Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Cat Power Express

So there I was, on Christmas morning, minding my own business and opening pack after pack of baseball and basketball cards, when all of a sudden, my heart stopped beating.
I'm sure it's happened to all of us. This moment where we're not sure our eyes are seeing what the mind thinks they're seeing, if maybe we're mistaken, maybe it's another common that looks like a hit, or maybe that player looks like a superstar but actually never made it out of the minors.

And then you realize this is for real.

You beat the odds.

1: 7 500 in my case

Out of a random 2001 regular Upper Deck box, carefully selected by a Dave & Adams employee just to make me happy and enjoy my Christmas day even more.

You know how I always say I don't care about book value, that's it's only the History I'm interested in and basically having fun with little pieces of cardboard ? Well, I lied. There's nothing like that rush of pulling a great card.Not because of monetary value, as I have no intention of selling this card in particular or any from my collection, but because of what it represents : something rare and something great and something valuable (ok, I know, I just said I wasn't interested in value. Once again, I lied. Never trust a compulsive collector and hoarder).

Without further ado, I bring to you my greatest pull ever (yeah, that explains the title, as Cat Power released a song called The Greatest. Thought I'd help you with that one).

I'll bet you're all a little disappointed.
One of the greatest pitchers ever on an on card GU auto, numbered according to his jersey.
I'm not a big fan of his, mainly because of politics (we're not here to discuss politics, I know, but he's a very avid Republican with links to the NRA, and let's just say I'm not), and that famous day, I was rooting for Robin Ventura. But still. It sent a tingle down my spine when I saw it in the middle of the pack I was sorting.

And the rush is still in part present, a week after.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Casey at the bat

I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but the cards I got today were shipped on November 10th...but it's ok, since I have packages sent about every other week, I manage to receive a steady stream of cards. It just took a while for the first packages to get here, and I tend to get a little weary considering the cards that are inside them. Not that I spend that much on a single card to lose sleep over it, but still, I don't feel like wasting any more money as it is right now. And on ebay, there are tracking numbers and ways of getting your money back. Not with Comc (at least, not that I know of). But hey, so far so good, and I have only nice things to say about comc !

 This card cost me $17. I'm not fond of 61 Topps, but I am of Aaron. The card is a little too yellowed (is that even an english baseball card term ?), but hey, nice card nevertheless. It cost me $1 more than the '60 Willie Mays Topps I own. I'm really treading in high stakes waters.

Yeah I know, I'm not fond of 61 Topps, but I still got those two. It's my collection and my contradictions. I'll never ever have a vintage Gehrig in my collection from his playing days, so this is the closest thing to it. Plus, it only set me back a few dollars (4).

The more I look at 1962 Topps cards, the uglier I find them. But a card with Casey Stengel on it, even as manager of the Mets, cannot and will not be ugly. Is it me, or is he actually trying to smile ?

This one, like the Roy Face, I got thinking of Matt @Bob Walk the plank, so Matt, let me know if you need those ! What a great design, though.

I really need to look at scans closely when purchasing cards on ebay. I really thought it was an on card auto. Ah well. Supreme is still a nice set, and it's a low numbered card. I really like Cabrera, let's see if he manages to spend more than 2 years in Chicago...

Yes, absolutely, this is a football card. I hardly collect football (if I did, I'd collect Giants cards), but I saw that card for cheap while browsing other items listed by a seller I had won a card by, and I picked it up because of the (sad) story behind it. Wilson was a very promising RB in his first couple of years, before he had to call it quits because of a career-ending neck injury. Or more exactly, because of a neck injury that could be way worse than just career-ending if he ever played football again.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

All is well that Ebays well

Before I show off my pack ripping loot, here are some cards that finally got here from ebay to comc and from comc to me.

A random Blue Jays shiny auto for the collection. I like those Absolute cards, though. I wonder how they were received back then.

I dunno. I just love that photo.

Part of my ongoing and never-ending "collect significant historic cards" project. Got it for a few dollars (5, exactly).

A shiny card of a plyer I like from a set I like. So yeah, it's not always about PC !

