Category Archives: Baseball

2014 Topps Group Break Results and More

2014 Topps Series 1 was released earlier this month.  I love a new set to check out each year…and the flagship Topps product continues to bring a lot of parallel chasing and questionable autographs peppered with manufactured relics and inserts out the wazoo.

My first thoughts are that I do not like the design much…my least favorite in the past few years for sure.  The side cut with the team name just drives me crazy.  I never understood having to waste space with both a team name and a team logo…it seems to me that one or the other would suffice.  I’d like the cards so much better if the image didn’t get the weird side cut for the vertical team name tab.  That being said the photography continues to be top notch but I am a little disappointed in the lack of variety in some of the cropping…as some other Dodger blog pointed out a few weeks back the number of “knees to elbows” framed cards is pretty substantial.

I was able to get in a group break through one of the big case breakers on eBay, rkcollectibles, where I finally landed the Dodgers so I sat one Sunday night glued to my laptop while six cases of Jumbo 2014 Topps were busted.  We were actually shorted one auto in the six box sealed case, but rkcollectibles decided to random another to make up for it and gave the winner their choice of several nice cards they had on eBay (which I’m sure were all better than a Ricky Nolasco or Chris Archer trajectory auto that seem to come in EVERY case).

My hits were nice though, and although my hopes for a Pedro Martinez Before They Were Great Auto Relic redemption came up short I did do very well all things considered:

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Some base parallels.  I think I am going to see a ton of Onelki Garcia this year…

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Just a few of the inserts.  I am very hit or miss on inserts, but these all are pretty cool.  I like the die cut 1989 min’s.  It was my second year collecting cards and is the subject of my 1988 World Series Team TTM project.

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Some cool SP variations.  I didn’t get two of the Puig in this one break, however…one of them I pulled in a Walmart hanger pack the week before.  I love the return of future stars.  I just wish they didn’t SP so many freaking Dodgers.  Second Puig is for trade, if anyone out there needs one.  Looking for parallels and the other Dodger SP’s in recent years.

groupbreak4 groupbreak3

First, a Zach Greinke silk card numbered to 50!  Pretty  neat, I don’t think I have any previously existing silk cards (this break resulted in a ton of them actually which is apparently not the norm).  I like the window so you can “feel” the silk.  Also received the Buckner auto which I don’t mind.  One of these days I am going to rant about how lame a Ricky Nolasco autograph is and it seems about as common as this one…however, the “rarity” of certain autographs is only part of my rant about Nolasco.  This Buckner however, is alright.  I think it MIGHT be a tad more suited for Topps Archives Fan Favorites but at least it’s not a current year player who isn’t a Dodger anymore, re: Nolasco.

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These manufactured rookie class cards are pretty nice.  I feel like if Topps is going to manufacture “relics” to put in product this kind is the way to go.  They are really nice cards, look better in person, and feel like you are getting something a little more cool than a manufactured patch or relic normally feels like.  They are thick and sweet.  I was so happy to see both Sandy and Jackie pulled from the break.  I think my package also contained a full six sets of base Dodgers so that was cool albeit expected.  Overall I feel good about the break.  A nice variety of Dodger hits, SPs, inserts, etc.

After reviewing the 2014 Topps offering I have a few thoughts.

This product is essentially issued in three series these days, correct?  Series 1, Series 2, and Updates and Highlights.  I like being able to open cards so early in the year.  I understand that this time line that we enjoy also presents certain logistical issues with players appearing on old teams, before winter transactions might have even begun, etc.  But why can’t they plan who are going to be in these sets a little better?  A late trade or spring signing always happens but it should be the exception…not the norm…to have players showing up in outdated uniforms.  I know that current year cards are sometimes seen as a tribute to the previous season…but at the same time if they are going to continue using the Series 1/2/Update formula then why can’t they put forth a little more effort?

