Sunday, May 7, 2017

cARRHds from Matt

This time, for our usual Transatlantic triple break, Matt picked a box of 2016 Finest. Typically the kind of box I'd never bust on my own, so I'm happy about that choice. That said, there wasn't much in it for me in terms of hits (and not many cards altogether in the box, as is often the case with semi high end cards), but the cards are still very cool, so thanks Matt for the break !

The Carrasco is actually a little shinier than the others. I wonder if it's a refractor ? I remember how tough it was to tell a refractor from a normal card at the very beginning in the 90s. At least, now they write it at the back.

Some shiny inserts of Franchise finest no longer with said franchises. Ah well.

One less Blue Jays card to chase !

And as always, Matt sent some amazingly incredible cards to go with the box break. Let's look at them, one punch at a time :

First major blow : that Mattingly auto (sorry about the poor quality of the photo, I guess I was trembling with excitement), straight from Matt's collection. At first, I thought it was a Leaf card, because of the logo on the top right. But it's actually a Panini Limited Greats. Goes to show that I'd hardly noticed the absence of pinstripes and logo. As long as the mustache is there...

Catchers seem to make Panini's job easier, and that's a gorgeous card of Yadier. Not sure what that green jersey is all about though.

Nice two color swatch . It's SN 11/25 (almost a Christmas card for Gavin)

The 3 biggest stars from the team on one single great looking card (I really like Immaculate). Great to see that there's some blue in there and not just white, which adds to it !

The type of card I'd never chase, because there are two major stars on it (and Harper is killing it this year). Wow !

For good measure, Matt included a pack of 2010 Topps series 2. Because I can never get enough packs to bust ! Saltalamacchia was 1 for 25 this year before being released. Slightly under the overall BA for the Blue Jays so far.

Thanks Matt, I'm always floored by your generosity and how you always hand pick the cards you send me. A lot of my favorite cards from my collection come from Morgantown !

Monday, May 1, 2017

93 UD State of the Union

Since I had a pending shipment from COMC, I figured I might as well add a few cards to the cart. I therefore inched a little closer to my 93 UD set completion with some new blood. It's always a pain to pay more than a few cents for mainstream 90s cards, but I'll do it for select cards from the main set, and of course for inserts. And those that I can't add for less than $1 can just wait...Which explains why I don't have any Highlights cards.

Maybe it's because I've seen it so much, but I was surprised to see I was missing the Javy RC. Then again, The Jeter has always eluded me, despite busting a lot of packs...

My favorite insert with Then & Now holograms ! Still missing a couple of those

Another insert I love, mainly because I've looked at the Griffey many, many times (I had a t shirt with the card on it, actually). Gonzalez was the last card I needed from the set, except for the checklist and header card.

I really like the On deck insert set, but it doesn't strike as much a chord as the other ones, as I never pulled any from packs back in the day. They were inserted in Jumbo packs only, as were the HR Heroes that I'm showing next. Canseco, Van Slyke, Clemens, Strawberry...and Abbott. Sorry man, can't really put you in the same group as these "gentlemen" !

You can tell by the checklist that those are not the cards that were very high on my wantlist

I'm almost there ! I just need a little help with the commons from flagship, before I pick up the last inserts left, even if it means dishing a few dollars more than they are worth !

Here are the cards I'm still missing :

25 Tim Salmon
70 Derek Lilliquist
370 Gary Gaetti
449 Derek Jeter
471 Barry Bonds/Will stars
478 Dante Bichette / stars
531 Franck Bolick
536 Kevin Young
554 Jim Abbott
566 Mark Mcgwire
599 Steve Cooke
630 Roger Clemens CL
649 Dan Pasqua
665 Dwight Gooden
698 Jimmy Jones
707 Steve Howe
718 Craig Leffert
723 Bryn Smith
724 Greg Harris
726 Cris Carpenter
727 Chico Walker
732 Freddie Benavides
733 Jeff Reboulet
742 Joey Cora
808 Bob Ojeda
809 Dave Burba
814 Dennis Eckersley Team CL
818 Greg Jefferies team cl
820 Darryl Strawberry team cl
822 Robby Thompson team cl
830 Jay Bell team cl
831 Juan Gonzalez team cl
832 Andre Dawson team cl
839 Danny Tartabull team cl

thanks !

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trade round up : Brett Cooper, Zippy, The lost Collector

Matt forwarded a bunch of trade packages for me in his various envelopes that have been French-bound the past few months. I won't lie, it's really convenient for me (thanks again Matt !) and allows me to stay in the (waning but still a great idea) Supertrader group.

First, the Nationals representative : Brett Cooper

I was really  psyched about that card, as I didn't have it yet in my collection (for some reason). Just like Danny Ainge, can't say he made a bad choice by choosing another sport...

A little bit of everything, including a nice Sprewell from his T-Wolves days. The least we can say is that he left a mark in NY ! Thanks Brett for thinking of me !