I thought I'd never ever see that Hank Aaron card. I got it on ebay in October, for a couple of dollars. When I didn't see it show up, I contacted the seller (who obviously hasn't been around ebay for long, with only 25 stars), who was all apologetic with no regards for grammar whatsoever, but all in all I was able to understand that he was going to contact the USPS (good luck with that). Since he didn't have any tracking number, there wasn't much they could do, so he offered to send me a replacement. I wasn't going to get upset for a $2 card, so I said yeah sure, and so he did. And for good measure, to make sure I wouldn't write a negative review (aaaah, the power of negative reviews), he said that he added a bonus card as a peace offering. And this time, he asked for a tracking number (smart move). I could see that the letter was stuck somewhere in Ohio for a week, with no movement (not that a letter is supposed to move, but you understand what I mean). The seller would write to me everyday asking me if I'd received the cards yet, and I could see he was completely losing it. I'm sure he was losing sleep over this. You should never lose sleep over cards. Never. So I ask him what address he sent it to, just to be sure. And he tells me that the people at the post office told him he didn't need to write the first line on the envelope. The first line being of course comc.com c/o myusername.
Mystery solved. I don't know in what world that kin of info isn't relevant to a post office employee (Julie, any thoughts ?), but I was able to contact comc to warn them that they were about to receive an unclaimed envelope, which they found thanks to the tracking number, and thanks to smarter post office employees who were able to deliver it to the right address after all. Thus ends the story of how I received, 2 months later, a $2 Aaron and a free '69 Pete Rose.

Vintage basketball for my NBA 50 greatest project.

That first patch is ridiculously huge. But it's orange. And I like the color orange.

This here is my first booklet. I'll have to look into it, but I'm pretty sure they make top loaders for those. Looks nice though, and cool Kenny Anderson auto.

I've already expressed my love for UD Exquisite. The Glen Rice is from the same collection as the Tim Hardaway I already have, and the Laimbeer looks really really great. It's nice and thick and black (yeah, let's keep that sentence in context).

More former veterans in college uniforms because, well, because UD doesn't have an NBA license anymore, so they're trying their best. Here's Bob's B.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Justin time for Xmas

Well, this year for Christmas I asked for some cards.
Santa didn't disappoint, as he carefully handpicked boxes of cards according to my very sure taste in all things, including music.

Don't worry, I'll share them with you and send out as many as possible.

Merry Christmas to everybody !

ps : little teaser : one of those boxes (and not the one on top) yielded the biggest pull I ever got from a pack. Can't wait to show it off. But right now, I have a turkey to digest.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wild Gose chase (yeah, I'm not too proud of it either)

There are several things wrong with that card. First, it's Bowman, and I don't really care for Bowman cards. Even for the Platinum kind. Second, this, here, is a sticker auto. With some game used memorabilia. Not worn. Used. Might be a piece of cloth used to wipe the bench for all I know. And finally, it's of a young outfielder who was traded a few weeks ago to the Tigers after getting some quality at bats with the Blue Jays for a couple of seasons.

So why am I showing it off ?
Well, it's simple : I don't have anything else to show. Yeah, I know, it's kinda sad. But so far, I've only added 70 cards to my collection, and I'm still waiting on a ton of Comc packages (I read somewhere of someone complaining that it took his cards a couple of weeks to get there because of Black friday sales...mine take 4 to 6 weeks any time of the year. I win). And since I haven't been very active on the trading front, I'm not getting many packages in return either.

Because, you see, at that time of the year, all I do is work. Non stop. 24/7. My last day off was...Well...I don't even remember. I know that Christmas day will be the next one, so that's something to look forward to. So right now, I'm basically exhausted and just powered by coffee and the sheer drive of helping people find the perfect gift for Christmas.

I have so much power, it's scary.

But I'll be back with more exciting cards. I promise.


Don't give up on me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vintage trading part II : return with a vengeance and a big round orange head

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how I'd like to collect one card from each member of the top 50 players of all time voted by the NBA in 1996. Enter Mark Hoyle. Everybody knows him around these parts as the vintage king, and boy did he deliver yet again. He sent me an amazing package with a great collection of hall of famers, knocking down most of my needs and adding a few extras for good measure.