Here’s what I mean…of the eleven regular issue Dodger cards in the set, three of them will not be appearing in a Dodger uniform to begin 2014.  I haven’t checked the ratio of other teams or anything so maybe some teams are better or worse but 27% of the Dodger team pictured on cardboard in Series 1 isn’t going to be on this team.  Again, I understand if a late trade suddenly placed Mark Ellis on a different team or if Ricky Nolasco suddenly was cut…but these guys were basically not in the forecast for a while now…there’s no sense in seeing them in Dodger blue to begin 2014.  Especially since, my next point, SO many prominent Dodgers were left out of a regular issue Series 1 card in 2014!  Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis, and many more could’ve “more safely” filled the slots occupied by Nolasco and Ellis and therefore would’ve freed up a spot in Series 2 or Update for another new rookie or late offseason/early season transaction or call up.  Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford are all nowhere to be found in Series 1…which makes sense as there were quite a few trade rumors and what not swirling around the Dodgers OF’s as recently as the winter meetings.  I get that.  This makes sense.  Mark Ellis and Ricky Nolasco do not.

The Michael Young Conundrum

Michael Young is the third player featured as a Dodger who will not be back with the team, or with anyone in MLB it turns out, after his retirement was announced weeks ago.  I am somewhat more forgiving for this type of situation, since there was a shot he would be back with the Dodgers and there wasn’t any certainty about his retirement or signing with somebody else, etc.  My issue with this is that the lasting legacy of Michael Young is going to be as a Dodger in one of the worst eyes closed throwing pictures I have ever seen.  Ugh.  I like the final card for retired players…but man even though his WAR as a Dodger was -0.2 (and -1.3 for the 2013 season) he deserves better than this.  Similar to the god awful diving Kemp picture from a couple years ago, I can only speculate that somebody at Topps is a Giants fan.

Have a week!

Trade Day

Robert over at $30 a Week Habit recently posted some 2014 Topps Series 1 results and I was able to stake a claim for a 2014 red sparkly parallel Puig card…which is a rare feat in my experience blogging since there are seemingly hundreds of Dodger bloggers and most are usually quicker on the draw than myself.  However, this time I won the race and Robert and I quickly worked out a trade for some Blue Jay parallels and a few days later this beauty arrived in the mail:

tradeday1

Uh oh.  It’s every traders worst nightmare.  The mangled plain white envelope.  I’m glad the USPS took the time to write on the envelope that it arrived at my zip code in this condition…in a related story, this man is wanted for questioning:

CookieMonster-Sitting

The good news is that no cookies were contained in the package therefore these cards arrived unmolested:

tradeday2 tradeday3

Thanks so much for the trade Robert…I was looking over your serial project and I think maybe I can help out there too!

In other news I finally got into a 2014 Topps group break.  This one was provided by rkcollectibles via their eBay business and although it was more than I ideally wanted to spend, I made out pretty nicely.  How nicely?  Stay tuned for that update, it will be wordy and feature lots of pictures of cards that will likely only impress me…but hey if you can’t have a little self-indulgence in a blog then exactly what is a blog good for anyway?  =)

Enjoy your burrito,

Thomas aka Dodgers88

Long Cold Winter…

It’s been a while.

Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into a half year hiatus.  I do that from time to time.  Life is constantly evolving.

In the time since we last spoke, a lot has happened.  Some good.  Some evil.  But always changing.

I was looking for Puig cards, hardcore last time I blogged.  I have finally managed to get a few, almost entirely due to the kindness of my brother who is for some reason a Red Sox fan.  Some of his side of the family moved up to Maine in the early 1990’s and the guy has been confused ever since.  He might even have been a Sox fan before that time…I just don’t know with this guy he’s clearly a little off but he has a good heart and when I received a call asking me to come meet him a couple weeks before my birthday last August I was a little worried.  What was up?  Family issues?  Work trouble?  Did he need a kidney?

Nope.  He was heading up to Maine to visit and wanted to drop this off before he was gone:

Hello, Mr. Puig!

