Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Check Out My Cards: Themed Edition

Since all of the new wax boxes out there currently are priced way too high for what they deliver, I’m going to stick with picking up singles. There aren’t any redemption cards (expired or otherwise), you always get the players that you want and you can pick up inserts for less than what it costs for base cards out of new packs. These are my most recent acquisitions from CheckOutMyCards.

COMCsportscasters

More Sportscasters! One thing that I’ve noticed about my COMC cards is that they tend to really follow my collecting fickleness. You see a card on there and you can pick it up right away. After I busted my box of Pinnacle Zenith and pulled some Epix cards, I ran to COMC and picked up some more. When I became obsessed with the Sportscasters inserts, I ran to COMC and picked up some of those. Above are Jim Palmer /30, Miguel Tejada /50, Tejada /55, Prior /25 and Pedro /35.

COMCmasterpieces

Here are some more of the beautiful Masterpieces basketball inserts. I love the cards in this set that focus on players with the Finals trophy or personal awards that they’ve won. Here’s Steve Nash with his MVP trophy along with OJ Mayo and Donte Greene. It’s a shame that there wasn’t ever a full set of Masterpieces basketball produced. The relics and on-card autographs would have been beautiful. It’s too bad that producing such a set costs to much and that the brand died out, but it sucks that basketball was the only sport that didn’t get a set.

COMCbrentz

Bryce Brentz is currently tearing up Single-A pitching. He should be tearing up pitching on that level, but it’s good to see since last year in Lowell at the rookie level he struggled. Since I didn’t pull it out of my box, I picked up the blue parallel from Topps Debut which is numbered to 369. I also picked up the 2010 Upper Deck USA insert card. The last card in the trio is the blue parallel from 2010 Bowman numbered to 399.

COMCpiazza

I’m usually not a fan of Topps’ higher end stuff, but I took an immediate liking to this Piazza Tribute bat card from the moment that I saw it. It’s a redemption card and it is numbered to 75 so I thought that I did pretty well when my $5 offer was accepted. Here’s one of the previously mentioned Epix cards. This is one of the All-Star Moment cards. This set is full of variations and I don’t think there’s any way that I’ll ever gather them all up. You really don’t even see the common cards all that often because there’s not much of a demand for them.

COMCsox

Last, but not least, are a trio of Red Sox cards. First up is a card that many people may not have ever seen. This Dwight Evans is from the “TV set.” Back in 1990, Topps offered up some team sets for sale through a TV offer. There were team sets for the Cardinals, Cubs, Mets, Red Sox and Yankees. There was also an All-Star set for collectors who didn’t happen to collect one of those five teams. I’ve been chasing this Dwight Evans for a while now, but they were always overpriced on eBay and then there was the shipping factor. So, when I saw this copy on COMC for under a dollar, I jumped on it. I love the way that the card looks. The design is simple, but it looks great. Nice big picture of Dewey during his follow-through.

Next up is a 2007 Masterpieces jersey card of Big Papi. I didn’t pull one out of my case, so I picked one up for a coupe of bucks on COMC. I usually have a hard time turning down a relic card when you can buy it for less than the cost of eBay shipping.

The final card was the first card that I purchased in this batch of cards. I had been looking for this Buchholz Bowman Sterling rookie for a while, but the prices had been pretty high on eBay. I picked this up for $4 which was good at the time. After his start this season, it might be a little high. There are tons of copies of this card available in graded form which doesn’t really appeal to me at all. Still, this is a great addition to my Buchholz player collection.

I’ve already started up a new batch of cards with another card for my Celtics Retired Numbers collection. I need to add some funds so that I can send in the remaining hits from my Masterpieces case and turn those into some more cards for my collection.

 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Falling Behind Again

It seems like I just can't keep my head above water these days. Things have been busy, busy, busy and it has lead to many piles of cards on my desk and unanswered emails. If I owe you something or haven't gotten back to you, please send me another reminder because I could use it. Also, if there's a team whose trade bait you'd like to see posted before any other, let me know and I'll move it to the top of the list.

Life has been good though. I just celebrated my 5 year anniversary and as part of the celebration, I added a new minor league ballpark to my collection. We went to see the Portland Sea Dogs this past Friday night at Hadlock Field. It's a great little field that pays homage to Fenway Park with its own replica of the Green Monster and Citgo Sign. I came home with a new Sea Dogs hat, baseball, pin, team set and soft serve ice cream helmet for my various collections. The weather wasn't great, but we got to visit the children's, art and cryptozoological museums while we were there. Boston sports have been amazing. The Celtics swept the Knicks out of the playoffs and earned some much needed rest. The Red Sox are 8-1 in their last 9 games with a starter's ERA of 0.88. The Bruins have turned things around after looking like they were going to fold in the playoffs again.

