Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Buyback Franken-set: Wrapping Up Brett's Package

Tonight, at long last, we finally reach the end of the large stack of buybacks that reader and friend of the blog Brett sent along a while back.  I typically ingest these in batches of ten, and Brett sent so many my way that this is the fifth buyback franken-set post that resulted from his bubble mailer alone!

Tonight's post will be an abbreviated one, as I have half a dozen remaining to preview here.  Let's get right to it!

1989 Topps #205 - Dwight Evans

Love the start here, with a nice candid dugout shot of Dewey Evans courtesy of 1989 Topps.  This is a blue foil Rediscover Topps buyback, which matches nicely with the blue painted cement backdrop there.  This card reminds me of how good a hitter Evans was even in his later years.  1989 was his age 37 season, but he still hit 20 home runs (the 11th 20-HR season of his career) and 100 RBI (for the 4th time in his career) while batting a very respectable .285.

This is also my very first #205 buyback, so I'm pleased to welcome Dwight to the franken-set binder without contest.

1984 Topps #435 - Neil Allen

Next up, Neil Allen, who really wants to keep those hands in his pockets on this 1984 Topps card.  Neil got the call from the bullpen quite frequently for the Cardinals in '84, appearing in 57 games for the team that year (just one spot start).  With that kind of frequency I guess I can see why he wanted to protect those mitts!

Unfortunately, Neil draws a rough match-up for the franken-set binder...

The great Dave Concepcion against a sea of green.  You know what has to happen here, right?

I'm pretty sure ousting that Concepcion in favor of Neil Allen here would've violated some unwritten franken-set law.

1985 Topps #764 - Jamie Easterly

Continuing with the theme of guys who frequently got the call from the 'pen, Jamie Easterly saw action in no less than 50 games for the Indians in 1985 (though he did make 7 starts).  Today's franken-set candidates certainly ate up some innings!  Once again we have some pre-existing competition for the franken-set:

A "dazed and confused" looking Tim Teufel on my favorite childhood set, 1990 Topps.

Since I'm somewhat indifferent towards each of these two, it just makes sense to slide Tim over to the dedicated 1990 Topps buyback binder and plug Easterly into the franken-set.

2006 Topps #455 - Dontrelle Willis

Love this one!  I know he didn't necessarily pan out long-term, but I remember when Dontrelle Willis was one of the hottest names in baseball for a brief time there between 2003 and 2005.  I love that this is a 2006 buyback as it lists just those first three stellar seasons as far as stats on the back.  Willis really began a downhill slide beginning in 2006 and was never able to regain the form of those first few fantastic seasons.

I was happy to find that this is my first #455 buyback, Dontrelle is a great unique addition to the project.

1989 Topps #680 - Gary Carter

Here's a nice 1989 Gary Carter.  Maybe not my best Gary Carter buyback, but a solid card nonetheless.  This one's a virtual lock for spot 680, right?  Not so fast!  I've already got a #680 buyback in the binder and it's...

...1989 Topps Gary Carter?!?!  This is the blue foil stamp version, whereas the one Brett sent is a bronze foil stamp version.

Honestly, this is really the definition of nitpicking but I'll stick with the blue foil since it matches the Mets jersey.

1999 Topps #331 - Roy Halladay

Here's the final buyback, the late Roy Halladay's 1999 Topps release.  A nice Spring Training shot here I presume, with the ball cart (?) in the background.  This one is cool too because while Roy's official rookie card came in the 1998 Topps set, that was a three-player combo card, making this issue his first solo Topps flagship card.

The first proper Topps card of one of the few pitchers in history to win a Cy Young in both the American and National Leagues has to be a lock for the franken-set I'd imagine...

Well, Doc Halladay does face some competition here, as I have this Braves rookies buyback from this year's Heritage release in slot 331.  Gil Garrido?  Tom House?

Nope, I'm going with Roy Halladay!

Brett, thanks again for this incredibly thoughtful and much appreciated lot of buybacks you sent my way.  I had a blast going through all of these and subjecting each of them to the franken-set test to see who made the cut, and you gave me about a solid month of buyback-related blogging material too!

