Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tis The Season: so long 2015

On January of this year, I dubbed 2015 "the year of me". And by "me", I meant my family. It was going to be the year that things went in our favor, because if I had to sprint across the field, tackle whatever the "beast" was that hindered our process, and wrestle it to the ground, then dammit I was going to go to whatever lengths to make as many situations go in our favor as possible.

Say "whatever" again, mofo.
Well, 2015 was better than past years, but it was still trying enough that I'm not too saddened to see it leave. Financially, we are a little better than past years, though I need to get ready for the summer or it's going to go to shit (again). Physically....I have an appointment in Feb to try and fix this sciatic nerve thing. Vocationally, working from home is nice. Not being recognized for the work you do isn't.

I'm going to apply "the year of me" to 2016. We'll see how it goes. Until then, it's the standard New Year's Eve tradition for me: shrimp cocktail, cocktail rye bread with mayo and cheese and some Marx Brothers movies. WGN used to always play Duck Soup & Animal Crackers each NYE and my mom and I would stay in and watch. Now, I have them on DVD.

But until I get to the movies, let's throw another pile of cards up for giveaway. The 2015 Flagship and football piles are still available for comments. I'll choose the flagship winners tomorrow. Today, how about some Chrome?

I bought a couple jumbos of Chrome, and I think a rack pack at one of the big box stores. I was trying for any of the Konerko's. I got none. But my loss can be your gain. Along with the Chrome, you have a couple packs worth of 2013 Archives. Those came from a couple repack boxes. I was too lazy to divide them up, so the heck with it. When I put together my want list on Hometown Heroes, I pulled out the dupes, and then when Card Papoy Kevin dropped his dupes on me, I threw what didn't knock off numbers in with the rest. You know the drill.

I'm behind on giving thanks to all the recent packages I have received. I'm going to assume I have received everything, so if you sent me something, I appreciate your patience in my getting to post about it. I have been bouncing around, not posting the packages in order, but I will get to yours. I'm trying to keep these posts short, and today my rambling is not doing a very good job at adhering to that.

Since Chrome is on the list, let's look at a pile of cards with a lot of Chrome-y things within from Frank at the great My List In The Sports card Hobby. Frank recently put out a call saying he some stacks of team cards that were free to a good home. While I commented just about the awesome pickup from the post (and let me tell you - Frank has some mighty awesome additions to his collection. Read his blog and drool), Frank emailed me for my address to drop a few things on me. What you are going to see are his "rejects". Nice group of rookie cards above. Not sure why Wilkins appears as a White Sox (er...."Chicago baseball club") on this 2015 DK as he was a Blue Jay by March of 2015.

JUST STOP IT!!! I will not start a Chris Sale player collection! :) But, if I was, the two outside cards would make a fine start. The Tek was the first Tek card I ever has in my hand (I got Frank's mail before I bought the box of Star Wars Tek I posted on APTBNL). The Future Star on the left - that is a new card to me. It's thicker, like Tier One or earlier Bowman Gold. It's from a 2014 insert set "Future Stars that Never Were". Never heard of it, but so glad I have one now.

Instant rainbows! Frank sent over the regular and blue refractors on the Danish Bowmans. And a nice refractor auto of Matt Davidson to go with the base card in the first scan. I do hope the Sox find a place for him on the infield. Thanks again, Frank. I'm going to rustle up some Yanks for a return trip.

And thanks to 2015, but it's time to go.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tis The Season: Stars of the gridiron

Let's give away some Gypsy Queen and then some.

Bo, aka Bo Rosny gets all them cards. Enjoy.

So today's pile of cards you can win is a total mish mash of a bunch of sets:

All football. All the cards came from pack wars during 2015 at my card shop. We have packs of Panini Prizm, Topps Fire, Topps base football, Bowman Chrome. Topps Strata, Topps Platinum, Panini Contenders and more. A little over 100 cards for this giveaway.

Ok - right now I am baby sitting a dog, and she is a BEAST of an animal. Sweet as pie, but pure muscle. My poor little Affen is hiding out in our bedroom. Anyway - not a lot of time to type, so let me give some more thanks in this post to another recent package.  The Card Papoy, run by the generous Kevin, sent me a decent sized package recently. He was giving away groups of cards from sets he decided not to complete and was kind enough to help me out with 2 of the piles.

