Who’s Up For A Card Trade Post?

Hell, who’s up for a metaphor?

We’re up for a metaphor!

(Sorry. Needed to scratch that itch. I love Sparks.)

Back to the card trade post, though. Shane from Off The Wall and I have had a trade in gestation forever, and this week, we finally got ‘er done! Well over 1000 cards involved between our two sides, stuff all over the place in terms of years and types of cards and so forth, and something like a one-day turnaround on shipping because we live in the same general area now. It was a good time! Here are some highlights!

We start with a ’53! I still don’t have a lot of these! Great name! So great, the painter (possibly my old cartooning teacher Gerry Dvorak, rest his soul), snuck it into the painting!

w0000000, Gilliam! Love adding to my Bums collection! Also: I have even fewer ’55s (at 11, they’re the cards I have the least of out of any flagship Topps set), so it’s good to see any.

’57s are always nice to look at! Did you know that Gene Stephens, on June 18th, 1953, became the first player in the post-1900 era to have 3 hits in a single inning (a feat only matched by Johnny Damon in 2003), or that he played for the Chunichi Dragons in 1966? I sure as hell didn’t! Thanks, Wikipedia!

A nice lookin’ Clem Labine card, from the “I’m not L.A., not still in Brooklyn” year!

All in all, Shane sent over a solid pile of older cards in this ‘un…

I mean, look at this respectable stack of ’59s!

That’s a team set or so!

Of course, just to frustrate all of you who want to see the array of ’59-’70 mostly commons (all of which I needed), I’ll now skip to 1968…

 

…because I needed this, too! With Tony Gonzalez in the mix, I’m now 2/3 of the way through this set! (Still need the Mantle, but that’s not a tough card to get.)

And now, we’ll jump even further forward, to 1984, and a Darryl Strawberry rookie I didn’t have until now!

Also from ’84, this is a great Jim Rice card. Candid.

Bip! Only need 2 more of his flagship/Traded cards now.

Solid Jimmy Key card, too. Love this guy.

Funny story about this one: when I first started buying cards again after the strike, it was 2001, and the two players that kinda drew me into picking up handfuls of cards here and there were Ichiro and Alfonso Soriano. I wanted cards of both of these guys. (For whatever reason, Pujols wasn’t even on my radar that year.) Then, I saw that Soriano’s actual rookie card was in ’99 Traded, a set with a ton of rookies, and I was like “Man, I’m never gonna get that!”. Never say never! It ended up taking me 16 years, but I got it. It took me something like 14 or 15 years to get the Topps Ichiro from ’01, too, but I got it.

“Hey, girl.”

This was the last flagship/Traded Topps Eric Davis I needed. I really like seeing him on 2000s card designs, considering how much he went through in order to get there. Had he stayed healthy, I’m pretty firmly convinced that he’d have been talked about in the same breath as Willie Mays, but he still ended up having a fine career.

There were a bunch of ’01 Tradeds in the package (I still need a lot of Topps Traded and Update from the first half of the 2000s, so keep ’em coming, people), so let’s take a look at a few more…

Nomo!

Esix Snead! Another terrific sports name, really underrated. Always liked the ring of it. Esix Snead.

Cheer up, Juan Uribe! You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.

2015 Topps Baseball

My last 2 cards to get were Mookie Betts (thanks, Thorzul) and this one. I really though the Mookie was gonna give me more trouble than David Lough. Set building is weird sometimes.

Onto some stuff from other companies!

My word, is this a terrific looking card. And man, Kenny Lofton was a helluva ballplayer. Now that Raines is in, Lofton’s HOF case should really be re-examined. They’re comparable (a lot closer than you’d think, considering the near-200 stolen base jumpstart Raines has on him), and Kenny had great numbers. He also made the postseason 11 out of 13 years between ’95 and ’07 (only missed in 2000 and 2005). Never won a Series, which hurts him, but yeah, Kenny Lofton was a great ballplayer.

I still don’t know how a human being does this. El Duque was awesome.

Rickey in his last year! As I was going through these cards, I found Rickey in the ’80s in the Drake’s stuff, Rickey in the ’90s, and Rickey in the ’00s (this is from ’04), and on every card, he looks like he could outrun you. Like, even now, I think most people would have a really hard time outrunning Rickey Henderson in a straight sprint.

Another one with a super cool wind-up. I’m glad to see Dontrelle’s caught on as a TV analyst. He seems like a good guy. Would it have killed Upper Deck to actually use a picture of D-Train from the game they named as a highlight, though? No way that’s Pro Player Stadium, and that’s where the game mentioned here was played.

OH HELL YEAH

(I’m never, ever going to finish the 2006 Upper Deck set.)

And Mo! I love getting new cards of guys I have a ton of cards of, from flagship sets. I am admittedly running out of real estate there (it’s mostly Upper Deck and ’00s Donruss), but it still makes me happy when it happens.

Donruss really made the best of both Mark Prior and this design (which was pretty hit and miss) on this card.