Next up on the buyback front, I have one more post featuring a PWE of buybacks I received from a new contributor to the project.  After that maybe, just maybe, I'll have a chance to show off a few that I've picked up for this project myself!

Franken-set Progress:  592/792 (74%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  502
Total Buybacks in Collection:  1,094

Monday, April 23, 2018

Six Shiny Cards

My latest batch of a hundred cards from COMC was waiting for me in the mailbox after work.  I'm a little short on time but I plucked six of them to share tonight, since they're all from the same set.

I've written a few times now about my love for the 2014 Topps Finest baseball set.  It's my favorite Finest release since the first few in the mid-'90s, and one of the most colorful, vibrant sets to hit shelves in the time since I returned to collecting in 2007.

All of the different refractors in the set are extremely bright and loud, but my favorites might be these X-Fractors.

I mean, if you're a fan of shiny cards, how can you not like these?

Yup, just awesome.

Most of these were had for between 30 and 50 cents.  At that price I can just barely delude myself into thinking I could maybe complete this 100-card set in X-Fractor format someday.

This Tanaka RC however, easily the star of this evening's post, set me back a couple of bucks and change.  Still not a bad deal, probably my best Tanaka card now.

I need another collecting project like I need a hole in the head, yet I still find myself drawn to these when browsing around COMC.  Imagine how great this set would look in pages!  There are a couple of notable rookies on the checklist, plus your Jeters, Kershaws and Trouts of the world that always demand a pretty penny, so for now I'll just keep accumulating...

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Signature Sundays - Autos and Buybacks from Coast to Posts

Recently I was the recipient of an extremely generous little bubble mailer of cards from my friend Brad, who writes over at Coast to Posts.  Brad managed to pack an amazing punch with just a handful of cards, check it out!

A nice mid-'90s Mike Modano Panini sticker to lead things off.  Looks like Brad maybe had this one signed during one of his many TTM adventures, and I'm guessing he sent it in response to the Mike Modano "autograph" I posted a few weeks back.  Unlike mine, this one appears as though it may have actually been signed by Mike!  Great stuff indeed, but not as great as the second autograph Brad sent:

Love it!  If you've read my blog for a while you may recall that 1989-90 Topps/O-Pee-Chee was the very first hockey set I collected as a kid.  My Dad used to bring home packs for my brothers and I to rip through after work, and we'd spend hours ripping, trading, and sorting the cards into our three ring binders.

A few years ago I decided to accumulate as many 1989-90 Topps and O-Pee-Chee autos as I can get my hands on as sort of a fun way to recollect those sets for a second time.  Al MacInnis was actually the first autograph I landed as part of that project, but that was the O-Pee-Chee version.  Absolutely awesome having the Topps counterpart to match.  An extremely thoughtful card for Brad to send my way, indeed!

How about a couple of rivals from back in the day courtesy of 2014-15 Upper Deck Artifacts?  From my favorite all-time team, the Whalers, captain Ron Francis...

...and from their rivals, the Boston Bruins, fellow HOFer Cam Neely.  Nice throw-ins to round out the package for sure, I'll never turn down any Whalers cardboard, but aside from the autographs the real stars of the show were these:

In the 2010-11 Upper Deck French release, the company included foil-stamped buybacks from their inaugural '90-91 hockey release.  It should come as no surprise that as a lover of all things buyback I really adore these cards.  I'm not crazy enough to ever attempt a set because these are way more scarce than Topps' baseball buybacks, falling at just one or two per hobby box.  Even commons, like this John Druce, usually sell for at least a couple bucks on the secondary market.

Still, I accumulate them whenever I can, and Druce here makes a baker's dozen for me!  That alone would have been the icing on the cake of a great trade package, but this was only one of two buybacks that Brad sent my way!

The other is a rookie card of the great Derian Hatcher!  Derian and his brother Kevin were big, bruising defensemen (younger brother Derian stood 6'5"!), and carved out lengthy careers at the NHL level.  The brothers were actually inducted in the US Hockey HOF back in 2010.  Love this shot from the draft too, so '90s!

