Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In search of the perfect memoribilia card...

I been noticing a ton of horribly thought out relic cards popping up lately, so I wanted to do a run down of some of my mem cards - the good, the bad, the ugly style.
For an example of what constitutes a bad mem card, see Stale Gum's T206 Blaster Break for his pitcher bat relic, or see anything made by Panini this year.

I don't have any perfect relic cards, but we can start with...

The Good:

2009 Absolute Memoribilia Football Star Gazing Patrick Turner #142/250

This has many great features.  The best, and to me, most important feature:  the color of the swatch matches the color worn in the picture.  Other good things include a non-square swatch, and serial numbering on the back.  I prefer the serial number on the front, but I'll take it. Also, the obligatory authentication clause on the back of the card says the jersey was worn on "5/16 at the 2009 NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere". I love when they are specific about where it came from.  I also like when there is more to the card back than just the authentication clause.

2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Dual Patch Robinson Cano / Brian Roberts #15/25

It's hard to argue a patch card like this.  I like the numbering on the front, and it has a player paragraph on the back above the authentication clause.  The Cano half is beautiful, nice white with blue patch.  The Roberts half, however, just barely misses.  I love that it has the black and orange, but unfortunately it's a white jersey, and the picture has a grey jersey.

2007 Press Pass Gridiron Gamers Kevin Kolb #234/275

Nice numbering and a good layout, if only the swatch was red, this card would be incredible.

The Bad:

2008 Sweet Spot Sweet Swatch Travis Hafner (x2)

Pretty standard bland white jersey on a card of a guy wearing a nice blue jersey.  Kinda wierd that the two swatches are different materials.  Makes you wonder which parts they are from.

2008 Sweet Spot Sweet Swatch Dual Dave Winfield / Don Mattingly

Don't get me wrong, it's a great card.  So what's wrong with it?  Dave Winfield: gray picture/white swatch. Don Mattingly: white picture/gray swatch.  Sooo close.

2005 Topps Red Sox World Champions Curt Schilling

This is the first mem card I ever got, so I like it for that reason.  I like the idea of a shaped jersey piece, but if that is going to be the case, it should be cut well.  The poorly cut window on this looks terrible.  And if going through the trouble to cut the B, why not cut two holes and make this card really sweet..

2005 All-Star Classics Midsummer Swatch Edgar Renteria

I thought this card was going to be awesome.  A piece of jersey from the midsummer classic (since that seems to be the logical choice for this set) of Renteria as a Red Sox.  Unfortunately, the plain white swatch is from a CARDINALS jersey used in some random game.  I hate cards with swatches that don't match the color in the picture.  Even worse, though, is when the damn team doesn't even match.

2009 Upper Deck Game Materials Brian Bocock

Who is Brian Bocock?...yeah, I didn't know either.  Anyway, the jersey matches the picture, and the rest of the card sucks.  The fake painted B's look stupid, and why do I want the M?  Just a crap card.

The Ugly:

2006 Fleer Fabrics Bobby Abreu

The only thing worse than a plain white swatch, is a grey swatch.  But, by far, the worst thing about this card is the lump.  The lump is where the swatch bulges out of the back because the card wasn't made thick enough to house it.  Ugh.

2010 Topps Commemorative Patch Dizzy Dean

I'm on the fence about manufactured patches in the first place, but this one is made even worse by the bland gray background it's pasted on...blah

And now, we have one the most awful mem cards I've ever seen.

2008-09 Upper Deck NBA MVP Game Night Souvenirs Brian Cook

Where do I start...how a bout here: 5.8 ppg, 0.7 apg, 2.7 rpg, 0.3 bpg, 0.3 spg, 14.1 mpg in 349 career games.  So why does he get a mem card?!?!?!?!  Ok, so I know what you are thinking: "Is that a terrible player in an Orlando Magic jersey on a card with a YELLOW swatch? I didn't know the Magic wore yellow...". My response: The card says it's a Lakers jersey, duh.  You've got to be kidding.  Who lets this crap go out the door. 

So I'm still in search of the perfect mem card: Decent player, Jersey matches the picture in a color other than white or gray, serial numbered on the front, the team matches, the back of the card has player info and an authentication cluse that says when the jersey was used, and the swatch cut not in a square (even if just barely rounded like the Sweet Spot cards).

