Thursday, October 30, 2014

Judging by numbers

I don't know about you, but I love stats.
The one thing that fascinated me about cards when I found out they existed, were the little numbers on the back. I HAD to know what they stood for. Even if it meant learning the rules of that crazy baseball game.

I digress, but there's a french tv network that decided to show the World Series. First time ever.Turns out that I subscribe to that network (they also show NBA and NFL, so they get my money), so I could check it out, even though I subscribe also to MLBTV. It's very weird to hear french comments with french nouns for everything (strikes, balls, plate, base, fly out, shortstop, bat...all those things are translated. Hugh), but it's still better than having to listen to Joe Buck.

Anyway, the last day of the world series is always a sad day and here we are, stuck with autumn and winter and that horrible Knicks team and sub-par Giants (I don't follow the NHL like I used to, so I don't know how the Maple Leafs, Rangers (though I know they went to the Stanley Cup finals) and Islanders (do people root for the Islanders ? Do the Islanders still exist ?) are doing). So I'll cheer myself up by looking at my own stats. Warning : this is going to bore the crap out of you, but it's going to be fun for me to write up.
So. Yeah. Sorry.

Trades : so far, I've sent 10 packages. This means as many trips to the post office, as PWE are out of the question (not sure they'd survive the plae ride !). My post office is open 4 hours per day. During my working hours. Very convenient. But hey, you guys deserve the effort ! So far i've received 5 great packages in return.

Cards : I own 19 317 different baseball cards and 4542 duplicates (yes, I counted them.Don't judge me). 6 123 Basketball cards (1 000 dupes), 245 Football, 279 Hockey.

Brands : 38% of my baseball cards are from Upper Deck. 24 % Topps , 9% Stadium Club, 6% FLeer. Bowman is 1%

Years : I have 2 cards from the 50s. and 2 cards from the 60s. 28 from the 70s, but all are Blue Jays. 989 from the 80s. My biggest year is 1993 with 2326 cards followed by 94 with 2190. I only have 148 cards from 2001, which is crazy, especially considering that 63% are Blue Jays cards, and 186 from 2007. I have exactly two times more cards from 2013 as from 2014 (696 and 348).

Blue Jays : I have 3747 different blue jays cards. That's 19.4% of my collection. They only make up 9.5% of my Upper Deck cards, 8% of Stadium Club and 15% of Pinnacle. This shows the brands I buy packs and boxes of. It's 43% of FLeer, 38% of Donruss and....79% of Bowman. This shows the brands I don't buy.

Timeline : In June/July, I added 9 000 cards to my collection, opened 400 packs of cards and put 190 new Blue Jays in my binders.
August : 3060 cards, 953 Blue Jays, 159 Knicks and....1 332 duplicates to go with 64 packs.
September : 2 300 cards, 423 Blue Jays, 165 Knicks, 844 duplicates and 84 packs
October (with one day left !) : 1133 cards, 207 blue jays, 6 Knicks, 20 duplicates (yeah, I stopped buying lots) and 172 packs (that was fun).

As for my budget, well, I won't go into details, but it's not that high, and it's been the same for the past 3 months. I'd rather not witness the slippery slope of going over budget.

Followers : 33 (thanks a lot for reading !)

Great people I've met thanks to my blog : too many to count

People who'll read that last sentence : well...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blame it on the rain

Ok, here's part II of a IV part series around the inserts/oddballs lot of Toronto Blue Jays I got off ebay.

Here we are, in the 90s. I'm 13 in 1990, full of life, listening to NWA and Public Enemy (or was it Vanilla Ice and Milli Vanilli ? let's go with the first two), learning to play basketball, not a worry in the world. And of course, as you know by now, it's during that decade exclusively that I collected cards. I followed the hobby very closely and yet, I discovered some brand new cards I had never seen before. Yay !

Here are your normal 90s inserts from Fleer and Fleer Ultra. I already had the Alomar and the Griffey from the Top Glove set, and I have to admit that I love them. Completely forgot there was also Devon in there.

Some Fleer Atlantic that are very new to me. I used to dismiss them at the time, but those 93 and 94 Fleer designs look nice.

 Food issues ! I always feel silly when I write food issues, as it makes me sound like I'm an anorexic model. Which I am quite not. My weight and food issues are perfectly in check. Anyway, unlicensed but I don't care, and the last one is from Canadian Post. Oui, perfectly, Mr Molitor eez a Frappeur Désigné. Parfaitement.

And look how cute those Kraft cards are once you unfold them ? A little player silhouette pops up. It's perfect ! Fun with cardboard....

Sample cards ! I probably already said that I have a problem with sample cards. I don't see why I have to pay for cards that were given away for free to dealers. Supply and demand can be such a whore sometimes. I don't like paying for them, but I sure like having them. Don't know what that says about me...

