for an Oriole card and a couple of needs off of the ol' want list. 

With the completion of this exchange of cardboard, I'm up to 95 on TCDB with one more pending. It'll be close, but I'll probably fall just shy of cracking the century mark by the end of the year. Still, it's been a rather productive last couple of months as I've turned a lot of dupes into cards that I actually want or need. For some reason there are a lot of folks looking for 2009 cards out there and I've freed up a lot of space in that box.

So, what did user FiresNBeers send back in exchange:

1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Brady Anderson

Brady Anderson is an Orioles hall of famer and possessor of the second best set of sideburns in the 1990s. He played in over 1750 games during his 14 season career in Baltimore and racked up 1614 hits and 209 home runs. Despite a .257 average he did get on base at a .364 clip making him an odd leadoff man that also hit for power.

2019 Topps Stadium Club Roberto Alomar

Alomar, pictured in a more familiar to many Blue Jays uniform, was teammate with Brady Anderson for three years in the late 1990s, which coincided with a brief run of competitiveness for the ball club. I always thought he was there for a bit longer, but it was just the one three-year contract from 1996 to 1998. That was a three year stretch that saw the Orioles win 265 games and make it to the ALCS twice.  In exchange for about $17 million the Orioles got a secondbaseman who slashed .312/.382/.480, won two Gold Gloves and had posted 12.5 WAR. That seems like a fair trade.

2016 Topps Ricky Nolasco

Nolasco has no real ties to the Orioles other than facing them five times. The Birds hit .308 off of him with 6 home runs in 35 innings. The former Cubs draft pick was traded to the Marlins as part of a package for Juan Pierre in 2005. Pierre had been previously acquired by Miami from Colorado in 2002 for a package of players including Charles Johnson. Johnson played for the Orioles in 1999 and 2000 where he was teammates with....Brady Anderson! See, it all connects.

This was, as most of my small trades are, a plain white envelope trade. Since we were exchanging base cards of negligible value there was no need to get crazy with padded envelopes and extra shipping. One thing I love about #TeamPWE is the different types of cardboard folks use to secure the cards. It ranges anything from cut-up cereal boxes to cut-up hobby boxes to beer cartons. Which leads us to today's packing material:

Everyone's favorite college/cheap beer - The Beast. I have, in my day, consumed a decent quantity of this affordable beer. Most of it at college parties (although for our non-party college drinking we were partial to Brigade Premium, which if I recall was under $8.00 for a case, including tax). 

I do reuse these cardboard sleeves, so if you have an upcoming trade, be on the lookout for a visit from Milwaukee's Best.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Trade Post! Upping the Lecavalier Collection

It's been a busy couple of weeks of trading as I try to get to my half-hearted goal of 100 trades on Trading Card Database by the end of the year. Some swapping of junk wax has netted me about 70 1991 Upper Deck cards, truly an underrated set, and a handful of other base needs.

In between baseball trades I did slide in a hockey trade with user SportsCardHunter in Ontario. In exchange for some duplicate Lightning cards I had listed he sent me a couple of Vincent Lecavalier cards.

According to TCDB they were the 272nd and 273rd unique Lecavalier cards that I have acquired. That's good enough for third among collectors at the site, but there is a bit of a gap between myself and the second place gentleman. According to their stats it also means I've acquired exactly 7.1% of the available Lecavalier cards they have listed. It may take awhile to get them all.

Here's the haul:

1999-2000 O-Pee-Chee

Look at him in all his rookie-year glory. The old-school uniform, the all-star patch, and most importantly the number 9 on his sweater. In his rookie year the now familiar number four was already occupied by Cory Cross. The defenseman would be traded after Lecavalier's first year and freed up the number and he went on to do great things with it.

The card itself is a direct parallel of the Topps base card from the year with the only difference being the logo on the top right corner on the front and on the bottom of the back of the card. 

2002-03 Upper Deck Vintage Green Back #88/199

Welcome to Parallel City! Honestly, I didn't even know this existed until I searched through SportsCardHunter's cards available for trade (his original offer was a generous supply of Lightning cards, but I wanted some Vinny!). I don't have the base, but I'm assuming the only differences are the serial number stamped on the front and well....the green back...hence the name.

As you can see Vinny is now wearing the four that would be retired in his honor and also has an "A" on his sweater. That's not unusual for a young player who was drafted to be the franchise's savior, but what is a bit odd is that Lecavalier had already worn the "C"  prior to this season. In March of 2000 he was named captain of the Lightning. At the time he was the youngest captain ever in NHL history (since then he's been surpassed by Sidney Crosby, Gabriel Landeskog, and Connor McDavid).