Monday, August 30, 2010

More Wal-Mart Discount Blasters

I picked up a couple 2008 Upper Deck Heroes blasters at Wal-Mart the other day because they were pretty cheap.  I hadn't opened much '08 Heroes, so I didn't really know what to expect. Anyway, here are the cards (pictures at the bottom):

Blaster 1
Pack 1
165 Carl Crawford
54 Travis Hafner
56 Matt Holliday
YSL5273 Yankee Stadium Legacy Kevin Maas (I've got like 100 of these YSL cards sitting around, I have no idea what to make of them)
36 Alfonso Soriano Black (not big on one-per-pack inserts, but I do like color of these a little more than the base cards)

Pack 2
7 John Smoltz
101 Joe Mauer
3 Chris Young
33 Carl Yastrzemski
106 Pedro Martinez

Pack 3
175 Ian Kinsler
114 Derek Jeter
127 Joe DiMaggio
60 Curtis Granderson
60 Curtis Granderson Black (Granderson hot pack...kinda boring since its only a black parallel)

Pack 4
72 Josh Willingham
177 Carlton Fisk / Carl Yastrzemski
43 Jermaine Dye Beige #'ed 062/299 (and I thought the base cards were beige...really? a beige parallel...that's a sign you have used too many colors, if you get to beige)
YSL5248 Yankee Stadium Legacy Jim Leyritz (and yet another YSL)
11 Jeff Francoeur Black

Pack 5
7 John Smoltz
101 Joe Mauer
194 Brandon Webb / Justin Verlander / Felix Hernandez (cool, a verlander I didn't have)
79 Alex Gordon
170 Vernon Wells Black

Pack 6
156 Albert Pujols
47 Ken Griffey Jr.
71 Andrew Miller
174 Lastings Milledge
16 Cal Ripken Jr. Black (nice card...very likely a 3-HOFer pack...what HEROES should be all about)

Pack 7
70 Dan Uggla
121 Yogi Berra
73 J.R. Towles RC
196 Derek Jeter / Ken Griffey Jr. / Cal Ripken Jr. / Ichiro (wow, what a beautiful card)
62 Magglio Ordonez Black

Pack 8
30 Dustin Pedroia
77 Hunter Pence
186 Vladimir Guerrero / Ichiro / Manny Ramirez (if this had Thome instead of ManRam, it'd be an awesome card)
148 Barry Zito
193 Nolan Ryan / Greg Maddux / Randy Johnson Black (who doesn't love this card)

Pack 9
54 Travis Hafner
19 Mike Lowell
45 Nick Swisher Red #'ed 038/249 (ok, so the red looks pretty good, but not a big Swisher fan)
YSL3571 Yankee Stadium Legacy Joe Pepitone (YSL #3 for this box...)
83 Torii Hunter Black

Not a bad box - two numbered parallels - but no hit; better luck next time.
Oh...it's next time already...

Blaster 2
Pack 1
135 Chase Utley
157 Troy Glaus
178 Albert Pujols / Stan Musial
58 Garrett Atkins
112 Chien-Ming Wang Black

Pack 2
140 Freddy Sanchez
165 Carl Crawford
44 Paul Konerko
103 Rod Carew
80 Matt Cain Black

Pack 3
48 Adam Dunn
93 Chin-Lung Hu RC
21 David Ortiz
150 Rich Hill
193 Nolan Ryan / Greg Maddux / Randy Johnson Black (dejavu all over again...)

Pack 4
25 Kevin Youkilis
117 Jorge Posada
46 Corey Hart
188 Alex Rodriguez / Derek Jeter / Robinson Cano (not a Yanks fan, but this is a pretty darn good trio)
63 Gary Sheffield Black  

Pack 5
30 Dustin Pedroia
77 Hunter Pence
22 Manny Ramirez
50 Johnny Bench
16 Cal Ripken Jr. Black (another black from the first box, but still a great card)

Pack 6
168 Luke Scott
33 Carl Yastrzemski
178 Albert Pujols / Stan Musial
YSL5126 Yankee Stadium Legacy Don Mattingly (YSL #4 for those keeping count)
98 Ben Sheets

Pack 7
19 Mike Lowell
10 Brian McCann Jersey (nice red jersey, but not my ideal hit.  Not a big Braves fan, but McCann's not bad, I guess...)
89 James Loney Black

Pack 8
83 Torii Hunter
106 Pedro Martinez
130 Rich Harden
159 Chris Duncan
182 Ichiro / Kosuke Fukudome Black (hey, this card is Blackanese...