This weekend is the big Boston Comicon that has an amazing guest list. Work is keeping me busy. Family is always the priority. I just keep telling myself that it could be worse, I could be on Upper Deck's schedule and take four months to get something done. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for my Paul Pierce card to get to me. I'll probably do a little video of opening that since I have no clue what the actual card that I'm getting is going to look like.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sportscasters

I’m one of those people for whom nostalgia has a huge part of why I’m in the hobby. I’ve been collecting since I was a kid and just love ripping open wax packs. When card companies give a nod to the history of the hobby, I almost always get sucked in. Sometimes more dramatically than others. This is one of those extreme situations.

Sportscasters

2005 Leaf Sportscasters! I definitely remember the cards that these are based on and while I never owned any, I love the fact that Donruss revisited this set for a modern day insert set. Since it’s a Donruss release, that means that it is loaded with all kinds of parallels. There are different colors and icons that are numbered to different amounts. I’ve picked up some singles at card shows, on COMC and this lot came from eBay.

I found these cards because the seller listed the Piazza on eBay and advertised combined shipping so I looked at their other auctions and that’s where I found the other three cards. Those three went for a buck each and the Piazza went for two. The shipping for everything was $3. Not too bad. The Piazza is 10/45, Murphy is 15/35, Killebrew is 20/35 and Palmer is 10/25.

I already know of people’s love for Ginter, Turkey Red and other retro sets that were the main set released in packs, but what about insert sets like this one. What’s your favorite lesser known retro inspired set?

 

Big Big Baby Haul

BigBabys

I’ve been lucky enough to add some amazing Big Baby cards to my collection over the past month or so. Starting form the top left and going clockwise:

  • 2007-08 Topps Finest RC blue refractor numbered 120/199. I already had this card, but I picked up this second copy at a great price and also got a David Robinson black refractor /75 from the same seller with combined shipping.
  • 2008-09 Topps Chrome gold refractor 26/50. I found this card on SportLots.com when I was picking up some cards for my various player collection. It was listed at $3, so I threw it in my cart. If this card were listed on eBay, it would cost $3 for shipping alone.
  • 2009-10 Topps yellow printing plate 1/1. This is my first 1/1 of Big Baby and now that I think of it, it’s the first 1/1 of any player that I collect.
  • 2007-08 Fleer Hot Prospects Rookie Autograph Patch 310/599. Things really lined up for the acquisition of this card. I got both a nice patch swatch and a nice price. I’ve seen one color patch pieces go for more money than what I paid for this one.
  • 2008-09 Topps black parallel 34/51. Goes nicely with the gold card above it.
  • 2007-08 Upper Deck Chronology RC autograph 69/99. I already had a copy of this card as well, but I was watching it and the price was so low that I had to pick up another copy. There are now only 97 other copies out there.

I really need to get my Big Baby collection scanned and posted online. Since he’s not a huge star, I’ve been able to pick up much better cards of him than I can of most of the other players that I collect.

 

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Trade Bait: Braves

See something you like? Leave a comment or send me an email.

ChipperAPBA HeywardGold
2000 APBA Board Game
Chipper Jones
2010 Topps Gold
Jason Heyward 1069/2010

ChipperMaster

ChipperRockie

2008 UD Masterpieces
Chipper Jones

1993 Topps Rockies Inaugural
Chipper Jones
(Only 5000 sets produced.)

HansonFinest

MurphySP

2009 Topps Finest
Rookie Redemption
Tommy Hanson

2010 Topps
Dale Murphy SP

 

 

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Masterpiece of a Trade

FujiMasterpiecesIt pays to be active on other blogs. One of the blogs where I enjoy interacting the most is The Chronicles of Fuji. Fuji usually ends his posts with a question to promote discussion and always takes the time to reply to any comments that are left.

I saw this post on Fuji’s blog where he chronicled his chase of the 2009-10 Upper Deck Basketball Masterpieces insert set. This was by far the best thing about Upper Deck’s last NBA licensed set. I’ve busted a hobby box and a retail box while also picking up some singles here and there, but I still wasn’t all that close to completing the set especially since I don’t have either of the Jordan cards, but it’s a set that I’ll complete eventually.

Fuji helped me get a little closer to the completion of this set with cards of KG, Kareem and Brandon Rush. I think the most valuable card of the bunch has to be the Fuji rookie card though. You can see what I sent him in return, which included cards in return for these as well as prizes for the contest that I held here months ago, here. Great trade and I look forward to more interactions with Fuji both online and through the mail.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Celtics Retired Number Autograph Collection

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I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to start an autograph collection of Celtics Hall of Famers. I soon upped that to everyone whose number the Celtics had retired which added a few more players to the mix. I’ve been chasing that collection for 2-3 weeks now and have already made some good progress on it. I did start the chase with some of the autographs already in my collection. How far along do you think I am in completing this collection? Those of you following along on Twitter might have a better idea of how far along I am. For reference, I’ll list the players whose numbers are hung in the Garden rafters:

1 – Walter Brown – Founder and first owner of the Boston Celtics franchise. Not sure if there is even anything of his autographed out there to collect.

