Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In plain sight

My son lives in Denver right now. He just turned 21 a couple months back. He was living in Iowa City for a while, but then a friend and him decided to go farther west. Iowa City was just a three hour drive from the house, so we could visit as (mommy) needed. But you just can't hop in the car for a trek to Denver.

As soon as high school was over, he was ready to move in with some friends. I know it was to escape the house rules. By no means are we horribly strict, but there are rules to be followed if you are under my roof. When you are out of the house, you set the rules. So I know that is why he went out on his own.

Like your typical teenager, when he wanted a bit of a change, while still in school, he asked to move to the basement. A far amount of his stuff is down there. He got really into music, and he's got some talent if you ask me, but that could be the proud parent in me coming out.

Before music, though, he shared with me a couple years in card collecting. Nothing huge, but he had his own box of cards and we would rip some packs together. I think it was more a way he wanted to bond with me, because looking back on it, I don't recall him really being "into it". About 9 months ago, I found his box of cards among his stuff downstairs. I sorted it all out - it was fun to go through.

The other day, I was in the basement looking for something when I noticed, in the section of his bedroom, a card I missed tucked into some cabinets we had mounted on the wall. It's surprising I never really noticed it before, considering the card design and the wood cabinets in question.

How you miss the famous yellow Fleer card shows how utterly distracted I tend to be. Why he picked this card to be out and in view is beyond me. He has concert and movie tickets, photos and other pieces of paper tucked in the gaps of the cabinet doors, but just the one Fletcher baseball card. It is a White Sox, and he is bunting, and I do need it for the binder. I hope he won't mind - he's a good kid.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I ain't got no 2014

I didn't go to Walmart today. Nor Target. None of the big box stores that carry retail cards. I am sure the nearest Walmart to my house put out the '14 Topps today in one form or another. But I didn't head out to pick any up.

If you recall, I don't plan to go after building the 2014 set this year. I think the design is really poor and the inserts are getting too insane in the number of borders, subsets, diecuts, etc.... I saw the prelease look, then I saw the checklist, and it all confirmed I was thinking the right thing.

Many of the bloggers have found and posted cards, and I am right - I will not be going after the 2014 set. I may buy a pack here and there, just for the fix of ripping some wax cello plastic. But besides securing a White Sox team set, that's about all. I think the design and the photography (from what I have seen) is a step back from previous years.

That is not to say I don't need more than the Sox cards. I have seen some images, and folks, that is where you step in. You know of my throwback, bunting and double play binders - there are plenty of cards I will need from 2014 to fill the pages. Let me steal a few images from some fellow bloggers.

Nick at Dime Boxes posted these two. Can't say much about the ugliness of the softball uniforms on the left, but I am going to need both cards, and a 2nd of the Alexei for my Sox set.

The Junior Junkie went nuts with a bunch of rack packs. Gorgeous Cubs throwbacks are in Topps.

So are those A's unis too. I hope the Angels unis from that game are on another card.

Daddy need him some double play cardboard.

So I ask you, the reader, the shaping of the baseball collecting world - send me your unwanted doubles that fill my binder needs. Turn my dreams into realities.

Monday, January 27, 2014

And you don't even have to leave the house

One of the best parts about jumping into the blogging community is the stuff you learn. And I'm not talking about the sets, or the player bios, or the companies or any of that. You learn it; don't get me wrong. I'm referring to the parts of the hobby you never really looked into before.

I remember, years ago when I went to shows, seeing discount boxes, and NEVER looking through them. Ever. I guess I had some kind of "I'm better than you lowly discount losers" air about myself. Like I was buying anything really amazing, important or expensive.

 Four packs of 1991 Upper Deck please.

Nick over at Dime Boxes made me realize the greatness available for a silver FDR (or I silver Washington should I feel compelled). It's now what I head towards first after I make a sweep of any card show. And with my more focused collecting, I get what I want, and who can beat the price. 

