Friday, February 27, 2015

J'ai été Zippy Zappé

Just like that, I've been Zippy Zapped !

Zippy is our portal to the wonderful world of Asian cards. Especially those elusive Card Gen cards I had no idea existed before reading about Zippy's trades. Those are his calling cards. I send out Biebers, he sends really cool Japanese impossible to find cards, this must be what you call Yin and Yang.

 A couple of nice autos (ok, I hadn't seen this at first, but the Lawrie is a facsimile. It's still very real in my heart though). Brett Lawrie will really be missed this season.

My first taste of 2015 Topps ! I'm pretty sure I'll be getting 10 copies of that cards from Chris's break, but I'm happy for the sneak peak.

Shiny cards and parallels and refractors that confuse the hell out of me. I wasn't even able to track down those Bowman cards. They aren't chrome. Or draft & prospects. Or draft & prospects chrome.

I love those soccer cards (I don't really know why Jimmy Rollins made his way in the envelope, but I still like the card a lot !). Like every european on the planet, I used to play soccer (I stopped to play tennis, and then basketball), and I still watch a lot of games whenever they're on TV. Which means about every other day. Those are all from French clubs (except the last one), in case you were wondering. And I'll bet you were wondering.

Thanks a lot Kenny, it was a great surprise getting those cards in the mail. I'll have a return package sent out your way real soon !

Monday, February 23, 2015

Box Break : 2004 Upper Deck

During my pack opening frenzy this summer, one of the boxes I got was from 2004 Upper Deck. But since it was in the middle of 20-something other boxes, it went unnoticed. For Christmas, I got another one (series 2 this time), and it hit me.

It's an amazing set, worthy of Upper Deck. The design isn't perfect, mainly because of the foil used for the players' names, but other than that, there's nothing to complain about. And it's weird, because I usually like to make fun of manufacturers. Ah well.

First, the inserts. The least interesting part of the release, actually.

That Di Maggio card is supposedly worth something. I'm not very impressed.

Ok. They look like Topps inserts. And I'm not sure it's a compliment.

Ditto. There is a Pedroia in the bunch that makes it worth it, though.

And now, for a display of what photos on cards should be :

Two stages of broken bats.

Flying infielders !

Pre-season always makes for interesting scenery. I'm not an expert, but it doesn't look, like Florida...As for Vlady, I wonder if he yet again swung at a pitch that was way, way out. Unless he hit a pitch way, way out.

 Not sure Jorge really needed to slide here, but great effort.

On deck action ! If I wasn't lazy, I'd have a closer look at who's at bat.

A couple gold glovers (yes, I'm obsessed with them)

See how the foot aligns perfectly with the border ?

Ok, they did get lazy there. Same game, same photograph, same location for the photo, same last four letters, but I can't blame them for that.

Oh, and on an unrelated note, you may notice that I added some guys to my PC (right there on the right). Collecting Blue Jays players is fun, but it's even more fun to collect a whole bunch of other players I like. Starting with guys that have won more than 10 Gold Gloves during their career (I told you it was my obsession). So if you have any extras you'd like to send my way in one of our usual trades, that'd be great !

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My 10 0000th page viewed will be the following : vintage from Mr Hoyle

I wanted to make a special post for the 10 000th page viewed on this blog, but I realized by looking at the stats that many of those pages come from robots (damn you, robots). And not the cool kind of robots that collect baseball cards. No. The kind of robots that roam the internet looking for...hmmm...I have no idea, actually.

But enough about stats, let's talk about cards. And more precisely, a nice stack I received today from Mark Hoyle, who doesn't blog but is very active in the community nevertheless, and who likes to drop vintage bombs on bloggers everywhere.

This is the third package I've received from Mark, and he always manages to completely surprise me.

Always nice to add my very first '56 Topps to the (growing) vintage collection

My first Bowman TvSet ! I'm very happy to have one, as now I can say they're as ugly in person as they are on screen ! But they are still fun though, and I'm sure kids loved those at the time.

My first ever 1960 Fleer ! Not the most memorable design (I've been chasing the Mays, CLemente and Koufax '63 Fleer cards for some time now, but the cheap ones don't show up very often), but again, happy to add one to the collection.

Mark knows how much I love '72 Topps ! Three Orioles (and good ones too) and a player named Cookie. Can't beat that.

I'm also a big fan of '73 Topps, so yay

As for the PC portion :

A little bit of everything. Some oddballs (I couldn't track down that Barfield card. It's from a 12 card Grand slammers set, but I didn't find any trace of it), a minor leaguer, a pop up, a card from the 90s, one from the 2000's and one from last year.

Now THAT'S a jumbo card. It's 3 1/2 by 5" and I love it. Apparently it's from the Baseball talks set, that came with records, I suppose.

You can't tell from the scan, but those are oversize cards also (and roughly the same size as the Jimmy Key Topps one). This time from the All Star set. Really nice cards too.

A random oddball, from 1985 (cool card)

I have no idea why Mark included this one (along with some random 1990 Classic), but fun fact : Steve Luebber played for the Blue Jays. Ok, he only pitched one game. Ok, he only pitched one inning. Ok, he only pitched to 3 batters. And didn't retire any. He did retire after that.

