Sunday, November 29, 2009

1995 Leaf Opening Day

I just moved recently and in the process of moving, I went through boxes of cards that had been sitting neglected for years.  Doing so uncovered some cool things that I had forgotten about.  One of those things is the 1995 Leaf Opening Day set.


The Opening Day set was available to collectors by sending in 8 Donruss, Leaf or Studio wrappers along with $2 for shipping and handling.  This is something that you don’t see these days.  Heck, until a couple of years ago you had to pay in order to get your redemption cards.  Card companies giving away cards is a thing of the past.  Heck, it’s a pretty common occurrence these days that you don’t even get all of the cards that you’re supposed to in a wax box.

This eight card set featured the following players: Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr, Mike Piazza, Cal Ripken, Jose Canseco and Larry Walker.  Each player was pictured on Opening Day from the 2005 season and contained a factoid about that game in the back.

The pictures on the cards aren’t the greatest that you’ll find, but that’s because there was only one game to select pictures from.  Depending on how long it took for Donruss to send these sets out, these could have very likely been the first cards of Jose Canseco with the Red Sox and Larry Walker with the Rockies.

Sets such as this one used to be fairly common.  Topps started the whole thing with their Glossy All-Star send away sets.  I’ve got sets from Topps, Donruss and Fleer that I’ve mailed away for.  Donruss combined this with the redemption card in 2001 at the very least.  In order to get the 2001 Donruss The Rookies set, you first had to pull a redemption card from packs of 2001 Donruss, but that alone didn’t get you the set.  From there, you had to pay for the set as well as shipping and handling.  Any other year, that offer may have been a bust, but 2001 was the year of Pujols and Ichiro.  I’m not aware of any other redemption cards of that type, but I’m sure there were probably others.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Box Break: 2009 Topps Chrome


Just like a lot of the collecting world, I’m a big fan of the 2009 Topps design.  Blowout Cards had a special on boxes and so I picked one up.  There’s a decent rookie crop this year and refractors aplenty.  I got caught up in all of the positives about this set without considering any of the negatives.

The main negative, and it’s something that plagues a lot of releases these days, is the low number of cards that you get in a box.  These days, set collectors seem to be outnumbered by player collectors, prospectors and Joe Collectors.  It’s usually cheaper to just buy a complete set on eBay from someone who has busted cases, but there’s no fun in that for me.  It’s getting to the point where putting sets together is losing its fun as well.  I guess it is the old fogey in me talking.  I liked it when most of the set came out of a box and the insert sets were what you chased.  Getting less than half of a set out of a box isn’t all that great in my book.

So, I’ve got what I need for the set up on Google Docs (link above) and would love to trade any of the non-Red Sox pulls from this box for some cards from the set.  I’m also open to other trades as well so drop me a line if you see anything that you like.

Ref Box

Here are the refractors that I got in the box.  It seems a little vanilla to me.  I thought I would have pulled more than just one numbered refractor.  Heck, I pulled a red Troy Tulowitzki out of packs.  I think all of my numbered refractors ended up being inserts.

World Baseball Classic refractors are numbered even in the plain variety (out of 500).  I pulled two of those as well as a blue Dice-K (numbered to 199 like the blues from the main set).  I could have done without this many WBC cards since I have no interest in them at all.  2007 - 2009 were the years that collectors had inserts forced upon them that they had no interest in.  A-Rod and Mantle’s home runs, Yankee Legacy, UD 20th Anniversary, etc.  Thank goodness for the 2% of collectors putting these sets together.


Here’s my first autograph out of the box.  Ricky Romero had a decent rookie season posting a record of 13-9 with a 4.30 ERA, 141 K and 79 BB.  Romero was the early favorite for AL Rookie of the Year until he hit the wall in the second half of the season.  He started the year 7-3 with an ERA of 3 before going 6-6 and an ERA of 5.54 in the second half.  If he can put together a full season like his first half of 2009, he’ll be one of the top pitchers in the AL and the Blue Jays won’t miss Halladay as much once his inevitable departure occurs.


My second autograph was of Cardinals third baseman David Freese.  Freese missed most of the 2009 season due to ankle surgery and rehab, but he hit very well in the final six games of the season.  He was only hitting .158 before the surgery, but finished the season at .323 in 31 total at bats.  If all goes as planned, Freese should be the every day third baseman for the Cards this season and may end up bringing home 2010 NL Rookie of the Year honors.

Ref Packs

Here are some refractors that I have lying around from packs.  I’m posting these mostly for potential trade kindling.  For less likely trades, I’ll also post my extra WBC cards.

WBC Packs
Even though I may never finish it, I do like this set.  I got the box for a great price so I really can’t complain.  If companies are going to include low cost autographs, I’d much rather get autographs of rookies who have a chance to be something big than minor stars who most likely won’t ever be anything.  I love the fact that there aren’t any bland relic cards to pull.  If those disappeared overnight I wouldn’t shed a tear.

The set itself is loaded.  You’ve got the top stars in the game and a very good rookie class.  If I ever get caught up on the boxes that I want to purchase, I could see myself buying another box of this.  I give the set an A- and this box a B.

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Lucky then unlucky and then lucky again

Way back in this post here, I wrote about puling a redemption card from 2009 SPx Baseball.  These were inserted two per case and were one of the hottest cards going at the time.  Everyone knew that Matt Wieters would end up having a card in this set and that was what most people were hoping to get.  I redeemed my card to find that I would be getting RR6.  I waited while the first five cards were announced.  I wouldn’t be getting Koji Uehara, Colby Rasmus, Andrew McCutchen (who by then may have been the most desired card), Matt Wieters or Chris Tillman.  My card was announced to be Josh Reddick.  Fuck.  Well, it’s a card for my Red Sox collection at least.  He’s a mid-level prospect who had decent numbers down in the minors, but he’s not even Boston’s top-rated OF prospect.  He just happened to be someone who got called up to the majors when Upper Deck needed players to fill these slots.