However, making it to the card show isn't always happening. Luckily, Listia and Ebay have done a decent job of filling in the discount needs. Now, with Listia credit "exchange" rate, I can't really say I ever picked up a card for a dime (30 credits). Closest was probably thirty cents. But I regularly hunt Ebay for dime cards, what I like to call virtual dime boxing. I simply sort all the cards by price+shipping/lowest first. I work through the list and place bids of 10 cents for any card I would like that has free shipping. 

Then I wait until it ends. 

If I win, then I have my dime card without leaving the house. If I lose, who cares. 

Here's 27 cents worth of cards. The ripken at the front I actually broke the rule and bid 11 cents for, but I wouldn't go higher. Luckily, I didn't have to. The other two I scored for a nickel and a penny each. 

How about 4 cards for the bunting binder, from four different sellers, totaling 28 cents? The thing about show dime boxes: I don't see a lot of junk wax in them, but there are a plenty of junk wax cards produced that I want for my binders. So it's nice to sit in my jammies and buy cards before I hit the sack.

Come to bed, honey.

Throwbacks are the hardest to VDB. Not so much the quantity as most are rarely listed with a starting price of a penny and free shipping. And you can see why as I paid a dime for each one of these. But still good pickups.

Sometimes you have to dig. I got this nice Gomez for 9 cents. And along with it, I got 8 others cards. Lots go up enough with a penny starting bid. Takes a bit of digging, but if you can get the one you want, you can always PWE the other 8. Except in this case, when one of the other cards was a ChiSox I needed, so really, this card cost me less than a nickel.

So now you know my secret. No outbidding me or I will hunt down!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rainbow update

If you have looked at my Want list recently (just look at the list already, would ya?!), or read in the summer, I am looking to complete the rainbow of Gordon Beckham's 2013 Topps flagship release. I have had some help with trades and pickups by Chris/Kyle from Old Foul Cardboard. Ebay has been helpful as well and, in fact, yesterday I received my latest addition:

It's the sapphire foil from Update. Numbered to 25, I jumped at this when it showed up a week back. Think of the mail away foil, only lighter blue (ie - gimmick).

Also, with a little help from Dennis at Too Many Verlanders, the cammo and the mini gold are snagged from COMC at a price I am willing to pay, and by "willing to pay", more like find vintage at my LCS and trade in value. So after that completes, I will be down to 2 "should be able to find" (mini and pink #/50), one "why did I pass up the two chances to snag it of ebay in the past" card (the silver #/10), one "I hope it shows up somewhere (mini black #/5) and then the "gonna be hard to find" 1/1s and plates.

If you see anything I would need, reach out to me, would ya?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Making me smile.


I don't really need to say any more than that. I am sure, for the great majority, we have a job we tolerate at least have the time. Or less. Maybe we really liked it when we first started, or there are still times in the workday where the job isn't too bad. Hey - I still have them. But for a fair amount, it's work. It's not a lot of fun, but it pays the bills (ie buys the cards). Most times, we cannot live out our childhood dreams as a ball player, fireman, astronaut and/or submarine driver.

I'm called a helmsman or a pilot, you idiot.

There are those that tell you to work a job you love - then you will never work a day in your life. It completely makes sense. But even though I am coming up on 50, my dream job is still as a ball player, fireman, astronaut or submarine driver helmsman.

Dream job #5 - designing calendars.

For you that have not been around, or may have forgotten, I am fortunate enough to work from home 4 days a week. Sure, there is a lot to love in that, like avoiding my almost 100 mile round trip commute in Chicago rush hour, the gas, the tolls, the wear and tear on the car, the lost hours behind the wheel....I'll stop there. However, when you are cut off from work, when you seek assistance from anyone above you, it's a daunting task. You send a chat message.....and wait.

Then usually wait some more.

And a little more wait.

You get the idea.

