Friday, September 15, 2017

Hidden Gems: Back it up

Sometimes, a hidden gem is obvious to me. One glance and it's earned a spot in the binder. Others become gems because of a change of circumstance, while a 3rd just grow on you. All gems, though, have that chance to solidify their gem status the more you look at them. And you find a new reason what makes a gem so wonderful. This installment of Hidden Gems started with the first, and found new status because of something other than the main subject.

What more can I really say about this? The white of Lilly's uniform just pops on this card and becomes the focus. But then the whole card forms this amazing view with the coordinated colors of the design, the well blended green of the grass and bushes, the two patches of dirt and the soft blue fence with contrasting blue ad of Merrill Lynch. And while the perfect framing of Ted Lilly makes it an immediate gem, it's the background of the card that really gives it a brighter shine.

Now, I'm going to break rules a bit here. The idea of Hidden Gems is to showcase those cards that look great, as well as amazing music you may have missed. This week's video, though, is by no means a lesser known song. For the artist, it would be his signature song. It spent weeks at the top of charts around the world. It won Grammys and MTV awards. And you know you want to hit "play" below.

So, Jeff - how is this a Hidden Gem? You must admit this is an infectious song, which samples one of the greatest bass lines ever. The reason I have tied this song with the above card is the background. Specifically, if you play the video starting at 3:26 . I love those background dancing fly girls. But the two on the left - they are the best. It's obvious this section of the video focuses on Stanley Burrell, but the beat of the song doesn't let their feet remain still, and they each bust out a few moves while Hammer is hurting us. I wonder how many takes were rejected and they just got tired and cut this one into the song.

Also, if you are the girl on the far right reading this, call me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fat pack wars

At Walmart the other day, and they had restocked their clearance cards. Lots of blasters of 2016 Topps (ick), Score football (yuck), hanger boxes of 2016 Topps (see: ick) and other none interesting discounted items. There was a fat pack of 2016 Allen and Ginter, and since they also refilled the current product, I picked up a pack of the 2017 offering.

So let's pit them head to head and see who wins the battle. Each pack comes with 14 cards, so we can have a pretty even fight. The scoring will just be subjective to my whim on each head to head match up.

Right out of the pack we have the late Jose Fernandez up against Joey Bats. When you put the sets side by side, I am reminded that 2016 looks better. 2017 isn't horrible, but a step down from last year. And man, that Fernandez is riding high. Is that......

YES!!!!! Just like the Gravitational Waves card, Jose is miscut!!!! Holy moley what a nice start. Jose was going to get the win anyway, but sealed it being miscut. Ditto with science over Andrew Miller. So current score is '16 with two and '17 with zero.

Hmmm. Tough one here. Papelbon is also miscut, but gotta love the specs on Urias. Ok, the Dodger puts 2017 on the board.

Side note: here is the backs of those three cards. Only I can be this excited over crappy cards.

In a battle of who has a better left side of the face, I think I'll give the nod to Healy. The seriousness of his expression beats out Steinberg. Plus, I never liked that goofy logo Topps put on the non-baseball players in 2016. Had potential, but never really worked. All tied up 2-2.

Rookie card of former White Sox Frankie Montas against Jonathan Villar. Both players are Dominican, by the way. I think Villar's not looking at the camera is a bit unsettling, so 2016 goes back into the lead.

Adam Jones against a fence loaded with locks. Jones was a lock for a while as an All Star, but has had a couple bad years. The locks take it, tying the score back at 3.

First inserts have Josh Donaldson against Anthony Rizzo. Still hate the Cubs. 2016 back in the lead.

The other inserts put parrots against fish. The Mascots insert is fun, but the fish cards scream Allen and Ginter. Hard to bypass those, so we are tied yet again.

All the minis go into battle at the same time to get an odd number so we will have a winner in this war. I needed the mayor and the Molitor. 2017's are meh. 2016 noses back in front.

Franenset or not, buybacks that are NOT A&G do not belong in A&G!!!! Also, that Trea Turner was one of three cards I need to finish 2016. Down to two cards needed, which is also the same size as the lead 2016 has in this war.