The card arrived at the beginning of this week and I got excited about the card again.  First off, Reddick has a decent signature.  The signature is a little squished on this card because it has the added inscription of “MLB Debut 7/31/09.”  Unfortunately, the inscription runs off of the sticker a little (Curse you sticker autographs!), but I was pretty excited to get one of the 25 autograph variations that they did with each of these redemption cards.

From there, I started thinking about how I felt about the card before it arrived in the mail.  There are a couple of wax boxes out there that I want to pick up including HTA jumbo boxes of 2009 Updates and 2009/10 Basketball.  So, I decided to put the card up on eBay.  Someone else will enjoy this card more than I will and I’ll be able to add something to my collection that I want.  I’ll be able to add another Reddick auto collection if I want one.

I’m hoping some of my other redemption cards arrive soon.  I’ve got Daniel Murphy coming from 2008 Topps Red Hot Rookies, Tommy Hanson, Colby Rasmus, Kyle Banks and Tommy Hanson autographed version from 2009 Topps Finest and Mat Latos from 2009 Topps Red Hot Rookies.  According to Topps, the Latos is on the way which seems strange since the Murphy from 2008 is still pending.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Box Break: 2009-10 Upper Deck Basketball

GarnettI like the design used in the various 2009 Upper Deck sets and box breaks of basketball were looking pretty good so I ended up breaking my rule and purchased a box of Upper Deck before the price dropped.  I picked up this box at Kenmore Collectibles, my Local (to work) Card Shop.

First off, I’m not sure how Upper Deck put together the various checklists in this set.  I’m not going to go through the whole set, but a glaring omission to me is that of Glen Davis.  In his place, Upper Deck included Celtic Bill Walker.  Walker only played in 29 games, averaged 3 points and totaled 29 rebounds, 13 assists, 6 steals and 2 blocks.  Davis, on the other hand, stepped up when Kevin Garnett went down with an injury and finished the season averaging 7 points and 4 rebounds a game.  This move completely blows my mind.  Why would anyone want a Bill Walker card?  Davis does have an autographed card in the set though.  Why give him an autographed card, but no base card? He’s also got a couple of jersey cards.  This makes absolutely no sense to me.


Speaking of autographed cards, here’s my pull from the box.  Who?  Shannon Brown.  Who?  Well, let me check his stats and see how good he is…  Strange, there doesn’t seem to be a base card of Shannon Brown either.  Instead of dumping these sticker autographs into this product, Upper Deck should have dumped them into that same landfill where thousands of E.T. Atari 2600 cartridges are supposedly buried.  This is an utter and absolute waste of cardboard.  Suddenly, this purchase doesn’t look so good after all.


It doesn’t stop there though.  Upper Deck is dumping memorabilia as well.  Check out this Game Materials card that I pulled of Shawne Williams.  Who?  Another bum who is most likely going to miss this entire season.  Why did I open this stuff again?  I must be an idiot.


Here’s basketball’s equivalent to the Yankee Legacy and 20th Anniversary cards in baseball.  The only positive is that Jordan is pretty popular.  I think that I’ll most likely send these to (COMC) and see how they do on there.  I’ve had some luck with the Yankee Legacy cards.


These cards are alright.  Some are better than others.  The idea of doing movie posters is original so I’ve got hand it to Upper Deck for that.  I’d rather have pulled 8 of these than the Jordans.


The 3D Stars cards are great.  They don’t really look three dimensional to me, but the players do pop and the cards look nice.  I used to be a huge fan of Sportflics and seeing them sort of return here is nice.  I’d love to see Sportflics make a comeback since lenticular technology has gotten better these days an you could have animation that’s a little smoother.


These cards here are the best thing about this set.  I should have just foregone the box and purchased a set of these inserts.  I’ve already grabbed a couple off of COMC including a great Larry Legend.  I’m pretty sure that there’s also a card in this set of KG with the championship trophy.


This card isn’t bad, but isn’t not a serial numbered card so there’s got to be a buttload of them out there.  I’m not really a fan of either of these guys so this card will most likely make its way to eBay or COMC.


This card is definitely headed to eBay.  Kobe has to be the one athlete that I despise the most.  This card is serial numbered and the Artest swatch is a nice gold one.  Lakers fans should eat this one up.  They can pretend that’s a golden Lakers swatch rather than a piece of a Rockets jersey.

That does it for this box.  I have all of the base cards, a good amount of the rookies and hardly any of the Immortals.  I got what I was promised which is a big deal for me when it comes to Upper Deck boxes since I got shorted on the last two boxes of their product that I opened.  My “hits” leave a lot to be desired.  Topps did a great job this year of showing just how much value can be put into a flagship set and Upper Deck just falls short especially when you compare to a Topps jumbo box.  This isn’t terrible, but it’ll be a much better buy when boxes drop $10 - $20 after a year or so.

To sum things up, there’s a nice design to the set.  The player selection leaves something to be desired.  For all of the junk autos in this set, there should have been two or three per box.  There is more value than usual for typical boxes of Upper Deck flagship since you get 4 “hits”, but if it is all junk auto and patches does it really matter?  The Masterpieces are awesome and the 3D Stars are fun, but I don’t think that they can save this set.  Combine that with the fact that it’s going to be a pain in the ass chasing down the rookies and immortals and I’ll give this box a C-.