The 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge…In One Day!

I’m a little behind the rest of you, so I’m just gonna knock this out in one go. I did decide that I was going to go entirely with cards that I own, but I may use old scans or other folks’ scans of these, in some cases, just so I don’t have to chase cards all over my house. I will probably eventually chase down my originals to do proper scans of everything, but I wanted to focus on writing and posting, rather than scanning, so hopefully you’ll bear with me in the meantime. Some of these will also look like Greatest Hits Of My Old Site, because it’s well-worn territory, but I feel like these are the cards I wanna highlight, so we’re just gonna go with that.

Everybody ready?

Day  1. A card from the current year with a photo you like

The design’s not much to look at, but it’s a good, solid photo of Jose.

Day 2. A card with more than one player on it

How could I not? We need to look at this one in its awesome beaten-to-crapness every so often.

Day 3. A card from the first set you tried to complete

 

From the first pack I ever opened. I don’t know that I “tried to complete” the set for at least a few years, but I knew I wanted all of ’em.

Day  4. A rookie card of one of your favorite players

Just posted this one recently, but let’s have another look!

Day  5. A certified autograph of one of your favorite players

Twitter’s seen this, but those of you who just read the site have not. Got this about a week ago. Isn’t this a gorgeous card?

Day  6. A card you spent more than $10 to get

I forget what I paid for it. Definitely under 100, not sure if I cleared $50. Went nuts that winter, and got this, the ’56 Jackie and a ’61 Mantle.

Day  7. A card you bought in person and the story behind it

Do stickers count? I’m gonna say they count. So, in ’81, way more interesting to me than the cards that year were the Topps stickers. Man, I loved these things. I had like 3 or 4 albums going at once, and of course, I stuck all the stickers in the albums. Thing was, while there were something like 4 or 5 Mike Norris stickers in the checklist, #6, for the life of me, I could not find. I opened an absolute ton of these things, and it just wasn’t happening. Early the next year, I went to my local card shop, and asked if, by chance, they still had singles of the ’81 stickers, which they didn’t, but they did still have some packs. I bought a handful of them, and sure enough, the first pack I opened, there he was, Mike Norris. This was the first set of any kind I ever managed to complete. Unfortunately, I think that sticker album is lost to the ages (I have a few ’81 albums here, but I think the full one’s gone), but I’ve gone back and bought a complete sticker set since then, and this one hasn’t gone in an album. I may eventually put them all in mini pages. I think I’d like that.

Day  8. A card that reminds you of a family member

So, I don’t talk about her enough on any of the things I write, but my mom was and is still pretty awesome to me. She’s put up with a lot of my crap, and done a lot for me over the years. Still does. I mention this because back in the summer of 1986, when I was first getting serious about the grown-up investment hobby of card collecting, she took me to my first fairly big card show, at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ. Hank Aaron was the guest of honor that day, and sure enough, she dutifully waited in line with me to get the beaten up ’69 Aaron I’d pulled from the nickel box at my local signed by the all-time home run king, for a grand total of $6.00. She also waited around while I ran all over Convention Hall buying cards and reselling them. I had a hot streak buying ’84 Topps cards, and probably pulled and flipped about a dozen Mattingly and Strawberry rookies that day, using them to buy all kinds of stuff; my first big batch of Cramer Baseball Legends came from that, and back then, one would’ve thought me insane to sell those rookies to buy Cramer stuff, but nowadays, I find Strawberry rookies in dime boxes on the regular (Mattinglys, less so, but it’s pretty easily a sub-$5 card if you shop for it), and see Cramer sets getting more and more expensive. She sat through a lot of this sort of thing when I was younger, and will still occasionally get stuck with me at the card counter when we’re out running errands during one of my visits, so, thanks, mom!

Day  9. One of your favorite cards from the 1950s

I’m not gonna claim it’s the best example of the card you’ll ever see, but I still can’t believe I own it.

Day 10. One of your favorite cards from the 1960s

The first playing era Maris I ever got my grubby little hands on. Didn’t matter that it was him as a member of the cards, with him still in a Yankee uniform. Also didn’t matter that he looks like the weight of the world’s on his shoulders. In fact, that’s kinda his thing.