I have a want list up for Hometown Heroes, and the stack he sent knocked a few numbers off. I have yet to put up a want list for Diamond Kings, mainly because I plan to pick up a box soon. But Kevin, being the man he is, couldn't just send those alone. He also added in a few White Sox for me.

A gold Paulie for the Konerko binder, a refractor Sale for the throwback binder, and a blood foil Eaton for the Sox box. Geez - neither the home or road uniforms for the White Sox work with the red foil.

And what have we here? Just a 1st Day Production from the '93 Stadium Club release. Match that with a mini relic of John Danks and you have some fine company with some unwanted cardboard. Well - unwanted in France anyway.

Thanks again Kevin. And know we are still thinking of you guys over the water. It's a shame that so much pain had to happen to learn of a band I should have been listening to for years.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tis The Season: Falling behind.

I really wanted to post this yesterday, but by the time I finished a bunch of chores and ate dinner, it was after 7:30. It's makes me a bit mad at myself because I'm not timing all the card stacks very well. Now TTS3 will end up lasting until Jan 2 if I stay on posting daily. That pushes my year end round up and 2016 plan posts into that weekend.

Basically, all my screw ups are throwing off my flow.

Dam it.

Anyhow - there are some cards to giveaway first. I had offered up instant collections of bunting, double play and throwbacks. Five people asked about them, and I'm just going to do my best dividing the stacks between you five. So Bo, Al, Adam, Dion and Nick - I'll drop cards on each of you per your requests, and with luck they will all be new additions.

By my math, I have 5 groups of cards left to giveaway. Today's set is the largest pile of dupes I have. So large, in fact, that 4 winners will come from the randomizing. That will mean the people in place 1 & 2 of the list, and the two people at the very bottom of the list.

My crappy phone camera was extra crappy today, but I think you can ID the set. Yup - 2015 Flagship. If I counted correctly, each stack is 143 cards strong. Roughly, you should see 35 cards from series 1, 19 from series two, 87 from Update (damn you frigging retail exclusive throwback uniform cards) and a couple inserts. I had already sorted the stacks which is why three of them have the same card on top. So if Update is the set you really need, this is a good stack to win. You know the drill.

Speaking at the top of the page of my custom collections, let me showcase a package from Shane over at Shoebox Legends. I know I say this a lot about blogs you should read, but take the time to view the excellent Sports Card Blogroll, managed by James, that is loaded with awesome blogs and writers. But Shane is one site that I make sure to visit often. It made sense that he won the 2nd best blog award I ran last year - he earns it with each post. He also earns a lot of gratitude with the package he sent over recently.

I didn't buy very much Heritage, so I missed that throwback card of Aviles from the set. I also have yet to pull the Abreu rookie sensations, even though I have bought way too much Update (damn you frigging retail exclusive throwback uniform ca...) Oh, I ranted about that before. Sorry. But if you are sitting on any of those, I have a binder page with too many holes.

One of the instant collections that will never be a giveaway are miscuts. I can get 20 of the same card and they will all be kept. Joey Johnston makes the first hockey miscut to make the binder. I shy away from football and basketball miscuts, but hockey are welcome. Also welcome are miscut Topps stamps. All baseball sets are welcome, as are hockey. I hope you understand that not accepting basketball and football miscuts isn't an attempt to make the binder exclusive and to be intolerant of other sports.

The star of the package was this beauty for the bunting binder.

This Lee relic is the first jersey card to make the bunting binder, joining a bunting Lopez auto. Lee retired from baseball in 2012 after a successful 20 year career in both Korea and Japan. Shane, it's always sweet to receive cards from you.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tis The Season: Killer Queen

Bowman housekeeping first.

I don't recall typing the name of Shane Kroeker in any of the previous giveaways. I guess if you are going to enter one, make sure you hack the Random website PRIOR to your entry so.... just kidding, Shane. As opposed to others, you are 1 for 1. Hope you like the stack.