I never expected him to scoop up one of these for me, as I know he didn’t go to the National convention or wherever it was distributed.  He knew a guy who knows a guy kind of thing, I believe.  Anyway, my first ever Puig card and it’s pretty cool and safe to assume I’d never own one normally as I don’t spend a lot of singles and usually avoid Gypsy Queen like the plague.  What a way to start off August!

Here’s what happened next:

Then the Dodgers made the playoffs, Yes!  The Dodgers beat the Braves 3-1 and looked unstoppable, Yes!
Then they ran into the freaking Cardinals.  Ugh.  What a series…said nobody ever.
Mattingly was finally extended.  Kershaw was right behind him.  Kemp was dangled.
In the end, the team is going to remain largely intact from 2013 with a few key additions and subtractions with my thoughts…use a Bert Healey voice when reading the bold headlines:

Dodgers sign Dangerous Danny Haren!  I feel like this is a pretty good signing with Billingsley and Beckett very unknown quantities heading into spring training.
Ricky Nolasco Bolts for the Twin cities!  Good.  I don’t think he was worth going four years and he pitched well for us but eh…I just felt like we could’ve found another starter much cheaper.
Belisario non-tendered.  Lands in the windy city!  I was a little shocked by this one, with as much as Ned seems to stock up on bullpen arms.  However, I’d rather see him go now before his arm falls off in May or June…he’s been workhorse but I had the feeling he was pitching hurt and certainly didn’t look as good as previous years.
Brian Wilson re-signs with Dodgers!  This shocked me as well since I thought he’d certainly leave for a multi-year deal to close somewhere else after his performance for us in 2013.  Very happy to see this.  Still surprised.
Jerry Hairston hangs up his cleats!  Another shocker…usually guys hang on as long as they can, especially when they have that utility role where they can play for years and years…Jamey Carroll anyone?  I was always surprised when I would read that he was reluctant to play third base since everyone seemed to think that 1. he could handle it and 2. he’d have a decent shot at starting full time after the 2012 wasteland that was Juan Uribe and company.
Juan Uribe gets multi-year deal to continue being Juan Uribe!  This was my first “dammit Ned” moment of the off season.  I am happy he performed decently last year and bounced back to help the team…but at the same time I can’t understand for the life of me giving him two years and fifteen million dollars.
Mark Ellis scampers to the NL Champs!  I was a little disappointed to see Ellis leave, I think he would’ve been great insurance in case Alex Guerrero needs some seasoning in the minors…which I think he most certainly will.
J.P. Howell loves L.A. and elects to re-sign!  This is a Ned move that I totally expected…but again I thought he’d do the same with Bellisario!  Instead…
Dodgers sign smoking Chris Perez!  OK now it all makes sense…Ned wasn’t done with bullpen arms…he just preferred funding horticulturist pet lovin’ Chris Perez!
Dodgers sign host of insurance arms and bats including Figgins, Olivo, Maholm, and Wright!  I’d prefer we kept Capuano.  He was a great swing man in the past couple years and I really think he would’ve been fine.  His performance against the Braves in the playoffs alone should have warranted a pick up on his option…instead he gets banished!  Ned’s tough love!

So here we are.  Pitchers and catchers reported over the weekend due to the Australia games.

Here’s some other cool Puig cards my brother is also responsible for…this time for Christmas I had a blaster box of update with the chrome bonus cards in it:

Is it a real rookie card? Don’t know. Don’t care. It’s awesome!puig3

So yeah in short…it’s been a long, cold winter.  My brother is the best.  The Dodgers new dynasty began over the weekend in spring training.  I’m optimistic and hopeful of pulling some good Dodgers if I can ever manage to get them in a group break here and there this year.

