Friday, January 6, 2017

Covering all the Bases: SP's, Completed Sets, and Frankensets

Night Owl recently sent me a stack of cards neatly packed inside of a bubble mailer.  The vast majority of the cards were needs from 2016 Heritage which I am foolishly attempting to complete this year.  I honestly don't know how he ended up with most of these cards, as I haven't seen this set featured all that much on his blog.  I also don't think he's trying to collect it himself either.

Whatever the case may be, I received a healthy stack of regular base cards that I needed plus these five pictured short prints.  That's a big deal for these obnoxiously seeded cards.

Heritage has somewhat taken a back seat to most of my other collecting goals recently, and I'm mostly okay with that.  I'm probably at the point where buying any more of it would, more likely than not, yield no new cards to my goal.

I think part of the reason for me ignoring the set is because I've become a bit bored of it.  I started collecting it because I really enjoyed the design, but looking at more and more of the cards makes me realize how repetitive close-ups can get.  That Odorizzi especially leaves something to be desired... no arms, no background, no real sense of playing baseball.

This was probably my favorite of the Heritage cards I received.  I really don't mind the posed shots when the player is able to "act" well like Betances seems to be able to do.  He really looks as if he's trying to hold a runner on at first... and perhaps he really is, because this shot looks to almost assuredly be a photo-shopped or green-screened background.

On to more entertaining cards (at least for me)!  Night Owl sent me the last mini I needed to complete this year's Ferocious Felines insert set.  Greg is good at doing this.  The last time he sent me cards he was able to complete my Birds of Prey insert set.  Apparently he likes giving away his animal minis.

Lastly, Greg also included three black bordered Ginter minis along with a note: "Do any of these minis find their way into your frankenset?"  He's referring to my (somewhat) recent post in which I decided to start a frankenset of black-bordered minis.

Alright Night Owl, I'll humor you.  We'll go diving into why these may or may not make the cut. 

2016 card #191: Anthony Anderson

I'll say right off the bat that this card doesn't have a chance.  While I appreciate the inclusion of actors far more than I do all the comedians in the past two years, this particular actor I haven't watched (almost at all).  Black-ish, Barbershop, all "his" TV-shows... never seen any of them.  Apparently he was in Transformers which I did see a long time ago (crappy movie), but I don't remember him being in it.  The only movie I do recall seeing him in was one of my all time favorites, The Departed.  He played a beat-cop and didn't get much screen time, so that hardly warrants a spot in a frankenset.

The card slated to occupy slot #191 is 2010 Justin Morneau.

2011 card #56: Scott Kazmir

This one was simple too.  Kazmir simply gets outclassed by the competition in this slot.  We've got Whitey Ford, Jason Heyward, Apollo Creed, Carlos Correa all being card #56 over various years.  Currently in the binder (because I have it) is the 2014 Jason Heyward, but that can probably be upgraded too.

2014 card #318: Jason Kipnis

Winner!!!  This mini slots right in to the frankenset.  The only other #318 I owned was 2015 David Price which admittedly would have been a tough choice, but I also plan on using Price elsewhere in a different slot.

Thanks for the awesome package Night Owl!  You really did cover all the bases.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Drift of 'Danke' Dockets

Okay... maybe I tried a little too hard with that title, but that's hardly the point.  What is important is two of these great 'thank you' packages I recently received.  Both of the below packages came after my mass mailings of 2016 Ginter X (I still have more if anybody happens to still be looking for some).  Both of these fine gentlemen took a look at my wantlist and started crossing numbers off for me.  Best feeling ever.

The first of these wonderful packages came from ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession, who still seems to have a good smattering of leftover cardboard from the last two years.  Those two minis brought me down to 14 remaining to complete the 2014 regular back mini set!

...and this one 'completed' my Little Lions set.  Not a very cute last card to cross off the list.  I must admit that I'm slightly disappointed in it.  Also, I say 'completed' because I still don't have card number 16 from this set in my hands.  There's a bit of a story that goes along with that, but its for a different post.

As a set collector, I tend to fall into a trap of thinking of cards as numbers, especially when there's still quite a bit of the set I still need. "Oh, you have that base card #65 I need!  Send it my way!"  It's not until I'm only a couple cards away from completion that I actually go look to see which subjects I'm missing.  It makes me appreciate cards like this Joc Pederson RC all the more.  This card was simply 2015 Topps Chrome card number 129 sitting on my wantlist.

Now, thanks to ARPSmith and the fine gentleman below, my list is down to four cards:

Topps Chrome
46, 112, 177, 183

Here, I'll look them up now.  We've got James McCann, Kris Bryant, Steven Moya, and Jacob deGrom.  Whelp... three out of four of those should be super easy pickups.  I get the feeling #112 is going to be on my wantlist for quite some time though.