2 – Red Auerbach – This just might be the most expensive autograph in this bunch. It doesn’t look like Red every signed any trading cards. You have to go either with cut cards or authenticated photos.

3 – Dennis Johnson – Larry Bird called him the best player he ever played with. ‘Nuff said.

6 – Bill Russell – Arguably the second best player ever to lace them up. People look at his stats and say he had no offense, but they’re wrong. Russell didn’t need to score on the teams he was on. He loved starting the fast break and he did it well. Defensively, there’s been no better. Ridiculously tough to get because of the fees that Russell charges for his signature.

10 – Jojo White – Two championships including the Fianls MVP in 1976.

14 – Bob Cousy – Transformed the game both on and off the court.

15 – Tommy Heinsohn – Rookie of the Year (over Russell who didn’t play a full season), won eight titles while playing and two while coaching. He’s now the biggest homer in the world.

16 – Satch Sanders – Was just named to the Hall of Fame.

17 – John Havlicek – stole the ball

18 – Dave Cowens – Co-ROY in 1971, MVP in 1973, won two championships. Hall of Famer and one of NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996.

19 – Don Nelson – He’s so well known as a coach that I often forget he played with the Celtics. Won 5 titles with the Celtics.

21 – Bill Sharman – Won four titles with the Celtics, HOF and top 50.

22 – Easy Ed Macauley – Hall of Famer who played before the Celtics started winning championships.

23 – Frank Ramsey – The first ever “Sixth Man,” a position created and mastered by the Celtics. Won seven titles with the Celtics and was elected to the HOF in 1981.

24 – Sam Jones – Won ten titles with the Celtics. Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch.”

25 – K.C. Jones – Won 8 straight titles with the Celtics and then coached them to two more.

31 – Cedric Maxwell – Won two titles with the Celtics and is now a popular radio commentator for the team.

32 – Kevin McHale – Knows how many bolts are used to put the Garden floor together.

33 – Larry Bird – also stole the ball. Bird is also a pretty tough autograph to track down.

35 – Reggie Lewis – His number is up there as a tribute because he was tragically lost way too early. I have no doubt that Reggie’s number would have made it to the rafters eventually anyway. Lewis has four straight 20+ PPG seasons under his belt, was an amazing defender and was still getting better. There’s an amazing video on YouTube of him defending Jordan and blocking him four times in one game. Man do I miss Reggie. I don’t think that Reggie has any autographed cards available.

00 – Robert Parish – The Chief. Part of the big three with Bird and McHale. Great rebounder. Could score when he had to. Played for an amazing 21 seasons.

LOSCY – Jim Loscutoff – Didn’t want his number (18) retired. The Celtics retired his nickname instead. Won seven titles with the Celtics.

This should be a fun collection to chase. I’ve got plenty of autographs of Paul Pierce who looks to be the next Celtic to have his number retired. It might be a while before the next number after that is raised to the rafters. It could be Rondo if he plays here his entire career, but that wouldn’t be for a while.

 

Leaf Executive Cuts

I’m not sure how many people are familiar with this program so I’ll talk about the program a little before I get to the meat and potatoes of this post. Leaf has stated the Executive Collection where you send them a piece of memorabilia and they turn it into a cut card. If you are the first person to have a card created of a certain person, you get a card marked 1/1. The item that you send in has to be authenticated by either PSA/DNA or JSA. When all is said and done the cards are pretty nice looking and there are some situations where having this done to an item makes sense.

Back in 1995 while I was in City Year, I got to volunteer at an event called CelticsFest. The event was a fundraiser for former Celtics who played before there was a pension plan of players. Many Celtics legends showed up for the event to help the cause. I can’t find any info about the event online and since I didn’t attend it as a fan, I’m not 100% sure about the logistics of the event. I think you paid one amount for admission which got you most of the autographs at the event. A couple of players were only taking pictures with the fans and then a few other players were charging an additional fee.

I spent part of the event running the shoot around on the parquet floor which was a dream come true to me. For at least an hour, I was grabbing rebounds and throwing passes to people waiting to take a shot on the legendary floor. One of my other responsibilities that day was running an autograph line. That’s when I acquired this:

DJ

This sheet of cardstock was available for people who didn’t have an item with them to get autographed. It would have been impressive with all of the autographs available that day on it. Since I was working, I wasn’t able to go around and collect autographs. I did get this Dennis Johnson autograph while running his line.

This piece isn’t really something that I would frame and hang up. The printing is uneven and the image looks a lot worse in person than it does in the thumbnail. Click to see a larger version for an idea of how it really looks.