In Pursuit of Puig

Yasiel Puig has swept the nation.  We all knew it in spring training.  You all know it now.  He’s sparked life in what was an otherwise lifeless offense and inspired play with his own unsustainable offensive assault and the resultant hot streaks of guys like Hanley Ramirez.  It’s been a fun couple of weeks after a pretty dismal first couple of months.  We will see where it goes.  In the meantime, I consulted with some fellow Dodger collectors on twitter and found out that Puig had some inserts in Bowman 2013.  So the pursuit began…

But first…some series 2 to share.  Picked up a Jumbo Hobby Box hoping to score something amazing, or maybe one of the seven hundred Dodgers super short prints that Topps decided to curse me with…

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Ryu Rookie and Hanley Sweet Shot

Not as many Dodgers in Series 2 but some nice cards.  I really like the Ryu rookies I’ve found in the flaghship set and Archives so far…and this is a pretty sweet shot of Hanley throwing the bat after a bomb.  I did pull some pretty cool inserts and parallels, including a few Dodgers like this:

newdodgers2  newdodgers5

My hits were nothing spectacular in the Jumbo unfortunately, but there was this which made it pretty cool:

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My second ever 1/1…but it’s a person I’ve never heard of…however even guys I’ve never heard of seem to be doing OK on eBay so maybe I will do OK there and raise some funds.

Finally, back to my original pursuit of Puig.  I’ve bought more Bowman than I care to remember and pulled quite a few nice cards but nothing from Yasiel.  Not at Top 100 insert.  Not a Bowman Chrome Mini or parallel of any sort, and certainly not a Red Hot Redemption which seems like about the same odds of pulling as winning the Powerball.  However, I did get a Dodger hit which is always a nice treat:

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A sticker auto but a sticker auto of a Dodger who actually is STILL a Dodger is always nice.  In fact, it might be my only “current Dodger” autograph as I don’t have any others I can immediately recall.

Until next time, the pursuit continues.  Oh yeah, no 2013 Series 2 Short Prints that I’ve found either…but I guess the 1/1 more than makes up for that!  I also have a trade in the works for a SP Adrian Gonzalez so I am confident it will all work out in the end.

Shoebox of Memories – Part 2

Previously on Shoebox of Memories – Tommy’s sister gave him a shoebox (and then some) of baseball cards from his youth.  This week we’ll take a look at the first few sorted stacks for anything that reminds me of anything, then we’ll see if it reminds you of something as well, and then if it does we’ll share a reminder of something dear to us that’s probably not even closely related.

First stack: 1995 Upper Deck

I distinctly remember taking biking treks to the Rite Aid and People’s News stores on the south side of town nearly every day during the summer(s) of 1994-1996.  This was the peak of my collecting days until recent years…money from my parents in my pocket and no rules to abide; we’d scan the Sunday paper every week and see which packs were on sale at which drugstores in town.  Sometimes it was 1995 Score jumbos or maybe the occasional 1995 Pinnacle sets, but nearly every week there was a sale in the insert on some sort of baseball product.  Oddly enough during these times I don’t recall many sales on Topps baseball cards…usually just Fleer, Donruss, Pinnacle, and Score.  But sometimes there’d be a sale on Upper Deck and that’s where these gems came from.  I only pulled one card from this stack to discuss…Mark Grace.

1995 Upper Deck – Mark Grace

Mark Grace was never one of my favorite players, first and foremost because he was a Cub.  However, for whatever reason my memories of Mark Grace are that he was a “scrappy” player.  Growing up I was drawn to average hitting, white, middle infielders with a little speed and warning track power…probably because I was a scrawny white kid who only once hit a home run in our backyard home run derby in years of playing.  I don’t know what it was about players like Grace that made me think “scrappy” but that’s the term I still use today for all the players in this category.  I apply this to players like Jody Reed, Mike Lansing, Spike Owen, this list goes on and on of 1980’s and early 1990’s professional hitters that were good for ten or so homers a year and a decent batting average.  This is what I always wanted to grow up to be until I realized how much cooler pitchers were.  OK, Mark Grace has a lot more talent than the guys mentioned and probably doesn’t deserve to be grouped in with them…but his cards just scream to me “scrappy”.  Sacrificing the body to break-up or turn a double play?  Scrappy.  Taking an inside pitch for the team?  Scrappy.  Eyeblack?  Pure scrappalicious goodness.

