Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year of the Trade/ Trade of the Year

As we approach the end of yet another calendar year, I thought the time would be right to take a look at this past year. As has been the case in the past, my collection took a turn in what it looks like. An emphasis on my complete run of Topps flagship sets dating back to 1977 was replaced by time, energy and money being spent on two new all-time roster projects I began a few months ago. New player collections were added to the old, and I continued the march towards completing the Mariners and Seahawks Topps team sets. While there were some disappointments in some of the 2017 products, I've tried to maintain a positive outlook on the hobby. Things change- culture, tastes, what's the acceptable norm- and I can't expect the hobby to remain as it was in the 70s, 80s or even the 90s.

Perhaps the greatest thing to watch take place in the card collecting world this year was the renewed interest in the hobby. And while many collectors bitched about Topps' emphasis on Aaron Judge and, to a lesser degree, Cody Bellinger, the two were a boon to distributors, hobby shops and retail outlets that carried baseball products. Personally, I don't mind rookie cards- in fact, it's one of the parts I enjoy about collecting Topps' flagship sets- and I don't look to pick up the legion of Judge cards, so why should I care? I'm excited to see new collectors coming into the hobby, especially if those newer ones are kids. Let's face it: those of us who make up the larger percentage of collectors aren't getting any younger and the hobby will die without new blood.

Most Unique Piece Added to My Collection

USS Mariner Stadium Giveaway

Although I wasn't able to attend the game where the USS Mariner was issued as an SGA (Stadium Give Away), I was able to secure one, thanks to the magic of the internet (and eBay). As you can "sea", the boat found a home on a bookshelf- right in front of a King-sized Felix card. 

Perhaps my favorite aspect of collecting this past year was the number of cards I was able to accumulate through trades. While I have been involved in trading through the blog over the years, it had always been at a minimal- and often involved "blind trading." This type of activity can be fun- kind of like Christmas, in not knowing what is included in the package- but often results in doubles or receiving cards I don't really want or need. I told myself early in the year that I would not be actively seeking out such trades anymore, resulting in few trades through the first three-quarters of 2017. But by November I decided to give it a shot over the website, Trading Card Database. This type of trading makes much more sense in that I can match up exactly what I'm wanting to add to my collection, all the while dumping stuff that I don't have a need for- and it's worked like a charm. In two months I have been involved in more trades than I had been the past two or three years, combined. 

My biggest- and best- trade of the year was with a user by the name of 49ants. This deal netted me a total of 50 cards for my collection and only cost me the shipping ($2.61, plus about two dozen cards. At a time where I am looking to spend less out of pocket money on the hobby, this is truly a goldmine for acquiring new cards for the collection. And I can only hope that there will be more like it in 2018.

Let's take a look at the cards I picked up in this transaction.

Starting a new player collection resulted in a change of heart regarding colored parallels. I still think there are way too many being done, but they do add something to what can be a very 'vanilla' looking set. One thing I would like to see Topps incorporate: spread the colors over different brands. For instance- Flagship would get Red (Target) and Blue (Wal-Mart); Opening Day would get purple (Toys R Us exclusive); Stadium Club would get Rainbow Foil; Chrome- Orange and green. Or something similar. Won't happen, but it's what I would like to see.

One of the difficult things about collecting a player- especially one who in their prime was a superstar- is you start seeing fewer inserts as they age. At one time, you could almost bet that the King could be found in most sets. Now... not so much. 

Moving away from insert sets and back to parallels... one set that was designed with parallels in mind was 2015 Topps and Opening Day. That set featured probably my favorite look for the various colors- including this O.D. Felix. Blue border that fades into the greens, not to mention the foil, and this is one beautiful card.

Let's move from the diamond and to the gridiron.

2017 saw a very big increase in the number of Cortez Kennedy cards, many of which came via TCDB trades. In this particular trade, I picked up 11 new cards of the late Hall of Famer. Despite being a defensive player, 'Tez isn't lacking for cards and most are very affordable. It's nice to be able to collect a Hall of Fame player and not have to worry about breaking the bank.