DJ 1

The back had a schedule of what Celtics were signing, times there were signing and where you could find them. Check out that list of Celtics greats. You’ve got “Tiny” Archibald, Don Nelson, Tom Heinsohn, “Satch” Sanders, Jojo White, Dennis Johnson, Jerry Sichting, Gene Conley, Chris Ford, Bailey Howell, “Easy” Ed McCauley, Bill Sharman, Jim Loscutoff and Sam Jones. Havlicek and Russell were there for photos only and I thought that at least Larry Bird required an addition fee, but I could be wrong.

DJcut So, I’m thinking of using this piece as something to send to Leaf to have a cut made. Here’s what I think the card will look like when it comes back to me:

To me, that looks better than the original sheet of mostly blank, poorly printed cardstock with one lone autograph. Who do you, the readers, think?

It’s not as simple as deciding whether or not I want to do it though. There are a couple of fees that will come along with getting this card made.

  1. The autograph needs to be authenticated. PSA/DNA charges $30 to verify a Dennis Johnson autograph.
  2. $39.95 for the creation of the card + $8 insurance + $14 return shipping (for UPS Ground, other methods are available for more money) = $61.95
  3. That’s a grand total of $91.95 to get this card created. I’ve never spent that much on a card before, not even my Mike Piazza autographed card.

DJcomboAs much as I’d love to get this card made because I think the end result would look pretty cool, I think that the price tag on getting it done is going to prevent me from following through. It’s a shame too because I would have liked for this to be the first post in a series of review posts where I went through the process of getting this card made. Maybe I can get creative and try to find some way to display it that will make it look a little nicer. It is an important part of my Celtics Hall of Fame/Retired Numbers autograph collection no matter what form it ends up being in.

 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It’s All About 18

Perk

Before I start talking about the Celtics heading into their playoff run Sunday evening, let me clear up a couple of things. This season didn’t go into the tank when the Celtics traded away Kendrick Perkins. Also, the Celtics collapse against the Lakers in Game 7 last year had a heck of a lot more to do with the offense completely getting shut down by the Lakers’ defense than Perk not being there and Pau Gasol getting a ridiculous number of offensive rebounds.

Let me start with last year first. Game 7 mirrored a lot of other Celtics games form that season. The Celtics would jump out to an early lead, would change the way that they were running their offense, let the other team back in and then lose the game in the 4th quarter. This happened many times during the regular season with Perkins on the lineup.

One of the big stories behind this game that never gets mention is the bench play. Doc Rivers gave 21 minutes to Big Baby, but only 10 minutes combined to Scalabrine, Tony Allen and Nate Robinson. The older Celtics team was tired in the 4th quarter and it showed. Pierce played all but 2 minutes of the game, Allen and Rondo both played 45 and KG played 38. The Lakers got some nice play from Odom who had to step in and play 35 minutes in Bynum’s place and 13 solid minutes from Farmar which let Derek Fisher rest.

You can’t score just 17 points in two consecutive quarters and expect to win the game. It was amazing that the Celtics went into the start of the 4th quarter with a lead. The Perk-less Celtics held the Lakers to just 14, 20 and 19 points in the first three quarters, but supposedly the defense was an issue. While it was the 4th quarter where the Lakers eventually took the lead, this game was lost by the Celtics in the 2nd and 3rd quarters when they couldn’t figure out how to score. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were huge disappointments in game 7. Ron Artest got into Pierce’s head big time.

If this season’s swoon has anything to do with trading away Kendrick Perkins, it has more to do with the team’s mood than the loss of Perk’s talent. The team played just fine at the start of the season without 43. So, what’s the real issue. I hate to bring it up again, but this team is just old and it does come into play. The team’s winning percentage went down every month of the season. It’s plain and simple. This season held a bunch of additional 4th quarter collapses just like last season’s final game.

I do think that there was a misstep in the trades that Danny Ainge made at the trade deadline though. I think that Danny should have kept Semi Erden and Luke Harangody on the roster. Both were playing well and knew the Celtics system. The players that the Celtics got to replace them on the roster are not as good and the picks that the Celtics got for these players weren’t all that great. Then again, Erden was battling injury problems of his own. The Celtics traded their second round draft pick for a new second round draft pick.

Doc Rivers was smart and rested the Big 4 for the final two games of the season. They then had three days of practice to figure out their playoff rotation and getting the new players familiar with the offense. Hopefully the C’s can sweep the Knicks and earn themselves a little more rest before facing the Heat and Bulls further along in the playoffs.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one that remembers how frequently Perk got called for moving screens. This is his 8th season in the league and he still doesn’t know how to set a pick properly. Maybe I’m the only one who remember how frustrating it was to watch Perk bring the ball down every time he caught it before going up for a shot giving the defense plenty of time to react. Maybe I’m the only one who cringed every time that Perk wasn’t ready for a Rondo pass and saw it bounce off of his chest or hands.

