Monday, December 31, 2018

Ogle Those Vogels & a Contest Reminder

I'm back from an international trip with my wife, but more on that in a future post. More importantly, I figured I better get a reminder out there for my Card of the Year Post Contest. Quite a few bloggers have chosen their favorite card of 2018, but I'm hoping to catch some of the stragglers. If you're going to enter, then be sure to do so before January 7th. Maybe Santa gave you something really cool? Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comment section of the original post, which is hyperlinked above. Remember, a 2019 Topps S1 blaster is hanging in the balance!

I had to run to the post office to pay forty-two cents in additional postage to bail these two beauties out of USPS jail, but it was so totally worth it.

I picked up a dozen or so of these 5" by 7" cards during the 2017 collecting season. Adding the only two released during the past year was a no-brainer for this Vogelbach supercollector. Plus, Ebay 1/1 times two! You know, because they are serial numbered 01/49 and 01/10, respectively.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2018

A Xmas Surprise

I really enjoy shopping for others when I hit a card shop or show. There are a few though who I have learned I can't find cards for this way. I can try, but I'll usually strike out. Thank goodness for the internet!

Greg, the author of The Collective Mind, is one such blogger. His want lists span multiple decades and are seemingly all encompassing, but I'm never lucky enough to find a dealer who caters to the set builder. Greg is THE ultimate set builder. He sent me a little surprise present the other day and I decided to be patient and hold off on showing the contents until now. 'Tis the Season and all that jazz. 

 Greg, for what it's worth, has a sick signature. Legible, but it also has flare!

For what it's worth, what I appreciate the most about this package were the words "Thanks" and "blogging in general." I go through a range of emotions and I often want to jettison the blog. Somethings really get me down from time-to-time, like counterfeit cards or forgeries on the market. Somethings just make me angry, like Topps giving Drew Smyly more Cubs cards than it gave Vogelbach this year. (Topps... Hello! Drew Smyly has never played for the Cubs and will not in the foreseeable future!) I've cut way back on the blogging the last couple of years and part of it is because my collecting styles have changed. To know someone out there appreciates my efforts is very nice.

Anyways, words. Words mean a lot. And, they mean a whole lot more when they come from a friend of cardboard.
I digress.

Greg also sent cards. Two to be exact. But I refuse to show the one. I'm sorry.

The first card is from the 2016 Topps Strata set and it's a thick relic card of a white Cubs home jersey with TWO pinstripes on it. It's a gorgeous looking swatch of jersey. It really is. It even has one of the those little MLB hologram authentication stickers on it, which links you to this game.  The Cubs won 1-0 in 11 innings and the player in question batted 8th, played SS, and went 0-for-3 in the game.

I actually wrote this post about a week ago, because I'm on winter vacation . . . gasp . . . without internet! Point being, I hope the Cubs have cut ties with the aforementioned player by now. I appreciate the card, but cards of this player will not be shown on this blog again.

Here's the other card. #JawDropping
I have a handful of Museum Collection base cards in my collection, but I'm fairly certain this is my first relic and it's GORGEOUS!

I miss Starlin. He drew the ire of Cubs fans from time-to-time, too, but it was always baseball related. Plus, he kept things interesting when the Cubs were finishing in 5th place five years in a row.  Yes.  That happened.
Greg. It is a stellar patch. I know exactly what it's from and I can't say that I've ever seen another one like it. So much cooler than a swatch of jersey.

Well, that was a most excellent and unexpected surprise!  Thank you, Greg!  I can't wait to cause some damage to that want list of yours!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2018

One Gesture, Two Made Days

Sometime back I learned that one of our maintenance guys at the high school I work at was once in professional baseball. I don't know him very well, but he knows I help coach the baseball team, and I respect the hell out of his work ethic. We always wave at each other or say 'Hi' when close proximity. He's such a jovial fellow I always leave with a smile on my face after seeing 'Berto.