Due to a contract hold out, some public and private confrontations with head coach John Tortorella, the acquisition of Dave Andreychuk, and the realization that it was too much pressure, too early in his career Lecavalier had the "C" removed from his jersey. It wouldn't be until 2008 and the departures of Andreychuk and Tim Taylor, that the "C" would return. He would wear it until his contract was bought out in 2013.

Thanks for the trade, SportsCardHunter!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Some offseason blogging

A few days ago, Greg over at Night Owl Cards, an excellent blogger who I've traded with in the past published a post pointing out that it seems like there has been a general slow down in the trading card blog world. From people posting to people commenting things just seem to lack the frequency they did a few years ago.

He ponders a few reasons why and as I was reading, I realized that there was really no reason why I stopped posting here on a regular basis. I mean, there was a reason - I'm a lazy blogger, but there was no GOOD reason why I stopped posting. After all, I'm still writing regularly over at Raw Charge.

While my card purchases may have been down a bit, ok a lot, I haven't given up on the hobby. In fact, I've probably been more active trade-wise then I have been in a long time. A couple of months ago, my ancient version of The Card Collector finally gave up the ghost. I booted it up one morning and the file that housed my collection was gone.

Now, a smart person would have backed up the file from time to time, but what on this blog has ever led you to believe I'm a smart person?  So I finally decided to load everything into Trading Card Database. Up to this point I'd listed just my hockey stuff and anything after 2014 (the last update I had for The Card Collector). Now, it's going to be everything...eventually.

It's a slow process, but hopefully by next year everything will be in there. In the meantime, I'm kind of surprised at the amount of trade offers I've been picking up with some of the junk era sets I've loaded up already. It's almost at the point where I'll have to set a limit on shipping or else I'll be spending more at the post office then I would be at a card shop (shipping to Canada ain't cheap).

The good news is that I'm clearing out a lot of duplicates and picking up cards I actually want. So, it's my intention to get back into regular blogging by posting the occasional trade.

First up deal: I sent a bunch of 2009 Heritage to Ryan0625 in Minnesota in exchange for him knocking out a healthy chunk of my 2017 Topps Update needs and a handful of 2018 Archives.He sent a total of 45 cards and here are a few highlights:

Were there Baltimore Orioles cards?

Yes, although at first glance I didn't think there were.

After all Logan Verrett's Orioles career was brief. The Mets draft pick was selected in the 2014 Rule V pick by the Orioles. He never had the chance to make their roster and was claimed off of waivers by the Rangers in April 2015. Verrett lasted a handful of games for the Rangers in 2015 before being returned to the Mets.

The Orioles purchased Verrett in the winter of 2016 with cash considerations and made the opening day roster in 2017. He appeared in 4 games in 2017 picking up 2 wins despite a 4.22 ERA (6.53 FIP!) He was optioned to the minors in June of that year and never made it back up. He spent 2018 playing baseball in Korea.

Aww. Sad face. Manny Machado in an Orioles uniform.

The best card in the bunch:

When I put the 2017 Update set on my list of sets to complete I didn't realize that Bellinger's rookie was in there. After all, in 2017 it was all about Aaron Judge. I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of Judge's in some hanger boxes and thought I was home free as far as semi-expensive cards. Then I saw Bellinger's card.

I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to pick it up since I didn't really want to buy it. I figured I'd leave it until the end and then figure things out. So it was kind of a surprise when it was included in the trade package.

It's nice having the last of the "big" money cards off of the want list.

Best player in the bunch:

It was a pretty easy call, even with a Wade Boggs Archives also included.

So there ya go. The first in hopefully a semi-regular series of trade posts.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Busting Some Packs of Tim Horton's Hockey Cards

Ahhh...the annual fall/winter trip to Canada. For the last two years, Hall of Fame inductions have transported me north of the border in early November. With no Lightning players getting the nod this year (and a trip to Sweden happening at the same time) I wasn't sure if I'd make it up there this year. However, over the summer, friend of the blog Link suggested a trip to Winnipeg (it was the last NHL city he needed to see a live game in). Without any other plans I hastily agreed.

Not wanting to visit the broad prairies of Manitoba in the dregs of winter (i.e. January and February when we usually go on our hockey trips) we settled on late October. Not only would that get us up there before the big snow, it would also get us there in time to partake in the one Canadian tradition I am most jealous of - buying hockey cards at Tim Horton's.

