Sunday, February 7, 2016

No Flagship for Me

I've already got my fill of 2016 Topps Series 1, and I don't even have one card in my possession yet. I made a realization back in 2011, when I was last collecting Topps flagship product, that even though I like to build sets that Topps flagship products are a poor choice for me.

I like to trade within our little community, and I can usually put together a team set of Series 1, Series 2 and Update through swapping cardboard. Since then I have decided to build other sets and be patient as my Topps flagship Cubs team sets are completed through trades.

In fact, last year I didn't buy any packs of Series 1, only one pack of Series 2 (which I still haven't opened), and one jumbo pack of Update. I've been saving that Series 2 pack (on the right) for a rainy day, but it's been too stinking cold as of late.
Wacky Packages 2014 Wacky Packages Chrome Trading Card Blaster Box
I'm not sure what I'm going to set build this year, but the early leaders are Stadium Club or Wacky Packages. Depends on the design of SC and if players are included in the newest incarnation of Wacky Packages.

In the meantime I've decided to activate a 30-day free trial of Netflix and binge watch some television series. I'm finally finishing off the last season of HIMYM and I hope to get started on either Arrow, The Flash, or The Clone Wars.

My sister gave me a Roku stick for Christmas which plugs into the HDMI port on my flatscreen. I had the first issue of the Roku and the newest version certainly does not disappoint.

While binge watching television I've been working on a new project.  You knows, multi-tasking . . . My sister also gave me this nice Topps album from her collection and now I'm trying to fill it with one card of every player who has been enshrined in baseball's Hall of Fame.
 It's a slow, but fun process. I've got all the players from the initial class covered, but there are MANY gaps after that. I've decided to order the players in pages by the year they were inducted, rather than alphabetically, because it'll be easier to keep things in order when new players are enshrined.
 Many of the cards are reprints from the "Cards Your Mother Threw Out" insert set or from Topps Archives. I would eventually like to replace all of them with vintage when fiscally possible. I've spent many a winter night sifting through cards and it's been fun!

Lastly, I was honored to be asked to participate in JBF's Super Traders group. PATP is putting together a list of the members in the group and I think this will be a fun and easy way to maintain my interest within the hobby. It should also help motivate me to pare down my collection. No more selling team lots on eBay or reaching out to make trades. Now I can just find a flat rate mailer, reference the address list and mail away without worries. And of course those non-Super Traders, who I frequently send packages to (like ZZ), won't be forgotten.

It's been a slow start to 2016 as far as new cardboard goes, but that was to be expected as there hasn't been a card show within 125 miles of me. I've been tempted on two occasions to hit the road to attend a show, but whole the sitting in a car for more than four hours is quite a deterrent. Things will pick up sooner or later, but probably not until baseball season is among us. By then I'll be coaching and have less time, but I'll have been bitten buy the collecting bug.  It really is hard to avoid come Opening Day!

As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Farmington, NM

Mr. Stackhouse, he of the Tim Wallach fame, sent me a package out of the blue the other day. I believe I've donated around a dozen Wallach cards over the past couple of years. I never expected anything in return, as I felt a need to help his cause: he's trying to collect every Tim Wallach card ever made. It's a noble and just cause, which I'm happy to support.

 Hey, it's a French Penguin!
 The 1967 Byron Browne card is everything that vintage should be. It has paper loss, rounded and fuzzy corners, a crease, and a wax stain on the front!  Simply awesome!

Mid 90s Stadium Club:
 There's always some interesting photos used in SC sets.  Although, I think the Dan Plesac card takes the cake.
 You can make out my camera in the reflection of the card, but what's that in the upper right quadrant of the card? I'm fairly certain Plesac is being haunted by the ghost of his doppelganger. That's a thing, right?
 Gracie! On the left we have a shiny parallel of the base card, which is on the right.

Oddballs!  Excellent!  The Super Star sticker is the O-Pee-Chee variety.
 Sparkly catchers! Geo looks like he's down in a three-point stance that a defensive lineman would use.