Pack 9
149 Tim Lincecum
129 Bill Hall
117 Jorge Posada Brown #'ed 037/149 (nice, a below-200 numbered parallel, but brown? and I thought beige was a stretch, I guess it's better than a burnt sepia parallel...)
YSL5101 Tommy John (Of course YSL#5 in the last pack)
4 Justin Upton Black (Nice finish, a Justin Upton I wanted.  It's so cool getting his cards; I still remember him as the little kid in my mom's second grade class)

A few numbered parallels, a hit, a couple cards I really like, and couple cards I wanted for the PC.  No particular attachment to any but the Upton and Verlander, so if you want to trade, let me know.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Burdick OBEY

Thorzul, over at Thorzul Will Rule posted today about a "Jefferson Burdick has a posse" sticker that Chris at Stale Gum sent him.  He commented that someone should take the next step and create a Burdick Obey image like the famous Andre the Giant Obey picture.  I took it upon myself to take 10 minutes and create one...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Masterpieces is alive for 2010

I just bought a pack of 2008 UD Masterpieces (soon to be posted) at K-Mart and was thinking how incredible those cards were.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect as I was reading on Cardboard Junkie about his custom Jason Heyward 2010 Masterpieces card from Beardy.  Beardy is creating a custom 2010 Masterpieces Virtual Set, including 100 base cards, colored parallels and a Legends set.  I submitted a candidate picture for a card, and I have to say, he did not dissappoint. Behold, the greatest NY Met card ever created:

It comes in a burgundy parallel as well, for the Situation super-collectors.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wal-Mart Discount Blaster

I'm trying to cut back on buying blasters, but unfortunately Wal-Mart just put out a ton of 2009 Blasters for 40% off. I picked up one of the 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History blasters, since I plan to someday complete that set (I'm at like 80%ish complete). I'm not sure why I like this set so much, but it does offer some things I like to see in a set. First, most of the parallels are serial numbered and the numbers are on the front of the card. In addition, the parallels are nicely colored - blue, green, purple, etc. - unlike UD Heroes tht includes Beige and Brown variations. Also, the inserts are pretty well thought out with color variations and most are serial numbered.

The box contains 7 packs, 5 cards per pack, and promises one memoribila card (on average, of course).  It also says to look for "A Piece of Hollywood" memoribilia cards that feature costume pieces from Hollywood.  I got one of those in the 2008 version in a pack from K-Mart, but haven't gotten one from 2009 yet.  Anyway, on to the cards...

Pack 1
24 Jay Bruce
56 Justin Morneau
167 Boy Scouts of America Begins
105 Alfredo Aceves RC
179 Eiffel Tower Erected

Pack 2
23 Ken Griffey Jr.
72 Ryan Howard
984 Tim Duncan Upper Deck 20th Anniversary (kinda sick of these 20th anniversary cards.  I like the people that I tend to get, but the whole set to me is kind of strange.)
151 Star-Spangled Banner
119 Greg Golson RC

Pack 3
71 Chase Utley
55 Joe Mauer
7 Tom Glavine
190 Baseball Hall of Fame Opens
131 James Parr RC

Pack 4
2 Randy Johnson
39 Carlos Lee
160 USA Enters World War II Blue #268/299 (the blue cards are awesome looking)
107 Michael Bowden RC

Pack 5
28 Grady Sizemore
87 Chris Carpenter
93 Josh Hamilton Red (unnumbered parallel, but the red still looks pretty good)
170 Hollywood Sign Debuts
135 Matt Tuiasosopo

Pack 6
92 Carl Crawford
44 Mark Teixeira
182 First Anesthetic Used
123 Scott Lewis RC
154 Alaska Becomes 49th State (my grandfather-in-law was one of the main namers of places in Alaska, naming some locations after my mother-in-law and her sister.  He also wrote the Dictionary of Alaska Place Names...so that makes this card extra cool.)

Pack 7
76 Adrian Gonzalez
BSM-VM Victor Martinez Box Score Memories #976/999
BSM-CD Carlos Delgado Box Score Memories Jersey
111 Phil Coke RC

The Box Score Memories cards a kind of cool, showing the box score on the back of the game mentioned on the front.  The jersey variation doesn't work for me though, since the box score - the whole reason for the card in the first place - isn't even on the back.  Throw in the fact that the jersey card is unnumbered and has a gray swatch with a black jersey pictured, and the only redeeming quality about this card is that it is of Carlos Delgado as a Met.