Those are absolute beauties. I don't know what happened in 1976 (I was born in 77), but all of a sudden Topps decided to make real big cards (about 50% bigger than usual) and a checklist two times smaller (144 instead of 300). card number 1 of that short lived experiment (it lasted only a year) was the one you see right there, of Dr J. The one Mark sent is in pristine condition, and I'm quite simply in love with it. Mark collects Celtics cards, so thanks for sending this one out nonetheless.

Extra space means extra stats and blurbs (I wonder why they didn't include assists, even though it was a known stat). College stats ! Basketball rules !!

Great addition to my Knicks team collection, and another great addition to any collection, with that Pistol Pete card. Maravich is one of the reasons why I started playing basketball seriously. 25 years ago, I saw that movie made for TV about him, depicting his amazing high school and College basketball days, with all his ball handling tricks. There were no hoops near my place, so I'd spend hours and hours just dribbling a ball (just like in the movie), spinning it on my finger and just practicing ball handling skills. I played point guard, so this really helped in the future. So I'm really thrilled, 25 years later, to finally be able to add a vintage card from his playing days (and a second one, actually, as Mark sent 2 of his).

A couple of future hall of fame coaches (Wilkens is also in there as a player), and a hall of famer / mayor of Detroit. Not a bad trio.

Yup, absolutely, those are all hall of famers. One of them is even nicknamed the Kangaroo Kid (and they all wore shorts that were way too tight)

Dr J ! and a Boston (and UCLA, of course) fan favorite, as he spent the last couple of years of his stellar but still injury marred career as a Celtic.

Another Gervin, and here comes Nate 'Tiny' Archibald, huge scoring and assists machine.

Well, thanks to Mark's generosity (we never talk about book value in the blogosphere because it's hardly relevant, but there's still some serious money in that bunch), I now only need 10 players to complete my mini collection. I've been putting some Red Sox and Celtics aside for you, a returne package will be sent promptly !

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An ongoing Christmas miracle

Ok, I'll gladly admit it : I love Christmas. Not (just) because there're basketball games all day and that I get a ton of stuff, but mainly because there's a general warm feel to it. A warm feeling made even crispier by the fact that it's my first day off in ages (I pretty much work 7 days a week in december) that helps me enjoy even more the Smurf records we listen to religiously with my parents, and that hasn't changed in 30 years.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves, Christmas is right around the corner and knocking at our doors, but it's not there yet. There's still shopping to be made for selfish people who think 'is the season to be receivin', carols to be rehearsed (we don't have christmas carols here. I think I'm grateful) and turkeys to be baked (we're not a big turkey nation either).

To help me wait 'till next week, Julie from A cracked bat sent a very nice greetings card along with a little something inside it, just like my grandmother does, sending me canadian dollars I just store away since forever, because you never know when canadian dollars can come in handy. Julie not being my grandmother (she's neither Canadian nor nearly in the right age range), she was awesomely generous enough to selflessly send me this great card of one of my PC. Turns out I'm also a big Smoltz fan (that 90s rotation for the Braves...), which makes it twice more enjoyable.

Christmas + blogging community + general awesomeness does spell Connections, so this card is perfectly fitting.

Thanks a lot for the card and the card. One will end up in a top loader, and the other one on my fridge. I don't know which yet, though.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Autos and Hustlas intro

Good morning boys and girls. The topic for today will be autographed basketball cards.

But before all you baseball only aficionados flee to a friendlier place, please note that I finally got around to updating my want list, and I added my needs for 2014 and 2011. Yay !

Ok, let's have a look at those few Ebay pickups. I can't show everything because, well, some of them are for some of you guys, but since you'll be scanning them for the world to see, I feel calm and serene, as I know their destiny will be completed.

I fell in love with those Exquisite cards the first time I saw them on my computer screen.And I had no idea they were so thick. They're like a mini brick. A very light one, but it's at least a 120 pt card, if we can still call it a card. The card looks cool though, with the auto on clear plastic acetate (is that redundant ?). I really don't mind that it's Tim Hardaway in a college uniform. It's still Tim "crossover" Hardaway .

