Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This Post Has Been On Hiatus...

If I thought I was behind on my last trade post... well, this one takes the cake.  I reached out to Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards in September (or so my Gmail account tells me) to send him some cards.  Those cards got to him sometime in mid-October because he has a post on his blog that says so.  I have no such post.

I also happened to recently win one of Tony's contests regarding card shows.  Since I'm apparently the only collector in the universe that has never been to a card show, I won by default.  I guess I should attempt to get to one of those...

In any case, all the cards you see below are from Tony.  I know this only because up until I scanned them yesterday evening, they have been sitting in a stack on my desk with a sticky note on top of them; "TONY".  Therefore, I have no clue how many packages these came in, or if Tony did anything creative with the packaging and/or card ordering.  Regardless, there are quite a few awesome cards in this post, so I think many will speak for themselves.

First things first.  The tried and true.  If you've ever traded with me (or even read much of this blog), then you'll know that my heart is instantly won over if a package contains any sort of Allen & Ginter items that I need.  These three minis from 2008 were certainly needed.  

The Thurgood Cartwright IV is actually part of a subset called Team Orange which is a set that I don't have much of.  This particular card is quite entertaining, as apparently, the fictional Cartwright family earned a fortune via kumquat farming.

More Ginter that I didn't have.  This time in the form of animals.  Yes, I consider JMW Turner an animal... most crazy artists are.

I thought these were pretty neat.  Tony sent me the Braves versions of Gary Matthews across multiple years of Topps.  I scanned them in the wrong order of course... we've got 1979, 1977, and 1980.  Matthews played for the Braves from 1977-1980 and had his only career all-star year with them in '79.  I'm not exactly sure how Matthews ended up with a Braves card in '77 as opposed to a Giants card, especially because I don't even think the picture is edited, but I'm not complaining.

(yeah, these... not mine yet.)
Now I'm only missing the above two cards to complete the Topps Braves Matthews collection...


...because I have this one already!

Next up, Tony sent me Braves team cards from '78 and '80.  I don't really know how you're expected to make out someone's face from these photos, but I like them for what they represent.

One of the coolest parts of this package was simply the vast assortment of cards I got across sets that I had seen before, but never actually owned.  I don't think I would ever go out and buy these for myself simply because I didn't grow up with these players.  I absolutely love receiving these kinds of things in trade packages, simply because it reflects a different era of baseball.  Sure, I recognize some of these players' names... I'll even go back and look at their stats, but I'll never have the connection to them that I do the Braves (or any player for that matter) of the 90's... the ones I grew up impersonating in my back yard.

This was a bit of an oddball that Tony threw in.  A Fleer sticker card from 1987 featuring the old Braves logo.  I'm not a huge fan of strange/oddball type cards but this one intrigued me, mostly because when you flip the sticker to its backside... you see a Royals logo.  I don't get it.  How are these two things related?  I suppose they're both baseball teams... Anyone have any insight here or is Fleer just being stupid?

By far, the highlight of the package were these two beauties.  This is actually a set that I have never even seen before (other than through some online pictures).  Owning not just one, but two of these beautiful picture cards makes me excited.  

Night Owl Cards recently finished his Topps set countdown or whatever he called it... I don't remember.  I read through it, but I can't say I was overly interested.  I don't own many old cards, and I don't feel justified creating opinions about card sets via pictures and scans of cards.  Throughout the whole thing I felt vastly underwhelmed by much of what Topps has produced over the years.  Perhaps much of that had to do with the fact that the countdown displayed all of the "bad sets" first.  In any case, throughout his entire countdown, this was the only set that enthralled me and made me pause and investigate.

The more I read about 1953 Topps, the more I love it.  I love that all the cards are hand-painted images, I love the sometimes random backgrounds, and I love the close-up, portrait style card (at least in this case).  If I ever decided to complete a vintage set, I would have to go all-out because that's my personality.  I would have to complete this one.

Thanks so much Tony for the glorious package (or packages... I don't remember) that you sent me.  You hit the nail square on the head with this one.  I don't think I could have asked for anything more/better.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Top of the Stack: An Argyle Envelope

As many of us seem to be this time of year, I too have fallen vastly behind on trade posts.  My desk is covered with envelopes that I've tried to keep cards in so I can remember who sent me what.  This post actually is going to highlight one of my more recent trades, not because I like it any more than the others, but simply because I remember it with 100% certainty and won't mess it up.  I'll get around to the other trade posts soon... I just can't guarantee I'll have complete recollection.  

Today's cards come to you courtesy Greg over at Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle.  He was one of the very first bloggers I ever encountered and traded with back when I started writing last year.  He sent me some truly awesome cards back then and didn't disappoint this time around either.

Greg sent me a good number of cards featuring Braves pitching and seemed to have a particular interest in Tom Glavine.  Both of these cards are beautiful specimens.  I especially enjoy the second card featuring Glavine getting ready to take some BP.  This has always been one of my pet-peeves about modern baseball.  Over the years, pitchers have gotten worse and worse at hitting the baseball.  I think a lot of it has to do with the way pitchers are pampered today (especially in the college system).  Coaches are so afraid something is going to happen to their arms that they won't even let them swing the bat in practice.