Day 11. One of your favorite cards from the 1970s

Gravitas, late 1970s style.

Day 12. One of your favorite cards from the 1980s

My first Oriole Reggie. Most peoples’ first Oriole Reggie, in fact.

Day 13. One of your favorite cards from the 1990s

Went with the “Artist’s Proof” for this. Either’s good, though.

Day 14. One of your favorite cards from the 2000s

My favorite card from the set that made me fall in love with cards again.

Day 15. One of your favorite cards from the 2010s

This one made a lot of year-end lists. It’s an all-timer, I think.

Day 16. A card of a player whom you appreciate but don’t like

I know you Barves fans aren’t gonna be happy with me for this, but look on the bright side: it means you get all my Chipper cards. I have a LOT of Chipper cards right now, too, so hit me up. To be truthful, I didn’t “appreciate” him as a player, either. He was called The Accursed One around my house. Respect? Sure. Helluva ballplayer, but no, no “appreciating” Chipper Jones.

Day 17. A card from the first set you put together hand collated

Using artistic license for this one, since I said “stickers count” above, which would mean I’d have to use ’81 stickers for this day, but this specifically asked for “a card”, so I’ve gotta use a card here. Why B.J. Surhoff? Maybe it’s the color combo on the card, maybe it’s the fact that, while I’ve never really collected his cards, and he never played for a team I rooted for, I always enjoyed watching him play, but this card puts me in my Zen place, man. You’d think that’d be hard to do with 1987 Topps, given that I had tens of thousands of the things at one point, but nah, it’s doable still.

Day 18. A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team

This is another technical. I don’t have a “favorite team” these days. The Yankees beat that out of me with their bullshit over the years, and no one’s stepped up to become the favorite team since. However, when I last had a favorite team, Joe had risen from the ranks of player to eventually manage it, and he was pretty good at it, too.

Day 19. A favorite card from a country other than the United States

Yep, here’s a Luis Aparicio oddball card given out with gloves by a sporting goods store in Venezuela! We found this in a box of commons at my local one day, and I eventually managed to buy it.

Day 20. Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player

This card is loud as hell, and I love it. Don’t collect Jeff’s stuff, don’t collect ’14 Topps particularly emphatically, but I knows what I likes, and this is what I likes.

Day 21. A card of a rookie you thought you were “investing” in

Yup. This is the one that got me.

Day 22. A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you

I bought almost as much ’86 as I did ’87.

I did not finish the ’86 set until 1994.

Why?

This fuckin’ guy…

Day 23. A favorite oddball card from the 1950s

This card smells so awesome.

Day 24. A favorite oddball card from the 1960s

I’ve posted this here recently, but as it took me a couple years of constant looking and some overpaying to even get it, hey, let’s get some more use out of it. ’60s Kahn’s cards are damn tough to get. Worth it for Tony Horton, though. May he be enjoying life, wherever he may be today.

Day 25. A favorite oddball card from the 1970s

SSPC? Check. Promo set for SSPC? Also check. Mantle chillin’ on Old-Timer’s Day, probably half lit? Eeeeeeeeeeyup. I should probably be ashamed of myself for not using a Burger King Yankee, but we’ll pretend the Munson I posted above is a Burger King and call it even.

Day 26. A favorite oddball card from the 1980s

For about a week in 1986, these were the hottest cards in the hobby, where I lived. I still love this set. And I had to work Doc in somewhere.

Day 27. A favorite oddball card from 1990 or later

I paid almost as much as I would’ve to go to the National to get this! Nah, I’m just kidding. It wasn’t cheap, though. 424/999. I’m still in the believer camp where Strasburg is concerned.

Day 28. A favorite relic/manufactured relic card

I really need to rescan this someday. After all, we’re talking about Roy Campanella’s pants here.

Day 29. A favorite card from before 1950, whether you own it or not

I own it.

Lordy.