Perk had raw talent, but he really should have gone to college. A college coach would have tried to break his bad habits. Perk was solid, but he wasn’t a great scorer, rebounder or shot blocker. He was looking for far too much money for a player of his abilities and forced the Celtics to either trade him or watch him walk and get nothing in return. There’s still a chance that the Celtics end up without much of anything if Jeff Green decides that he doesn’t like Boston and doesn’t want to re-sign with the team, but hopefully that’s not the case. Green can step right up into a starting role once one of the new Big Three decides to call it quits.

As for this season, I’ve got high hopes. The Bulls are going to be tough to beat, but the Celtics should be able to make it to them in the Eastern Conference Finals. Once there, it’ll be a matchup of youth versus experience, but right now I’m not sure if anyone can beat Derrick Rose.

Interesting bit of trivia: On draft day in 2007, the Boston Celtics traded Green, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to the Seattle Supersonics for Ray Allen and Glen Davis. Currently, every player involved in this deal with the exception of Wally are on the Celtics roster.

 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Trade Bait: Dodgers

This page will be updated from time to time with Dodgers cards that I have to trade.

 

 

Now That’s Customer Service

Hooray! I just got off of the phone with Upper Deck customer service and I couldn’t be happier. I am sending back the Jeff Green and Deron Williams cards that were originally sent to me as replacements for my Michael Johnson Alma Mater /99 autographed card. In return, I got to pick from a couple of cards that the replacement department said that they had available. The main card is a Paul Pierce autographed card that is numbered to 34 copies. Since Pierce is my main current basketball player collection, I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve also got to say that dealing with this over the phone instead of through email was so much easier. I had to wait on hold for a couple of minutes, but I had no problem with that. In the end, I was thrilled with the final result. I had to go to the post office tomorrow anyway to mail out some trade packages so I’ll make sure that these cards get out to Upper Deck as quickly as possible because I can’t wait to see the Pierce card.

Thank you Upper Deck.

The Best Card Blog Post Ever

*this week

So, last week I was lucky enough to catch a Chris Hardwick stand up show. I would have ponied up the cash for the show anyway, but I was selected to get a free pair of complimentary tickets in exchange for promoting the show with fliers and through social media. For those of you who don’t know who Chris Hardwick is, you might remember him from this show:

Oh wait, that’s just a clip of Chris on one of my all-time favorite shows, Boy Meets World. You might remember Chris as one of the co-hosts on MTV’s Singled Out. I remember watching the heck out of this show back in the day. Raging hormones + Jenny McCarty = Yes, please!

Singled Out isn’t the reason why I’m a fan of Chris Hardwick though. I became a fan once Chris started hosting the G4 show Web Soup. They take clips from the internet, show them and then joke about them. Hilarity ensues.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect as far as the stand up set went, but I was very entertained. Comedy targeted at nerds is right up my alley.

The opening act was Mike Phirman who is a musical comedy act and also teams up with Chris Hardwick in the musical comedy duo Hard ‘N’ Phirm. This Build-A-Song segment from the opening set was one of the most brilliant comedy bits that I’ve ever seen.

By this point, you might be thinking, “Dude, this is a sports card blog. What’s up with all of the comedy videos?” Ready for the payoff?

Hardwick

After the show, both Chris and Mike stuck around and met with every single fan who wanted to do so and there were a large number of fans who lined up to do just that. I waited longer in the meet and greet line than I spent watching the show itself, but it was worth it.

I got to chat with the guys for a little bit, had them sign something for my collection and thanks to my amazing wife behind the camera, I got this:

206398_10150215898980039_531745038_8235625_6179369_n

A great way to end a great night. I’ve done well with seeing cable hosts doing stand up. Ben Bailey (Cash Cab) was hilarious as well. If you get the chance, definitely go and check out Chris Hardwick if he performs near you. It’s a different type of comedy show and that’s a good thing.

 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Scalper Nation

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the Red Sox becoming a successful franchise and selling out a record number of consecutive games. Many people now want to be amateur scalpers and make money off of Red Sox tickets. When I was looking to get rid of two extra tickets that I had, I looked at the usual sites such as Ace Tickets, eBay and StubHub. All three of those sites were loaded with tickets that weren’t selling. Hopefully it meant that some people who were willing to wait until the last minute were able to get some good deals on tickets.

 

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This Was Why We Acquired Him

Beckett

Some Red Sox fans might have forgotten, but tonight’s game was exactly why the Red Sox sent off the extremely talented Hanley Ramirez to bring Josh Beckett to Boston. Beckett built a bit of a reputation in Florida for being able to shut down the Yankees in pressure packed situations.

I know it is still early in the season, but this seemed like the most important 9th game of the season ever and Beckett stepped up big time. Since it is still early, it’s too soon to proclaim Beckett back to form. He shut down a pretty impressive offense tonight though and double digit strikeouts are always impressive.