So, I quietly added Jeter to the list of players I’m actively collecting recently, which makes this another nice add (again, ’00s Donruss can be tough). If you’re wondering how I was once a Yankee fan who watched his entire career (he even gave me the cool guy nod from short at the old Stadium once when I threw the horns at him) and wasn’t collecting his cards, it’s because 1. there are too many of them (and I’ve no illusions about getting even an impressive fraction of them) 2. there was way too much competition for Jeter cards in the New York metro area and 3. because of that competition, even base cards were expensive there. When I did my most recent audit of my star cards, though, I noticed that I had (by my standards of star cards that aren’t part of a set I’m building) a pretty good pile of his cards for a guy I don’t collect (I keep pretty much all of them because he’s one of the tougher gets when you’re set building, and because he’s Jeter), so that motivated me a little, but if you wanna know what put me over the top here? It was The Players’ Tribune. People didn’t know what to expect when Derek announced he’d be publishing it upon retiring, and I think a lot of people were thinking it was gonna be all puff pieces, all the time, but it is a consistently fantastic read, with a journalistic bent that really gets the word out on some important issues (first-hand accounts of the effects of head injuries and mental illness among them). I’m proud of Derek and his team for putting the Tribune together, they’re doing great work, and it was a strong factor in my decision to go after his cards a little more seriously than I have in the past. There is also the small matter of him, um, not being quite as popular in the part of the country that I live in now, too.

Now, for some other sports!

I have wanted this card since it came out. I think I had one pretty crappy copy of it once (I may still have it, but I don’t think I do), and this one’s lived a little, too, but I’m glad to have it.

HOOPS! I’m 11 cards away from finishing the “first set” of panels (which means I’ll have one of every card, if you’re not familiar). Unfortunately, I think a couple of them have Bird on them, but I’ll get there. I got Bird/Magic/Dr. J out of the way, that’s the big ‘un.

If you’re curious and/or have a stash of doubles, these are my needs:

1 (3/181/258), 10 (47/177/196), 15 (22/63/256), 24 (57/90/254), 39 (65/83/121), 44 (79/135/216), 48 (30/143/232), 49 (31/146/198), 51 (62/149/262), 62 (42/169/218), 78 (4/33/230)

Finally…

IT’S A MEADOWLARK SANDWICH!

LOVE these Globetrotters cards. Glad I’m actually running into them more nowadays, too. Pro tip for finding them: look in areas of the country where Cumberland Farms stores were popular. This is true of all Fleer products (I got my first ’86-’87 Jordan at one, after all, and at times when you couldn’t find Fleer baseball at any of the card shops in the mid-’80s, you could usually walk into a Cumberland Farms and buy them by the box), because Cumbies moved a LOT of Fleer products (gum, cards, etc.), but it seems especially true of the Globetrotters stuff. Call it coincidence if you will, but I’ve never found one of these cards in person in a town that didn’t have a Cumberland Farms store in it. They came out way before card stores were really a thing, and my guess is, unless you got the Cocoa Puffs ones (a shorter version of the set was released in boxes of Cocoa Puffs), you got them at Cumberland Farms.

So, that’s a pretty good cross-section of what I got from Shane! Thanks again for the deal, Shane, and I hope you enjoy the stuff I sent you, too!

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.)

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Love Jose Fernandez! Keeping this.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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BO. Keeper.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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Digital Card (And Wider Collecting) Dilemma

As some of you already know, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the Topps Digital apps since last summer, collecting digital trading cards (ridiculous concept that they are). I mostly collect Topps Bunt (their baseball app), but I also do Star Wars, Huddle (American football) and Kick (football) as well. (I also do the non-Topps Kitten Cards, which is a hoot, and has a really fun community.)

I’ve run up against a dilemma of late with Bunt, though.

I got the one card I really, really wanted, above all others. I mean, look at this card. Look at how happy Vladimir Guerrero looks to be on this card. That’s pretty remarkable, considering that digital trading cards didn’t really exist back when ol’ Vlad was still on the Montreal Expos. How did he know? It’s a great card, and I’d love to actually have a physical copy of it, but if I can’t, this is still pretty cool.

Now, this is a dilemma in any hobby, whether you’re collecting JPEGs or antiquities from lost civilizations. What do you do after you get the best thing you can get? I will say that 2016 Topps Bunt is leaving me cold in terms of both card designs (kinda lackluster) and in-app bullshit (they’ve stacked the deck against free players like myself, complicated the app needlessly, and they keep running into glitches in the app that make it pretty easy for people to amass a ton of cards and game the in-game contests at least short-term), which really isn’t helping matters much. But even with that aside, there’s kind of a hangover period in any collectibles hobby when you get the best thing you can get (in your own view, anyway), and aren’t sure where to go next.

The other apps I use are far more casual, because they’re not baseball, and baseball’s kinda my thing. I do collect build-a-ships in Star Wars, but I’m up-to-date on the complete run of the base variant there, so mostly I’m just sitting around, waiting for the next one to be released. Football and, well, football, I don’t really follow, so I gather those mostly to trade for baseball. I could start trading these things for Kitten Cards, but while Kitten Cards are awesome, I’m not especially completist or committed to being where they’re concerned.I’m curious as to your thoughts on this. Feel free to comment here, and, if you want to know how to find me on Topps Digital or Kitten Cards (to trade cards and whatnot), drop me an email.

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