This year saw a couple of new projects in my collection- one of which is my attempt to collect one card of every player to have suited up and played in at least one game for the Seattle Seahawks. Each player's card must show them as a Seahawk (there are also other restrictions) and my desire is to see as many different sets represented. One card was added from this trade, former linebacker Tyrone Stowe. 

As it was in 2016, this past year just wasn't the same without Topps football. So desperate was I for new NFL products from the card manufacturer, that I contemplated downloading the Topps Huddle app and collect digital cards. Instead, I have continued adding Topps cards for my Seahawks team sets. One of these days this project will come to a completion and then what? Still haven't figured that out. The team set for the past two seasons has been Donruss (Score has also been contemplated) and that will continue to be the case, I guess.

One of the more difficult players whose cards I've tried to chase is another Seahawk and HOFer, Walter Jones. One card found its way to me in this mega-trade and, while one of the easier Jones cards to find, it is much appreciated and much needed. 

And there were plenty of more Cortez Kennedy cards... including a Gold Medallion from Fleer Ultra.

More Felix inserts and parallels... and even a relic card.

Closing out the trade was this SP Cortez.

Most Desired Card from 2017 That I Have Yet to Secure: (tie)

Most of you are aware of the National Baseball Card Day cards that were available in Hobby Shops on August 12th, but did you know that Major League  teams, in conjunction with Topps, also did card giveaways for NBCD? These Stadium Giveaways were done as team sets, with each team set including 10 cards- one of which was a retired legend. The only exception to this list was the Phillies, who included 20 cards. Anyway, the Mariners team set appeared on eBay twice (that I've seen), with the asking price being right around 50 bucks. The one card that I must have is #SEA6, Felix Hernandez. I'm still holding out hope of acquiring one someday.

A second card that has eluded me (due to cost) is the SSP of Felix from Topps flagship. Asking price on eBay is currently $99 OBO. I could offer $25, but don't want to insult the seller. Guess I'll keep on dreaming.

Hopefully you've had a good year in the hobby and I'm hoping that your 2018 will be just as enjoyable. As always, thanks for those who take to time to read this little blog- your readership is much appreciated!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Nine Cards > Nine Inches of Snow

I was watching the morning news last week and the subject of the possilbity of a white Christmas came up. The odds, according to the meteorologist, sat at 24 percent. She then reminded her co-hosts that we had 9 inches of the white stuff on the ground last December 25. I knew that we had a horrible winter last year but I had forgot that we had that much snow on the ground. I then remembered having my son help me get one of my mom's elderly neighbors car unstuck, and all those awful memories came rushing back.

As I publish this, we are only three days from Christmas and we have no snow on the ground. The weather forecast does show the possibility of snow on both Sunday and Monday, but there is no way we will have 9 inches. And that's fine with me. I will be -and in fact, am- thrilled to get 9 cards this close to Christmas. 

These cards I speak of were part of a TCDB trade I had initiated Monday night. By Tuesday, The_Sandlot (the party I traded with) had countered due to a couple of cards on his list were no longer needed. Each of us were able to ship the cards out that same day and two days later...Cards!

 Now that I think of it, I should have saved the package for my stocking, to open up on Christmas morning. That would have caused a delay in providing feedback and to update the trade status, so perhaps it's for the best that I opened it now. I'm all about timeliness and offering the best service I can, after all.

Had I waited until Monday morning, I could have woke up to a favorite that was only able to be found at Target. 

2013 Topps Target Red Border #34- Felix Hernandez

I've been somewhat of a curmudgeon when it comes to colored parallels, but as I've been putting more of an emphasis on collecting players in recent months, my views have begun to change. And when it comes to Felix cards, there are three colors I'd really like to get: Purple (King Felix), Blue (team colors) and Emerald (Emerald City). We shall see if I can pick many of those colors up, but for now, Red is pretty appropriate for the holiday season.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."... Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.- Matthew 2

2006 Upper Deck Future Stars #63- Felix Hernandez

King Felix was the chosen one, who would save the franchise. A prophecy was fulfilled, as he became a star. Unfortunately for Mariners fans, that star is fading. 