See, Julie, another patch ! I think this is my fourth or fifth. I'll soon be able to put together an entire napkin. This time, it's Earl the Pearl. There are two words in the english language that I just can't seem to manage to say out loud, for some weird reason : pearl, and squirrel. Go figure. I just hope I never need to blurt them out loud in an urgent situation.

Dee Brown is best remembered for his no look dunk during the Slam dunk contest, and for pumping his Pumps right before (great way of showing his sponsor). Besides that, his career was as memorable as that sticker auto.

The only reason I got the Dee Brown card was because I'd bet on that gorgeous auto of BJ Armstrong. The card isn't that great (terribly cropped photo and bad design), but the on card auto is. Plus, I've always liked that player, even though he was in the shadow of so many players, that I wouldn't even know where to begin. Great career nonetheless.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Your mama's an astronaut (and a nerd)

This past week, TJ back at The Junior Junkie's posted about some of his nerdy obsessions and came to the conclusion that he's proud to be a nerd.

And that we all are, by essence, since we collect cards, scan them and show them off on our blogs.

Of course, he's right. Damn right, even.And I'll admit it all the more easily that I'm a pretty cool dude with no popularity issues whatsoever. I've just always loved to collect cardboard (even though I forgot that love for 16 years, but don't worry, we're amply making up for lost time). TJ then asked us to write about our nerdiest possession. Besides cards, of course.

Let me just start by saying that I'm a false positive nerd. I don't care about popular tv shows or sci-fi shows, I don't obsess about Dr Who, I don't quote HG2G and  I haven't watched the next Star Wars trailer. Heck, I've never even been able to finish the last one. I know nothing about Star Trek, and considering how incredibly mind-numbingly boring the last Hobbit was, I'm really not sure I want to see the last one. I'll enjoy popular movies, but I'm more of an elitist nerd as far as my taste in movies go, even though my favorite movie is still White men can't jump (hence the title of this blog post). I'll watch Sideways or The Rookie each time I'm feeling a little blue, and Mulholland Drive and Donnie Darko when I want to see if a girl is worth dating. My favorite Tv show, like many, is The Wire, followed closely by Twin Peaks, so nothing original there, and there's never been anything funnier than Seinfeld or Arrested Development.

That being said, the nerdiest aspect about me is my job.

Because, you see, I work in a book store. Yup, I'm of a dying breed (well, in France, actually, we're alive and well, for many reasons that aren't relevant here, but let's just say Amazon can't lay their dirty hands on us) and I sell and tell people what to read day after day after day. Even worse : I sell comic books. More of the graphic novel kind than superheros, but there is an "american comics" section (yes, we call your comics american comics) that is alive and well, with french translations of Sin City, Walking Dead or Batman. Can't get much more nerdier than a guy among books all day, whose job it is to say which comic book is the best for someone who enjoyed Guardians of the galaxy this summer.

And yet, I date hot women.
Go figure.

To answer TJ's question: the coolest nerdiest thing I own is the Prince Paul autograph I got 10 years ago. A great artist who wrote a very nerdy note. I'll take it.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

To peel, to rip, to redeem

A few ebay pickups from he last couple of days

I don't know why I got that card. Probably because he was a great reliever and a Hall of famer, but I never really looked into him. I should ! A nice auto is a good place where to start. Especially for $5

 I already had the Stoudemire in that collection. And even though I hate those sleeved jerseys, I do like that nice orange colour. And at least, you know it (supposedly) comes from that December 25 game. Not so strangely, Knicks cards are really cheap right now. Perfect.

This looks like a nice two colored swatch, but it's actually part of what seems to be the shorts. I'm not sure how that qualifies as a National Treasure, and I'm not sure I really want a piece of shorts in one of my cards, but hey, why not, and it's still a nice looking card !