All in all, this box wasn't bad.  It got me closer to completing the set and I got a couple decent cards.  The guaranteed mem card wasn't great, but I wasn't expecting much either.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2008 Topps Baseball Blaster

This is the second $5 blaster from FYE.  Not expecting much with this, but for $5, I'm not losing much if it sucks.  The box has 5 packs, 10 cards per pack, and one 3-card bonus pack of the Wal-Mart Dick Perez specials.  Here we go...

Pack 1
56 Seth Smith RC
233 Jimmy Rollins NL MVP
330 Curtis Granderson
69 Bobby Cox MGR
203 Jason Tyner
133 Mike Bacsik (The man who gave up #756)
85 Jason Bay
80 Alex Rios
90 Vladimir Guerrero
313 Kameron Loe

Pack 2
128 Kenny Lofton Postseason Highlights (gotta love the Kenny was still hanging around cards in 2008)
26 Manny Ramirez Postseason Highlights
3 Jeff Suppan
315 David Weathers
172 Chris Ray
282 Jon Lester
AR25 Dan Uggla 50th Anniversary All-Rookie
YR49 David Ortiz/Mike Lowell Year In Review
147 Marlon Anderson
189 Esteban German

Pack 3
59 Grady Sizemore Postseason Highlights
288 Ivan Rodriguez/Justin Verlander Classic Combos (a Verlander that I didn't have; if there was ever a catcher for a pitcher to listen to, it's Pudge)
298 NL Leaders HR Fielder/Howard/Dunn
305 Carlos Delgado
47 Orlando Cabrera
265 Fredi Gonzalez MGR
OTG20 Carlos Lee Own The Game
200 Manny Ramirez
241 Ervin Santana
316 Scott Hatteberg

Pack 4
25 Kaz Matsui Postseason Highlights
286 Jeff Clement RC
234 Red Sox Postseason Highlights
44 Johnathan Broxton
146 Aaron Hill
79 Omar Vizquel
165 Tim Lincecum
204 Rafael Furcal
283 Jorge Sosa
226 Kurt Suzuki

Pack 5
16 Kevin Gregg
141 Ryan Klesko
257 Austin Kearns/Dmitri Young Classic Combos (For those of you who didn't know, Dmitri has the most incredible PSA 10 rookie card collection ever.  He had it at the National on display.  I'd love to see it in person some time.)
22 Ron Washington MGR
84 Brian Fuentes
279 Damion Easley
MMS54 Mickey Mantle Story (Maybe my dad would like to have my Mantle cards for his bike spokes...you know, just like he did in the '50s)
267 Chris Burke
55 Chris Young
81 Ray Durham

I know everyone has moments where they wish they could un-buy something, but I really shouldn't be feeling that way about something that I got for $5. I hope the bonus pack gives me something good.

WMDP8 Joba Chamberlain (have it)
WMDP2 Cameron Maybin (have it)
WMDP6 David Wright (have it, but it's a David Wright card, so I can't complain.  I should probably check to see if I have the whole Dick Perez set before buying anymore '08 Topps)

If you see one of these blasters and have a five dollar bill, I recommend stashing the $5 somewhere random.  That way, in 10 years when you find it again, you'll be much happier than you would've been opening the blaster.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2007 Topps Baseball Blaster

I picked up a couple $5 blasters from FYE in the local mall, one 2007 Topps and one 2008 Topps.  I'm not expecting much, but for five bucks apiece I was happy to pick some up.  I was surprised to see a fair amount of reasonably priced cards at FYE of all places.  The 2007 Topps blaster consists of 10 packs, 6 cards per pack, and one bonus 3-card pack with, in this case, Wal-Mart special cards.  I'll save the bonus pack for last.