Easiest battle:a mustache that grand trumps all. 7-4 is the lead now. By math, this war is finished, but let's play it out.

Ex White Sox Marcus Semien against Maikel Franco. Now unlike the Villar card, Franco looking away is far less creepy, plus I needed the Franco for the set build. 7-5.

Final cards pit Chris Archer against Brooke Hogan. Now, I can't stand the Hogans. Sure, Hulk was the man at one time, but I use that is the VERY past tense. He was a jerk worker in wrestling and a bigger jerk away from it. And I have to admit, the feud Archer has with the Astros Orbit is brilliantly funny. But I am going to give the nod to Hogan for two reasons. First, I needed the card and second - #feminism.

And there you have i......wait, what?

2017 BONUS CARD!!!! Yup, I think the buyback landed me a 15th card in the 2017 pack. And it's a White Sox. So that brings the final score to 7-7 and DAMMIT!!!!

(goes to Walmart for 2 more packs)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Desk cleaning

I am on vacation this week. In fact, I don't have to return to work until Sept 6th. I spent 6 vacation days to get 11 days off. It's been nice to sleep later. I can't get too used to that, though. I have a honey do list I need to get to, though how well my wallet wants to help with some of the list is another question.

What's the exchange rate of Chiclets?

This extra time off work does give me the ability to clean off the stacks and stacks of cards around my office. One of the stacks and stacks came from Kerry at Cards on Cards. I honestly cannot state how long I have had these two bags of cards. Better late than never, but still - step up your game, Jeff. I need to be better. Kerry sent over a fine range of White Sox, so let's gander at a small sample.

Nice range of Thomas cards. That Select Big Stick insert on the left looks SO much nicer in person. Really, If you can find one of the others from the checklist, get it. If Topps decides to bring back Gallery, we can expect it to not look as nice as that one of the Big Hurt.

In the category of "huh" come these three cards. They are, left to right Henry "Zeke" Bonura, Mike Robertson and Moe Berg. And yes, I know who ex-spy Moe Berg is, but I never knew he was a White Sox. Robertson's career? 39 games.

The Sale is super duper shiny, which means it scanned like crap. I wanted to show that Molina because I haven't thought about how far back MLB has done the pandering for causes. And before you start assaulting me, I think cancer and a hundred other things are bad. My point is don't just use pink sweat bands and bats, or blue ribbons or any of the other stuff MLB (and the other big sports) do. So much in the leagues make MAJOR money - just make substantial donations. Giving a bit of proceeds from the sale of a pink ball cap is disingenuous that you are helping.

Recent Heritage releases. Quintana is now helping the enemy. Rodon is coming along well. And Purke really likes those goofy glasses.

1987 OPC. Yummy. I love Turkey Red. Almost finished the 2010 insert set, and I think I need to collect other years it existed as well.

Lastly are three Topps stickers from 1981 & 82. I kept these stickers away from the Sale card so he wouldn't cut them up. Kerry, sorry it took me so long to post these, but by no means is related to how thankful I am to receive them. Now if I can only mail back the stack I have for you. Then again, the longer I wait, the bigger the stack gets.

I'll just keep piling cards on cards.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Back in the house

Unlike another couple blogs, my buyback frankenset is incredibly stalled. I don't search ebay much for the stamped cards. I don't buy a lot of packs that would contain buybacks. I don't hit enough card shows to find them for sale in boxes. But is all cases, I think that buybacks are far overpriced. Then again, I tend too be a cheap skate.

All skate, reverse.
Fortunately, the owner of one of the other blogs I mentioned is going gang busters on his frankenset build. I refer to Shane over at Shoebox Legends. Shane is picking up buybacks from COMC and Ebay, with the Ebay purchases usually being lots. And since Shane's current set is more than twice the size of mine (464 cards), there are cards within the lots that create dupes. And Shane is generous to share many of his duplicates with me. Let's have a gander at a recent PWE I received and see who made the cut into my set.