Being the baseball minded individual that I am I had always wanted to type his name into and take a gander at his career. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't learn 'Berto's last name until recently and I was too shy to ask up until that point. He did pretty well for himself, especially when he played with New Jersey!
A couple of months ago I tracked down the two minor league cards you see above. I decided to sit on them for awhile, mostly because ... well... I wanted one signed but I was too embarrassed to ask. But also, what if this was a chapter of life he didn't want to talk about? Maybe he's bitter about his career ending before making it to the show? You just never know.

So, I decided to wait until today. Today was the last day before winter break. EVERYONE at a high school is in a good mood on a day like this. (Well, maybe not the students taking semester exams.) But, I figured why not?

I put the card on the left in a one-touch case and grabbed a sharpie for the other. If I was going to get one of the cards signed it would have to be the one of him smiling. He's always smiling!

At the end of my day and the beginning of his I tracked down 'Berto. He had his earbuds in while getting ready for work and he was talking to his wife. I motioned that I wanted to chat real quick and asked his wife to hold on for a second.

I explained that I collect baseball cards and signatures when I could get them and how honored I would be if he would sign his card for me.

He seemed completely shocked that anyone would ever possess his baseball card. His face immediately lit up and started talking to his wife again about how a guy at work has one of his cards and how he's asking for an autograph. He kept repeating how he couldn't believe it.
I think if another individual would have walked in at the point in time they would have thought we were two little kids having the times of our lives. Honestly, I think we both were.

I asked him when the last time he autographed something for a fan was and he replied he hadn't signed for anyone since 2006. He passed the card back to me but not before gently blowing on the ink to make sure it wouldn't get smudged.

I then told 'Berto how I hadn't been completely upfront with him and how I didn't have just one card. I had a second which I wanted to give to him. He was completely taken aback. He mentioned how this is only the second card he has from his playing days. The other one was given to him by his mother, who has since passed. He was genuinely touched and the smile, already ear-to-ear, grew even more.

I told him thank you for the autograph and I held out my hand.
That wasn't going to do. 'Berto grabbed me by the shoulder and brought me in for a man hug.

It was so awesome to make him so happy. What a great way to start winter break!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

What It Means to Be on a Hit List

I guess it was earlier this year I dumped some unwanted Athletics cards on Fuji. He retaliated with a healthy dose of what I would label as Cubs goodness. Actually, I thought it was too much . . . so, I slowly accumulated a few A's autos and some other fun cards at a few card shows and sent them west. 

Well, that second tiny package placed me on Fuji's Hit List. Fear not, loyal readers, for am alive and well. Fuji's Hit List is a list of traders he needs to send cards to or "hit back" with cards.

Honestly, I was just trying to even the score a bit. I'm not big into "one-upping" someone in a trade, but I do try my best to make sure everyone is happy with their return.

Here's the true problem though . . . I wasn't happy with what I sent Fuji. Thus, the second package. Hey, a guy's gotta sleep at night.

So in summary:
Blogger P sends Blogger F cards.
Blogger F sends return package that Blogger P sees as way more than acceptable.
To balance things out Blogger P sends another package to Blogger F hoping it would end there.
Blogger F, a stand up dude, received another package and now feels he must send another return out.
Blogger P pleads his case:

Blogger P is too late. Blogger F has already placed a bounty on his life him on the Hit List.

Lesson learned. Trifle with Fuji and you have to deal with the consequences.

Luckily, those consequences come in form of more Cubs goodness.
First up is a mini framed relic from the 2009 Allen and Ginter's set. Yep, I have a Kosuke Fukudome player collection... I actually chased his cards until I fell under the spell of The Vogelmonster.

I've always found two-way players fascinating. It doesn't matter if it's high school football or high school baseball or Major League Baseball.
Kieschnick played for the Cubs . . . all the more reason to add some cards to my collection! I'm now up to 85 different cards in my Kieschnick Cubs cards collection.