I've heard of college coaches forcing pitchers to change batting sides because they don't want the pitcher's throwing arm exposed.  I myself throw right-handed and bat lefty.  I couldn't ever imagine doing it differently.  Everything else seems unnatural.

I guess that is part of the reason I love this kind of card so much.  It shows pitchers who are actually playing the game of baseball as opposed to only being used to throw 90mph (which Glavine can't do anyways).  I will forever be a National League fan because of this.  I love seeing pitchers swing the bat.

I was also sent a pretty cool 88 Topps of Ken Griffey Sr.  I'm sure I have this card floating around in the unsorted monstrous part of my collection, but I like this junk wax era card.  For an 80's era card, I think that overlay work with the Braves titling and Griffey's head is actually very well done.  Too bad if you disagree.

Greg also sent me a bunch of these.  These being 2011 Topps.  Now, I have 2011 Topps, but these are different.  I'm not sure if these are from some kind of "special" factory set or what.  I know that there are different types of factory sets out there (holiday, hobby, there's usually some featuring certain teams...), but I don't know if EVERY factory set is printed in this fashion because I've never actually busted one.

These cards all had "factory set limited edition" printed on them.  At least Greg was kind enough to send me quite a few of them, so I don't feel like this card is a complete oddball.

The real draw of the trade with these two beauties.  Greg actually initially reached out to me just with pictures of these two cards.  The rest of what he sent me was simply the kindness of his heart.

Aaron Northcraft has been floating around in the minors for a while now and I guarantee that sticker auto is from years ago.  He was part of the somewhat recent Justin Upton trade sending him to the Padres farm system.  He's not an especially touted prospect, so I don't expect overly much from him.

Lucas Sims is a much younger pitcher drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft.  He's currently in the top 10 of Braves prospect rankings within a completely loaded farm system.  Although he probably won't find his way up this year, he certainly appears to have a plus fastball with the "ability to hit 96 with athletic ease."

Thanks for the trade Greg!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Allen & Ginter Insert Overview Series #84

Set: 2015 Allen & Ginter Ancient Armory
            Total Cards: 20
            Stated Odds: 1:2 (along with other full-sized inserts)

Bubba’s Derived Odds: 1:7
           # of Hobby Boxes Needed to Obtain Set: 5.83

Favorite (Owned) Card:

I've been a Connecticut resident since I was 1.  Throughout my elementary school years I had Native American culture jammed down my throat and I hated it.  I'm not sure if this phenomenon was unique to Connecticut, or even my specific school district, but almost all the history lessons and field trips had something to do with either dinosaurs or Native Americans.

Connecticut is certainly a state steeped in Native American history and lore.  We were the former home of the Pequot tribe and have a museum dedicated to them.  We also house two major casinos that are strictly run and owned by people with Native American lineage (which, at this point, is probably quite a few).

My parent's have always hated casinos, so naturally, I grew up hating them as well and, as only a kid would do, connected casinos to Native Americans to "bad".  ...It's funny how a young mind works.  Our countless field trips to the Pequot Museum only served to fuel my hatred even more.  Museums are quite boring as a kid.  I'm not sure why they force children to try and appreciate them.

Since then, I have grown to be astounded by Native Americans, their culture, and their art.  They were a people group that were 100% isolated from all other cultures until the 1700's.  They had to develop their own survival mechanisms and technology and came up with some pretty cool ideas in the process.

Notes and Comments:

This card features one of those technologies.  While obviously behind the curve of the day's European technology, the tomahawk demonstrates how versatile the Native Americans needed to be.  This instrument doubled as both a useful tool, a means of self-defense, and a weapon of war geared towards a hit and run style of warfare.

The rest of this 20-card set features a variety of different weapons used before the age of gunpowder.  I enjoy the set quite a lot and the back-of-the-card write-ups were often quite good.  In fact, I think I'm probably rating this set quite a bit lower than it should be.  Part of the problem is that I felt like I saw these cards in every other pack.  They felt way too common for my preferences and simply didn't seem unique or special.  I did like the pictures for a change, which is very different from the rest of the 2015 full-sized inserts.

While I like the set, I do think there could have been some room for improvement.  The set doesn't create the impression that it comes from the age it is trying to represent, and I think it could have easily accomplished this via less modern borders/fonts.  Allen & Ginter is, after all, a throwback set and this card doesn't feel like a throwback whatsoever.

As I mentioned before, it's probably a bit under-rated at 71, but that also means there are only 29 sets that better it, and I can tell you that most of them are minis.  

Arbitrary Rating (out of 100): 71
Click link above for complete up-to-date ratings

% of Set Completed: 100%

Missing Cards: NONE!!!

Extra Cards: AA-1, AA-2, AA-3, AA-5, AA-6, AA-7, AA-8, AA-9, AA-10, AA-12, AA-13, AA-15, AA-16, AA-17, AA-18, AA-19, AA-20