Cookie Lavagetto and Pete Reiser on the same card (this is actually considered Pete’s XRC). I’ve got his RC, too (’48 Bowman). And I’ve got Cookie’s ’39 Play Ball, which is his RC (but not his ’34-’36 Batter Up, which is Cookie’s XRC). I may not have accomplished much in this lifetime, but damn it, I’ve got Pete Reiser’s and Cookie Lavagetto’s rookie cards.

Day 30. Your favorite card in your collection

(Another one I really need to get a rescan of.)

Yup, still my favorite. I mean, not surprising. I still have the New York Daily News sports page from October 2nd, 1961 framed above my desk. (I found it in a card shop 50 years to the day from Maris’ 61st HR, in fact.) Maris is still a pretty big deal in my world, and he’d have a good chance of being my favorite all-time player, had I gotten to see him play in my lifetime. (Gil Hodges and Jackie Robinson are strong contenders there, too, though in Jackie’s case, what he means really kinda transcends baseball and sports.) And yeah, this is still my favorite card, over 30 years from my first having seen it on that Turn Back The Clock card in ’86, and over 6 years since I got it. And, I mean, as you see above, I’ve got some pretty cool cards. I didn’t post it, but I’ve even got that Billy Ripken card from ’89 Fleer with the dirty words on it. I believe this is a better card than that one. There’s just something about it…

Whew! 30 days in one post! I’d like to thank Tony Lehman from Off Hiatus Baseball Cards for coming up with this thing, even if I fudged a rule or two of his. It’s been fun reading everyones’ posts, since Tony created the Challenge.

You Guys…I Actually Bought Cards Specifically For A Player Collection Today!

Some of you may not get how weird this is for me, so let me explain: because my brain tends to focus on completing sets, my player collections almost always take a back seat. It’s a lot easier to keep track of sets, give or take a few of the weird ones. Player collections, especially for the era of 5+ card companies, tons of brands, numbered cards, signed cards, relic cards, parallels, etc., I almost can’t process, even with super-helpful card sites like The Trading Card Database out there. This is why, if you look at my 72 page want list, there’s only one proper player collection want list (Tony Horton, and let’s face it, there are hardly any cards of him) on it, and why the only other mention of what I’m after on my player collections on this site or any other just keeps track of which players I’ve got autos or relics of. I guess I could list my haves somewhere, but it’s kind of a bland way to address it. I’m actually thinking of making a visual gallery of said collections (or at least the big ones) so I can double-check or something, but that seems like it might be imperfect.

So, when I’m confronted by cards that are solely sorted by player, as I was earlier today, I kinda lock up unless I know I’m looking for a card from a specific set. For instance, when I went to a garage sale today that was more like a 1 dealer card show (really quite the thing, if you ask me), but with almost nothing but cards sorted by player, I kinda wandered around lost for a minute. Then, I figured, hey, Bernie Williams! Yeah, I like him! But then, I didn’t see any, so I had to ask the guy running it, and it turned out that he just hadn’t put the box with the Bernies in it out yet. Then, to add another layer to it, even with my iPad handy and my want list loaded, I had to think about which Bernies I’d wanna get. Guy had a couple hundred, but I only had my list and no visual frame of reference for a lot. I started by remembering that ’98 Topps is the last Topps flagship base Bernie card I’m missing (if any of you have it, send it along), but I struck out there. So, my next move from there, and where I finally found my sweet spot, was to pull out cards from sets I know I’m still building, and cross-check them, along with some fun looking stuff. Here’s how I did.

’93 Fleer! Nothing exciting, but it’s still a set in progress, and, hey, I needed this Bernie card from it!

’99 Upper Deck! A set so bright, Bernie’s gotta wear shades.

(He wears them a lot, really, but let’s not get in the way of an excuse to listen to Timbuk3.)

And, though I’ve got a decent chunk of these, I did not have Bernie. So, doin’ OK here.

’05 Upper Deck! I really don’t have much UD from the first half of the 2000s, so it was no surprise that I was missing this.

