Saturday, October 21, 2017

Chrome de la Chrome

For years I pretty much neglected Topps Chrome cards. Part of the reason was that I was putting together Topps sets (and team sets) and found Chrome to be somewhat redundant. But then, of course, Topps began using different images from the flagship cards and that just blew that all to pieces. I still wasn't sold, because I wasn't as focused on player collections. But as I'm getting older (and perhaps, wiser), I'm coming to appreciate the shiny cards a little bit more. Particularly with the refractors or, at the very least, a design that really lends itself well to the Chrome set.

I've picked up quite a few pieces of Chrome cardboard in recent purchases- some from the recent card show, a few off of eBay, and others from COMC. While I won't post all of them today, I do want to show off the very best- the Chrome de la Chrome, you might say.

You might have heard about someone stealing the bat from Junior's statue on Tuesday... Thankfully a witness chased down the thief and the bat (broken off, of course) was rightfully returned. If you ask me, part of the thief's sentencing ought to include having to take an Earl Thomas hit.

Speaking of Earl: I picked up this Chrome rookie card of the future Hall of Famer for a measly quarter at the recent card show. Too bad it isn't a refractor.

Okay, so this is a Bowman Chrome card- it's still a beauty. Blue Refractor of the King, numbered to /150.

Well, I got my wish- a refractor card of the former Longhorn standout. Like the RC, this card also ran me only a quarter. With Topps no longer having a football license, I've got to find out which Panini product offers the best refractor-type cards. Prizm? Select? Any recommendations?

I'll close out today's post with something I picked up from COMC. It's from the Club 40, and insert set that recognizes each of the hitters to reach the 40 HR milestone during the 1998 season. More players than ever might be hitting the 20-HR mark, but there were only 5 players to reach 40 this season, as opposed to the 13 from the '98 season.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fired Up!

Collectors have been pretty fired up the past few days regarding Topps Fire, the Target-exclusive featuring the artwork of Tyson Beck. I haven't bought any, nor have I seen any in-hand, but from what I've seen online, it's a product that I will pass on, should I see any in the retailer. I will, however, probably try to get the Griffey, Randy Johnson and King Felix singles.

What's getting hobbyists all fired up? Well, there are those who were upset that it was released as a retail-only product that dried up quickly and showed up online at inflated prices. Others, who were able to stumble upon blasters, were left feeling a bit burned. Me? I'm fired up for something else hobby-related.

Having neglected the COMC cart that held about two dozen cards for a while, I finally decided it was time to pull the trigger on the purchase. The cards, of which about 15 were of players I collect, while the other ten or so are for the all-time roster projects, showed up earlier this week.

I prefer my art-inspired cards to be of the Upper Deck Masterpieces and Topps Turkey-Red kind. The Masterpieces set... one of the most beautiful modern day sets. And this Felix card is one of my favorites in my collection. As far as the Turkey Red, I prefer this exclusive (albeit, online exclusive) to the Target one.

While some collectors get excited about cards from the '70s (or any other decade from the '50s through the '80s), I get excited about cards from the '90s. Particularly those from the 'etched foil' variety. Walter Jones... cards of this HOFer seem to be much more difficult to find than many of his contemporaries. Many of Griffey's insert cards from this decade still seem to be in demand. I suspect they will continue to be sought after for some time still.

Thankfully there are still many inserts of the Kid that are within my budget. No way am I  taking out a second mortgage to finance a collection.

1991 Fleer= gross   1991 Kenner Starting Lineup Cards= glorious

Stripes on the 1994 Collector's Choice set > stripes on the '89 Fleer set. Maybe Fleer shouldn't have gone with gray?

And finally, a card- and an insert set- that leaves you smiling. 

And I'm going to leave you with a video from Powerhouse Pat

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Player's Ink: My Name is Earl (?)