First, we start with the keepers, as these are all card numbers I currently do not have in the set.

Some day, I'll build a 1973 set. I love getting any '73 cards I can, so '73 buybacks are great additions.

Nice view of old Yankee stadium on the Barrios card.

Manning and Manwaring. Those are great caps Cleveland had in the late 70's. So there are seven cards that made the set. But Shane sent 9, so in homage to Shane's posts, let's see what happens to the other 2 cards.

A nice 1973 card of Jim McAndrew. Definite spring training posed shot, but it is a '73 card. And I mentioned before my love of 1973 Topps. This is card #436, so let's see what I currently have in that spot.

A 1979 Cards of Hector Cruz. Dig that Astroturf, and the Sansabelt polyester pull overs of the Giants. This is a no-brainer.

Out you go, Hector. The other dupe I received was card #181.

1978 Topps buyback of Astros Ken Forsch. This looks like a card that would be a shop job, but Ken had been an Astro for many years by the time '78 Topps came along. What card currently is #181 in my set?

1977 A's Ken McMullen. Neither are amazing sets, and neither are great images either. I am a big fan of Houston bringing back the orange caps to their uniforms. McMullen is also posing at spring training. So who wins the battle of the Kens?

I appreciate the card, Shane, but I need to keep that McMullen in the set. Too nice of a background. With the 7 new cards, my frankenset currently sits at 151 cards. Slowly, but surely, I am getting there.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A New York state of cards

So ff you follow me on Twitter (FOOLS!), I posted that I was in New York catching a Mets game on Friday night. My wife and I made a quick run east to help out a friend and she said I should get tickets so I can start marking ball parks of the list of places I want to visit.

Midwest Garrison salute.
While in New York, with it's super fun traffic, I found a card shop right next to a bookstore. Perfect to not bore the hell out of my wife. Alex's MVP Cards. Tiny shop, though with NY costs, he probably pays 10 grand a month rent or something insane like that. I didn't have much time, so I just dug through a few boxes he had and bought some packs of A&G. Here's some cards that changed time zones.

All the cards I picked were either 50 cents or a buck. I am pretty sure I have none of these Paulies. Well, pretty sure on two of them. Let's check my Zistle list and see how accurate that guess is...

...and I only needed the one in the middle. Hey - team set builders, am I right?

Three for the binders. There is no way Biggio didn't get wrecked on that slide.

I still need a few more Opening Day cards of Southpaw Mascot. And I thought the Eaton was a refractor Chrome, but it's a foil card. Didn't matter - I need both for the PC. Now I have to find a Chrome refractor.

The shop had a Judge rip card from this year's Allen and Ginter for $500. I passed on that and just went with packs. The highlights?

YUP!!!! Two of the packs had buybacks. And sure, I am building a frankenset, but these do not belong in A&G. Only put A&G buybacks in A&G packs! Eaton is a nice high number mini for the PC. And some of you may be thinking "Sure, the insert set is nice and all, but that Surrender card is a highlight?" Here's why: I have pulled 4 cards prior to this one from the Revolutionary Battles insert set, and all four of them are the same damn card! #1 - Battle of Lexington. So if you need one, I'm hoarding them.

Hold up a minute. I have an idea......

Nailed it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Hey. Yo. How you doin'?

So, I am sure youse has heard about the latest and greatest way to promote youse bizness?

So like, all the rage right now? Baseball cards. Am I right?

'Member collecting dem as a kid and putting dem in your spokes and all?

Well, now a days, them's a money maker. All dese companies are makin' dem, and youse can easily get in on da action. Little sponsor money and BOOM!!! Youse be rollin' in dat money.

Nah, nah. You don't need dose big names like Topps or Upper Decker or dem others. Nah. They just cost you too much of your money. And youse wants to keep as much of your money, right? Who doesn't?

Plus, workin' with them teams you sees on the TV will cost you big time bucks, my friend. You wants to work with your local team right up da road. They wants the sponsor. You want the advertising. Win-Win, am I right?