Some cards from Stadium Club's Club. What a bunch of snobs, creating cards through mail order just for their members. Full bleed but not a very impressive design. Molitor, Olerud, Alomar and Carter....not too shabby.

The heart of the 90s : some shiny, some foily, some die-cuty, some hologrammy, some Finesty (remember how popular Jose Cruz Jr was at that time ?)

Here we were, minding our own businesses, picking up a pack of cards from time to time, trying to find corrected errors and rookie cards when all of a sudden....PARALLELS !!
Donruss press proofs were limited to 2 000 copies, Pinnacle to 1 000 and 6 500 for the Museum collection (love the Dufex !) and the 98 DOnruss silver press proof to 1 500. None are serial numbered though.

I isolated those two because of how cool they are. Silver an gold signatures were a genius idea. Strangely enough, this is my first Blue Jay gold one per box, they aren't that easy to find. The Studio Gold (first one also, and I actually didn't know they existed) is limited to 500 copies. The equivalent of a 1/1 as far as the 90s are concerned !

Finally, a card from 98 that's a good sign of times to come. Some gloss, some foil, some embossement, some high-end brand and....a serial number ! Ok, it's an ugly one that doesn't blend in at all. And it's out of 7000. But still. Winter was coming...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trade : Cracking Tigers, hidden Blue Jays

Seems like more and more people are getting back to collecting cards. It's supposed to be a 20 year cycle, so welcome to those (and I count myself in the group) who stopped collecting around 94 and who find that blogging is a great way to get back in the game and to meet great people.

Julie, from A cracked bat, has been very busy on the trading front, and it's naturally that I asked her if she'd be willing to swap cards internationally (I'm the quirky foreigner with the cute french accent in the community). Despite her busy schedule, she found time to send me a great enveloppe that hit on pretty much all my baseball collecting needs. Here's a sample of what she sent :

Vintage ! My very first 61 Fleer. Plus, since I've decided to try and get one vintage card of each Hall of famer (well, depending on the price, of course, I need to eat and pay rent first), that's one I can cross off my list.

Yup, I collect cards of Bo Jackson. I'm glad they included him in a Royals uniform for this year's Stadium Club set. The Angels one doesn't become him as well.

Some Larkins ! My first 97 Pinnalcle Inside, actually. I wonder what the tins looked like in person. What a crazy idea. Only Pinnacle could think of that...

Yup, I collect another 2 sport phenom (and his basketball skills weren't too shabby either). Ok, he bragged a lot and wasn't too impressive as far as baseball stats went, but still.

Some Juniors ! And that iconic smile. The 94 Upper Deck doesn't scan very well because of all that foil. But it still was one of my favorite cards 20 years ago. It's only eclipsed by the 94 base card, but it's still really sweet.

An oversized postcard from 93 Donruss, apparently available at Wall-marts.

For 20 years, I thought the 94 Select cards I had (only had a couple) were inserts. This just doesn't look like a base card to me. If I'm not mistaken, that picture is from his game winning World series HR. Back when the Blue Jays would make it to the post season...Those are also my first SP Championship from that year. They look great.

I've said it often : I'm not a Bowman guy. But there's something about the 94 set that strikes a chord. The Alex Gonzalez foil card is much more impressive in person.

Minor league card ! Shows that you can have a great carrier even after playing for a team called "Smokies". Obviously, they only took one pic of him and called it a day, not really caring that he's out of focus and overexposed.

Relic ! From 2013 Topps Archives, and my first of Morrow. Great card with a simple design

2014 Topps cards ! My first Chrome from this year (I was surprised by that, but then again, they all look the same). And some Topps stickers.

Finally, Julie was kind enough to include half the Blue Jays team set from this year's Stadium Club (very excited about that, can't wait for the prices to keep dropping). She even included one mini-box, as there's Griffey on it. Great idea !

Anyway, thanks a lot Julie for all the great cards, you were spot on !

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oddballs from odd years

As I've stated several times, I try to stay away from card lots on ebay. I'll buy some Autos, relics or vintage (just bought a 1960 Willie Mays, I'm very excited to show it to you guys as soon as I receive it ! ), but I've been burned too many times by blind lots.
So when I saw that inserts and oddballs only lot of Toronto Blue Jays for a reasonnable price PLUS with a listing of all 160 cards included, I had to pull the trigger.

I'll show them by decade (more or less, that is, because the 80s go all the way to '91), which is the best way to see the evolution of the hobby.

My very first 1981 Donruss. Turns out it's autographed, but it could very well be, Bob Bailor, paper route boy in Chicago for all I know who signed it.

A whole bunch of Fleer boxed sets I had no idea existed (ok, I knew of a few of them). It's the complete Blue Jays checklist from each set, so that's good. Less to look for ! I love that they'd call 'limited edition' sets that were incredibly mass produced and that you can easily find for a couple of bucks. But hey, whatever works for them.