So what are we putting on the comment auction block today? Post title should be a small hint.

Yup. We got Gypsy Queen to give away. Joining GQ is about 3 dozen Heritage (with a Chrome parallel of Michael Brantley) and on the left is just over 2 dozen of  '15 Archives. Add it up and we are talking 139 cards. As usual, no dupes. I have been pulling dupes this year.

This year, I have also been pulling in a lot of fine Christmas gifts from you folks. My scan folder is filling up fast, as is the stack of White Sox cards I need to sort. Let's clean out a few scans with a couple of shout outs.

AJ at the fine Yankee-centric site The Lost Collector, send over a small package of very needed cards for entry into the Sox box. Pacific Online is such a fine over production set. It has everything one would want that screams "turn of the millennium". "Double Trouble" is not just a new card, but an insert set I have never heard of from Ultra. For the 2 years Belle was on the south side, they should produced a crapton of cards with him wearing black.

Duke on the left helps with the White Sox 2015 team set. I am now just 4 cards short from writing off the team from the spreadsheet. Donkey on the right is not just a fine relic, but a fine THROWBACK relic, as that is from the Chicago American Giants throwbacks the Sox have worn a couple times. Into the throwback binder with the other blue White Sox relics I have. AJ, thanks for the mailing.

Jeff, from the fun Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum, sent over a stuffed PWE and some wonderful cards. Let's start with these fine miscut vintage cards (Sadecki is not happy about the cut job). But the star of the scan is that well loved '60 Billy Goodman. Nice round corners with what appears to be a bite out of the top left corner. I wonder what they thought about Billy's taste...

If it's not from Canada, Jeff is usually the other person adding to my Blackhawks collection. A couple UD Ultimate, with Martin Havlat and Tuomo Ruutu. And I have no idea how OPC make it past me all the way to Florida, but I have yet to see any Hawks OPC from the junk wax era, but Jeff dropped a few on me.

OH YEAH! '76 and '77 Topps at the top, and some of the '80 Topps scratch off cards. Interesting idea, as there is no player name on the back of the cards. For the record, that is Ron Sedlbauer on the lower left, and Ted Bulley on the lower right. A fine mailing, Jeff.

Alright, comment box is below the video. Enter for your change at some Queen and more.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tis The Season: Instant collections

Going to be a little different bit of a giveaway today, but before we get to the details, I have a stack containing Stadium Club, Opening Day and Diamond Kings that needs a new home:

Congrats Matt. Too bad Bob Walk wasn't in this year's SC. But at the rate Topps is going, he should be showing up in Gypsy Queen in the next couple years. I mean - John Kruk?

So on tap today is going to be an interesting bunches of cards. Let's go to the scan to start this off.

If you have been around here long enough, you know that along with the White Sox, sets and player collections, I have three specialty collections I am referencing in this post: players bunting, players in throwback uniforms and players making the turn at 2nd for a double play. Currently, my binders for each collection (2 per) hold the following number of cards:

Bunting - 1040 cards
Throwbacks - 800
Double plays - 925

Plenty of you know about these collections and as such, I get a lot of cards of players bunting, in throwbacks and/or the turn at two. Which, in turn, means I can build up quite an amount of dupes. About the middle of the year, I started keeping these dupes separate from my regular by team separation I use for trading. And I did that for this very moment: INSTANT COLLECTION!

If only the USPS was that fast.
So I have a bunch of cards in each group. For the double play, I have about 125 cards. For throwbacks, I've got about 190. For bunting, call it 500. That's a guess. There are dupes in each one, I can assure you of that. I'll probably break bunting into two or three stacks to giveaway. But we are going to do today different that all the other Tis The Season randoms. If you are interested in any of the stacks, leave a comment stating which stack you would like. You can choose one, two or all three. Based on the number of people requesting each stack, I'll figure out how to handle the distribution. It will probably be Random, if  I have more than 3 people for the DP or throwback. I think I am just looking into interest for any of these stacks. I dread having to break them apart to the individual teams, so if someone wants to have a cool collection like I me, then you can be cool like me.

