Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Trade post : Better than Beckett

A few months ago, Dan from It's like having my own card shop offered to send out some beat up vintage cards. I raised my hand, offered to pay for the stamps, he said no way and just sent out the cards to me, even though he had no idea (I suppose) who I was. Gotta love the blogosphere.
Anyway, it took me a while, but I sent him a few cards as a thank you. And to thank me for my thank you, Dan sent me yet another batch of great cards. Now, it's natural that I have to send more D-backs his way, as a thank you for his thank you for my thank you. It's the polite and normal thing to do. It's that kind of behavior that allows me to blend perfectly into the realms of high society.

Really, really nice relic of Bautista ! The lack of logo isn't too much of a problem for me on those National Treasures sets. I wonder if that wouldn't be a Pirates jersey though, doesn't look like Toronto colors to me.

Shiny Stromans ! Might as well get as many as possible while he's injured. The 2015 Topps is actually the foil parallel, which means I needed it ! The Topps Chrome is from Topps chrome update. I did not know that existed.

Modern (annoying) parallels and more welcomed additions to the team PC. That yellow one is the first I've seen of its kind.

Mini !

 Cards from 2005...this has got to be the Bermuda triangle of baseball cards. Lots of cardboard were thrown into it, but none came out. Such a strange period.

 Cool Carters !

Nothing beats the 90s. NOTHING. That Halladay is actually very, very shiny, and the Finest is a refractor, back when it meant something.

Thanks again for all those great cards, Dan, you really sent a little bit of everything.And it turns out that I particularly enjoy a little bit of everything !

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Do we choose the players, or do they choose us ?

Here are a couple of autos I picked up for $4 each off ebay last week

The first one, because Michael Cooper is one of the all time best defensive players, who spent his entire career with a Lakers team that brought him 5 rings. Not too shabby.

The second one because...this one's a little bit trickier. He's better known for having played for 12 different teams in 14 seasons (yes, that's a record) and for never being happy about where he was playing. His numbers aren't that ridiculous, but considering his stats from his highlight years with Jason Kidd and Jamal Mashburn, he was an overall disappointment and his years in the nba were marred by injuries. But I still collect his cards, and his auto was very high on my want list (good thing it's very high only on MY want list, which means you can find them dirt cheap).

Here's why.
During one of my trips to the US over 20 years ago, I found myself in a JC Penny with a friend of mine and his grandmother. Who, for some reason, absolutely wanted to buy me something too, because she didn't feel it was right that her grandson could get some clothes, and not that French guy she had never seen before. I'm a very polite and well mannered guy (well, for a French, that is), so I assured her it was ok, but she really insisted. I was looking at some sports stuff and jerseys (of course), and she came up to me basically telling me to choose one, that she'd be very happy to pay for it. Weeeeeell okaaaaaay, if you insist. There wasn't that much choice, so I narrowed it down to Pippen and...Jim Jackson. He had hardly played until then because of a contract dispute, but he seemed solid. Pippen, of course, was Pippen. I decided to go with the lesser known player, mainly because I knew I'd never find that jersey in France (Bulls stuff was of course everywhere) and I'd be able to show off on French playgrounds (yeah, right).

I still have that jersey. I even wear it from time to time. And when I wear it during pick up games with my friends, they'll always say 'oh right, you have Jim Jackson's jersey, why on earth did you buy that ?'. I guess they'll be impressed another time.

And I have a bunch of my PC that are just really random and have nothing to do with the skills of said players. I used to collect Danny Tartabull and Royce Clayton cards, and I can't even remember why. I also collected Pooh Richardson cards, but that's mainly because of his nickname. Pooh. That's really cool.