You know you've been Zippy Zapped when you receive a Torrens custom card ! Especially since it says so on the back.

You also know there might just be a few Japanese cards in the mix. I love those Kellogg's UD oddballs

Surprising card to find in a trade package, but it's still a very cool 1971 fleer  World series Laughlin, before they got their official license for current players.

As always with Kenny, it's all about prospects

My first taste of Topps Bunt ! Doesn't really make you want to buy a whole box, but I applaud the concept.

Sorry, Rangers fans, but I'll never grow tired of that bat flip. The Lawrie die cut is real nice too

Finally, AJ (The lost collector) recently had Matt forward cards to me :

Always nice to add a Delgado insert/relic, especially from my favorite brand

Blue Jays cards from recent years, including a Perspectives insert and some 2017 Heritage I needed

And some from my main collecting years, that always bring back a ton of memories !
Thanks AJ !

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hits and run

One month after ordering them, I finally received some cards I had waiting at COMC. Mainly some cards for my trade partners, along with some cards I'd won on Ebay a few months ago. As always, you know the drill, I don't always get cards that truly fit my collection. Rather, I bid on cards that are cheap to complete a package in case I win a card I really want, as there's a $2 minimum fee for cards you send to your mailbox at Comc, and then it's .50ct per card. Which means I might as well get 4 cards for $2 instead of just one (that's just to save from .50ct to 1.5$, so I might as well bid on cheap cards).

Anyway, I thought those looked nice and pretty, so I snatched them, usually for a couple of bucks each.

Here's a card I actually wanted, of a player no longer with the Blue Jays organization. He was born in 93. I was 16, in 93, collecting Upper Deck cards. I feel so old right now...

I'm really happy to see Heyward bounce back from his horrible season last year. So far so good !

I don't have much to say about Wheeler other than I like the Mets and the card

The photo I took doesn't really do this card justice, but it really looks very nice. Topps the Mint has pretty cool cards. Then again, at $600-900 a box for 5 cards, it can look nice. I almost feel bad for the seller who pulled that card and ended up selling it for a hefty $5 to me. Almost.

Monday, April 24, 2017

20 odd years

So apparently, we've had around (if not precisely) 20 transatlantic box breaks with Matt and Brian. Not bad at all ! Like I've often said, I know the hassle (and cost) of international postage, and I'll always be deeply grateful for all of you who allow me to live my hobby fully. It's one thing to buy cards online, all it takes is a credit card and some patience, but  it's another to be part of a community and to be able to trade cards.
Maybe I feel all lyrical because of the French election, I don't know !

Anyway, this time Brian, from HSCA, decided to open a box of 2017 Diamond Kings (PANINI !!). I'm pretty sure those are my first cards from the new season, as I'm always late to that kind of party.

Pretty much what we've come to expect from DK over the past years. Don't know how long they can keep this up, it's really more and more of the same.

I didn't get any hits per se, but there were a couple of numbered parallels, including a #01 (woohoo).

 Those cards confuse me. Apparently there are about 30 base card variations in the set. And I really, really do not see the point there.

Because there was only one Blue Jay card for me in the entire break (the Donaldson), Brian, as always, pimped the package with a bunch of cards for our ongoing trading. He warned me that he'd got my back, and that may just be the understatement of the year. Major haul !

So this is what 2017 flagship looks like ? I'll have to see more to have an opinion though. Some nice high end brands in there too, that I'd never get otherwise !

 Obviously, my first 2017 Heritage and GQ cards. I understand the heritage set is based on one of the least liked Topps sets of all time, but I still think it works well. The GQ design is a major improvement from previous years !

Brian sent me A TON of hits/relics/autos of all sorts. They kept coming and coming.

 So far this season, Bautista has hit 1 HR and has a .132 BA. Not sure about those 500 career Hrs...

Autographs galore ! I don't know what those 2005 Topps Pack wars were. I'll need to look into it. I've always liked Melky, even though he only spent a couple of seasons in Toronto. Happy to add an auto of his. Nice looking Adam Lind card too !

Woohoo, more Delgados ! For some reason, parallel autos annoy me. But I'm happy to add a low numbered one to the collection

A little bit of everything there ! A very cool Baerga and a couple of IP autos (I suppose). It's kinda difficult to obtain Warren Moon autos (ie : too expensive for me), so even if it's unofficial, it came as a great surprise to me ! The Kaat cut signature looks sooooo strange cut up like that. Why not keep the entire 78 topps base card and just frame it ? Ok, it defeats the whole purpose of "cut signature", but still...odd choice. Makes it interesting though !

For obvious reasons (they suck big time), I haven't been adding many Knicks cards lately, so here's a nice clear welcome addition of a player who spent one season in the organization. Very cool card nonetheless.

A little bit of everything, including one for the Mets binder !

90s !! It's fun to see Willie Keller in a Toronto uniform. It appears that the HOFer played one season for the Malple Leafs after retiring...

