Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Delivering Like Hedwig

Hedwig Fact File (from the Pottermore website)
Skills: High emotional intelligence, carries post, impeccable internal compass, and extremely loyal. Hobbies: Hunting, flying, affectionately nibbling Harry's ear.

Those who are familiar with the Harry Potter novels (or movies), will know who Hedwig is. For those not familiar with the story, Hedwig is Harry's devoted pet owl. And by now I'm sure you know where this post is heading...

I recently sent a package to the one, the only Night Owl that included a number of 1983 Kellogg's cards as well as a JC Penney's catalog 2017 World Series Program that I had my boss pick up from Game 2 of the Series (he's a- gag- Dodger's fan). If there's one thing I've come to learn about Greg over the years of reading his blog is that, like Hedwig, he's extremely loyal to his Dodgers, to older cards and he likes to deliver trade packages worth blogging about. Don't ask me whether he likes nibbling on ears- I would know nothing about that.

No, the package didn't disintegrate. And it wasn't even beat up through the USPS- if you can believe that. Okay, on to the cards...

I had 'claimed' the 2017 Fire Ken Griffey Jr card off of Owl's post where he said he felt Burned from his purchase of the product. I guess I would have, too, had I bought the product. Not crazy 'bout the colors in the Cruz and Jr cards- but I do like the design and colors featured on Cano's card. Topps should have done them all like that one.

Two more cards of The Kid that I didn't have, and the Lee card will go into the Project USS Mariner binder. Yes, Dae-Ho, that is exactly how I feel.

Smyly. More like frowny. Will probably be non-tendered.

Okay, back to cards that matter. Felix x3. Need all of them, so it's kind of like the King's Crowning Moment. *Raises arms and fists in triumphant joy at obtaining new cards I need*

Two parallels of a man who should be in the Hall of Fame. Maybe this year. When it comes to cards, I feel conflicted about 'Gar. M's legend who had the biggest hit in team history but I just can't bring myself to jumping all-in on collecting his cards. Maybe one of these years.

The last of the cards I'll show (Greg sent more than just these featured) are three from 2017 Topps Update. They'll probably end up in the USS Mariner binder. Pagan was traded a few days ago, so I can't imagine him appearing on any more M's cards; Motter- who knows. Yes, he's got 'the flow' but not much else to offer. Bench player in '18 or a ticket to AAA. Either way he may not be on any more major cards. Rzepczynski seemed to do alright against lefties, but I thought he'd be a little productive overall. Another possible exclusion from '18 card sets.

Thanks again, Greg, for the trade. Happy hunting as you look for those rats (or whatever else your diet consists of) Dodgers.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Orange Ya Glad We've Got Russ?

I've gushed recently about the trading I've been doing on The Trading Card Database and one of the reasons I've been so happy is that it has allowed me to allot cash to go towards some of the pricier cards on my wantlist. And by pricier, I'm talking something more than a couple bucks. I'm on a limited card budget, after all.

Two of my recent purchases have come off of eBay. I've been a registered user since '99 but have been using the site less and less as the years go by, primarily because of shipping costs. That, and why pay 99 cents (plus shipping) for a card that shouldn't cost you more than 10 cents. But for cards that are a few bucks (or more), there are still some deals to be had. 

At times I've been a little critical of shiny cards. I think that has to do with my age and the time when I began collecting. All we had were the (now vintage) cards that didn't have all the flash. But I've tried to be more open-minded and have come to enjoy some of these beauties. When it comes to football, I've been impressed with many of the cards that were in last year's Select- including this Russell Wilson card, which is serial numbered 36/49. Wilson's S/N'd cards seem to go pretty quickly and I was thankful to get this orange parallel. 

Another type of I card I enjoy is the variation. This 2013 Topps Variation of Russell has been on my wantlist since it came out, and I finally bit the bullet and paid the $10 that it required to acquire. And being that the Seahawks play Atlanta tonight, with its crappy O-line, I fully expect this to be a common view. Russ running for his life. *Sigh* Some things never change.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Using Those Assets

  • If nothing else, this time of year provides for a time of reflection and evaluation. There are many things that contribute to this- one of which is seeing how much our health insurance is going to increase for the upcoming year and having to make a decision regarding our family budget. While I can just about bet on a pay increase come January, there's no way it's going to match that insurance increase. We certainly are not alone in this, as I'm sure most of you are in the same predicament. So, yes, we start adjusting the budget- and that begins with discretionary spending. And since I don't care for the taste of cardboard, I figure I'll just trade it rather than eat it.

My last post featured the first of what I hope will be many trades on The Trading Card Database website. It didn't take long for a second trade to go through. In fact, I've worked six already and will continue to scour its pages for many of my cardboard needs.

The lone card for my Mariners Topps Team Set collection was this 1979 Topps Rick Honeycutt. 
Word on the streets- or at least on the internet- is that Honeycutt won't return to the Dodgers in '18 as pitching coach. Honeycutt has survived four managerial and two ownership group changes since 2006 and has coached a pitching staff that has had the best cumulative team ERA in the majors over that time. Yeah, I guess you could say he's been an important part to their success.

Moving on to a number of needs for the USS Mariner Project (one card of every player to don an M's uniform):

'88 Score, '89 Fleer, '81 Fleer... ugly as hell, but I've decided I want as many different sets represented in this project. Got to take the good with the bad, I guess.

And then there's The Kid. I actually took a third card in trade ('91 Fleer w/ Bonds and Jr), but forgot I already have the card.