The Greek council will have to disagree with that statement, Jeff.
I know of two people who are certainly cooler than me - Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown and Dennis at Too Many Verlanders. The influx of cards over the past two weeks has been amazing, and I am way behind thanking each of you. Trust me - I will show my online appreciation in due time. Both Gavin and Dennis dropped what I would call Christmas gifts to me, and each was lovely and very well thought out.

Unfortunately, my scanner makes Gavin's Christmas card filled with cards look like a last minute Walgreen's gift shopping. But I swear, these are some gorgeous cards. A couple amazing chrome Stadium Club double play cards (nope - not dupes so those are not in today's giveaway) and a sweet Aaron Rowand Gold Label card. I believe Gavin recently ripped a box of Gold Label, and that makes me most jealous as the more I see the set, the more I want to build it.

I'm also hoping to build the annual Gavin custom Christmas card collection. Thanks, man!

The small mailing from Dennis reminded me of two things: 1) That I was WAY over due to send him something and 2) HOLY SHIT IS HE GENEROUS! We have a TTM of Bobby Thigpen, plus an auto of former Blackhawk and 2010 Stanley Cup chanp Viktor Stalberg. But dig that star in the center. It's only a lil' ol' black printing plate from last year's Panini Classics of Nellie Fox. Oh boy, I am going to have to do much digging to repay you for this gem, Dennis. Thank you kindly, you fine gentleman.

Ok. By the time this posts, I should be almost at my brother's place in Indiana for our yearly Christmas Eve get together. If you are out and about tonight, be safe. And if you don't stop by here tomorrow, have a joyous Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanza, fantastic Festivus or however you celebrate the season. If you're sad and lonely this time of year, send me an email - we'll chat.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tis The Season: Straight as an arrow

Of the top, let's dump those space man cards from a couple days back:

Kyle - you best be a SW nerd or I'll set the cards to combust on you. Oh, and I need to be honest. The stack of SW cards is going out one card fewer:

Letterbox version
Sorry, but that beauty is now residing in the miscut binder. I do hope you understand. Thanks, Kyle.

Hey - who plays online games? I don't mean like WOW, SWTOR, COD or any of the other acronyms I can make up.

ODB: Level 70 mage
I'm more talking about just simple Shockwave or Flash games. When I get bored, I'll fire up a few. One of my seem to go to's when I get bored is Bowman. There is just something deep in a sick well of my soul that likes the unneeded blood in that game. Well, no blood in today's stacks.

Two stacks of Bowman cards to giveaway. I think it's a mish mash of Bowman, Bowman Chrome and Bowman Draft. Like one jumbo of draft. I broke the stacks down for two lucky winners - top and bottom of the randomizer. Keep on reading to get to the comment box. Com'on....keep reading.

If you just jump to the bottom, you miss out on some recent PWEs fired on my location. And they have some pretty sweet stuff. First up - recently retired Jim from GCRL.

Jim used a crossbow and launched some White Sox minor league cards and a couple throwbacks. How I did not have a single copy of that Maybin confounds me. Thanks Jim.

Chris, from Nacho Grande, loaded up his English Longbow and in sailed a bunch of set needs. Chris did substantial damage to the 2015 A&G full sized inserts and a few Stadium Club cards as well. Much gratitude, Chris.

And finally John, from....well, John is a reader. He will need to be shamed into starting a blog. But John rolled out the ballista and sent over just three cards. But three great ones they are. Nellie joins the Fox binder. Santos is one of those thick Bowman gold border cards. And George? What - you didn't know I collect cards from the Big Red Machine? I don't.

Unless the backs look as wonderful as that. John, I appreciate you thinking of me.

See, that wasn't so hard. You saw lots of new cards and now you get to comment for a chance to win some as well. Then, fire up Bowman and kill some things.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tis The Season: Clubbing it

We'll start off with a little visit to as we have two large staccks of UD Hockey to hand off. Remember, we are looking at the person at the top, and the person at the bottom.

So we have one stack heading to Peoria and the other to the Lone Star state. Congrats to you two. So what's on the random block today?

The star is the center pile - 2015 Stadium Club.