Remember retail distribution ? Well those were available only in Toys R Us stores. Not a bad design for an early 80s one. Oops. Hold on. Those are from 1990. I won't hold it against them.

Some K Mart, some Rite Aid, some Woolworth etc. Those were the days ! And licensed at that.

I had no idea what Drake's or Kay-Bee were, so I looked it up. Were there a lot in the US in those days ?

Some Score boxed sets.

And finally, some God ugly Classic blue cards from 1990 (and I'm sparing you their backs), along with the Blue Jays from a licensed deck of playing cards, so we'll say they have a place in my collection. Alomar will always be the Queen of hearts to me. And Carter deserves better than a 4, but hey, at least they are all nice and pretty and red.

The 90s get way more interesting, as card companies went inserts crazy and launched head first into parallels ! Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The bold and the ugly

A couple (litteraly) of card in the mail today.

Ok, it's basketball.
Ok, it's ebay.
But for an unknown reason, I've found myself bidding on a whole bunch of cards the last couple of weeks and actually winning some. Ah well. That should teach me.

With that in mind, I DO love that Robert Horry card. Yup, he never played for the Knicks. He's not even in his famous ROckets uniform, as Upper Deck only has a College licence for its cards. But it looks incredible. THe signature is on some kind of hardwood-like surface, with some cardboard around it to give it a nice 3D feel. It's ironic that I'd get a card from someone who helped the Rockets get rid of the Knicks in seven games in 94 (aaaah, John Starks....), but I don't hold grudges. And it was pretty horrible to watch the Knicks play in those days (and last season too, but that's another story)

Nope, it's not just the scan. The card is as ugly on screen as it is in real life. Trust me. It's very glossy, very shiny and very purple.
BUT it's a Kenny "Sky" Walker card.
With a signed sticker
 And with the old logo. You gotta love it.
I watched those old Dazzling Dunks and basketball bloopers countless times in the early 90s, and he was one of the Slam Dunk contest highlight reels. Takes me way back. And that's basically what cards are for (I also won a Muggsy Bogues auto, can't wait to get it and show it off !)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Whine from the winery

All in all, I'm a very happy camper, thank you very much (the mailman is probably wondering what kind of dealing I'm into, considering all those small packages that arrive in my mailbox. "baseball cards", he says, in a heavy french accent. Yeah right, whatever that is (I'd write it in french, but you might miss some of the finesse in that sentence)).

But a couple of things annoy me as of right this moment.

1 : I wanted to sell a couple of cards off Ebay. Not my thing, but I figured hey, why not make some cash, after all there are some cards I can sell as I don't see who to send them to. So I filled out the form, put some pics, made a nice little listing, put all my heart into it and was really satisfied with myself. Only to see this message by Ebay at the very end telling me that hold on, to sell things internationally you need to have at least 10 positive reviews, the last of which must be at least 90 days old. Okay. Great. I'm not going to sell random things, then wait 3 months just so Ebay will be convinced I'm a good enough seller to sell outside of France. I guess they don't want to get the U.N. involved, just in case. Keep it national.
I could send them off to Comc, but with so many cards out there, unless I have something really hot, it could be years before I sell anything. YEARS !

2 : Speaking of ebay, I won an auction the other day. A basketball card relic I didn't want that bad, but the seller offered free international shipping (my white whale) and I wanted to encourage that by helping him hardly make any money (the card was $1,75 and it costs about $2 to send a card to France in a bubble mailer). He sends me the invoice...and bumps the price by $8. The free international shipping was clearly stipulated, so I thought he was just trying to take advantage of me and that it was a way for him to artificially make money off the deal. After a couple of emails, turns out he didn't realize it said free international shipping and that it was the real cost for shipping for him. He was nice about it and non belligerent and just agreed to forget it. I could have sent the card for free to my Comc mailbox, but I didn't want it bad enough that I'd pay a $1 comc fee for it.

3 : I was filling out some checklists from the last years, and all those refractors and parallels annoy the hell out of me. I have no idea how to differentiate the different refractors, and don't really care anyway. It's a common ranting so I won't add (too much) to it, but exactly how many of the same cards do I need ? Did they learn nothing from the 90s fiasco, card-wise ?How obvious is it that they cater only to team and player collectors in hopes that they'll pursue all those ridiculous cards. When you add terrible collation on top of that, I'm not overly in love with the cards coming out these days from flagship products. To have the same card numbered to 999/300/200/100/75/50/15/1 is just plain silly and lazy.