 Look. At. This. Card.
Imposing glare, scruffy chin, sweet shades, dog tags, big biceps. This is the picture of the Destroyer of Baseballs. Wait. I almost didn't see the relic! The back states his batting gloves were sent directly from the Vogelmonster himself to Onyx and they guarantee their authenticity. Sweet deal!

That's a bad a$$ card.

So, yeah. Fuji is the man. He sends out cardboard like a boss. Not like a mob boss or something, although the Hit List is not something to take lightly.

Fuji. I appreciated your generosity and I yield, Good Sir.
May the Cardboard Gods bless upon you good fortunes and tidings as you break open your next blaster. (As long as I don't make the Hit List again!)

Monday, December 17, 2018


Today I have a quick Monday mail day post inspired by Bru, the author of Remember the Astrodome. On one of my recent posts he left a comment, which left me wondering, "Why hadn't I come up with that?"

Bru, consider it stolen!

Prepare yourselves to OGLE THAT VOGEL!
 I'm not a big fan of stick-o-graphs, but in this instance it actually helps give the card a bit more color when the light hits it just so. Also, that patch. Oh. My. Word. Three colors and plenty of texture. Wow!
I picked up another of these beauties (magenta) which was serial numbered to 10 about a month ago. My newest addition is the blue version and it's numbered 11/14. I'm only missing the "Fire" parallel, but it's a 1/1. Time will tell if it falls into my collection or not.

Thanks for coming by to OGLE THAT VOGEL!

P.S. - Happy Bday to the VOGELMONSTER!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bustin' a Box of 2014 USA Baseball

About a week ago I ripped open the 2013 version, and today we'll take a gander at what's inside a boxed set of 2014 Panini USA Baseball.
Oddly enough, the '13 and '15 sets were on sale for $15 each during Black Friday, but 2014 set I had to splurge for at $30. Even at that price, I had to pick it up to keep the little three year run together.

81 cards in the base set and this box also boasts nine hits. Let's take a look at the base cards first with card from the 15U portion.
 I figure most card collectors, especially the prospectors, know who Hunter Greene is, but if not we'll have more on him later.

I chose Luken Baker for the 18U segment, because he played in Peoria this past season for the Chiefs.
Baker was the Cardinals' 2nd round draft pick this summer and he's a monster of man at 6'4" and 265 pounds. For the record, I think the position on the card is an error. The back doesn't mention anything about him pitching and as you can see he's wearing a first baseman's mitt. Oh, he's also one of the slower baseball players I have ever seen in person.

I had two guys will Illinois ties and I couldn't decided who to represent the collegiate part of the checklist. So, I decided to show off both. Lucky you!
Zack Collins was drafted by the White Sox (the other IL MLB team) in the second round of the 2016 draft. He advanced to AA last year, but he's a career 0.232 hitter in the minors with LARGE strikeout totals. Tyler Jay pitched for the University of Illinois and was drafted in 1st round by the Twins in 2015. He has also found his way to AA, but he struggled to miss bats last season. Hopefully he'll rebound in 2019.

Like the 2013 set, there were three team cards which served as checklists, but they're kind of boring. Thus, no pictures!
 I did like this card of the USA Baseball training complex. I think I'll add this stadium to my list to visit!

To round out the 81 card set there were 12 Game Action cards.
These cards highlight some of the bigger names from the tournaments USA Baseball played in. Pictured about are Christin Stewart, who made his MLB debut for the Tigers last year, and James Kaprielian. #FormerYankees1stRounder

Onto the hits! Each box contains one red-white-&-blue parallel.
Here's Zack Collins again! The 2013 box contained three blue parallels. I like the patriotic theme of the design, but I wish they didn't cut the number of parallel cards to one for the 2014 set. 

I scored two relics. Hunter Greene kicks things off with a plain gray swatch numbered to 99.
Greene was drafted second overall by the Reds in 2017. He's a two way talent, but the Reds are primarily having him focus on pitching right now. He's averaged 11.8 K/9 so far in the minors.