Now, Friday was a pretty rough day at work. System issues, cranky customers, the cold temperature. Yet, my office is in the front of my house and I can see my mailbox out the window. Since blogging, going to the mailbox is a definite reason to love my job. Many of you do not disappoint, so I usually get a nice uplift for work when I pull out an envelope or two from my mailbox and it's filled with cards. Now, all these I am showing are not from Friday, but they have all made my past couple weeks very enjoyable at about 11:30am.

Jeff from One Man's Junk Wax dropped two PWEs on me over a couple days last week. How about tons of '78, '79 & '80 Chisox vintage? All so very needed to fill team sets. Thanks a ton, Jeff.

AJ at The Lost Collector sent a PWE to me last week as well. I love those Ovation, but never had a single card with a White Sox on it. Textured cards make me smile. Plus, who doesn't want/need more cardboard with Fisk on it. Especially when it's a card missing from your collection. Thanks AJ!

Chris and Kyle from Old Foul Cardboard dropped their usual bimonthly or so envelope on me. While I'll drop them PWEs every other week, they like to stockpile cards and then really hit me with something nice. I'm thinking I need to start a Sale PC. So here's a good start.

Here's why they mail me once every other month. Needless to say, anything Blackhawks in my area is over priced. But they (and by they, I mean Kyle) have the ability to find great cards, then snag them cheap. No way I would pass an on card auto of Marcus Kruger. Kruger is making fans forget who used to wear 16.  Thanks as always, guys.

And the envelope that reminded me of how much I love working from home came from TJ, everyone's favorite Junior Junkie. Lots of great White Sox cards like these vintage.

Tons of shiny cards. The Iguchi is needed for my Tadahito PC. The Belle isn't shiny so much as really really glossy. So yeah - shiny. Just doesn't show in the scan. TJ also apologized for a light Bipping. But he failed to put a single Roberts card in the pack. As I dug thru the 30+ or so cards, I realized why he apologized.

More like a Scott'ing and a Julio'ing, but neither trip over the tongue with grace, so we'll call it a Bipping. One thing the Junior Junkie seems to enjoy doing is really wowing a package.

I am fairly certain, though I could be wrong, that there is no unresolved trade TJ needed to make up for, so a nice Morel auto is a pleasant surprise to pull. I owe you, TJ.

Little over 48 hours until I'm back on the phones. I hope there's mail for me on Monday.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 01.23.2014

Every Thursday, I post a card showing a ballplayer wearing a throwback uniform from my collection. Hopefully, he will be wearing it well, with proper pants blousing. I'll try not to duplicate a uniform. The picture may be from the front of the card, or the back. Enjoy the uniforms from years past.

Tim Hudson - 2001 Fleer Ultra - Philadelphia Athletics

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Who gets post mail?

Lately, you readers have been on a tear, just loading up my mailbox. No complaints, mind you, but I really need to get my act together to scan, post and thank you folks. I did a recent clean off of my desk, which entails getting 10% or the cards into binders, and the rest moved to the stacks on the desk to my left. I still can't figure out this organizing thing.

It's like understanding me, only harder.

 So let's clear out the scan folder - image heavy post, I apologize.

First up is Pat at Hot Corner Cards. When he isn't doing a Tiger dump on me for my double play and/or bunting binder, he does a dump of OTHER teams turning two or bunting.

Ok, there are still Tigers, sometimes. Just tasty, vintage old English D's. Also, he gives me White Sox.

I think that Proly is actually in focus!

Robert from $30 a Week Habit dropped a PWE with two throwbacks.

That Delgado would have been on the sidebar "baker's dozen commons" list, but Robert made sure it's not.

First time envelope from Defgav of Baseball Card Breakdown. He made some goofy glow in the dark cards and I commented that I had to have one. Gavin sent me a couple.

I didn't get all "take a pic of them glowing" crazy with it. Just trust me they are pretty cool in the dark. Also, somehow, I won some cards from his site too, so I jumped on these two.

Both 3D in their own special ways. 

Kyle from....well, nowhere cuz he isn't blogging yet, jumped on a trade for a couple of the cards I pulled from the Panini Black Friday packs. I still have to mail my return package to him (getting all the TTS cards together) but he sent me his side.