My Hawks Nest project (same as USS Mariner) had three new cards added- including these two:

Oops. Baseball, out of place.

The third addition to the Hawks nest is the James Jefferson GameDay card. The other three go into each player's respective collection. Never have been a fan of the oversized cards- they are a pain to store. I need to find the larger toploaders they fit into. Anyone got any leads?

More needs for the player collections.

I won't be cutting all my funding for the hobby from our monthly budget, but it's good to know that should I (likely) have to cut some of my fun money, there's a way to use those assets I have sitting on the shelves to add to my current needs. Are you a member on the Trading Card Database? If so, look me up (SeaKing) and let's trade! If not- why not join today?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

1st of (Hopefully) Many TCDB Trades

I've been using The Trading Card Database site for some time now, primarily as a checklist, but it wasn't until recently that I signed up for an account and began using it for trading. While I have certainly enjoyed the trades I've done through this blog, I was wanting something a little easier to match up wants/needs with other collectors. TCDB certainly fits that description.

My first trade on the site was a pretty simple one: a straight up, one-for-one offer of a Wendy's Darrell Evans card for a 2012 Topps Opening Day Stars 3-D of the King, Felix Hernandez. Ryan, the member I traded with, seemed genuinely excited to help out a new member with their first trade, and even included a few extra items.

Ryan, being Canadian, included two O-Pee-Chee stickers as well the Mariners sticker from the 2016 Wacky Packages Baseball product. I had not seen this sticker yet (didn't buy any) and was pretty excited to get it for the collection.

I don't know if he'll ever see this, but... thanks again, Ryan, for helping me out and I hope we can trade again further down the road.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Not Quite Untouchable

It's been about three weeks since my last post. Since then, I've started to draft a few different posts but, due to the blahs, I just haven't been able to bring myself to finish them.Perhaps a trade will be the medicine that cures whatever it is I have.

I was pursuing Thorzul Will Rule recently and came across Trade Me Anything (XI), a post that comes with Bill's annual Topps Update box break. The rules of the game are simple: email a request for any given card(s) and then send him something in return. Pretty simple, right? Yes, it is- as it should be. 

Anyway, Bill had a card of King Felix that I still hadn't picked up, so I fired off an email and was pleased to find out that it had not yet been claimed by anyone. I won't really go into what I sent for the card, but you can read about it here.

While I'm always happy to add new cards of the King to the collection, I'm not always thrilled with the cards themselves. Or at least, with the designs used for the cards. One such design is the Untouchables insert set that Felix is a part of. The checklist for the thirty-card set features some of the games best pitchers, both past and present. Unfortunately, Topps once agains uses the same cheesy graphics that have become synonymous with many their insert sets. You know the ones- those that look like they were made for some middle-school or junior-high student's photoshop class.

Yes, Untouchables is more a reference to the elite pitchers found within the set, but due to the relative ease of pulling and the ugly-ass design, the cards are anything but untouchable. In fact, they can probably be found in the dime box at your local card show.

Thanks for the trade, Bill- glad to have helped you knock a couple off your wantlist.

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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

75 Reasons to Smile

This past weekend was kind of a tough one, as far as my sports fandom. The Boise State football program showed (once again) that it is in a state of decline, the Mariners were officially eliminated from the Wild Card chase and the Seahawks... well, they went down south and got beat by a solid Titans team, dropping them to 1-2. Add some other ingredients to the pot, and the whole thing put me in a quite a sour mood.

Things were forgotten by Monday evening, when I got home to a package that had arrived in the mail. Actually, my mood changed once I received a notification from eBay that the package had delivered an hour, an hour and a half, before I got home. The anticipation made that last hour of work go by slow, but it was totally worth it once I tore in to it.

The package contained Seventy-Five unique Cortez Kennedy cards (that's 7-5!!) that I paid 18 cents per card for (or, $13.50 for those not wanting to do the math). Of those, only 19 were doubles that I already had. Not a bad way to add to the pc, if you ask me.

While I won't scan every single card, I thought I'd show off a few of my favorites- and even some that I might not like, but can appreciate nonetheless.

I always liked the Action Packed brand (football only- didn't care for their baseball product). I saw something a while back about Panini now having the brand and having released a set or two under the name. Has anyone seen this, in-hand? Is it still embossed? I don't know if I'd have any interest in it if it weren't embossed. That was part of its attraction.

The NFL has only had paid patriotism since around 2009, but prior to that, All-World NFL Trading cards featured the red, white and blue on its lone release (1992). I really don't know anything about this company and what happened to cause it to release only one product. Overall, a nice looking offering.

The nineties featured many brands that I was never fond of, including offerings from SkyBox and Wild Card. I did, however, get caught up in the initial Wild Card craze. Not because I liked it, mind you, but because I was chasing after the 100x or whatever the gimmick was. The SkyBox card on the left (above) is actually a pretty nice looking card. And I later came to like a couple of the SkyBox Impact sets (just not the colorful offering above).

Pinnacle... I always liked the back of this set better than the front of the cards. Would never collect the set (or, at this point, the team set), but I don't mind having a specimen for the collection.

Select was a set that I did enjoy, and I wish that Panini had done something different to make the brand's most recent set more attractive. I'd even take the same amount of gold foil, as long as the cards didn't have that typical 'Panini' look. 

Paul Simon might have sung about '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover', but the late Cortez Kennedy, along with a number of card manufacturers, gave me 75 reasons to smile. Now, it's back to the real world and all the other emotions it evokes.