Next up:  1995 Donruss

Same memories, different week.  Donruss was on sale?  I’ll blow my allowance on 6 packs.  I chose a couple of cards from this stack…first I want to thank this man for the Dodgers most recent acquisition:

1995 Donruss – Ozzie Guillen

I want to extend a sincere and appreciative thank you to Mr. Ozzie Guillen for basically throwing Hanley Ramirez under the bus and making the situation in Miami so bad that he was traded (along with Randy Choate) to the Dodgers last night for Nathan Eovaldi and a minor leaguer.  Unreal.  I loved Nate Eovaldi…check my previous post about him…but this feels like a genius move by Ned Colletti.  I can’t believe I just typed that and actually mean it.  I don’t know how you lucked into this one, Mr. Colletti, but I can’t help but feel it might save your job if everything pans out.  The best part?  Hanley is excited to be a Dodger, from all indications and the press conferences I’ve watched today.  Ozzie Guillen is such a polarizing figure…I can’t help but feel he’s running the Marlins into the ground though but I guess time will tell on that one.

1995 Donruss – Kurt Manwaring

Now I’d normally never feature a Giant willingly on this blog, but how cool is this picture?  In a set of rather “eh” photography, I just love the look on Manwaring’s face.  Here’s the best part: the guy just about always made this face.  I was looking through others and found similar plays at the plate with what seems like the Man-O-War-ing howl.

Finally, here’s a look at some nice cards from 1995 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice.  I was a big Collector’s Choice fan…lots of neat insert sets and if I recall correctly were priced as the alternative to the flagship Upper Deck sets…and not like “Upper Deck Fun Pack” level of kid-friendliness, just a slightly better bang for my kid buck.

1995 Collector’s Choice – Bo Jackson Silver Signature

Bo knows, kids.  I can’t believe the story of Bo Jackson sometimes.  Whenever a pro athlete holds out or forces a team to renegotiate I think of stories like Bo Jackson and how he was literally the best athlete on the planet one day and the next he injures his hip so badly he can barely run even after years of recovery.  It comes and it goes like that…one minute you’re on top of the world, featured in advertising campaigns, and so good you play two sports professionally…the next minute you are fighting your way back and struggling to keep your career going.  Bo didn’t play after 1994 and even though he hit his highest batting average of his career (.279) for the Angels he was done.

Finally, a trio of cards that just made me smile.  A few hall of famers had 1995 Collector’s Choice cards as well…some of them as hall-of-fame inductee tribute cards and the others as cards from their final years playing.  By 1995 Brett had been retired a year, Schmidt had just punched his ticket, and Sandberg was technically retired.

1995 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice – George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Ryne Sandberg

That’s all for this entry…more good stuff coming up in later stacks but it’s game time and I can’t wait to see Hanley’s Dodger debut!

Shoebox of Memories – Part 1

My sister called me out of the blue last week asking me to drive her to run some errands.  No problem, went and did my big brotherly duty and took her to the grocery store and what not.  When we got back to her house she mentioned she had some things for me…a Christmas present she had to have returned due to a printing error, some coupons for my wife…and a large shoebox (albeit one of the plastic Tupperware variety) of my old baseball cards she saved from my Mom’s apartment!  My mother died about six years ago now…and the time after her death was the beginning of what I refer to as the Time of Upheaval.  Within three months my mother died, my first daughter was born, I began working for my current employer, and we uprooted and moved my new family back to our hometown.  During the phase of cleaning out my mother’s apartment, stress was at an all-time high and I’m fairly certain I did a once over and told everyone I was good with burning the rest of the leftover mess.  However, my sister stuck around after we completed our part to oversee the estate and complete the cleaning process.  She saved this for me:

The Shoebox of Memories

You’ve heard the tales of finding a shoebox full of 1952 Topps Mickey Mantles in attics?  This story is similar…however this is a shoebox full of memories and it’s glorious.  I returned home that night and helped get my kids to bed and then started right to work on the carpet of our living room…calling out randomness to my wife like “Look at this one!” and “This is the best picture ever!”  When the sort was done, here is what I had:

The Sort Results:
Top Row L to R: 1995 Upper Deck, 1995 Donruss, 1995 Collector’s Choice, 1993 Stadium Club, 1994 Stadium Club, 1995 Stadium Club
Bottom Row L to R: Various Inserts, 1995 Topps, 1993 Topps, 1995 Fleer/Fleer Update, 1990 Topps, 1992 Leaf

The pile off to the top left is damage/unusable cards.  The Pirates got hosed…lots of damaged cards there including a couple of cool Doug Drabeks but again I’m not a Pirates collector so it’s not a big deal.  I’m amazed there weren’t more cards damaged…there were a few funky bends but most of the cards were in remarkable shape, even if they still smelled like my mom’s apartment which was pretty creepy (and gross).  I’m airing the cards out now and I’m going to feature the highlights in the next post.  I picked over this stuff pretty well before abandoning them initially, as there were absolutely no Dodgers in the piles above.  However, you may have noticed there was a 550 count box on top of the shoebox…and that might be where this story really begins:

There be Dodgers here, matey!

I guess I had another box…this one is full of Dodgers who weren’t featured on Dodger cards at the time…i.e. Brett Butler as a Brave and Giant, etc. but it also had those players’ Dodger cards too!  I think at one point in 1996 I made this box for players that had moved on and I had decided to “stop” collecting…but it definitely has Dodgers in it and I am stoked to go through it all and see what we’ve got.  It’s pretty cool to be looking through this stuff and find players still active today (guess who that might be) and Dodgers who have come to be some of my all-time favorites.

Next post, highlights and Dodgers from my youth!

Call me crazy but…

I’m not exactly stoked over Allen and Ginter.  I like my baseball cards to feature…ya know…baseball players from time to time.  I get the inclusion of a few obscure atheletes and celebrities here and there but watching the break going on over at Nachos Grande has me feeling a bit relieved that I missed the boat on that one…the hits they’ve opened are all either 1.  Former Chicago Cubs featured as Chicago Cubs or 2.  Everyone Gets a Shot Randoms like Michael Phelps.  Phelps is cool, I get that.  Short prints and/or hits of video game master Fatal!ty and a strongman?  Blech.

That being said I’ll happily take any 2012 (or any year for that matter) Allen and Ginter Dodgers off your hands!  I mean look at some of these just beautful cards featured in this post at Card Raven for examples of when Allen and Ginter absolutely gets it right…pure elegance, indeed.  So conflicted…but at least it’s not National Chicle or Goudey which I completely despise.

In other news, my first Listia loot came in today.  I signed up and got a bunch of credits for free and a few weeks later finally won something (I haven’t been paying that much attention) and managed to score a 1982 Donruss Steve Garvey.  I’m pretty psyched…it was absolutely free.  Listia isn’t even spamming my free e-mail alias I used to sign up!

1982 Donruss Steve Garvey

Check him out…what a man’s man.  Wait…what is wrong with his arm in this picture?  He looks like Benny the cab driver from the original Total Recall after he takes off his fake arm!

Benny from Total Recall

Folks this just goes to show you that NOTHING in Hollywood is original.  /smh and giving up

Topps Baseball 2012 Hits and More

Talk about the agony and the ecstasy.  My experience with flagship 2012 Topps Baseball is a combination of highs and lows that can only be described in gratuitously detailed blog post.  I started this post EIGHT days ago.  We had a nasty storm roll through and basically take out the entire state of West Virginia for about a week.  We’re fine…we got power back relatively quickly and opened up our home to family and friends that weren’t so lucky…but anyway on with the flagship thoughts!