But hey, let's keep it positive ! Here are some really cool cards to remind me what I love about the hobby. Including a parallel. But the coolest parallel set ever made, with the silver signatures from Collector's Choice. Beats orange yellow lime cranberry and strawberry refractors by a mile. And then some.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bob walks for an inside the park home run

The whole purpose of this blog, as I've already said numerous times, is to talk about cards (makes sense), but more importantly, to meet people with the same obsession) interest as me and to trade as much as possible. I don't have much to offer (besides a heart of gold and a whole bunch of low end cards), but I figure that since I enjoy as much your everyday Blue Jays or PC common as a high end and low numbered auto or relic, there are probably others like me out there (you know who you are. And if I don't know you yet, please step forward !).

Anyway, we've been exchanging mails with Matt from Bob Walk the plank (great name, great blog, great blogger) and pulled the trigger on a blind trade. A 'let's go in the woods in the dark, I'll show you mine and you'll show me yours' kind of deal. And, well, let's just say that I feel like I got the prom queen to show me hers. And she showed me a little bit of everything.

 Gypgsy Queen definitely looks better in black. And mini. And with a serial.

Those mini relics are really a hit. Don't know who came up with the idea in the first place, but great one ! Already had the Alex Rios from that collection, so that's a nice addition.

My first Chacin auto, and a great looking one at that. It's all shiny and all, which the scan doesn't show.

I had no idea Pristine existed before yesterday. And today, I get this sealed and encased card of Halladay from the Uncirculated insert set. It's really pretty cool (I wonder how I landed the Prom queen with sentences like 'it's pretty cool'), and limited to 375 copies. Nobody ever touched that card (not the case of the Prom queen, but who am I to judge ?) ! and now it's mine !

Here's the monster from the package. An incredible looking Triple Threads numbered 1/9.
1 of 9 ! I don't own any printing plates or 1/1 yet, but this one is a real beauty. Now I know why they make super thick top loaders. It's a sticker auto and I still love that card. It says a lot !

 Matt even managed to hit my Knicks collection needs with this cool Allan Houston card numbered out of 99.

Thanks a lot Matt. Really. I'm so grateful that I can't begin to express it.
I just hope you'll call me after that and that it won't be a one night stand !

Monday, October 20, 2014

Comc : patching up some vintage

I'm always excited when I receive a comc package. Mainly because it's as if I went to a LCS, shopped around and asked them to deliver the cards to me three weeks later, please. It gives me time to forget what I put in my cart and to act all surprised.

Last time I looked for some inserts from the 90s that I really loved. This time I went vintage for a couple of cards and real modern for the rest. I picked up some (cheap) GU/AU for my elusive team set completion, along with a couple of favorites. Except for the 52 Topps, 54 Topps and Maddux, they all cost around $2. Ok, I could get 20 singles off justcommons for the same price, but GU and AU are the new inserts, and what's modern card collecting without inserts ? It's all about variety ! And even though those pieces of cloth could very well be from the person dusting the offices of Upper Deck for all I know, they still look pretty cool in a card.

Yes, condition is Poor and it's awfully off-centered, but it's still a '52 Topps ! A low numbered one at that from a player who had a few good years. So I'm happy.

Another iconic set and another card in horrible shape. But I'll give it a good home. Love those backs.

My first Overbay auto. Ok it's a sticker auto. But still.

A nice on card auto from ALex Gonzalez.I like the autograph way more than the overall design of the card. But I love the fact that it's a 98 card, before those became way too common.

Already had a couple Lind autos (he has a whole bunch out there), but always on sticker. This one looks really great. Tier One is a classy set.

I'm not a Bowman guy, but I do like their Heritage sets. I wish they hadn't added the 'authentic game-worn jersey' text on the front.

I pulled one from a pack a few weeks ago and thought they looked great. So I chased a couple of Blue Jays. I still don't get how Halladay cards are so cheap.

Another nice looking Alex Rios card.

Couple of Delgados. I wasn't familiar wit the Topps Prestige set. It's all nice and shiny.

Frank Thomas was nice enough to come hit his 500th HR in a Blue Jays uniform (and to come and grab a few millions in the process, but that's beside the point). He only spent a little over a season in Toronto, but at least it gives me the opportunity to get some of his cards. The good thing about coming back to the hobby after so long is that you get your childhood stars' cards for much, MUCH cheaper. That card isn't the most attractive one, but I just wanted to have a Big Hurt GU in my collection.

They scanned green, but the letters are actually some kind of mirror gold colour. Great looking card. Love the SP and SPx brands.

It doesn't show, but the piece of bat is actually glued directly on the card. It's not encased, which gives it a nice embossed feel.

I've always liked Johnny Damon. Even without the long hair and beard. And I think those 2009 Goodwin look great.

I wanted a GU Maddux card, so I grabbed the best looking one I could find for cheap.

And finally, one for my Knicks collection. I think they are a little bold when saying Houston and Marbury are a Winning combo, but the card still looks great.

My Comc cart is already filled with a whole bunch of new cards to have shipped to me. Can't wait to pull the trigger !