I love getting cards with my slightly-to-very-unhealthy fast food. I wish vendors in the States would bring them back. Some baseball cards along with a Big Mac is as American as a Big Mac and a triple bypass. I wrote about cards and carbs earlier this year and am excited to keep buying cards from that set. So when I know the cards are for sale at Timmy's I get excited.

For $1.99 (or $0.99 with purchase of a beverage) you get an exclusive three-card pack produced by Upper Deck. Unfortunately, it's a promotion not available in the States, so picking up some cards is always a challenge. Luckily for me, Link does some business in Canada and is usually up there in time to grab a few packs before they disappear.

This year, I was excited to be able to buy my own (and possibly some Tim-bits as well). So after a nice drive from East Grand Forks, Minnesota we crossed the border into Manitoba. Roughly ten minutes later we saw our first Tim Horton's and we pulled over. I picked up a total of three more packs to add to the stack Link had bought earlier in the year.

There are four Lightning players in the base set and sadly I didn't pull any of them. I did pull a red die cut insert of Stamkos in one of my last packs, but other than that my luck was as barren as the Manitoba countryside (seriously, it's a lot of flat farmland up there).

This isn't the pack with the Stamkos card in it, but is a pretty good representation of the average pack.

Crosby adorns the cover, and he usually does some commercial work for Tim Horton's.This year he and Nate Mackinnon ask some young fans how to make the game more entertaining. 

The base cards are nice and foily. They are also slightly embossed so there is a nice tactile feel to them. Nothing super fancy about the design and most feature the isolated semi-action shots that hockey collectors are familiar with.

The back. A few lines of stats and biographical information. Always nice to see French and English on the back of a card, it reminds me of the old Score Canadian sets that I used to have be the truckload. 

The back of the back shows the odds of the various insert sets. This year's release seemed to have a ton of them. I did pick up a variety of them including the red die cut inserts, a Jack Eichel Clear Cut Phenoms (which is nice an acetatey), a couple of Game Day Action cards, a couple of the Key Season Events cards, and some Golden Etchings. A fairly good representation of the inserts.

There are autograph and memorabilia cards as well, a few years ago I pulled a redemption for a Stamkos jersey card, but you have to have a Canadian address to redeem it and our ploy to make that work, didn't.

As for the insert in this pack:

A red die-cut Ovechkin with a small ding on the bottom edge. A few of the cards had dings in them, which could have been from the fact I threw them in my carry on bag before opening them or they could have come like that from the manufacturer.  Who knows?

I hope to trade out some of the base I have for the Lightning cards, and I may put a few others up for sale, but if you're interested in any of the base cards, reach out to me and we'll see if we can work something out. Also, if you're in Canada and are collecting points with the codes on the inside of the wrapper, let me know and I can send you a bunch.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Orioles Victory Card Number 54: Topps Stadium Club Review

Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 54: 9-4 over the Boston Red Sox

2019 Stadium Club Mark Trumbo

At this point in my collecting career I'm more interested in completing older sets that I've been chasing for 30 years as opposed to chasing new cards. I still put the flagship together out of habit. That's one box for Series One and one box for Series Two, some hanger boxes and then fill in the rest through trades (currently at 94.1% complete). 

There is another set that I buy just because I love it and that's Topps Stadium Club. I've loved it since I first opened a pack (with a Kodak logo on it) and pulled the Griffey card. For many years it was the go to set for great photography and premium quality cards. Then the love started to fade a little and the brand stagnated. A rebranding to an ultra high end product ($25 a pack!) in 2008 was received with lukewarm sales and the set quietly shuttered for a few years.

In 2014 Topps brought it back to it's basics - Excellent photography, a few popular inserts, and the occasional hits. Let's face it, the autographs are nice, but people aren't collecting Stadium Club for Chance Adams sigs. I've been piecing together the 2015 set for the last few years and picked up packs from 2016-2018. This year I picked up a box when it first came out and then received another for my birthday earlier this month. (shout out to the in-laws who continue to be the only ones that send cards for my birthday).

The two boxes have brought me to 60.5% completion and a couple of inserts have brought in a little cash (thanks Topps and your inability to release a set without photo variations). I will be picking up at least one more box and then hopefully can piece together the rest of of the set through trades.

It's one of the few setts that I try to avoid looking at other previews just so I don't see any cards ahead of time. That helps maintain a sense of "wow" when ripping open new packs. That being said, here are my favorite ten cards pulled from my second box of cards - the in-laws box.

10. Jack Flaherty

The behind the plate view never gets old. Love that they caught Flaherty in full extension with his focus on the hitter.