This, on the other hand, surprised me, both in that I didn’t have it (I’ve gotten a few huge lots of ’07 Upper Deck Yankees over the years that it’s been murder to unload my spares of), and that Bernie even had a card in ’07 Upper Deck. I thought ’06 was it for him and flagship sets (he’s in ’07 Heritage, which is quasi-flagship, and I do have that, but it’s been so long since I’ve looked through my ’07 Heritage that I forgot he was in there). So, yeah, score here, too!

Did somebody say Score? Didn’t have this, though I have no idea why he was in ’98 Rookie & Traded, since he was neither of those things in the relevant time period. Bernie’s mad about it, too! See? Grrrr!

This is one of my favorite sets of all time, and while I’ve been chasing it, I didn’t have Bernie yet. Another nice pickup.

I’M TRIPPIN’ BALLS

Er. HoloGrFX! Building this one, too. Needed Bernie still!

Last, but not least, from the stuff I had checklists to go by…’01 Heritage! Now, I have no idea why this card refused to scan without the weirdo scan lines on it. I scanned it like 3 times, but couldn’t get around ’em. Trust me when I say that they’re not on the actual card. I am super happy to have this one, as I never run into any ’01 Heritage, and if a person’s favorite player of all time was in ’01 Topps Heritage, they should probably have that card, right?

So, that was the stuff I could verify. There was a bunch that I couldn’t verify, though, so I winged it with the last half-dozen cards. I’m going to post them now, and check in real time while I’m writing this to see if I needed the cards! Riveting stuff!

’99 Pacific! I never used to run into Pacific stuff when I lived in NJ, but where I’m living now, I find it pretty often. Let’s see if I needed it…I did! Had other Pacific flagship, but not this one. One for one!

’03 Victory, with the fancy rounded corners! I hardly have any of this stuff, though I do have the Hideki Matsui rookie from this set. I remember being psyched about that, because I got it for a buck at the flea market (from a Yankee-hater) when Matsui-mania was in full swing. Did I have it? Nope! I figured this was a safe bet, and it’s a swell picture of him, too.

’97 Metal Universe! Wow, these cards are some tripped out shit. I’m sure glad I wasn’t seriously collecting cards when I still took drugs. Did I have the card before today, though? Nope! Lookin’ good so far!

Love the quote on this. ’97 Circa! Love this set. Would love to pick up all of it at some point, but I’m not gonna start building it now unless I find a lot of it. I think I would’ve remembered getting this one, so I went for it, and yes, I still needed it! 4 for 4 so far, with 2 more to go!

Shiny Pacific goodness! Again, I hardly have any Pacific stuff, especially not the shiny Pacific stuff, so this was also a safe bet, and sure enough, this is a new card in the collection! One more to go…

…and by golly, it’s another Pacific Revolution! I really, really like the ’98 Revolution cards, too. Only have a small handful of them. Did not have Bernie! I guessed correctly on all 6 out of 6, bringing me up to a total of 118 Bernie Williams cards that are not in my auto/relic binder or a set! I win! I still need a better system than this. I mean, while I was going through my Bernie stash, I found 3 cards that should’ve been in with the flagship stuff I’m building, assuming I didn’t have it there already…

…and nope, one of them (’96 Upper Deck), I didn’t have checked off in my wants! That was actually ’96 Upper Deck card #100 for me (it’s #406 in the checklist, but the 100th card I’ve gotten so far). The ’95 Donruss and ’97 UD are available for trade, though!

Player collectors, how in the hell do you keep track of your guys?

2017 Donruss!

Finally had a chance to pick up a blaster of this stuff, which I’d been waiting for fairly eagerly since I saw the sell sheets. How’d I do?

Not too bad, I suppose.

If you’re seeing this year’s set for the first time: yeah, they riffed on 1990 Donruss baseball, which was…not many peoples’ favorite card design, but they managed to make it look solid just by making it not look red.

Just for a quick comparison, here’s Bernie Williams’ rookie from that set (sorry for the low-res pic, I just screenshotted it from Trading Card Database because all of my ’90s are upstairs). Now, by itself, it’s a fine looking card. Bernie being on it helps. But if you have to look at 716 of these, you’re probably not gonna be thrilled.

Anyway, Donruss changed their logo, added those diagonal stripes on the border, and rounded the corners of the pictures, but it’s a clear homage.