Three dozen cards from this year's release. I'm going to team it up with some Opening Day and Diamond Kings - like 30 of the first and 15 of the latter. I lucked out and won a box of Opening Day at me LCS, so I built the entire base set - these were the dupes from the box. DK - I really need to get a box of that. It's a decent fill in for my Cooperstown fix. Comment box below.

Let me end the bottom of this post as a thanks to another package I received recently. Fuji, from the fantastic Chronicles Of Fuji, makes me the dumping ground for all hits Hawks and White Sox. And that works, cuz I have made him my dumping ground for all hits Sharks and Padres/A's. And what was the latest mailing from Fuji?

We start with this really neat Leaf set that commemorates both baseball stars and the Special Olympics. I think the story was Fuji found a couple sets at the flea markets he attends (San Jose flea markets are the best in the world I have determined) and offered a set in a contest. Fortunately, I ended up at the top. While the cards are simple and very Diamond King like in the look, they are really great to look at in hand.

"But the hits, Jeff. You said Fuji dumps hits on you." Yes - I did say that, and he did do that.

Two Hawks that did their best to make the team something feared in the late 90's. Moreau you a high draft pick for the Hawks and did well for a few seasons before an out of the blue trade with the Oilers where Edmonton definitely got the better end of the deal. Hackett was Belfour's backup for a few years and then the full time goalie after Eddie's trade to the Sharks.

I'm not sure the Hawks autograph run in Be A Player, but Fuji is going to send me the full set series at this rate. Cleary - I think I have spoken about the mistake of trading him in the past, so we'll not beat that dead horse, though he left Chicago in the same trade with Moreau above. Leroux was a 2nd round draft pick that never really found his scoring touch in the NHL, playing most parts of 4 seasons. Just 16 goals and 22 helpers in 220 games in the Indian head.

Last card from Fuji, and talk about clubbing. This Finest refractor autograph is all the colors of the spectrum. With the recent pick ups of Frazier and Lawrie, Davidson will probably move to a utility role in 2016, but he still has youth and could find some time at shortstop, splitting time with Saladino. Thanks as always, Fuji. I'm sure I'll be dumping on you soon enough.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tis The Season: There's.....something about today. A disturbance.

Before I show the cards going on the free block today, let's close out the basketball group. It was a small stack of cards, and also a small set of entrants. Last year, basketball was the lowest ranked stack in the giveaway. Still - 4 people threw their virtual hats into the ring...

And Dave, you will be seeing them on your doorstep come the new year. Congrats. Still time to get into the random for two 70%-ish complete sets of series 1 Upper Deck hockey. That will not be selected until Sunday, so get your comment in the thread by Saturday night. We good?

So it's Friday. I had the day off to go see a pain doc about this damn nerve. From the MRI, I have a couple bulging disks and some arthritis in my lower spine that's pinching the nerves. Falling out of a tree when I was 13 and landing square on my tail bone has finally caught up to me. So the doctor will do some exact targeted steroid injections to hopefully get me some long term relief. There goes my Tour de France title hopes. I wonder if I can still date Sheryl Crow?

Imma slap you if you get closer!
Well, while I was out, I heard all this buzz about....something arriving today. Anticipated for years I guess. Something in the entertainment field, but I am not sure what it is. From what I hear it's a huge thing, but the Google doodle today is the standard logo. I would have thought if this album or or TV show or movie or whatever such a big deal, they would have created a doodle for it. Shesh - they had one for Zuzu Angels birthday, and I had to look her up!

Maybe you all know what is such a big deal in the entertainment world today. If so, throw me a bone cuz I am clueless. Just as clueless as I am about today's stack of cards that's up for one lucky winner.

Cards with robots and monks carrying big candles or something. 1990s - amiright? The stack on the left - I was buying these blue packs of cards. I thought they were some rerelease from Upper Deck of old SPx cards. Like a buyback or something, cuz they talked about the Force, but instead I got these blue, orange, green, black, red and a bunch of other types of cards in there. But what was really interesting was when I saw them, I remembered very similar cards I had found when organizing my collection. The cards on the right are damn near 40 years old. Check on that rainbow in the stack. They aren't in perfect shape, but I don't need them. Since they make a nice matching set, I'll throw those 140 cards on the right in with the 40 on the left. Enjoy.....whatever the hell they are about.