Everyone believes in some form of the law of cause and effect. Some refer to it as karma; others refer to it as reaping what you sow. What comes around, goes around, after all. This universal concept was even the focus of My Name is Earl, a tv sitcom about a petty-criminal who wins a $100,000 lottery, is hit by a car and loses his ticket while celebrating his new found riches. Sitting in a hospital bed while recovering, Earl is introduced to the concept of 'karma' while watching Carson Daly interview Trace Adkins on his television show. Earl decides he needs to right all of the wrongs he has done to others, and makes a list of 259 things he needs to do in order to change his karma.

Earl Hickey might have needed to repent of his thievery and other sins such as breaking his ex-wife's figurine, but Seattle's Earl Thomas has no need to make right his interceptions, forced fumbles and the hard hits he puts on his opponents.

The heart and soul of the Seahawks defense, Earl came up big in this past weekend's game in Los Angeles. His forced fumble of what looked to be a Todd Gurley touchdown and then interception of a Jared Goff were instrumental in Seattle's win.

Thomas is my second-favorite, if not favorite, current Seahawks player (Russell Wilson being the other) and is a player whose autograph I had long wanted. There are plenty of autographed cards on the market and the pricing is all over the map. Earl's signature isn't all that great (it's 'neat', but how do you get "Earl Thomas" from it?) After recently finding one on eBay that fit two criteria (price and desirableness), I put in a maximum bid of $7.11 and won.

Two final things: why I bid $7.11... haven't a clue. Perhaps the name, Earl, brought back thoughts of the television show, which conjured up thoughts of convenience stores. I don't know. Second, I sure wasn't about to go running into the street with my winning 'ticket', lest I get run over by a car. I'll just stick to waving it in the virtual air.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

One-Hundred and Fifty Big Ones

If you've ever seen the Steve Martin classic movie The Jerk, you will remember the scene where Martin's character, Navin Johnson, goes to the bank to cash a cashier's check that he believes to be for two-hundred and fifty dollars. As Navin is speaking with the account manager, he keeps referring (quite proudly, I might add) to it being for two-hundred and fifty Big Ones. Two-hundred and fifty dollarinies. Two-hundred and fifty donuts.
It isn't until he goes to endorse the check and fill out the deposit slip that he discovers that the check is for much, much more than he thought. When he realizes this, Navin's eyes get as large as silver dollars and his head spins. (If you haven't seen the movie, the amount was actually two-hundred and fifty THOUSAND dollars) I kind of had my own similar experience yesterday. Well, sort of.

Speaking of Johnson's and jerks... One player whose cards I collect was often viewed by many fans (or perhaps mostly by the media?) as a jerk. I never paid too much attention to the criticism of Randy Johnson, chalking it up more to a guy who just liked his privacy and who was extremely focused & didn't like having that focus interrupted. A recent eBay search for a lot of the Big Unit pulled up a hit that was too good to pass up: 150 different cards of the lefty for $9.90 w/ free shipping. Most lots such as this would include cards of the HOFer's time in Montreal, Arizona, Houston, New York and San Francisco, and I would not be interested. But this one promised cards from his time with the Expos and Mariners- and did I mention 150 different cards?- which is the time period of Johnson's career that I'm most interested in. So I figured I would take a chance on the lot, just hoping that I wouldn't get a bunch of ones I already owned. 

The cards arrived in the mail yesterday in a 200-ct storage box, which cost $7.75 to ship. The poor seller isn't going to net much off this transaction- but that isn't my concern. What I was concerned with were the contents of the box, and I was very pleased- so much so my head very well might have spun three-hundred and sixty degrees. 

Why the reaction? Well, the Unit's time with the Expos and Mariners was during the latter parts of the junk-wax era and the time shortly thereafter- meaning he's featured on lots and lots of junk wax. And while there was some of that stuff in the box, there was also so much more. First off, there were only two cards featuring him in the red, white and blue of Les Expos ('89 Topps, '89 Donruss). And then there were oddballs, inserts and parallels... oh, my!

I haven't checked the cards I received off of my wantlist (which is still a work in progress), but I know just by looking at them that I need probably 130-135 of them.

And if someone is thinking of sending me their Astro, or Yankee, or Diamondback, or Giant Randy Johnson cards, forget it. I don't need them. I don't need any of them.