Ryno!  It's an exclusive collector's offer!  I have one of these in my collection, but I love the design and will find a place in a different binder for this one. 
 Here's the back:
 We're just a little bit past the deadline on this one. Bummer.

It's Ernie's birthday today, may he rest in peace.
 Mendy!  I don't know about Topps issuing career high insert cards in their flagship product, which boast minor league statistics. That just seems a bit wrong to me. If they put this type of card in Pro Debut I would be happier.

Lastly, we have a 2008 T205 Kosuke Fukudome card!  This was my favorite card within the package and it is the 129th unique Fukudome card in my collection. 
 Thanks for a great surprise, Mr. Stackhouse!  I'll keep my eyes peeled for more Wallach cards in the future!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

I Also Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum

Jeff hit my mailbox the other with a nice PWE of cardboard goodness. In this case, eleven cards in a PWE seems just like a wax pack, minus the bubblegum. Jeff, you're not the only one who wishes they still came with bubblegum. It still amazes that we can send a dozen or more cards in a regular plain white envelope with one stamp. How is the the post office not throwing a fit about this?

Let's see what was in my wax pack!  First, we start off with a nice oddball of Amazin' Grace. This one was produced after his rookie year, there's no date or manufacturer on the back. I guess anyone can use the MLB logos in production of cards if Topps doesn't know who to sue!

 Kid K! Man, I love me some Topps Tek! This is my second KW card from the 1998 set, but the other was pattern #20 and this one is pattern #46. Since twenty was a nice round number I was hoping that was the END of the parallels.  But, no. Seriously?  46?  That's a whole bunch of parallels!

More luscious oddballs and all four are new to my collection.  The SI for Kids card uses a great smiling photo of The Hawk.  Nice additions for sure!

Switching gears, we have some Bowman Draft set help. Woo-Hoo!  Only 73 more chromey cards to go!

J-Hey! I'm trying not to get too giddy about the Cubs chances this year, because I remember the Cubs narrowly missing the World Series in 2003 AND what happened the next year. Every pundit picked them to win the division in 2004, but the injury bug struck and they finished third and missed the playoffs.  

 Lastly, we have a nice Panini Contenders card of Harrison Bader. This is my first card from this set, which is one that I would consider building if I wasn't already focused on Bowman Draft.
 Bader played in Peoria this past year with my hometown Chiefs, a Cardinals affiliate. He provided instant offense to the lineup when he arrived and almost led the team in homers although he had over 200 less at-bats than most of the other Chiefs.  I'll hold on to this one to see if a Cardinal blogger might like it, otherwise it's going to my LCS to be exchanged for some Cubs! I doubt this Bader card would bring back much in Jeff's neck of the woods, but it should fetch a nice return here in P-town!

Thanks for thinking of me, Jeff!  As soon as I accumulate some more Bravos I'll return the favor!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I Have Some of the Cards His Mother Didn't Throw Out

JayP has made a splash within the cardsphere. Every now and again a rookie blooger comes out of nowhere and makes a flurry of trades and, subsequently, is highlighted throughout the blogs of our little community. Once I learned JayP was a Diamondbacks fan I contacted him to see what I could do about emptying my Dbacks stash on him. You should check out his blog, Cards My Mother Didn't Throw Out, and see if you can help fill some of the voids in his collection.

He certainly filled some gaps in mine!  The Ernie Banks shiny Bowman reprint, above, was a great start to the trade package.
 Boom! As in Vogelboom! I already have this Vogelmonster card, but I'll always take another.  He touched on my other player collections, too.
 Upper Deck X die cut cards of Kid K and Fukudome. The Fukudome is the 128th unique card in that particular player collection. JayP certainly did his homework.
 This is my fourth different Face-2-Face card of Wood from this Donruss set, and the second one with Shawn Green.  The gold parallel above is numbered to 200 and has dual jersey swatches.  Nice!
 Above on the left is Kerry Wood's first Topps Finest card and on the right is a stellar XFractor!
 Topps Stars?  I thought I had this one, but I must have a different year because it wasn't listed in my database.  The gold foil on the Topps Stars logo is hard to read, but I do like the shadow behind Kerry.
 The Cracker Jack card is a mini, the sixth new Wood card in the package, and the 441st overall in my player collection of Kid K. Oddly enough, I had the mini relic from this set, but not the base.  Go figure.