If this is the first time you’re seeing modern Donruss cards, you may be noticing that they don’t have logos or team names on them. They’re licensed by MLBPA, but not MLB. I will say that this seemed to limit their photography, or just the overall look of the base cards, a bunch this year, if only that it made the cards look kinda monochromatic.

It’s not as much of a problem in their 1983 Donruss homage inserts. The border colors help here. I wish the player name font had been a little more accurate…

(Also from TCDB, for quick comparison. Name lettering doesn’t look as…tense.)

…but otherwise, I’m more inclined to chase the 1983 inserts than I am the base set, after grabbing a blaster.

Some of that has to do with these cards, which are part of the base checklist, being seeded about 1 every 4 packs. There’s a reason why this set is selling for about $160 on eBay, and it’s because it’s very, very difficult to complete. By comparison, the 1983s, which are not part of the main checklist, come in at 2 per pack. After 7 packs, I’m over a quarter way through that set, and I’ve got 2 out of 45 from this part of the base set. It’s an old complaint with modern Donruss, they’ve been doing this every year since the brand relaunched in ’14, but this is the first time I’ve really looked at the numbers.

Then you throw in stuff like base variations (here, they’ve replaced Corey Seager’s name with “ROY” because he won Rookie of the Year), and it just gets to be a headache.

(This one’s already been traded to Night Owl.)

I did get some cool inserts, though. I mean, on a set like this, you can’t complain about these 3 names on numbered cards. Keeping the Altuve, the Trout’s definitely up for grabs (or going to COMC if it doesn’t go before I send out my next shipment), and I’m still deciding on the Machado (I don’t collect him, but it’s a nice looking parallel and it’s low-numbered).

They’re also seeding “hits” in every blaster this year (dunno if this is a new practice or not), and this is what I got. This is available for trade for the time being, too.

So, I’d say it wasn’t a waste of a blaster (or the money), but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it, either. I do like the Altuve card, and the base cards look good, but the short-prints at the front of the set checklist (unlike something like Topps Heritage, where they put them at the back where you can deny they exist) are a psychological deterrent to collecting this stuff seriously. It kinda does the opposite of what Panini wants it to do, I think. People want a run of 1-whatever, not 46-whatever, and they’re generally not willing to drop $3 a card to get there, especially without team logos.

Topps Bunt Physical Trading Cards

Yes, I’m doing a dedicated baseball card post over here! (For those wondering why this is a big deal at all, I have another site where I usually do this. I may eventually just move all that other stuff here.)

2016-08-20 16.26.32

After a false start yesterday, I found packs and blaster boxes of 2016 Topps Bunt! For those unfamiliar (I’ve written a bit about it on this site already), Bunt is Topps’ digital baseball card trading app. If it seems like a weird idea to you, trading JPEGs or PNGs or whatnot, you’re not alone, but that’s another conversation. Anyway, this week, for the first time, Topps has issued a crossover physical card product in the Topps Bunt line, and so far, I’m having a lot of fun with it. It’s priced affordably (a buck a pack, or 11 packs in a 10 dollar blaster box), the cards (while a bit fragile) look nice, there’s good names in the set, fun insert cards, and you can also get code cards in the packs (I was promised 3 on the box, and I got 4!) that unlock digital packs back on the app, with (I believe) exclusive insert cards (again, digital) in them. Here’s some of how I did.

buntbase1

buntbase2

These were the best of my base cards. As you can see, a solid if unspectacular base card design (definitely better than Topps’ flagship base design this year, though, and better than the planned design for next year, as well). Cool mix of current players and veterans in the set. I got a bunch of my favorite players, and I ended up putting together 1/6 of the set in 11 packs with no doubles!

buntmccannnumbered

These were my inserts. Loving the Lightforce set (which they’d done a variation of in the digital Bunt product already), and happy to get some decent players. The Alex Gordon is for trade, and I know I have a Gordon collector who reads my other site, so hopefully they’ll jump on it.

buntmccannnumbered 1

This is also available for trade! These come at a rate of 1:105 packs, so getting one in my first 11 is pretty good, I reckon!