This Raymond Gil relic is much sharper looking and it also has a few stitches on the right. This one is numbered to 35.  Gil will be a sophomore for the Miami Hurricanes this spring.

Gray Fenter was drafted by the Orioles in the 7th round of the 2015 draft out of high school. He spent all of 2018 in Single-A ball.
Fenter is also an example of a young player not understanding how to use the space given when autographing a card. Ugh. 

Elih Marrero on the other hand knows how to sign a card a little better. Although, it's pretty difficult to make out his name.
Marrero was drafted in the 8th round last summer by the Red Sox and hit 0.300 during his first taste of professional ball.

A Japanese player was in the previous box and this time we have a representative from Chinese Taipei.
 Again, I'm struggling to find any recent information on the non-USA players. Jui Mu Chen, from what I can find, is not playing baseball any longer. But, his autograph is pretty awesome!
Also, not sure if you can read, but this one is a "Christmas Card" as it is numbered 12/25.

Alejandro Toral is the second member from the 15U squad to sign with the Miami Hurricanes.
 He started 28 games at first base last year as a freshman for the 'Canes.

Bryan Reynolds was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 by the Giants, but he was then traded to the Pirates in the Andrew McCutchen deal.
Reynolds is a career 0.309 hitter and has advanced to Double-A so far. There's some promise here.

Dansby Swanson. Eh. He's a former #1 overall pick of the Diamonbacks. He was traded to the Braves for Shelby Miller and has two full seasons (with some injuries sprinkled in) at shortstop for Atlanta. Honestly, I think Ender Enciarte might be the best player dealt in that trade, as he has one All-Star appearance and three gold gloves.

Ooooh... something new! Blake Paugh is currently a freshman outfielder at the University of Arizona. This card is numbered to 99, but it's the acetate window that makes it stand out!

Double ooooh! A Game Ticket autograph of Thomas Eshelman numbered to 30.
 Eshelman was a 2nd round pick by the Phillies in 2015 and he's climbed the minor league ladder fairly quickly. We was in Triple-A last year, but his 2-13 win-loss record says he needs a little more grooming.

Again, Paninin's USA Baseball is a pretty fun break. It's also kind of like buying a lottery ticket, but in some cases you're going to have to wait a few years (or more) to see what you have. Maybe there's a potential Cub or two in this mix?  We'll see!

I still have the 2015 box to break, but all in good time.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Pondering the BIN (Buy It Now)

Do you have a second? I'd like your opinion.

I have fifteen Dan Vogelbach cards in my collection, many of which are printing plates or autographs and I've never paid more than $25 for any one of them.

Currently, there are fifteen card Vogelbach cards numbered out of 10 or less on Ebay, all of which I'd like to add to my collection. I've been watching many of them for over a year and in some cases two years.

Some of them have changed prices.  Here's an example:
 As you can see by my notes, this card was once as high as $229 and now it's down to a more palatable $69.95.

Some of the cards are marked way too high:
Yeah, no one in their right mind is forking over fifteen-hundred dollars for a card of the Vogelmonster.

Besides the card pictured above, there's one more expensive Vogelbach card listed at $599. The other thirteen of these low-numbered cards, which I have stored in my watch list, have an average price of $51.32. Which is certainly more palatable than what's shown above, but still kind of pricey.

Again, that number, $51.32, is about twice the amount I've ever spent on a Vogelbach card . . . and honestly, the one card I did pay twenty-five bucks for has since given me a mild case of buyer's remorse.

I want some of these cards, which have been sitting on Ebay collecting dust, for my Vogelmonster collection. Yet, I'm not willing to pay $50 for a card serial numbered to /10, because a breaker is trying to salvage the cost of his box. I've bought plenty of cards at least that scarce for 10%-20% of that price. It's Dan Vogelbach for crying out loud . . . not Mike Trout!