Then again, if people keep sending me awesome cards like this Addison Russell, maybe I shouldn't be too worried.  Dang, did 2015 have a ton of 'great' RC's or what?

Oh, no big deal.  Just another awesome Addison Russell card.  During a time in which Cubs bloggers are rampant, Cubs cards are super hot, and the Cubs won the World Series, ARPSmith managed to get these to me.  Highly appreciated.  Thank you!

Package #2 came courtesy of Ryan from "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog.  He also hit me up with a package full of Chromey goodness including the above two 2015 needs.

Ryan hit a bunch of my Bowman needs including these two highlights.  He also knocked my 2013 Bowman needs down to one card in each subset (which I find very odd).  Lets take a look at those three missing cards:

127 (Jake Odorizzi)

BP34 (Jeremy Moore)

Chrome Prospects
BCP80 (Alex Meyer)

Okay! No big names here. Surely this shouldn't be too hard to finish!

Lastly, Ryan sent me a single card from 2006 Bowman.  That's Jonathan Waltenbury if you can't read it.  Clearly, he didn't make it.  Doesn't matter.  I still needed the card!  Thanks Ryan!

Friday, December 30, 2016

So Much Better Than Your Tony Gwynn Rip Card

Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown has been all over the blogs recently with many of his generous packages.  His most recently claim to fame is that he sent out a series of 25 "Rip Cards" featuring Tony Gwynn.  No, you will not see one of those Gwynn's on this blog, but that's because I got a way better package at a similar time.

Yep... WAYYY BETTER.  I get pretty females on awesome A&G themed minis.

When Gavin first posted about making these, I e-mailed him about buying a set, but I uh... didn't appropriately follow-up.  Eight months later and I finally have these minis in hand.

Here's the design Gavin was attempting to replicate, and these are pretty much spot on.  I have no idea what his process consists of, though I would imagine the hardest part was changing the book icon to the roses.  He even went as far as giving these women a colored shadow-type effect reminiscent of 2009 Ginter.  The Olivia Wilde one with the light green background was done particularly well.  It also probably helps that she's my favorite of the bunch.

Back to the Future was (and still is) one of my favorite movies.  Lea Thompson is an integral part of that, and this is another one in which Gavin nailed that shadowing effect (perhaps I just like green???).  In any case, I own a few different Ginter themed custom mini sets.  There are only two sets that I have found worthy of adding to my Ginter binders, these and the 2008 themed Munnatawket minis.  Yep, these nine beauties are now bindered away as part of my 2010 Ginter "master set".

Gavin didn't stop there.  He also sent some customs of the great Henry "Hank" Aaron.  One of them went through his aging process and I actually think it turned out quite nicely.

Another bonus custom!  I've seen this one around the blogs a bit, but I wasn't expecting to see it in my package.  I really appreciate it as I now have it on display at work in my Home Run Tracking station.  I'm a part of the team that attempts to track and calculate the distance of every home run hit in each of the seasons since 2006 (the year in which video became good enough to consistently see the ball leaving the ballpark).  It's an entertaining part of my job that I get to help out with, and Trevor Story certainly hits some major bombs.

The inspiration behind the initial send of this trade were these three autographs.  Gavin opened a clunker of a Topps Strata box earlier in the year, and when he mentioned he didn't really want any of the cards I jumped at the opportunity.  I love great pitching, and UF grad Brian Johnson has potential to be great pitching.  I jumped at the chance to get a beautiful on-card auto of him.

This was another auto I just had to have.  Gavin actually just pulled another one very recently in his Christmas box busting spree.  He did far better in that box opening than in his Strata one.  Go check it out.  In any case, I really don't understand why Keuchel isn't getting more hype than he is.  The guy is young (28), already has a Cy Young (2015), and is an absolute workhorse (has already led the league in CG and IP).  Yes, he had a down year in 2016, but he was also hurt (shoulder) for much of the year.  I still expect great things from this guy and I was ecstatic to add this piece to my pitcher autos collection.

The only explanation I have for this last auto is that it filled a hole perfectly.  I honestly could care less who the player featured is (I did look him up when I initially asked for the card... but I haven't looked since).  The main reason I wanted this piece of cardboard was because it's an on-card auto featuring a Brave and its purple.  Have I said I love purple yet?

Not to be overlooked is Gavin's generosity.  Not only did I receive bonus customs from him, but this numbered Ginter showed up in my package unannounced as well!