As I mentioned, there were scratch-off code cards in 4 of the packs (they mercifully keep the number of insert cards in each pack to 1, for optimal set building), and I’ve redeemed those already. Let’s have a look at what happened there…

Screenshot 2016-08-20 14.43.31

This is what it looks like when you successfully redeem a digital pack via your web browser. Over in the app, the packs show up in your “Bulletin” dropdown. I opened them, and here’s the best of the best…

2016-08-20 14.45.21

Hey, it’s a platinum Nolan Ryan! Now, to me, the platinum cards just look like the base cards, but they’re super-limited (there were just 21 of the Ryan last I looked). I’m not a Ryan collector in physical or digital (I’ll keep a great looking card of his here and there and I keep the ones I need to finish sets, but mostly I flip his stuff for cards of different players who I do collect), so this is being made available elsewhere, along with the cards below that I mention as being stuff I’m unloading.

2016-08-20 14.44.51

Billy Hamilton, on the other hand, I do like a bunch! Always did like base stealers (the rookie card of Rickey Henderson, whose cards I’ve just started formally collecting again, was in my first pack of Topps cards, after all). Keeping it!

2016-08-20 14.44.40

The confetti you see in this James Shields picture is what happens when the app is like “HOLY SHIT YOU GOT SOMETHING GOOD!”. It’s a fairly limited card, but I don’t collect Shields. Unloading it.

2016-08-20 14.44.31

Love Jose Fernandez! Keeping this.

2016-08-20 14.45.39

I think Stephen Piscotty’s a pretty solid ballplayer, and I’ve had him on and off my fantasy team a few times now, but I’m not collecting him (I generally don’t collect Cardinals players; I’ve had a grudge dating back to Davey Johnson’s Mets…). Unloading it.

2016-08-20 14.47.29

Hey, it’s a Lightforce! I don’t collect Gonzo, though, and I’ll probably have a real hard time finishing the digital set, as these are hella limited. Let me look at the checklist and figure out what I’m doing here.

2016-08-20 14.47.25

Dee Gordon screwed up this year (or got caught for it this year, anyway), but he has always been a fun player to watch, and this is a fun card. Keeping it, and hoping he keeps his shit together from here out.

2016-08-20 14.49.04

BO. Keeper.

2016-08-20 14.47.51

These cards score 3X in the Bunt contests (kinda like fantasy baseball, you create a lineup on the app and your players score according to what they do in the day’s games), but I haven’t been playing contests lately (not enough hours in the day, and the freeplay ones have gotten weak), and I’m not a Votto collector. Unloading it.

2016-08-20 14.51.55

Hey, it’s one of them new Cubbies that isn’t Kris Bryant! Let me put it in the hands of someone who’s a bigger fan than I am.

2016-08-20 14.49.20

Sometimes, the app gives you “HOLY SHIT” stars, too! Severino’s available.

2016-08-20 15.24.09

I’m not sure where Boston and their fans are on Henry Owens, who seems to have stalled out a little, but hey, it’s a limited card. I’ll see what the open market will fetch. Update: it moved before I even finished this post! I guess folks still like him!

2016-08-20 14.52.02

More confetti, and I haven’t seen enough of Ozuna to really be a fan just yet. Unloading it.

So, remember how I had that Lightforce I was gonna try and trade for another Lightforce (the Luis Gonzalez) up yonder? Well, I found out that Bernie Williams was in the Lightforce set, so I made a trade offer to a few people on the Bunt app, and minutes later…

2016-08-20 16.26.50

YAY BERNIE

And that’s how I did!

Well, I got a bunch of “base” Bunt digital inserts too (they look like the base physical cards, but are not like the Bunt base, which still resemble flagship; the synchronicity between app and cardboard still needs some work), but you’ve seen what those look like out here in meatspace already, so there’s not much to see there.

So, did I get my $10 worth?

Absolutely!

Best time I’ve had opening a new trading card product in some time. Lots to like, lots to do. Well worth your money, if you just like to crack open packs and have a good time with this stuff.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save