Pack 1
621 Alexi Casilla RC
544 Juan Uribe
MMS25 Mickey Mantle Story
422 Francisco Rodriguez
349 Brian Giles
566 Ryan Freel

Pack 2
637 Justin Hampson RC
369 Ben Zobrist
656 Carlos Beltran/Jose Reyes Classic Combo
MHR376 Mickey Mantle Home Run History
GN242 Ryan Zimmerman Generation Now (A nice addition to my Zim collection)
504 Brett Myers

Pack 3
584 Clint Barmes
397 Juan Encarnacion
520 Adam Dunn
JD21 Joe Dimaggio Streak (I think this insert set would be a cool one to finish a put in pages)
438 Chad Cordero
357 Sean Casey

Pack 4
612 Ozzie Guillen MGR (blah, I hate manager cards)
615 Lou Piniella MGR (oh goody, a second manager card in a row)
597 Detroit Tigers (two manager cards and a team card...really?)
546 Orlando Cabrera
HP6 Alex Rodriguez Hit Parade
527 Randy Winn

Pack 5
444 Josh Beckett
571 Norris Hopper
607 Manny Acta MGR (ah, gotta love cards of managers that got fired.)
TP16 Brian Bannister Trading Places
505 Jose Bautista
365 Tim Hudson

Pack 6
646 Devern Hansack RC
450 Ken Griffey Jr.
555 Andy Marte
GN301 Hanley Ramirez Generation Now
367 Cristian Guzman
541 David DeJesus

Pack 7
553 Ramon Martinez
528 Paul Byrd
479 Chris Shelton
650 Alex Rodriguez/Jason Giambi Classic Combo
588 Jose Guillen
395 Matt Diaz

Pack 8
484 John Maine
353 Kyle Lohse
DS22 Warren Spahn Distinguished Service (I like the idea of this set, just not sure the execution is there)
570 Mariano Rivera
475 Kevin Youkilis
525 Jeremy Hermida

Pack 9
355 Oliver Perez
592 Floride Marlins
371 Kenny Lofton
507 Shea Hillenbrand
GN389 Nick Swisher Generation Now
374 Adrian Beltre

Pack 10
359 Jon Garland
645 Angel Sanchez RC
414 Brandon Phillips
379 Chris Young
577 Jason LaRue
565 Alex Cora

Bonus Pack
WM25 Alex Rodriguez (classic design, classic pose, nice)
WM32 Michael Young (horrible design, looks like a mugshot)
WM36 Ryan Zimmerman (I love this card, the Nats' red looks good with the design, and it's a Zim I didn't have)

Not bad, a couple Zimmermans for the binder.  Wouldn't pay any more than $5 for it though.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Target $1.59 Pack

I had completely sworn off buying 2008 Stadium Club because I've been lucky enough to pull two autographs (Evan Longoria RC AU, Jason Bartlett Beam Team AU) out of Target cheap packs and I figured the chances of pulling anything worthwhile were pretty slim.  I was buying a pack of 2008 Topps Chrome (that didn't yield anything good) and saw one lonely Stadium Club pack, so I caved and bought it.  Believe it or not, I pulled my third Target 2008 Stadium Club loose pack autograph, in the form of a Brandon Phillips Beam Team Black and White, #'ed to 99.

The Beam Team cards have a stained-glass style see-through background, which is pretty cool, but I don't really understand the Black and White version.  Why would you have a stained glass design without color.  I mean, I like the card a lot; I just don't get the design variation.  They also made a gold variation that also seems like a waste of the design.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Basketball Hall of Fame

A few days ago, on August 13, Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone were among those in the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2010.  Their enshrinement comes along with the induction of the Dream Team, which was arguably the most incredible group of players that could possibly be put together.  Malone and Pippen were each part of a unique and incredible duo, alongside John Stockton and Michael Jordan, respectively.  The combination of Stockton-Malone was the pick and roll tandem the NBA has ever seen.  Malone was one of the best power forwards to ever play the game and was always fun to watch.  A few cards of the Mailman:

1991-92 Fleer
1989-90 Fleer
1993-94 Topps Future Scoring Leader
1993-94 Fleer Ultra Career Highlights
1994-95 Hoops
1996-97 Fleer Metal
1993-94 Fleer
1993-94 Topps All-Star
1995-96 Hoops

Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan were the greatest duo in the history of the game, and Pippen was by far the best #2 man ever.  His rare combination of size and talent blended perfectly with MJ and the Bulls of the '90s.  A few of Pippen's cards:

1993-94 Upper Deck Pro View 3-D Jams
1993-94 Upper Deck
1997-98 Collector's Choice Miniatures
1996-97 Fleer Metal Cyber-Metal
1991-92 Skybox
1993-94 Fleer All-Star UER "Pipen"
1994-95 Upper Deck (One of the greatest in-your-face dunks of all-time)
1993-94 Stadium Club Frequent Flyers
1996-97 Fleer Metal

Congratulations to both of those guys on great careers.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A-Rod Joins the 600-HR Club

I finally got around to writing up something for Alex Rodriguez hitting his 600th homerun.  It took me about as long to get to writing this post as it did for him to hit number 601, so I don't feel so bad.  Anyway, I figured I would do a run down of the 600-HR club and some of the notable homeruns the members hit.