Mark knows I love to rip open packs, regardless of their era. So it was really fun getting those three.

Hmmm okay, define "years to come" ?

If I remember correctly, this is the first time O Pee Chee came up with a design of its own, instead of just copying Topps. Kids would've been excited to pull a Juan Gonzalez card back then. *cough*

The UD pack yielded a card I needed for my PC, along with a couple Red Sox dupes. Which is fitting, since Mark collects Boston sports teams. I'll bet this was on purpose.

The basketball pack was loaded with stars, including a Jordan base card. I should have it graded (ok, even a perfect 10 would be worth $5, but still). Not every day you pull a fresh Jordan from a pack of 24 years old cards.

And finally here are....hmmm...what look like stamp-like mini cards of Wilt Chamberlain.

Thanks a lot Mark for all those fun cards, many of which I had no idea existed in the first place !

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Exchanging BJs (yeah I know, I'm not too proud either)

As you may know, I collect Blue Jays baseball cards. Any player, any year, any brand. Funny thing is, I don't even call myself a hardcore fan. Of course, I follow the players and the team and I'll watch games regularly, but I probably watch as many Dodgers, Pirates, Mets or yes, Yankees games. But the great thing about having a team collection is that it helps focus. And also it helps chase obscure sets and oddballs.

And the more cards you receive from that team, the more duplicates you get. Which is why I reached out to Doug from Sportscards from the dollar store and asked if he'd like some of my Blue Jays dupes that fit his PC. He said sure, let's do this, and before I even had a chance to put a stack together for him, a package was in my mailbox full of Blue Jays and Knicks. Here are the ones I actively needed for my collection :

This is a 1989 Mini UK card. Which must mean it was distributed, or meant to be, in the UK. In any case, it's the first time I'd heard about it.

A nice mix of cards, including an 83 Topps I was missing, two veterans and a couple of vey promising youngsters.

Another Aaron Sanchez, this time from this year's Update series. My very first one.

Doug had an extra sealed set of 2013 Swing into safety, and was kind enough to send it my way. Among the 32 cards was this mascot card (can't go wrong with mascot cards) and, even more importantly, an Omar Vizquel card as a Blue Jay. The only card showing him in a Toronto uniform, before Topps added him to their 2014 Fond Farewells insert set. Woohooo. Granted, it's weird seeing him in those colors.

Finally, some Knicks cards, including a very nice Shumpert, numbered 11/25.

Thanks a lot Doug for the cards and for a great mix. I'll have some for you in the mail real soon !

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Box Break : 2013 Archives

Allen & Ginter, Archives and to a lesser extent Heritage are the three sets that brought me back to collecting. Having missed entirely the first decade of the 21st century, those were new to me and I really liked the idea and execution. I'm a little over them now, as I've discovered the joys of true vintage, but I still enjoy adding them to my collection.

I know some of you hate Archives for a lot of very good reasons, but I just like the paper stock, general feel, and the inserts are pretty cool.

I usually never buy a box of cards for more than $50. Mostly because of shipping charges, because a $50 box comes out quickly to an $80 one. As a general rule, I don't want my cards to cost me more than .10 ct on average (it's easy to achieve when you buy $15 boxes with  500 cards in them), but when I saw a box of 2013 Archives on a french website that sells some baseball wax (but mainly basketball, of course), I decided to pull the trigger, especially since the box was $80 shipped. No extra shipping and handling, no customs to handle, no waiting for a couple of weeks. I'll treat myself to a nice valentine gift.

You all know them by now, of course (I'm very late to the party), but here are some nice base cards. Even though I enjoy seeing players on older designs, I find it weird to put players in the lineup who actually had a card from that year. Ah well.

Ryno looks awesome in a 72 frame.

Griffey !

Look at how happy McCutchen is. He could play in a commercial for dog food.

Now, for a look at my "hits"

A couple of very good pitchers on very shiny SN cards. Very strange to see 1990 Topps in shiny gold.

Those are the SPs. Which explains that those are not from the 4 main designs (except for Frank White).

I have absolutely nothing to say about those All Star inserts. Hold on. I do : the backs tell interesting stories (phew).

1969 stickers. Not a bad Yankee lineup.

A stadium CLub triumvirate. I would've preferred the middle guy (Griffey), but you get what you get. That's also one very shiny card.
 I like the idea of using designs from other sports, such as the 72 Basketball set.

 Those are from a football set, apparently

Ooooh, a redemption card ! Now all I need to find is an LCS within driving distance that still carries the giveaway packs !

And finally, the main reason I got that box in the first place : Fan favorites autos ! I absolutely love those and I'm quite happy with the two that I pulled. I'm planning on chasing as many as possible.

So all in all, the box was ok, but nothing too impressive. I only got the basic cards with basic odds (nothing over 1:24). No relics, no printing plates, no triple autos, no mini framed autos etc etc. At .30 cts per card, it's a little too much in retrospect, but I still really enjoyed ripping open those packs, I don't regret it one bit. Which is a good thing, as this probably will be the only Archives box I ever buy (I'll save that sentence for further reference).