I often listen to collectors and dealers when I'm at card shows and I frequently hear these individuals griping about "low-ball" offers on Ebay from buyers on their high end cards.

I know what these cards are really worth, because I know the Vogelbach market better than Ronnie Woo-Woo knows Wrigleyville. Being that as it may be, what it's worth would probably be considered an insult of a "low-ball" offer. I'm a people-pleaser.  It's just who am I.  So, I'm reluctant to send in a lower Buy-It-Now (BIN) offer.

I've played the waiting game and have been rewarded a couple of times. I've also thrown out some BIN offers and have varying success. Some sellers have met me half way and some have flat out said no, while one was very surly.

What do you do in this case? Should I throw out some more BIN offers? I don't want to infuriate a seller with an offer and then never see the card's price lowered as a result. Whereas, if I remain patient then maybe the price eventually starts to creep downward to where it fits in my budget.

Please, let me know what you would do in this situation. For instance, I'd love a shot at adding a laundry tag to my Vogelmonster collection:
But, at fifty bucks I just can't pull the trigger. I'd offer $25 to add such a unique card to my collection, but I would not haggle. $25 would be my highest offer.

I did manage to recently add a stellar 1/1 printing plate from Panini's 2018 National Treasures set for a cool $13.50.  You may now gawk, stare and drool if you like.
Yeah, that's a card at a price I can stomach.

Thanks for reading and please leave me some advice in comments!

Monday, December 10, 2018

One of My Favorite Follows Sends Me Cards

Peter, the author of Baseball Every Night, is a man after my own heart. I follow him on Twitter and I like everything I've seen so far. When I had to get a new phone I discovered my previous beer App is no longer supported. From Peter's tweets he seems to approve of and I may have to take a look.

He posts some entertaining polls:
Charlie Brown is where it's at by the way.

 He feels the same way about Mondays as I do.

And he enjoys some good food... although, he won't ship such items in a PWE.

But, he will send cardboard in a yellow padded mailer. Can't argue with that!
Man, I enjoy a nice hand-written note. Builds community. Most excellent and most appreciated.

Now, let's take a look at that wrapping job.
Hey, works for me! Just enough tape and paper to keep me guessing what's inside, but not so much it's got me searching for the scissors. It's even some of that festive holiday wrapping paper. Well done, sir. Well done.

Honestly. You shouldn't have!
Peter, you could have stopped right there and I would have been the happy collector this side of P-town. The note AND a Vogelmonster? Awesomesauce.

But, there's more.
Did Peter know I didn't have one solitary 1952 Cubs card in my collection? I do now!  Man, that is glorious!

Here's where it gets interesting.
 STAR produced many card sets back in the later 80's and early 90's, but this is the only one of Ryne SANBERG that I know of. Sandberg is spelled wrong on the front and back of every card, except for one. Even that one, the top left, is spelled incorrectly on the reverse side. Very weird.

2005 Donruss Zenith, anyone? Very modern looking card.

And, now we go more to the retro side of things with a Topps Rookie Cup card from the same year.

Here's where it starts getting fun! My Sandberg collection is GOOD through the 1980s through 1992. Back in middle school, my first trip through the hobby, I bought every card of Ryno I could find at card shows. But, every now and then someone unearths something that fills a hole.
Oh, a 1984 Topps Sticker!  New to me!  Yes!

Oh, check out this one!
 It's a hand-cut card from the 1985 All-Star Game Program!  I didn't even know this existed!

Food-issue oddball?  Yes, please!
I sure wish we could find cards in food products once again!

Speaking of such treasures... here's my favorite of the lot:
 This is a 1986 Dorman's Cheese card. Again, I had no idea this was out there and I know nothing about Dorman's or their cheese. How cool is that? Makes it seem so much more ultra-rare!

Peter, thank you for the cards and generosity. Next time you're traveling through P-town you'll have to let me know. I'd love to buy you a beer and talk baseball and homemade turnovers!