Alex Rodriguez: 604 Career HR as of 8/15/10

2009 Topps Chrome XFractor

First Homerun: 6/12/1995 off Kansas City Royals pitcher Tom Gordon, in Seattle, as a Mariner.
600th Homerun: 8/4/2010 off Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum, in New York, as a Yankee.

A-Rod has a great shot at pushing the Major League record with a few more good seasons, but it remains to be seen if he'll stay healthy and productive enough to make it.  After A-Rod, Manny Ramirez seems to be the only 600-clubber possible in the next few years, until Pujols reaches the plateau.  Realistically, Pujols could be the all-time leader when it's all said and done.

Sammy Sosa: 609 Career HR

1999 Invincible

First Homerun: 6/21/1989 off Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, in Boston, as a Ranger.
600th Homerun: 6/20/2007 off Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis, in Texas, as a Ranger.
Last Homerun: 9/26/2007 off LA Angels pitcher Joe Saunders, in Texas, as a Ranger.

Sammy will always be one of the most argued 600-HR club members as he had so many performance-enhancement issues toward the end of his career.  Those issues aside, Sammy started with a bang off of also-conflicted Roger Clemens in 1989, and ended with a jack against former Virginia Tech pitcher Joe Saunders.  As history builds, Sammy will most be remembered for his consecutive 60-HR seasons, and how he and Mark McGwire saved baseball with an epic race to pass Roger Maris' 61.

Ken Griffey Jr.: 630 Career HR

2009 Goudey Sport Royalty

First Homerun: 4/10/1989 off Chicago White Sox pitcher Eric King, in Seattle, as a Mariner.
600th Homerun: 6/9/2008 off Florida Marlins pitcher Mark Hendrickson, in Florida, as a Red.
Last Homerun: 10/3/2009 off Texas Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter, in Seattle, as a Mariner.

If not for injuries, Ken Griffey Jr. might have put himself in the running for the greatest player of all time.  I fully believe he is the best player I have ever seen play, and think that if he could have avoided so many injuries, he easily could have pushed to be the charter member of the 800-HR club.  Appropriately, Griffey returned to the Mariners to finish out his career, including hitting his final homerun in Seattle.

Willie Mays: 660 Career HR

1993 Ted Williams

First Homerun: 5/28/1951 off Boston Braves pitcher Warren Spahn, in New York, as a Giant.
600th Homerun: 9/22/1969 off San Diego Padres pitcher Mike Corkins, in San Diego, as a Giant.
Last Homerun: 8/17/1973 off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Don Gullett, in Cincinatti, as a Met.

The Say Hey Kid is considered to be the best all-around player to play the game.  He was the original All-Tool talent that could hit for average, hit for power, speed around the bases, and dominate the outfield on defense.

And now we step up to the 700-HR plateau

Babe Ruth: 714 Career HR

2010 Topps Vintage Legends Collection

First Homerun: 5/6/1915 off New York Yankees pitcher Jack Warhop, in New York, as a Red Sox.
600th Homerun: 8/21/1931 off St. Louis Browns pitcher George Blaeholder, in St. Louis, as a Yankee.
700th Homerun: 7/13/1934 off Detroit Tigers pitcher Tommy Bridges, in Detroit, as a Yankee. 
Last Homerun: 5/25/1935 off Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Guy Bush, in Pittsburgh, as a Yankee.

The Bambino was the original homerun king as he invented the power hitter.  Ruth's trade from the Red Sox to the Yankees was the beginning of a curse that lasted several decades.

Hank Aaron: 755 Career HR

1991 Upper Deck Heroes

First Homerun: 4/23/1954 off St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Vic Raschi, in St. Louis, as a Milwaukee Brave.
600th Homerun: 4/27/1971 off San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry, in Atlanta, as a Brave.
700th Homerun: 7/21/1973 off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ken Brett, in Philadelphia, as a Brave.
715th Homerun: 4/8/1974 off LA Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, in Atlanta, as a Brave. 
Last Homerun: 7/20/1976 off California Angels pitcher Dick Drago, in Milwaukee, as a Brewer.