Here's a couple of other favorites from the package:
 Wild Thing and Big Lee Smith were both great closers during their prime.  I really appreciate the '85 Topps Smith card, because it replaces a hole in my collection since the previous one now has an autograph on it.
Gold parallels of fan favorites!  Campana and Fontenot are always great additions! 

Lastly, a bit of an oddball:
 And take a look inside!
 I have this particular Ryno, but not in this form.  The "True Value" and "Big League Brands" flaps on the back of the Reggie card are glued to the Ryno.  I guess Sandberg will have to stay tucked away inside?  Very different, but very cool to see how the '86 True Value cards were originally packaged.

JayP, thanks for a very thoughtful trade package. I feel the one I sent your way pales in comparison and I'll look to even up the score the next time the opportunity presents itself.  Thanks again!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Beware of Ebay Bucks

Toward the end of last year I made a couple of extra purchases that I normally would not have made. I had finally accrued more than the $5.00 Ebay Bucks minimum and every purchase afterwards would net me more credit for future purchases. By the time the month was over I had earned a little over ten dollars to spend on Ebay in any fashion.

Naturally, that meant baseball cards!  I wanted to bolster my Karl Olson collection a little bit by filling in the gaps, and I found three sellers to purchase cards from.
You'll notice that this seller has shipped the cards, as evident by the darkened package, but the payment is being processed. How can that be?

Well, there's a story to be told.
 I committed to buy the items back on the January 12th, and the transaction was in limbo because of the Ebay Bucks.  My Paypal account showed that the three sellers had been paid, but the "My Ebay" page would not confirm that I had indeed paid. I visited the Ebay Community and posed a couple questions. Soon after I found I was NOT the only person who to have a transaction pending indefinitely. I took one of the responders' suggestions and on January 20th I decided to ask the sellers if their Paypal account showed my payment.  Two of the sellers said "yes" and they promptly shipped the cards even though the "My Ebay" page still had not updated the status of my payment. The other one said "no" and opened a claim on our transaction demanding payment.  Argh.

How would my payment register with two of the sellers and not the third? After much deliberation about actually needing the card and not wanting to tarnish my 100% feedback rating I relented and paid the seller for what I believe to be a second time. (It was seven dollars.)

There is probably some protection Ebay offers in these cases and I probably should have looked further into it, but I was frustrated.  I had Ebay Bucks and should have had an easy transaction with the three sellers. Instead, I wound up posting on community boards trying to resolve a problem with Ebay's imperfect system while being accused of not paying.  I had spent far too much time dealing with this situation and just wanted it resolved. So, I paid the third seller rather than fighting back.

In summary, I found four new cards for my collection for a little over $12.  I spent my $10+ Ebay Bucks and the other $2 came from my Papal account. Two bucks from my bank account for four cards I wanted isn't a bad deal, especially when they are from three sellers and four different auctions. But because the Ebay Bucks never registered as a payment on the "My Ebay" page I ended up paying about $9 dollars for the aforementioned cards. To be honest, l never would have bought those cards for $9.  Two dollars, yes; nine dollars, nope. The Ebay Bucks were the difference maker in committing to the purchases AND it backfired on me.
 I called Ebay yesterday and actually got a live person. I told them their system was broken and there were other unhappy customers out there who also ahd transactions in limbo. I also said I did not want to be compensated for my time, frustration, or the extra $7 I had to spend to finish a transaction. I complimented them on the concept of the Ebay Bucks, because it did get me to purchase a few more auctions that months than I would normally have done. But, I made sure they knew I felt their execution SUCKED and I will never attempt to benefit from the Ebay Bucks system again.

Since then, the hour glass on the "My Ebay" page has updated the date and now the transaction has been changed to read "Your 01/21/16 payment is being processed." I suppose that is an improvement over 01/12/16. Woo.

I wonder if the stinking hour glass will ever turn into a dollar.