Fortunately for me, I get cards that I know a bunch about. Like this PWE from Jason at The Writer's Journey.

A nice small envelope, but it had a bunch of needs. Like the Johnson, that goes into the Sox box for the 2015 team set. And a gorgeous Golden Age of Kid Gleason. Why did you kill Golden Age, Panini? Why?

Look at that PERFECT cropping on the McDowell card. Topps - that's how it's done. There is a full body image in a 2.5 by 3.5 frame. Hell - there's even border and logo. Yet nothing is covered or cut off. I happened to pick up a junk wax box of this (series 1) at my LCS. Going to be a fun rip. Jason - thanks a ton for the mailing.

WAIT - I know what today is! It's the 75th anniversary of the start of planning Operation Barbarossa. Kind of a weird thing to celebrate.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tis The Season: no steel on ice

I TOTALLY forgot to hit publish on this yesterday, so let me get it up today. Just pretend you are reading this on Wednesday.

First order of business - Copperstown.  I failed to say this, but I assume folks know I will randomize the list 3 times. That seems to be the standard in the world, and I think 3 is good and fair. Plus - Tis The Season 3. So see - it all ties in. Also, I enter the names into the randomizer based on your comment screen name. Easy for me to read and to follow when the winner is selected. Without wasting any more time....

Jafronius gets a healthy stack of Cooperstown for his collection. I'll hold off mailing under all the cards are randomized as Jafronius may win a 2nd time and thus get his choice of cards. Alright, let's get to today's stacks, but first - a story.

Yesterday was a bad day at work. The day started with all the data from one of our largest customers not routing properly. That blew the ever living crap out of the phones - 10+ minute wait times. With an issue like this, it wasn't a simple "we are researching the issue" response. We had to collect information for another department to research. On every single call. Fortunately, I work the chat queue.

Which means, at one point in time, I had 15 cases I needed to escalate. In chat, you can take as many "calls" at one time as humanly possible. My limit is 4. There is just too much going on to handle changing your troubleshooting mindset that often. One of the best parts of chat opposed to the phones is when we are getting killed, their scores look dreadful, and we usually are sitting at 100%. It's the advantage of being able to take 3 and 4 chats at a time. However, yesterday was not one of those good days. Our scores were pitiful in chat. When you are working 4, and 4 other people are working 4, and there are still 6 chats queued up, cursing is how you handle stress.

Well, it cleared up about noon, only to have some bizarre internet issue throw everything back into the crapper. I enjoyed the 30 minute lunch I happened to get to about 5 minutes before all hell broke loose again, then leaped back into the mess. By the time 3:30 rolled around, I needed a drink. Bad.

I mention that story mainly because of a similar parallel with today's freebies:

That is two separate stacks of 2014-15 Upper Deck hockey. This is one of those giveaways where the person at the top, and the person at the bottom, walk away with cards. I believe it's 135 cards per stack. No inserts and no dupes (I pulled them out). So for a 200 card basic set, you are getting almost 70% of it.

So why do I have so much series 1? This jerk:

My precious!
Not sure why I keep trying to pull this card. Hell - he's not even leading the rookie scoring, nor is the Young Gun card that will come out in Series 2, Jack Eichel.  Right now, the leader for the rooks in scoring is this guy - a little winger that I've pulled two Young Guns cards for already. But still I buy packs, and pull dupe after dupe after dupe. And I say "sonofabitch"....then buy another pack. It's like crack.

Luckily, Adam at Addiction As Therapy (seque FTW) helps me out with other hockey cards. I am just two cards away from completing series one thanks to a recent mailer from him.

Upper Deck knows images. Adam also helped with my Update series needs.

Not sure is Saladino is the answer for third base on the south side. And considering we JUST traded for Todd Frazier, I'm not the only one thinking that.

Adam topped it off with a nice chrome version of Garland from a past release of Heritage. Thanks again for the cards, Adam.

Comment away. And maybe give me some good karma should I buy another rack back of UD. I mean - there is only so many frigging Ovechkin base cards you can p

SON OF A B....