Hammerin' Hank Aaron started and ended his career in Milwaukee, though the bulk of his destruction of opposing pitchers took place in Atlanta.  Many baseball purists that black out the Steroid Era hold Aaron's 715th homerun as the greatest, most iconic moment in Major League history. 

Barry Bonds: 762 Career HR

2006 Topps Barry Bonds

First Homerun: 6/4/1986 off Atlanta Braves pitcher Craig McMurtry, in Atlanta, as a Pirate.
600th Homerun: 8/9/2002 off Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Kip Wells, in San Francisco, as a Giant.
700th Homerun: 9/17/2004 off San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy, in San Francisco, as a Giant.
756th Homerun: 8/7/2007 off Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik, in San Francisco, as a Giant. 
Last Homerun: 9/5/2007 off Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, in Colorado, as a Giant.

Barry Bonds will be the most argued player in the history of Major League Baseball for a long time.  My personal feeling is that as long as he has not been proved guilty of anything, he should be given all the graces of those that came before him.  Steroids or not, his homerun total is a function of how sweet his swing was throughout his career.

Of course, no homerun argument would be complete without mentioning Negro Leagues star Josh Gibson, who hit more than 800 career homeruns, though the argument says it was against lesser pitching.  And don't forget Sadaharu Oh, the Japanese-League legend who hit 868 homeruns.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ebay Day

I recently picked up a Bowman  Futures Game Triple Relic #'ed 17/99 of Scott Sizemore off of Ebay.  I was more than happy to pay less than the price of a pack for a great card.  It's pretty amazing to see a high school friend representing the USA.

I had the chance last year to present some of my Master's work at a conference in South Korea, where I competed against representatives of several countries around the world.  I can tell you first hand that it was an incredible honor and privelege to represent the USA on an international stage.

Monday, August 9, 2010

More Allen and Ginter Rack Pack Magic

I was checking out the 2010 Allen and Ginter Rack Packs at Wal-Mart the other day and noticed that one of them had the mini card on the back.  Most of the rack packs have the minis buried between the base cards, so I was interested in the pack, since the Albert Pujols Celestial Stars mini I pulled a few weeks ago was also on the back.  Well, the guess paid off, as I pulled another Celestial Stars card from a Wal-Mart rack pack.  This time, it was Prince Fielder. 

I don't know if there is a specific reason Topps decided to put the Celestial Stars in the backs of the rack packs, but it seems to be a trend.  As for the rest of the pack:

194 Nyjer Morgan
274 Nick Markakis
273 David DeJesus
145 Jim Thome
123 Mariano Rivera
105 Nicolaus Copernicus (I dig the space guy, though the picture is a little creepy)
199 Summer Sanders
201 Pablo Sandoval
292 Chris Petit
344 Derek Holland SP
TDH66 Curtis Granderson This Day in History

Not much in the pack, but I'm ecstatic to pick up another Celestial Stars mini in a cheap rack pack.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Target $1.59 Packs

I was visiting my parents the other day and needed to run by the Target by their house, so I glanced at the card selection while I was there.  They didn't have a whole lot I was interested in, although I did have to resist buying two more 2007 Press Pass Football Retail Boxes.  I like to dig through the "power packs" they have there.  They usually have a red box which is full of non-sport $0.99 packs and a blue box with a mix of sports and non-sports for $1.59.  They had five packs of 2008 Topps Chrome, so I piccked them up.  I've always liked 2008 Topps Chrome, and I love opening individual packs, so I was quite a happy camper.  It's not a particularly great set, so I'm starting to think that I like it just because I'm a sucker for shiny blue wrappers and anything "chrome". 

I typically don't care for packs that only have 4 cards per pack, but I do like xfractors, which are pretty easy to get in this set.  I got two refractors (JoJo Reyes and Dan Uggla, blah) and two xfractors (Alex Romero and Yunel Escobar, blah), which seems to go along with the odds of 1:3 packs for each.  I could live with out plain refractors; they should just make the blue refractor the standard.