So I knows this guy with a smaller company who can knock you out a sweet baseball card with your company name all over it. We'll even get a couple of dem ball players from the team to pose in your shop. I can call them up right now and get 'em here is 5 minutes. I gots a camera and all. We pose them in front of your displays here, give dem a couple things to hold and BOOM - youse be rollin' in dat money.

Great! You will no regret this, my friend. Let me give a call to my pals.

Ok, dis here is Mike. And dat's Mark. Here guys, stand over here and hold up dese bats. Get a little closer and smile. PERFECT.

Yeah, my camera flash isn't workin', but youse got plenty of light and when you see dis card - BOOM! Youse be rollin' in dat money.

Awesome! Am I right or am I right? BOOM! Rollin' in dat money!

(FYI - video is a little NSFW)

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Star Wars specific repack

Has anyone seen these boxes at the big box stores? I think they may be Walmart exclusive, as I have yet to find one sitting on the shelf at Target. But I saw this one a couple weeks back and thought "Hey, I need to buy me one of those!"

So I did.

It's a little cheaper (at Walmart anyway) than you usual repack, selling for just a few cents under $15. From the markup on the side, each box has 4 collectable disc packs, 4 packs of regular cards and one rack pack.

And a closer look at the front entices you to buy with the promise of ultra rare autograph cards, which the fine print tells you falls one to every 20 boxes. There were just 3 sitting on the shelf of this Walmart, so the odds are not in my favor. I scanned some of what was within, so join me in recapping the box.

As I mentioned, four of the packs are collectable discs.

They are a game you can play which to boil it down into simple terms: dominoes. Six sided discs that you place against each other to "defeat" your opponent. There is also something in regard to the color around the photo, but I am not digging in to find that out. I doubt I'll ever play it, but for a SW nerds, they are fun collectables, like the Topps coins or something.

Base discs are gray. You can see the hash marks on 4 of the sides. Like I said, a game like dominoes. Characters span from AHN to TFA, with ships also available. And what would be a Topps release without parallels?

Ahsoka and the shuttle are foils, falling at a rate of 1:2, Lak Sivrak at the left is a pattern foil, 1:3 ratio.

Black discs are at the same 1:3 pack ration. That BB-8 in the middle is hard to see, but the best "pull" of the four packs. He is actually Jabba slime green and those fall 1 out of every 9 packs.

The Stormtrooper (mislabled - that is a sandtrooper) and Klatuu are black foil, 1:3 packs and the Yavin IV soldier at his post is a black pattern foil, falling 1 out of 6 packs.

Clear disks drop in one out of  every 3 packs. Dig that Bespin disc. Notice just one side has any hash marks. From the rules, that is a free space and you will notice the top and bottom of all the discs have that free area.

Ok, on to the packs. First off, the Journey to The Force Awakens packs. Two of those. I am still building this, so with luck a few of these cards will help.

Bit of a look at them. Love the original blue borders, and those blueprint cards are amazing! The two other packs were Clone Wars: Rise of The Bounty Hunters.

The top right is a lensticular motion card that scanned like hell, but you get the idea. Barriss is a foil and the other one - it looks cool. Not a set I will try to complete, so make a shout if you want these.

My fat pack was Galactic Files, another set I would like to build. The set is based on the original and prequel trilogies only. Love that foil black and white card of the Hoth base. I don't think I have any other from that monochromed insert set.

Well, that's what the box gives out. Like I said, every 20th box will drop you an autograph. I wonder if that is really the ratio or just some type they put on the box to sel......

Holy shit. I hit one!!!!! It's very, VERY odd to see Wedge's face, but not have Wedge's name. Wedge was played by Denis Lawson (Ewan McGregor's uncle btw), but according to IMDB, David Ankrum supplied Wedge's voice for both ANH and Rogue One. If you watch any videos of Denis on the 'net, he does have a very noticeable Scottish brogue, which I am sure explains his voice replacement. But I am not upset in the least. Any SW auto makes me happy.

And now you have seen the box. I will probably buy another, cuz why the heck not. It was a fun rip.