First, I went and visited my uncle this week and we talked a good ninety minutes about the Dodgers.  This team is in complete disarray.  I predicted we’d knock the crap out of R.A. Dickey that night and it was a slaughter but not in the direction I was hoping.  I was banking on my gut feeling about Dodgers hitting “aces” pretty well over the years…I remember doing pretty well on a regular basis against a Randy Johnson for example or in more recent memory Tim Lincecum.  This feeling could be completely irrational…but my spider-sense had a feeling…plus it was great to sit down and talk with my uncle who isn’t in the best of shape these days.  We both agree that it’s tough to judge our pitching when the offense has been so decimated…here’s hoping we can avoid another shutout sweep tonight on ESPN against the Mets.  Thankfully that was all written eight days ago and although things got worse they also got better.  Kemp is rehabbing and will be back soon.  Carlos Lee thankfully rejected a trade to the Dodgers (THANK GOD).

Back to Topps 2012.  I’m not sure where to go with this…generally speaking Topps flagship sets aren’t known for “hits” they’re known for the large base set and fun inserts, right?  I feel like I’ve been getting the MAD hits…short prints, autos, dual relic, etc.  It’s like a jackpot every time I open one of those sweet, sweet, 72 card “bulk” box packs sold at big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R Us.  I think that’s the key.  I have this theory that all the good retail hits are in these boxes.  Ever since reading that Topps decided to make blasters a complete waste of time as far as autos are concerned, I decided to take a different approach with these box packs.  The way these are packed all the inserts and hits are in a clearly defined section of the shrink wrapped internal pack within the box and are easy to find.  Here is what I’ve pulled from various Topps Series 1 and 2 this year thus far:

Topps 2012 Series 2 Hits

Topps 2012 Series 2 Hits

Now to be fair, this is a mix of retail and one hobby box of series 2.  The hobby hits were the Bryce Harper SP and one of the Golden Moments relics.  The rest are all from retail box packs.  Yes the Cut Above Hanley Ramirez numbered to 15, yes the Golden Moments dual Pujols/Musial, yes the Golden Moments Jordan Zimmerman auto, yes the short prints shown (and the ones not shown: I also pulled the Derek Jeter celebration variant but misplaced it and there may still be more once I finish my sort).

Crazy?  Tell me if you’ve had similar luck.  Until I’m shown other evidence, I say that 72 card jumbo box shrink wrapped goodness is where it’s at in 2012 Series 2 Topps folks!

Mini-rant:  The Golden Giveaway can go straight to hell.  It’s impossible to get the 30th coin for everyone out there trying to get them and an automatic Willie Mays autograph.  You won’t find the St. Louis Cardinals, Babe Ruth, or Justin Verlander for each of the respective 30 coin sets, just FYI.  I liked the previous years, even if I was unlocking a bunch of junk wax, SO much better.  Let’s hope Topps goes back to something similar next year…this coin nonsense is just that…nonsense.  I wish I had researched this before I put way too much effort into trading and getting more codes to get more tradeable coins.

I’ll work on a review of 2012 Topps later on…my thoughts run way too rampant to add them into this post…I also received several mailings of loot from group breaks and trades/clearance specials from other blogs I’d like to share so I’ll get to working on those posts as well.  So much to do, so little time.

Redemption Monday – You Take The Good, You Take The Bad…

You take there rest and then you have a replacement Topps Redemption!

In my stack of old cards I have been sorting through, where the aforementioned Marquee Derek Holland Museum was found, I also found a Topps High Number Redemption for a Real One Raul Ibanez.  Not super excited but still happy it hadn’t expired, I put it in the magic computer and look what came back!

Topps Replacement Redemption Letter

Yup…apparently they’d already ditched their stock of Raul Ibanez Real One Autographs from the 2009 set.  Instead, they sent me this:

Bowman Sterling 2010 Jason Heyward Auto

I’m pretty conflicted.  I collect the Heritage sets for a reason…I love the old-timey cardboard and the on-card autographs, so even though I’m not a Raul Ibanez fan by any means, it is somewhat disappointing to get this as a replacement.  From a pure monetary standpoint I probably did better, as I am not sure about the Raul Ibanez Real One but I’d guess it’s nowhere near the $50 book value on the Heyward.  Plus I imagine the market for Heyward collectors is about ten times that of Raul Ibanez, especially considering it’d be a card for a team he doesn’t even play for anymore…

Anyone have a comparable Dodger for trade?!?  As always, the Heyward is available!