I picked up a couple of the standard issue inserts of a CC Sabathia Trading Card History (1:4) and a Mickey Mantle Homerun History (1:12).  I defied the odds, however, by getting two Heritage Chrome (1:14) cards of Pat Burrell (#'ed 1050/1959) and Victor Martinez (#'ed 1620/1959).  I like the way the red looks on the Burrell card, but can't say I care for the Heritage Chrome cards.  I just don't like chrome cards with old school cardboard backs. 

The rest of the cards from the packs weren't very exciting...

1 Alex Rodriguez (the newest 600 club member)
5 Miguel Cabrera (he's tearing it up this year)
19 Jose Reyes
99 Nick Markakis
114 Torii Hunter
122 Chone Figgins
154 Brian Bannister
155 Joba Chamberlain
174 Casey Kotchman
213 Wesley Wright RC
215 Kyle  McClellan RC

Oh yeah, and a rookie card of some scrub named Evan Longoria...

I'm actually starting to have a decent collection of Longoria RCs without even trying to collect him.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ebay Day

I've gotten a few bubble mailers the past couple weeks filling out some of the cards I wanted but didn't get in packs.  Unfortunately I didn't have the cash to shell out for the Sizemore Superfractor a few weeks ago, but I am holding out that the price tag will come down a little bit on the Gold Refractor Auto and the Red 1/1.  Until then, I did pick up a few Bowman Sizemores I wanted.  I got the orange parallel numbered 234/250 to add to my base-gold-blue collection.  I also picked up the Chrome Auto and the Chrome Auto Refractor numbered 244/500 to add to my Chrome Blue Refractor Auto. 

I can't help but be amazed by the number of autos Scott signed for Bowman.  As far as I know, he signed 500 refractors, 250 blue refractors, 50 gold refractors, 1 superfractor, 4 printing plates, and an unknown number of base chrome cards.  My hand hurts just thinking about it.
I also wanted to pick up a couple of Allen and Ginter minis, so I got the Sizemore mini and also picked up the black border Cuddyer mimi with combined shipping.  I love the minis, especially the black border ones, although this year it seems Topps made the Allen and Ginter logo a little too big to squeeze the black border in.

Hopefully I'll have a few more in a few weeks as I try to finish out the cards I want from the Bowman and A&G sets.  Strangely, the Cuddyer mini is the first mini I have of any of the Towny Townsend Guys

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rare My Cardboard Mistress Box Break: 2007 Press Pass Football

Target has been toying with me by having some old retail boxes on sale, so I continued my pattern of no-willpower and picked up a retail box of 2007 Press Pass.  The big players to get in the set are Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, and JaMarcus Russell.  The box had 16 packs, each with 4 cards.  There were three pack designs featuring two players each. 

AP and Marshawn Lynch - Pretty good, can't go wrong with AP, I give it an 9
JaMarcus Russell and Calvin Johnson - a 0 and a 10 average out to a 5
Brady Quinn and Troy Smith - a 6, just because it has to be better than anything involving JaMarcus Russell
(Sorry for crossing out JaMarcus Russell, but I only wanted to include football players in this post)

In the first pack I got an entry card for a chance to win tickets to bowl games.  This was actually one of the four cards in the pack.  I guess it would be a cool card to get...if it we're still 2007.  I got a Reflectors parallel of a Brady Quinn/Darius Walker Teammates card numbered 115/500.  Not real stoked about this card; maybe my boss who went to Notre Dame (by my count, I have 8-9 bosses) will want it.  The first hit in the box was a Kevin Kolb Gridiron Gamers Jersey numbered 234/275.  Now I'm torn...Ever since McNabb left Philly, I've been talking about how Vick will take over for Kolb by week 4.  Now that I have a Kolb Jersey card, I'm not sure whether to hope I'm right, or to hope he becomes a HOFer so I can sell the card.

You may have picked up on the fact that I said "first hit", meaning there was a second.  It wasn't a real exciting hit, but an auto is always nice.  Tim Crowder is currently with the Tampa Bay Bucs.  I know his name because he was an All-American and Bednarik Award winner for my Texas dynasty in NCAA Football 2006 for the PS2...who didn't love Vince Young in that game?  The best card in the box was actually not a jersey or auto, but an Adrian Peterson Blue Reflectors card.  The blue reflectors were inserted one per pack, so they aren't extremely rare, but AP is a stud.

I am pretty happy with the box for 15 bucks, so I might have to go back to Target and pick up the other one that was on the shelf.  If I do, I'm sure you'll see it up here.