Beating the Yankees is always nice. Getting the second win of the season was good. The best part of the game tonight was seeing dominating performances by both Beckett and Papelbon. Any championship runs will require strong performances from both of them.

 

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Box Break: 2010 Topps Opening Day

When I grabbed this box, I did it quickly because of the price ($20) and thought that I was buying a box of 2011 Opening Day, but I ended up being very happy with this box.

By now, I’m sure that everyone is familiar with the 2010 Topps design. If you aren’t then you haven’t been reading the blog (since it was featured in the last post). If you need a refresher course, you can look back at the last post or check out the blue parallels below:

Blue

All of the cards other than Scutaro are for trade. I’ll let you know now that for some reason all of the blue cards have a bad corner. They were the only damaged cards in the box which is strange.

Town

These ToppsTown cards were much nicer looking than their counterparts in the flagship Topps set. For all of you team and player collectors out there, everything except the Big Papi is for trade.

Attax

These Topps Attax cards are pretty slick looking as well. These cards are printed on a nice holofoil that gives the cards a nice look. Everything is available to trade.

Mascots

At least there’s still one set out there that includes mascot cards. I love these and will most likely end up completing the set. I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t pull a Wally so I’ll just have to grab two of those.

Celebrations

I wish that there were more of these Superstar Celebration cards in a box. I really like the design of these cards and the subject matter couldn’t be more fun. The great picture of Prince Fielder from 2010 Topps would have been perfect for this set.

Walk-off hits, especially of the type that fly over the outfield wall, have become the biggest ESPN highlight these days and so an insert set such as this one makes a lot of sense. The backs of the cards have a little information about the moment pictured on the front of the card.

This box contained a card celebrating Andre Ethier’s multiple walk-off homers, an Evan Longoria walk-off against the Red Sox, an Ichiro walk-off homer against Mariano and a Ryan Zimmerman walk-off.

I was happy to see that Topps brought back this insert set in the 2011 edition of this set. These are just flat out fun cards. I’m glad that there are still some fun cards out there because too many sets only are concerned with “sick” “MOJO” patches poking out from behind 12 windows spelling out some nonsensical phrase.

Waldo

Here you have Topps’ version of Where’s Waldo. Bazooka Joe went to a baseball game and it’s up to you to find him.

This is the one insert set from this box that I didn’t like at all. It’s like the Things You Can’t Unsee segment from Web Soup. Now that you’ve seen them, these terrible cards will now haunt you forever. Hopefully this box will provide a Palette Cleanser just like Chris Hardwick does every week. It’s not a given though because there aren’t any guaranteed big hits in Opening Day boxes.

There were 4 of these cards in the box, but I’m only posting two. Other than the Cabrera and Chipper pictured here, I also got Kinsler and Wright and all are available for trade.

HamelsPlate

What’s this? This more than makes up for the Bazooka Joe cards. This is a yellow printing plate of Phillies hurler Cole Hamels. These cards fall every 2,119 packs so I really beat the odds with this pull. You really can’t complain about pulling a printing plate out of a $20 box of cards. The strange thing is, the only times that I’ve pulled printing plates is out of discounted boxes. My other plate came out of a discounted box of 2008 series 2 baseball jumbos. It would be tough to do much better than this…

RolenPlate

I guess this would qualify though. I also pulled a black printing plate of Scott Rolen. How the heck does that happen? It’s funny because when I first noticed that this wasn’t the box that I thought I was getting, I was kind of disappointed, but now that the box is opened I couldn’t be happier.

If I don’t get any trade offers on the printing plates then they’ll be making the trip to eBay. These two cards alone might end up paying for the box and then some. I’m always a fan of using the inserts to pay for the base since I’m still a set collector at heart.

Opening

I didn’t get any duplicates in the box and only need 12 more cards to complete the set. This is the kind of box break that I love. There’s nothing worse than opening a box of cards and only ending up with one-fourth or one-third of the set. I also got a nice little stack of cards to send off to other people. All in all, an awesome break.

 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Box Break: 2010 Topps Pro Debut Series 2

Base

I found it tough to pass up a box of this stuff at $40. There are a couple of players whose cards are hot right now including Brandon Belt and Jesus Montero. Everyone is familiar with this card design by now. I like it and it works even better with the cool minor league logos.

Without even getting to any of the inserts, I was already happy since the box contained a second copy of Bryce Brentz for my collection. It wouldn’t have cost much to pick up another copy, but I’m glad that I don’t have to be bothered. This is a nice small set with no short prints. You’re supposed to get one relic card and two autographs per box.

Blues

This set has the usual parallels, but they are numbered to 369 and are a very cool shade of blue. I really wish that Topps would use this color on their flagship parallels. The best of the bunch has to be the Jesus Montero.