Bunting, Pale Hose and double plays. And a nice Sale swatch.

Rob from Ranger Cards was looking for a place to dump some ChiSox cards. No. Brainer.

Good mix of cards that I needed to fill sets and some dupes for the DP, bunting and throwback binders.

Last, but not least, is my National Card Show date Julie from Funner Here. We just send stuff back and forth. She felt like she owed me a bunch of stuff with all my PWEs (hint to her and the rest of you - you don't) and sent a PWE over which was pretty sweet.

Love me hits to my Want lists (Darvish) and the ChiSox minis.

Being old hat at the National, she wasn't awestruck like I was because I completely missed this card. Hey - did you know the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice in 4 years? Did you know that  Dennis????

Jules gets in a lot of breaks. I think I benefited from a couple with these two beauts. 

Ok - time to move all those images to the "posted" folder.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Going high end

I am sure you all know of The Knight's Lance, Panini's blog. It's in the sports card blogroll, because if it wasn't, I really wouldn't know about it. Along with great info and previews of their upcoming products, they run contests from time to time. I have entered a few, and dangit if I didn't get an email about a week ago asking for my mailing address. I scored a free box of Panini America's Pastime.

I am not a high end buyer. I am sure I will get skunked, and those high ends are more of trading card gambling to me than collecting. I like my sets and my collections. But if you have any chance for free, never pass it up. The box came today, so I ripped it live.

If you don't want to hear my droning voice, or need a better look at the pulls, let's do some scanning.

Here's the two "base" cards from the box. Glad I pulled a player from a team I collect.

You either get 3 base and one insert or two and two. Appears I got the two and two. I like the designed on the Banks card. Has a nice old feel to it's look. The Lyons seems a little crowded, unless Tyler is really that huge a guy.

Here are my two guaranteed relics. I really have no clue who they are, and whether they would be considered great, good, okay or meh pulls. And in all that, these cards are up for trade.

It's a shame these are all sticker autos. That Ortiz makes the 5th hit of his I have pulled in my collecting career. Yes - FIVE! I have pulled 4 relics of him, and now this auto. If you want to count a SP image card from Topps, then six hits. Unbelievable. No clue how good Rusin may be, but it's a gold parallel numbered to 15. That Fernando, though, to me is the hit of the box. I am not sure what I am doing with it, so if you want to make an offer, I'll listen.

If you watched the video above - yes, I am an idiot. I said "Rockies" on the Johnson swatch, and he was never a hometown player in the Mile High city. I should have said "Diamondbacks", because that stripe is purple, and certainly not from an Astros uniform. I also seem to get a lot of Clemens, though this is the first hit I have of him. If you don't know, I am a Roger hater.

So that was a fun rip. Considering the price I paid, it was an awesome box. If I have bought that, well, I think I may have been a bit disappointed. However. if you see something you like, let's talk. I won't make any promises on what I'll accept in trade, but a deal can always be hammered out.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Throwback Thursdays - 01.09.2014

Every Thursday, I post a card showing a ballplayer wearing a throwback uniform from my collection. Hopefully, he will be wearing it well, with proper pants blousing. I'll try not to duplicate a uniform. The picture may be from the front of the card, or the back. Enjoy the uniforms from years past.

Tom Glavine - 1999 Topps - Atlanta Black Crackers

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bring on 2014

Alright, so we touched on the 2013 goals, showed off the hits. How about the direction 2x3 Heroes will be going in 2014.

Hi. I'm not going anywhere.

And I'm not going to drag this out - let's blow through my 2014 goals quickly:

Trades - Last year I set a goal of a trade every other week. I would double that, but that's pressure, and I usually fail under pressure. Sticking at 26. Simple and attainable.