There was actually one more card in this package that I still can't post yet because its a custom that is not yet fully complete.  Even still, it might be my favorite of the cards sent to me.  I liked it so much that I brought it home to show off to my family over Christmas (a family that has no idea about baseball cards), and it was a huge hit.

Thank you so much Gavin!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Secret Santa Makes Me Play 'Retro' Video Games

Many different packages have shown up in my mailbox over the last few weeks and I'm grateful for each and every one of them.  Don't worry, I'll get to them all eventually, but I figured I'd start with one of the more recent ones I've received and that's because it part of this year's Secret Santa run!

I received a PWE with the below contents.

I happen to know who my Secret Santa was because the front of the envelope it came in gave it away.  I'm curious if I would have been able to guess if not for that return address.  In any case, this gentleman is absolutely right!  2008 insert minis are a great big pain in the ass to try and find, and it was a joy crossing these off of the want list.

Quetzalcoatl is from a set called Ancient Icons that features old deities or symbolic people from their era.  I believe Quetzalcoatl was an Aztec god.  Don't quote me... I'm not doing any research... this is coming straight out of my 9th grade world history brain.  I'm pretty sure this particular god got famous (over the countless other Central American gods) because of its awesome name and because something happened with the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes.  ...or maybe that's just what I remember Age of Empires telling me.

The second card is from the Team Orange insert set which is essentially just a set containing whole bunch of made up baseball players.  It's kinda weird, but the blurbs on the back of the cards really pull the set together.  Here's the back of a COMC card because I forgot to scan the back of mine!

In any case, these creative and fabricated players made me again hearken back to my childhood and pull out an old staple.  Backyard Baseball 2001.  Yes, I know there we a few different versions of this game and we could argue about which one was the best, but this was the version I grew up on and the first that featured the 'backyard' kids alongside the pros.  Glorious.

Thanks for the great Secret Santa package Chris, and thanks to other Matt for setting this all up!

Monday, November 21, 2016

I Need Your Help Being Decisive

I enjoy minis.  I strive to collect a complete set of regular back Allen & Ginter minis from every year that Topps has produced them.  So far, I have only fully completed one set, but that okay.  It gives me something to chase after.

With all this mini collecting over the years, I've accumlated a vast assortment of "unwanted" minis.  It's not that I don't like them... it's more that they don't fit in any specific collection, so they get set aside.

Today I attempt to change this!

I'm going to be putting together a Frankenset of black bordered Ginter minis with a few rules:

  1. As is typical of a Frankenset, I must include a single card of every number (1-350 in this case).
  2. No card subject can be repeated.
  3. The most "iconic" mini will always make the binder ahead of another mini.
  4. I will attempt to keep each year of Allen & Ginter represented at least somewhat fairly.
This idea originally started coming together after my case break from last year.  In 2014, I pulled a black bordered Bryce Harper rookie card and last year I pulled a black bordered Kris Bryant rookie card.  I figured that these cards were the definition of "iconic" (not to mention a bit pricey), so I wanted to do something with them to show them off.

I spent the past month creating a spreadsheet of Ginter checklists over the last 11 years and slowly eliminated cards until now.

I need your help.  I'm at an impass.  337 of the 350 potential mini slots are accounted for.  These last 13 have yet to be decided.

Statue of Liberty vs. Steve Carlton

Will Clark vs. Orlando Cepeda

Javy Lopez vs. Jack the Ripper vs. Colin Cowherd

Daisuke Matsuzaka RC vs. Chris Johnson RC

Dwight Eisenhower vs. McKayla Maroney

Moises Alou vs. Javier Vazquez

Eiffel Tower vs. Rafael Furcal

PT Barnum vs. Charles Goodyear

Sacagawea vs. Jeremy Hellickson RC

Mario Andretti vs. Albert Einstein vs. Rollie Fingers

Alexei Ramirez vs. Garrett Richards

I know those aren't black minis (trying to find pictures of all the black minis would be tough), but they are the base card counterparts.  If you have any kind of opinion on the above "matchups," throw your thoughts in the comments.  I'll probably listen to you.  :)

Lastly, below is a list of Allen & Ginter card #326 throughout all 11 years of its existance.  I'm completely at a loss as to what to do with this slot.  None of these cards seem iconic to me.  So we're doing a poll... over there --->

Go vote on your favorite card #326.  I'm curious as to which subject will win.  Here's the pictures in case that sways your vote.  Thanks for your help!

Chester A. Arthur

Alex Rios

Adam Kennedy

Cameron Maybin

Aaron Rowand

Jason Castro

Logan Morrison

Ruben Tejada

Mike Olt

Mitch Moreland

Peter O'Brien