9. Didi Gregorius

With the new rules limiting contact at second base you don't see quite as many break up slides on double plays. Still, every once in a while there is a play that requires a short stop to go up and over a runner. Here Didi leaps over Ender Enciarte on the fourth of July. The patriotic socks and arm sleeves take it up a notch.

8. Pee Wee Reese

One of those wacky 1950's/60's photos that pop up every now and then. 

7. Chris Sale

The opposite of the Jack Flaherty photo works just as well, even if the game isn't being played. Sale looks even taller with the low perspective angle and is framed nicely by the Sox pennants in the background.

6. Ted Williams

Back-to-back Red Sox cards in honor of their back-to-back losses to the Orioles this weekend. The greatest hitter who ever lived stands in front of a U.S. Marine recruiting poster in 1952 when he re-enlisted to serve in the Korean Conflict. At 33-years-old he flew 39 combat missions and then returned to hit .407 in 37 games during the 1953 season. The card is great, but finding a copy of that poster would be awesome as well.

5. Jim Palmer

The card that inspired this post, it was in the first pack I ripped out of the box. Perfect representation of Palmer's extended leg kick with the classic uniform of the Orioles during their run of greatness in the 1960's and 70's. 

4. Rickey Henderson

A personal collection cameo! Eddie Murray guest stars on this card of Rickey being Rickey. 

3. Brooks Robinson

One of the iconic plays in Orioles history. In Game One of the 1970 World Series, the Reds Lee May hit a grounder down the line at third. Brooks Robinson, 33-years-old at the time, backhanded it and with his momentum carrying him into foul territory he turned a fired a one-hop bullet to first to get the runner.  The photo catches Brooks at full extension as he unleashes the throw. He would on to hit .429 in the series and easily won the MVP.

Sparky Anderson, manager of the Reds, was quoted as saying,

"I don’t see how anybody could do what this guy does. If I dropped my sandwich, he would dart in, scoop it up on one hop and throw me out."

Plus, there's bunting. Bunting always makes a photo more festive.

2. Kole Calhoun

Celebrations are almost as festive as bunting. Not only is it a fun card, but it also features two future hall of famers in Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Calhoun is getting the gum and Gatorade shower thanks to a walk-off home run against the Mariners on July 27th. If you watched the highlights you'll see Trout robbed a home run earlier in that game. That moment was also featured on a 2019 Topps card

1. Brandon Nimmo

I'm a sucker for city skyline cards and this one nails it. Nimmo is on deck at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and the photographer (Justin Berl according to Getty Images) captures the Steel City wonderfully. 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Orioles Victory Card Number 53: Still on vacation

Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 53: 4-1 over the Boston Red Sox

1997 Fleer Ultra Roberto Alomar Fame Game

Give me a break, I'm still on vacation. Of course, you would think I would have stockpiled some posts knowing that I was going to be in North Carolina for six days. Then again, I really didn't think the Orioles were going to win that many games while I was gone (it worked during my New York trip), but these O's are playing out the string, and doing it well.

I don't care if they're thirty games behind the Red Sox in the standings, beating them. And yes, we still got some shit from the scattering of Red Sox fans that were playing in the tournament down here (the Old Man and myself were wearing O's hats) we had fun pointing out that both teams would be playing the same amount of playoff games in October - 0.

As for as the card for Roberto Alomar - he is the best defensive second baseman I've ever seen play in my life. Not only that, he could hit as well. His career in Baltimore was brief, but it was fun and represented the reintroduction of the Orioles to the elite of baseball world. After a decade and a half of mediocrity the Orioles fought for the division lead for two of the three years Alomar was in Baltimore.

The second baseman was an all-star all three years slashed .312/.382/.480 hit 50 home runs and stole 44 bases. He picked up two gold gloves (Chuck Knoblauch of all people won in 1997, interrupting Alomar's streak of 10 gold gloves in 11 years) and a handful of MVP votes in 1996 and 1997.

Most of his time in Baltimore was overshadowed by an unfortunate situation in the playoffs that ended with Alomar spitting at umpire John Hirschbeck. That incident had an unraveling effect on the ball club. First and foremost it led to the resignation of Davey Johnson.

Despite leading the ball club to playoff appearances in each of the first two years of his three year contract their was some speculation he may not be back for the third season. Owner Peter Angelos was further irked when Johnson directed Alomar to pay his $10,500 fine for the spitting incident to a charity run by Johnson's wife. That escalated the tension and ended with Johnson resigning hours before being named the AL Manager of the year.

Alomar played his final season in Baltimore the next year before signing with Cleveland and teaming with Omar Vizquel to form one of the most dynamic double play combinations ever to grace the field. He played for another six seasons and solidified his Hall of Fame career.