Speaking of choosing players for strange reasons, you may have noticed that I added Warren Moon to my PC (and Lawrence Taylor but that's because I kinda collect Giants cards). The reason behind that dates back to 1988. We all went to get ice cream with my parents and two brothers (we were living in NY back then) and Baskin Robbins were having a special offer. You chose 3 flavors, and they'd put your ice cream in a football mini helmet. We each picked one, and needless to say, we knew absolutely nothing about football. I'm not even sure we knew football even existed. So this was random at its fullest. My older brothe chose the Eagles. My younger brother the Bengals. And I went with the Oilers. And when I finally did catch up with football a few years later, the big star QB was Warren Moon. I ended up even seeing their meltdown against the Bills during the playoffs in 93 (famously known as 'The comeback'), so I'm not sure I chose that wisely. This does not mean I'm a Titans fan, let's not go overboard here. It's not their logo that I picked randomly, after all...

And yes, the hoarder that I am still has that helmet, 27 years later.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I had a dream. And a carrot.

When I was (much) younger and in my teens, in the early 90s, I was obsessed with basketball. And I mean, really obsessed. I had a ton of posters, I'd look at my Skybox, Hoops and Upper Deck cards religiously, read magazines and sometimes catch a game on Tv. The NBA was very popular in Europe thanks of course to one guy : Michael Jordan. I was a Knicks fan (still am, curiously, even though I'm supposed to know better by now), and Jordan famously destroyed Knicks teams over and over again, but I till couldn't hold it against him. I'd wake up in the middle of the night to watch The Finals (an 8pm start means 2 a.m here, so it's the same circus now for the World Series), and too bad if it was a school night. Too bad for school, that is. And I'm glad I did, as those 5 a.m memories of memorable Jordan shots (against the Suns, against the Jazz, and that game 6 against the Blazers) are still very vivid after all these years.

Here's one of the posters I had

A friend of mine brought it back from one of his trips to Scotsdale. Nothing impressive, but I'm always very attached to gifts, especially those that are spot on my obsession (offer me Bieber cards, and I'm all happy. Well, all happy to pass them on, but still). Needless to say, I loved that poster. I'm not even sure I saw Space Jam at the time, but I was familiar with the awesome commercial he made with Bugs Bunny.

And I loved the shoes.
It's impossible to dissociate Jordan from his Nike line. That was pure marketing genius. We all wanted them. Nobody could afford them (they went for $150 at the time, and $150 from 1989-1993 (after that, the models sucked) aren't the same as $150 from today), but every basket ball fan would drool all over them.

And now, 23 years later, here I am. A nostalgic man (boy) with a little money on the side and who can afford to buy those precious shoes. And of course, Nike being Nike, they understood a while back that a lot of people were willing to dish out big bucks to finally get licensed copies of their favorite shoes from way back, instead of paying a lot of money for Chinese copies. Stupid nostalgia...

The Hare Jordan 7 retro shoes were released on Saturday. They were sold out in 5 minutes, but because I'm persistent and refreshed my browser every 30 seconds just in case, I was able to land a pair a couple of hours after its launch.

I know they're overpriced. I know I'm being taken advantage of because I'm weak (but hey, give me a break, I don't own an Iphone or an Ipad, so that must mean I can be saved). I know they were sewn together by little Chinese children.I know their marketing schemes are in full effect on me.

But I don't care.
I've wanted them since forever.
Those are the shoes that were on that poster.
And I never thought I'd see the day when they'd be on my feet.

And now they are.

And they look absolutely perfect.

But to be honest, I only got them for one reason : to have a new cool box to put my cards in

Monday, May 18, 2015

Papoy walks the plank : a box break

Matt already showed off his part of our box break, so now it's my turn.

The subject : a box of Topps Turkey Red.
The outcome : I won
Consequence : it's ok, we're still friends, s'all good.

The only relic to come out of the box. They promised two, so we feel a little cheated. I always seem to catch some White Sox relics in our box breaks.

Here's the big hit of the box. Probably the biggest player you can hope a parallel of. It's weird because even though the base card is an SP, the parallels aren't. Go figure. It still sells for about $20, so that's not too bad.