2007 SP Authentic #88- Felix Hernandez

I'm still a fan of stats being included on the back of baseball cards. This one, from 2007, does not include any. It does, however, act as a messenger- proclaiming that the kingdom had come- on April 11th, 2007 as the King threw a one-hit complete game shutout at Boston.

2007 Topps Co-Signers #37- Felix Hernandez

I have nothing. Which, I guess, is the equivalent of a lump of coal in your stocking.

1992 Diet Pepsi #26- Ken Griffey, Jr.

What would Christmas be if all you got were toys? There's got to be at least one article of clothing included in the gifts. This one just happens to feature the Kid, taking a swing in what appears to be the Mistake by the Lake(?). Pictures of Junior swinging that bat will never get old and this card is made better in that (a) it's an oddball and (b) You would never know there's a logo missing. I may not be a fan of Diet Pepsi, but it goes down much better with Griffey. Kind of like Jack and Coke.

2008 Topps Year in Review #YR2- Felix Hernandez

It's December 22nd and I just realized the year is coming to a close and I have yet to write the obligatory Year in Review-type of post. Perhaps I should just photoshop this card to read, "Felix Hernandez Dominates Collection." That would pretty much sum up my 2017 year in the hobby. And I would say to expect much of the same in 2018. 

2009 Topps Unique #19- Felix Hernandez

I didn't save the date, but it was this time of year 8-years ago that I re-entered the Hobby. And since it was so late in the year- or shall I say, cardboard season- I did not see or collect any of Topps' Unique product. They say every snowflake is unique... well, not every baseball card product is unique, and this product, despite being called "Unique", isn't. Something, somewhere, looks like this one.

If I'm required to look at snow, then I'm gonna go with the Topps Holiday Snowflake parallels.

I didn't buy any packs of this product, hoping instead to acquire the ones I need through trades- and I don't need much. After all the snow that accumulated here last year, the last thing I want is a bunch more. 


Monday, December 18, 2017

December Card Show #2

This is actually the third post to feature cards picked up at the card show I attended a little over a week ago. The first post wasn't numbered as 1 in the post title (State Representatives), so #2 became #1. Number 3 is now number 2. Got it? Good.

Equally confusing is what did Jerry DiPoto (or, the scouting department?) not see in Chris Taylor that would cause him to trade the guy away. And to the Dodgers! I was needing a Taylor for the USS Mariner set and decided I was going to pick up a Bowman rookie card 1st Card (speaking of confusing). I saw this purple parallel and over paid for it, but was glad to help out my buddy Mike.

Another card needed for the roster projects- this Watters card for the Hawks Nest. Haven't seen too many of the Bowman Reserve football cards, but was glad to find this one for a quarter. Really nice looking card. Perhaps Bowman should roll this one back out for baseball.

Inserts from the 90s will never get boring. Say what you will about all the foil (there's often too much, especially of the silver variety), but there's no denying the allure of all that color.

The lone parallel in this group being shown today. A Gold Griffey for 50 cents? Sure. Can't pass that up.

A couple more Griffey's. Are most of the Ultra (and Fleer flagship) inserts easy to come by? Yes. Are they inexpensive? Yep. But I don't care. I'll take them over today's relic cards any day.

Ooooh. An Arod Tek. The scan doesn't do this thing justice. Stunning- especially the backside of the card.

Griffey serial-numbered cards (Elite & the SPx American Heroes) for a couple bucks each... no, I won't pass them up. What I did pass up, though, was another card show this past weekend. The roads were slick and I feared I wouldn't have time to run to the bank and make it back in time for the BSU/Oregon Las Vegas Bowl game. Probably wise decision, as it left me with a little money to spend online.

I'm always a little nervous with die-cuts like this Hit Machines. Putting the card in a new penny-sleeve and top-loader had me biting my nails, but no damage to card.

Crowns of the Kingdom(e). Griffey and Johnson. I need to find a King Felix to finish off the Triumvirate. Another die-cut to worry about.

Finally, another colorful Griffey. Is it any surprise that it's an Ultra card?

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to post the final installment of my December card show pickups really soon.