Collection - Since the Pierce Project is complete, I think I will move to the Nellie Fox Project. Watch for a change in the buttons up top. Also, I want to push forward in the binders I have. If you check out my Zistle account, my double play binder is currently 357 unique cards, bunting is at 190, Petrick is 48 and I have yet to get my throwbacks online, but let's put them at about 200. Goals are to get the DPs to 450, bunting to 250, Petrick to 90 and throwbacks to 300. Again - simple. 

Organization - I have been doing very well in this category. I just need to get the throwbacks online, then catalog my ChiSox team sets. Anything more than those two are gravy.

Sets - Of all my goals, this is probably the most ambitious. I currently have 19 sets between my wants and A&G wants. I want to knock off 15. Sounds like a lot, but it should be pretty simple thanks to Sportlots, Just Commons and COMC. All total, I need under 400 cards for those 19 lists. Lot of SPs, but many of the sets are easy to fill online at the right price. Especially since the only 2014 set I will go after is Allen and Ginter. Maybe Heritage, but no other retail purchases. 2014 will be the year of the online and card show "blaster".

Blog - For those that follow, thanks. But I am not about the followers or the page views. I blog cuz it's fun and a great outlet for my stupidity that cannot be stated in 140 characters. However, I will be adding one feature - a most wanted commons list. This is where I hope you, the reader, help me out. I have such a list of DP, bunting and throwback cards, and I would be willing to bet many of you are sitting on a copy. Instead of my hitting up an online site, I am hoping to knock them out through PWE trades. So be on the lookout for the list, and help a brother out!

Overall - Others have touched on this, so I will as well: HAVE FUN! It's not about the big hit, or the rare pull. It's about what I like and what makes me smile. So if you get a package out of the blue, it's because it's fun. I may fail at my trade goal because of this, but who cares. I will not let money tell me how to collect. I get to do what I want.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 recap - what did I hit?

Before I reveal my plans for world domination with tomorrow's post of my goals for 2014, and since we already touched on how 2013 went, let's take a fast glance at what I consider my pulls of the year. Now, I did receive some amazing cardboard rectangles through the year, and I have showcased them in trade posts. These are the items I pulled directly out of packs during the calendar year. It's going to be up for debate whether they are awesome or not (maybe), but I think they are great additions to my collection.

Let's start with relics. We all know the whole "are they or aren't they" stories, plus Topps and their disclaimer about who the hell knows when the uniform the swatch came from was actually worn, but I still get some joy pulling a relic from a pack. Three of my fav pulls in this department.

I pulled the Vonn relic from a few packs of A&G at my LCS. The Brock bat came from a Black Friday purcase of a box of Golden Age. And also from my LCS is the Team 8 swatch pull out of Score hockey. The flip side has the Blues and the Jets. I did fairly well with relics out of repack boxes this year as well.

Moving to the John Handcock's...

The Jones was pulled about 6 weeks ago during my LCS pack war night. I hope she does well in Sochi so I can sell that card. Dent was a pull out of a Target 10 pack repack box. And the Hobbie came out of a rack pack from Meijers. Yes - damn retail keeps sucking me in to making purchases.

Ok, my highlights for the 3 best pulls of the year.

That's not just any black border Bourn. My LCS got in a few boxes of Topps minis, so I bought a few packs looking for anything to put in my Beckham rainbow. Pulled this in one pack. As opposed to the regular sized which are number to 100, these are a scant /5. Yup - I pulled #5/5. I wish it was a player or team I collected, but I am certain that me showcasing it now will have a comment or two about it.

I showed this before. I pulled this from a box at the National this year. Anything old timer makes me smile, so getting a bat relic of a HOF first baseman with a stellar career (last man in the NL to hit over .400) made this an amazing box, because if you recall the post, that same Golden Age box yielded me...

...this card, which is my vote for the hit of the year. On card, clean auto of another HOFer (a third hit in that same box was HOF Jim Palmer auto). I have almost pulled the trigger on a few Kaline autos. Yeah, he's a dreaded Tiger, but you give props where props are due.

Not so fast, buddy. Red Wings get no props here.

 There ya have it. Tomorrow, let's talk about the current year.