What those 5 cards have in common, besides the Delgado and the Big Unit being really cool cards, is that those are short prints (seeded 1 in 4)

I don't know how to put a color background here, so you'll just have to squint to see that those are white bordered parallels.

The red stands out just fine enough ! There's one per pack. It's the Topps Gold of Topps Turkey.

 All in all, I like that set. Some stand out, like that Matsui and Vladdy

The checklist includes old timers, but not too many either.

The checklists depict nice action shots.

But sometimes....

sometimes you get Tigers players who really look creepy. Kenny Rogers' smile creeps me out, and there's something very wrong with Maroth's white teeth. Brrr

Thanks again Matt for those fun box breaks, and I'm looking forward to the next one, as always !

Friday, May 15, 2015

Trade Post : Bob Walk the plank

Matt and I have been exchanging cardboard for awhile now, and one thing that can define our trading is that it's consistent and regular. And, of course, exciting ! It's important to try and spice things up from time to time to keep things interesting. But hey, I know we'll be in our honeymoon phase for a long, long time, so I'm not too worried about it. The one thing I know is that I'm always very happy to get a package from Matt, as I know it'll be filled with cherry picked Blue Jays goodness. There were also the cards from our combined box break, but more on that another day !

His selection this time had an autograph theme to it :

A nice looking Autographics !

You can never go wrong with a George Bell auto, especially since I don't think there are that many out there to begin with ! The back of the card states that the card was personally signed, even though it's a sticker auto. Tss.

What a great looking card ! Big swatch, nice on card auto and the lack of licence doesn't show too much. A shame he's out for the season, but this means chasing Stroman's cards this year will be a bit easier.

There are a lot (and I mean, a LOT) of Vernon Wells autos to chase, so each time someone helps me with one is a blessing. One of my all time favorites, and a great looking set.

And finally, Matt was kind (and crazy) enough to enclose my very first Blue Jay printing plate ! A gorgeous 1/1 thanks to that blue (well, Cyan, I suppose) frame. Kind of a weird idea, especially when you add the fact that there's a normal card back to it, but I suppose they wanted to make it super special. Not everyday I get a printing plate in a trade, so thanks a lot Matt !

Once again, I'm all happy with all of those, each with its own particular feel.
Some cards are already almost on your doorstep, and I'm looking forward to the next batch !

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Griffey base card project : help needed

Kids, I need help.

The good thing about the month of May here in France is that we get a ton of holidays. May 1st is Labor day, on the 8th we celebrate the end of WW2, today has something to do with Jesus and so does May 25th (well, with the Holy spirit this time). We're such a catholic nation...Though it means that the country comes to a halt (we also get 5 weeks paid vacation per year, and they're good from May of one year to May of the other year, so a lot of people use their remaining ones right now), it also means I have more time to sort through my cards.

And it's precisely what I did with my Griffey cards. I don't have that many to start with (around 300 or 400), but I'd definitely like to focus on base cards. Inserts and parallels and subsets are really (really) cool, but one step at a time.

So just in case you have some collecting dust somewhere, here's what I need :

Allen & Ginter : 2006/2007/2008/2010
Archives : 2012
Bowman : I only have 1990 & 2010
Donruss : 95 / 97 / 2001/2003
Flair : 94/95/96/97/98/99
Fleer : 94 / 95 / 97
Leaf : 90/97/2002/2003
Pinnacle : 92 / 93 / 98
Score : 94 / 95 /98
Stadium Club : 96 / 97 /2000/2001/2008/2014
Topps : 97 /98/2000/2001/2002/2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009/2010
Ultra: 92 / 96/97/2000/2001/2002/2003/2004/2005/2006
Upper Deck : 97 /99/2000/2001/2002/2003/2006/2008

thanks a lot !

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Let's look at lots of lots

One of my favorite Ebay sellers (ie one who offers low international shipping charges) had some items I was interested in for some of you guys. As is often the case in such occasions, I'll browse to see if there's anything I may want to add to my collection to lower shipping charges (that would be the title of my autobiography : lowering shipping charges. It'd be a very sad and uneventful autobiography). For once, he was offering some lots. When all was said and done, each card came out to about .15cts shipped. This may just be a record. The randomness of the sets involved may be another record.