I wanted a Charles Oakley auto. So, for some strange reason, I bid on that redemption card. And I won. Then, I noticed it was for a Panini Select card (they're horrible). And on the back, they mention that you should get it within 6 to 8 weeks, but to get back to them if you have nothing in 8 months...hmmm...Maybe I should keep it that way and not redeem it. Just like the Finest card in the 90s we wouldn't peel off just in case it'd be worth something. Everybody will be redeeming those cards, leaving very few unscratched. I'll be rich. At last. Thank you Panini.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Something old, something new, something graded and something blue

Today, I received two comc packages. Yay ! One from purchases I made on their website a month ago, and another from cards from my mailbox, to which i send my ebay purchases that can't be shipped to France, that I had them forward to me...a month ago.

There's a little bit of everything : Blue Jays, Griffey, nice inserts, vintage, basketball and a few for some of you guys out there. And like I said last time, most of those I had completely forgotten about, considering the amount of cards I've purchased since (and haven't received)...

I can be very easily influenced. Each time I see a cool card on a blog, I'll chase it. So some of those are thanks to you guys.

I was wondering what a commemorative patch was. Since then, I've gotten a couple of Knicks ones, and I'm still undecided about how I feel. They're definitely cheezy, like something that would have its place on my grandmother's chimney.

More for my Slideshow collection. I love Piazza as much as I don't care about Gonzalez. I think I only need 5 or 6 to complete the two sets.

I love all those '93 Upper Deck inserts, especially when there're holograms involved. I'm such a 90s kid. I pulled a couple (the Ryan, Mattingly and Ripken to be precise) at the time, and I'm very happy to add some to my collection. The Mays and Mantle would look way better without that Upper Deck shirt in the background.

More cards for my Iooss and Lovero collections.

Yeah, I know, more 93 UD inserts. Amazing that I'd never picked those up. It's probably pure nostalgia, but those are exactly what I expect of inserts. Nice, simple design, nothing fancy with a strong lineup and that don't come one in every pack.

The Kid knows he's cool.

I wondered what the Hot Gloves inserts looked like. Those aren't the toughest to find, compared to the 94 ones, but I still really like it. I might chase the 94 Griffey one day. Who knows.

 I remember Nick writing about that insert set, and he got me curious. The least I can say is that it's unlike anything I've ever seen !

I'd never heard of that insert set, and was just browsing through comc's Carter cards. Like everything in 94 UD, there's a lot of foil on there, but it looks great ! Plus, it's the electric diamond version.

When Matt sent me an encased Halladay Pristine card, I wanted to know more about the set. And I found that on card Phelps auto for .70cts, so I pulled the trigger (it's very itchy). It doesn't really scan that well, as it looks much nicer in real life. It's all shiny and all.

Ok, next up, VINTAGE !

Some random vintage for my quest to get one card from every post '52 Topps set. Not exactly an impossible one to accomplish.

This one I didn't get at random. It must have been in one of Nick's Frankenstein sets. It's a great photo of a great player.

A wacky card from a wacky set. That halo is such a great idea.

I'll probably end up trying to get as many Munson cards as I can. Obviously, I wasn't around to watch him play (I was born in 1977. In France. I didn't know what a catcher was before 1993), but everything I read about him told a great story. Despite the tragic ending. But at least, the Yankees let him have a mustache.

 Another great player. Another tragic ending. Planes weren't too safe back then for baseball players (and still aren't, as we saw a few years ago). The card is in bad shape, which explains how I got it for $2, but is still a welcome addition to my "iconic cards of iconic players" collection.

I bought it for a very simple reason : the great horizontal picture.

I wanted a Frank Robinson card, so I got a cheap one (he'd still play one year after that, before becoming the first Black manager ever). I wonder why I didn't get his 73 card, as it looks much better. Ah well, it'll be for next time.

Finally, here's the major card of the bunch. a 1960 Topps Willie Mays. It's the most I've ever paid for a card ($17), and I don't regret it in the least. I love it already. Too bad it's been slabbed and encased. I'm not sure yet what to do with it, if I'll try and break it open or not. I'd much prefer to have it in a nice screw down instead. And I hate the idea of giving grades to cards, i don't want to make them self-conscious.

So there you go ! I hope my next shipment gets here soon...