One of these days I’ll get around to updating my trade haves and wants…today probably isn’t that day however!

Have a week!

Thomas

Clutch Hits – Carl Mathias

First, how about Dee Gordon?  Gotta love seeing the Dodgers rebound after a blown call should have had the game tied up before the 9th inning even arrived…I’m calling it a favorable balancing decision by the baseball gods.  I really feel like Dee Gordon is starting to come around too…as scrappy as this Dodger team is I can’t wait until Matt Kemp is back healthy and maybe even a potential deal for Ryan Dempster.  How this team continues to win still baffles/scares/surprises me on a daily basis.

I’ve been slowly organizing and sorting my collection, which until a month or so ago was loosely organized into various sets but with no real sorting other than “this box has Heritage”.  While putting together sets and figuring out dupes, trades, etc. for my recent yard sale I came across a 2009 Topps Heritage Real One Autograph of Carl Mathias that I honestly had forgotten I even had (isn’t it sad we end up with so many cards we forget hits like this?).  I really like how Heritage does their autographs…on card and they’re the nice old-style cardboard that really takes to a sharpie signature (so much in fact that my next autograph project after the 88 Dodgers Project might be something more modern with a recent Dodgers team set from a Heritage release).  Anyway, I got curious as to who and what this Mathias guy was all about so I used the internets and did some research…turns out like just about everything else in the world there’s more to this story than the card below indicates:

I think it’s really cool how Topps goes back and gets players like Carl Mathias to sign for these sets…it’s one of the cool parts about Heritage and keeps me coming back for more (even though my actual Real One hits are few and far between, boo to non-auto relic “hits”).  It’s just a shame that a hobby box of Heritage doesn’t guarantee an autograph.  Look at how well the Fan Favorites-style Topps Archives 2012 autographs have been received this year alone?  This proves you don’t have to have a high-end list of autograph hits to stir up interest in today’s hobby market.  I’m dying to get the Dodger autos from that set…and I’m talking about guys like Brett Butler and Maury Wills.  Anyway, here is a look at the original 1960 Topps Carl Mathias card which the reprint is based…look not so closely and check out the key difference:

Notice anything different?  I’m sure you did…firstly the Real One Auto has Carl playing for the Senators and the original has him with the Cleveland Indians.  This discrepancy is what got me started…plus I also wanted to know what else Carl did as far as a major league career.  You may have also noticed the now defunct SPORT Magazine has been replaced with Topps Magazine; which makes sense because the magazine finally ceased to exist in 2000 and I’m sure there are all sorts of legal-ramifications to having it on the reprint.  The one change I thought I would see?  A “Topps Certified Autograph Issue” in there somewhere like non-rookie star cards from the set have…but it’s suspiciously missing.  I guess there wasn’t a convenient place to replace text with the designation for the rookie stars.

I’m not sure why they did it;  Carl didn’t end up playing for the Senators until the 1961 season after he was picked in the expansion draft by Washington.  Why did Topps choose to change the card?  Carl had much better numbers in 1960 with Cleveland and he never saw the big leagues again after his 1961 campaign with Washington.  There’s not a lot of history there, I found a dead link to a podcast from 2010 for the Reading Indians minor league team where Carl was the 2010 “King of Baseball Town” but unfortunately couldn’t hear more about his story.  He hung around the minor leagues through the 1964 season in the Mets organization…never recapturing his earlier minor league success that seemed to prompt his promotion in 1960.  As far as I can tell the 76-year-old still lives in his hometown of Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania.  Here is a link where you might find some more history if you’re interested, mostly of Carl’s time with the Reading Indians and the aforementioned dead podcast links.

I thought this was cool.  I love discovering older baseball players…you never know what sort of information you might find out.