Oh, and not shown here are a 1978 and 1979 Blue Jays media guide (and a couple of Topps coins) ! I love those things, they're a blast to look at, and filled with stats.

Thanks again Brian, that was one amazing trade package !

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Various packs of various things

Last Christmas (I gave you my heart) I received a special collated box from Dave & Adams, with 20 packs of sets that were mainly new to me. The price was right so I put it on my list (I'm not a difficult person). Nothing too exciting came out of those packs, but they were fun to bust, as the designs and player selections are solid. It's typically the kind of product I would've picked up at the time, one pack at a time, had I not France and away from the hobby.

It looks like a mess, but I really like what they did with 2008 Timeline. You have the 100 card base set (the first 2 cards shown, and I suppose the Thome is a parallel), and then so-called SPs, using designs from previous years (mainly SP - No pun intended). I love seeing the 93 and 94 SP designs used again.

I got 2 numbered hits, so wooohooo. Not sure many people chased those, though. Maybe they were trying to compete with A&G, and don't know...still kinda fun.

Whoever thought that set up probably didn't spend enough time brainstorming the idea. So if I understand correctly, that Derek Jeter black parallel card is numbered out of 25 (the base cards are SN 150). Seems pretty cool and I should put it in a safe until 2020. Except there are 25 cards of hit #40 out of 214, celebrated by that card. You really need to be one hard core Jeter fanatic to try and collect 214 cards, one for each hit.

But at least it means it's very easy to get low numbered parallels, and even 1/1s. I wonder if that person still works for Topps...

Finally, some SP Rookie edition. The veteran's design reminds me somewhat of Select. Then again, anything horizontal with the nameplate on the right would remind me of Select.

I really like those (for the SP reasons mentioned earlier in that post). Not a bad rookie class...

So like I said, nothing really mind blowing, but still nice cards to put in binders here and there !

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mug shot

Like many of you (we wouldn't collect cardboard otherwise), I'm very attached to objects. They remind me of my teenage years and bring back a ton of great memories. Don't get me wrong, I don't make a habit of living in the past (I love my present too much), b ut they're a good reminder of where I come from and what my obsessions have been.

I've lived in France my entire life (save for a year in Mexico when I was 5 and a year in New York when I was 11), which didn't make being a fan of American sports very easy in the 90s. Team apparel was outrageously expensive when you could find it, for example, and I feel like I've given my ample share of engrossing huge companies enough as it is.

In 1993, during a trip to Cleveland, I brought back a ton of stuff. As much as a couple of hundred dollars allowance could buy me, that is, my priority being baseball cards (those Jordans could wait). There was a Cleveland Cavs clock that I still have, and a Blue Jays mug. I love that mug. I consider it my lucky mug, although it' s never brought a World Series championship to Toronto since. I'll drink most of my coffees in it, and ALL of them when the Blue Jays are playing (you never know) and I'm watching the game.

But after 23 years, the colors have completely faded and you can hardly make out the logo. A mug is a mug, it doesn't really matter, but time took its toll, and when looking on ebay, I couldn't find a mug that felt good enough to replace it with. You don't replace an old friend just like that.

This morning, my girlfriend surprised me with the exact same mug. Brand new. It's the exact same model (the bar-code is the same), and I'm so used to seeing it all faded and almost blank that I'd forgotten how bright that blue was. It's the best gift ever. One that revives memories and gives the illusion that time hasn't been a factor after all.

I'm definitely ready for the season to begin !

try guessing which is the new one and which is the old one ?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

More mustaches !

Richard, of collecting Blue Jays (among others) is my official supplier of Blue Jays oddballs and semi-vintage mustaches (semi, since the Blue Jays' first season was in 1977...). He surprised me yet again by testing the postal service's efficiency (5 days this time) and sending out cards off my wantlist, knocking off a bunch of set needs.

Gotta love those early SPs...I can't imagine how that's possible, but that Alomar 93 UD checklist has been eluding me for 24 years. I don't know if it was worth the wait, but that's one less 93 UD on my list ! I'm now missing about 40 of the base cards. Getting closer to completion !

Richard is trying to put together the entire 94 CC signatures parallels. Gold and silver. I really understand the appeal, it's one of the best parallels ever thought up. He told me he pulled that Alomar from a pack. All I ever pull are Giants and Dodgers gold signatures...I need to at least complete the team set, I only have a couple of those gold signatures.

And just like that, I'm now only missing one Silver signature for the complete team set. Woohooo ! Very happy to land that Carter, too. Those bring back a ton of great memories from what it was like to collect in the 90s.

Finally, Richard included a lot (and I mean a lot) of Donruss set needs (most of my needs, actually). The quality of the photo is terrible, and I apologize, but I absolutely love that 84 design. Panini should take a closer look at those early designs !

Thanks a lot Richard ! It'll probably take some research for me to find some cards to send in return, but I'll find a way !