Tools

The Baseball America Tools of the Trade insert cards rate players on the back in each of the five tools associated with their position. The Lars Anderson is going right into my collection and the Britton card is a cool one considering that he’s currently up in the majors showing that he’s the real deal.

Foundations

The Future Foundations cards are alright, but not spectacular. I could have done without them.

AlonsoJersey

These are some of the largest jersey swatches that I’ve ever seen. I like that Topps increased the size of the swatch and kept the print run low. There also aren’t multiple versions of this card except possibly a lower numbered patch version.

There still aren’t a ton of interest in these jersey cards, but at least it’s something a little different.

CookAuto

No, this isn’t former American Idol contestant David Cook. This is Corpus Christi Hooks player David Cook.

I like the look of these autograph cards. They’re a little bit thicker than the regular cards and the autograph sticker is in a little recessed area. When you look at the sticker straight on, it appears clear, but it reflects the light when you look at it from an angle. These are the perfect stickers because they don’t draw your attention away from the rest of the card like the silver stickers do, but it still provides a bit of counterfeit protection.

AustinAuto

I can’t say that I know anything about either of these players, but that could change in a few years. You have to be patient with sets like this to see if you pulled anything worthwhile.

If I’m pulling cards that I’m going to be holding on for a while, I want those cards to look nice and these cards do. In fact, these look nicer than the autograph cards in the flagship set because Topps was still using silver stickers on those.

Well, that’s it for this box. I’ve got my relic card and two autographs. Oh wait, what’s this?

ColonCut

It’s a Christian Colon cut autograph card. This is one of the rare situations where I don’t mind a cut signature of a living player. Topps had some of the Aflac cards sitting around that they couldn’t use so they cut out the signature and put them in a new card. That I don’t mind at all. Colon is a decent player and this is a nice card numbered to 200.

Debut

I ended up with 11 duplicates and 151 cards out of the 220 card set. For what this is currently selling for, I wouldn’t mind busting another box to work toward completing the set. I doubt the next box will be as good as this one though since I got my promised hits and the cut autograph card on top of that.

Even though I loved this box break, it’s another set where you have to bust at least two boxes to get close to a set. With how expensive many boxes are these days, that really annoys me. Most times, I’m lucky if I can bust one box of a product forget about multiple boxes. The main reason why I love busting Topps jumbo boxes is that most times you get a complete set without having to chase anything. As a set collector, card companies really make it tough to complete anything these days.

That being said, I really like this set and enjoyed the box break. The extra auto was great. I definitely think that a box of series 1 is in my future. Anything not Red Sox related is up for trade if you’re interested.

 

Other Two Boxes Coming Tomorrow

My internet connection dropped on me last night so I couldn't upload the other two box break posts. They'll show up tomorrow if everything is back to normal when I get home this evening.

Box Break: 2010-2011 Donruss Basketball

Base

I had put off purchasing a box of Donruss basketball because I thought the price was too high and that Panini overvalued the jersey cards that make up the majority of the hits in their boxes. They’ll argue with you on their blog that one sticker auto and two plain jersey cards for $75 is an amazing value.

That being said, boxes are now down to around $60 online and when I saw a box for $65 at the card show, I decided to snatch it up. What I really wanted to open was a box of Crown Royale, but there wasn’t a box to be found. Then again, it was the final day of a three day show.

I really like the base cards. You can’t beat the retro design and this will be one of the few sets that Panini released that don’t have the background Photoshopped out. All of the blank background start to look alike after a while.

DieCut

I’m not entirely sure that Panini knows how to do low end basketball sets. While the fact that the green parallel base cards don’t have a serial number makes sense, that logic will unravel as you examine the set more closely.

Another thing that I can’t believe about this set is that Panini chose to make cards of Nate Robinson and Jermaine O’Neal over Big Baby. Yes, I collect Davis’ cards, but he’s also a much better player than both of those guys. Such a questionable decision. It makes me wonder if the person putting the checklist together really knows anything about the sport.

ProductionLine

Here’s the three Production Line inserts that were in my box. These cards are numbered to 999 and have a nice big blank space for a jersey card. These cards do have team colors which earns them a few points from me, but it would have been nice if the background image were in a team color as well.

ProductionLineGreen

Here are the green parallel Production Line cards. While it makes sense for the green versions of the base cards not to have a serial number, a parallel of card numbered to 999 should also be numbered. What’s up with that? Are the green parallels actually easier to pull? I doubt it, but you can’t prove it either way. My box would support the thought that the green parallels are rarer.

WadeBlue

This was the lowest numbered card that I pulled out of the box. This is a blue parallel and it is numbered to 49. Is there a huge demand for these low numbered parallels? It seems to me to be a niche. Not all player collectors chase them, but when you get a low enough numbered card or a popular player, sometimes you can benefit from a bidding war breaking out. There’s also the artificial value that gets added to cards with significant numbers. I did very well in my Masterpieces case break by selling a Cal Ripken that was numbered 50/50. I think it went for three times the card numbered 49/50 did.