Let's get the basketball portion over with, with that cheap sticker auto of one of two former Knick players trying to help Lebron advance to the conference finals

So those are the silver parallel versions of those 97 Spx cards. Even though it's a little too much (and in the 90s, that's saying a lot), I still like those cards. Strangely enough, the Andrew Jones card doesn't have a 3D hologram that creepily looks at you when you turn the card.

 Those are very shiny refractor cards

Yup, still very shiny, still refractors.

There were 7 more of those, that I got mainly for the couple of Blue Jays prospects. But I'm glad to see that there's Carlos Rodon in there, even though I had no idea who he was 10 days ago when I won the auction.

This set is so boring...took it because there were some players for fellow bloggers (sorry) and a Bautista.

Topps Tek ! I don't know if it's because I'm not very smart, or just because I don't want to spend time taking notes trying to understand a set, but those types of sets confuse me. Do people actually purposely try to complete those ? I like the way they look and feel (aaaaah, acetate and plastic), and I wouldn't mind chasing a few autos, but the different backgrounds and parallels are just plain silly. Wave, SPiral brick, Spirals, Grid, Laser ice, shatter, Circuit board, Pipes, Cracked ice, Zig zag, Stripe, shatter stripe... and parallels: Gold, Ice Disco, Clouds, Black & White, Red Storm, Blue dots, Charcoal galactic (say what ?)

So I got Spiral veterans and retired

And grid (let me check...Yup, those are Grid) mix of players :

Next up, more shiny (very shiny) refractor cards, this time from Bowman reprints. Part of me wants to hate those (chrome, blue, refractors...Blah), but who am I kidding, I think they look great ! And until I can add the original cards, this will do.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Box Break : free rollin'

hon′or roll`

1. list of students who have earned grades above a specific average during a semester or school year.
2. list of names place, of citizens who have served or died in the armed forces.

Here's the last box I bought from Dave & Adam's. It was cheap enough ($15) and it promised one game used item per box, plus Ichiro was pictured on it. I figured hey, why not ? This is such a strange product, though.

You get one player per position, one for each league.

 Pitcher and catcher.



Same thing with the AL

Then there are 9 prospects that look completely random to me, but it's because I'm too lazy to check Baseball America from that period.

And then, each Dream 9 player (except prospects) gets 4 cards each commemorating milestones from his career.

As for the player selection...well, per the very definition of Honor roll, I gather they didn't die or serve in the armed forces (not that I know of anyway). So it looks like they took players who had a very good year in 2001, which is confirmed by the backs of the cards.

Let's have a look at All star starting rosters for 2001

AL : Ichiro / A-Rod / Manny / Bret Boone / Juan Gonzalez / John Olerud / Edgar Martinez / Cal Ripken / Ivan Rodriguez / Clemens .

6 players included in the checklist.

NL : Luis Gonzalez / Todd Helton / Bonds / Sosa / Larry Walker / Piazza / Chipper / Jeff Kent / Aurilia / Big Unit

6 players also

At least, it's coherent.

So you have 18 presentation cards + 9 prospects + 4 x 18 cards + 1 checklist = 100 total
This checks out.

The good news is that there were very few duplicates (around a dozen) and that the box yielded a complete set. Plus, I like that they mixed some boring white backs with some action and stadium shots.

Of course, no 2000s product would be complete without a swatch card

If you look closely, you'll notice it's green. At least the back of the card mentions it's from an Athletic's game (in case we wouldn't have guessed), which is the team he played for in 2001. This is so consistent, it makes me dizzy.

And of course, there's also a parallel set. I was lucky enough to pull a SN Griffey, so yay. Even though it's the exact same card, but with little numbers on the bottom right to show it's extra special.

Strange, consistent product that I actually enjoyed putting together !