WadeBlueBack

Now how much would you pay? It' will be interesting to see what happens with a card numbered to Wade’s jersey number. I will most likely throw this up on eBay this weekend if I have the time. This weekend is jam packed with some great seats for the Sox/Yankees, Chris Hardwick stand-up and work. Most likely the card will get listed on Monday.

I was a much bigger Wade fan before he became part of the circus in Miami. I don’t think that anyone’s going to forget his idiotic 9/11 comment. The team might eventually gel once they surround the talent with some role players. I think they’d be best served trading away Chris Bosh for a point guard and another player that compliments the games of James and Wade.

Gamers

Here’s the Gamers insert set. The Lopez is numbered to 999 while the rarer (?) green parallel isn’t numbered at all. Not sure if you can tell from the scan, but the parallel is die cut around the Gamers logo. Click on the image for a larger version.

Masters

I pulled one of these Masters cards out of the box and it was of Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. Like all of the other parallels, this is numbered to 999. Panini doesn’t print odds on their packs for pulling certain cards so you don’t really know what to expect out of each box.

Jersey

Next up is a Jersey Kings card of Ben Gordon. This is a unnumbered green parallel. I actually think that the base insert cards numbered to 999 will be more desirable to collectors than the green parallels in the long term. 999 is a pretty high print run though so both the regular and green versions will probably sell for around the same amount. How’s that for value?

The die cut sleeves on this card are cool, but it is something that Panini has gone to the well once too often with. I preferred the cards that looked like actual jerseys to these.

PaulMagician

This stuff has way too many insert sets in it especially when you only get one card from most of the insert sets. Why is anyone going to chase a set when they’ve only got one card from it? This Chris Paul Magicians card is also numbered to 999.

Duos

This card also fell at a rate of 1-per-box, but this isn’t numbered. It’s probably due to the fact that this is a smaller set so they probably printed 2,000 copies of each card.

In a way I’m glad that I bought this box of Donruss basketball even though I hated almost every moment of opening it. It reminded me why I’ve grown to dislike Panini’s products so much. Panini values their numerous inserts, cheaply made parallels and bland jersey cards way too much when determining their MSRP. This is the main reason why their new policies are going to be terrible for collectors. Every Panini product is overpriced at release. Some of them even have troubles selling at half of the MSRP.

JenningsJersey

Here’s one of those bland jersey cards that I was talking about. While it is cool that this is a piece of the alternate road jersey for the Bucks, it’s not a very exciting card. I don’t enjoy these parallel jersey cards. Panini also does whatever they can to kill any potential value in these cards. There are 399 copies of this card out there and then another 399 copies of this card with the window cut in the shape of Jennings’ jersey number. So, that’s basically 798 copies of the same card. If you do happen to like the card then just head on over to eBay where you can get plenty of copies of .99¢.

CurryJersey

I just dislike looking at these jersey cards. The swatch feels like it should be lower on the card so that it’s centered top-to-bottom in the blank space left for it. Why isn’t it? I have no idea.

Normally you’d be pretty excited about puling jersey cards of Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry, but between collectors tiring of plain jersey cards and the almost 800 copies of each of these cards available. The problem is what acquiring these jerseys adds to the cost of producing a product. I think it’s time to retire tiny, little, single colored swatches. Make the swatches larger, put autographs on them or even pack our redemption cards for a nice framed piece with a large jersey swatch another type of memorabilia and the player’s auto.

HarangodyAutoTo finish things off, here’s the one autograph that you’ll find in 90% of the boxes produced. It’s a sticker auto, but that’s a little more understandable in the first set released in a season. Compare this box and its one rookie sticker autograph per box that was released for around $80 a box to Topps ‘48 Bowman and its three star sticker autographs released right around $80 a box as well. The autographs that I pulled from my box of ‘48 Bowman? O.J. Mayo, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. Bowman had one parallel set and no inserts. Which box seems like the better value?

It might seem like I’m being harsh on Panini, but it’s mostly because they stick with their flawed business models and NBA fans are stuck with only one option when it comes to licensed trading cards. I picked up this box because I really like the base cards, but I would have been much better off just buying a complete set online. If anyone wants to trade for any of these inserts, please let me know.

Donruss

The Donruss box didn’t have any duplicates and gave me 216 cards from the 300 card set. That’s too far from the complete set for my taste. Once I added some cards that I had from a rack pack and contest winnings, what I still need can be found over to the right. If you have any Donruss to trade, please let me know since I really don’t want to spend any more on putting this set together.

The base cards are the only redeeming thing from this box and sadly you don’t get enough of them. I still don’t think that you get enough value from these boxes at $60 a box. This is more along the lines of a $50 box.