Brad, it was so kind of you to share these great cards with me.  Each and every one was a winner, but the autographs and buybacks especially will be treasured parts of my hockey collection going forward.  Thank you!  I started a return stack of cardboard for you this weekend and should have it en route within a few days...

Saturday, April 21, 2018

One Card Post - Yankees Skipper

What:  1983 Topps Traded #66T - Billy Martin
Where: COMC
How Much?:  $.66

Why?:  Couldn't pass up the chance to add a cardboard representation of Billy Martin's first return to the Bronx to my collection for mere pocket change.  Card #66T, and I paid 66 cents.  Weird.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Buyback Franken-set: Brett Completes Another Pair of Pages!

Time for the penultimate post to come out of the large lot of buybacks that my friend Brett sent my way recently.  Let's dive right in and not waste a moment!

2006 Topps #547 - Derek Lowe

While I'll always associate Derek Lowe with the Red Sox team that broke the curse, this is a nice bunting card from his post-Red Sox days with the Dodgers.  Derek actually had a solid year on the mound for LA in 2006, posting 16 wins against just 8 losses with a 3.63 ERA.  Can this pitcher-at-the-plate buyback make the binder?

Well, if it hopes to it will have to unseat this '86 Roger McDowell buyback.  As much as it pains me to admit this as a Red Sox fan we all know what the Mets did in '86 so...

McDowell sticks around in the binder for now.

1990 Topps #363 - Dan Petry

Sweet, I'm never going to turn down a '90 Topps buyback.  My secondary project of attempting to complete an entire 1990 Topps set in buyback format is really picking up some steam as of late.  I found a seller on eBay with a significant number of them, we're going back and forth now and if I can work this out I'll be a good chunk closer.

In this case I already had this '93 John Smiley buyback in slot 363 of the franken-set, which is perfect because...

...Dan Petry moves right into the '90 Topps binder.  Just how I'd prefer it!

1990 Topps #511 - Clay Parker

Speaking of 1990s...here's little-known pitcher Clay Parker, whose MLB career lasted just four seasons.  Like the previous card, this one has some competition for the franken-set binder:

Love this Lee Smith buyback, simply awesome.  Clay Parker has no shot against this one...

...so off to the '90 Topps binder with him as well!

1990 Topps #430 - Pete Incaviglia

Keeping it rolling with the '90s here, we have slugger Pete Incaviglia of the Rangers.  Pete recorded 24 home runs and drove in 85 in 1990, despite batting just .233.  He also struck out 146 times, which amazingly isn't even anywhere near his career high, so he seems like one of those classic "swing for the fences" guys.  What I love about this buyback is that it's my first #430 and...

...it completes a page!  Couple of all-time great managers here in Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa, and you have to love that dusty '73 Topps Gerry Moses at bottom center.  Speaking of managers...

1991 Topps #609 - Jeff Torborg

...here's a 1991 Jeff Torborg.  There are a lot of fantastic cards in the '91 Topps set, but I'm not sure this is one of them.  Torborg enjoyed a lengthy career as a manager, and had actually just won the AL Manager of the Year award the year before this card was printed up.  He was a catcher in Major League Baseball back in the '60s/'70s and is probably best remembered for catching a Sandy Koufax perfect game in September of 1965.

Best thing about this one...

...another completed page!  A couple more managers on this page, but my favorites are the Galarraga in the lower left (courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik) and the Tom Gordon posed shot right next to it.

1991 Topps #579 - Roger Craig

I guess manager cards are the unofficial theme of today's post.  I'm particularly drawn to this one due to the great shot of chiseled baseball lifer Roger Craig paying his respect during the national anthem.  This is more along the lines of what I was referring to when I said there are some great cards in the '91 flagship release.

Rich Dauer's 1983 card has been occupying slot 579 for a while now...

...but I'm ousting him in favor of that fantastic Roger Craig card.

1984 Topps #535 - Bo Diaz

Another new buyback here of the longtime catcher who shares my surname, Bo Diaz!  Being a catcher, Bo has some great cards out there that were released during the course of his career.  1984 was a rough year for Diaz, as knee injuries limited him to just 27 games played that year.  He'd end up having two surgeries in the off-season.  This one makes the franken-set as my first #535 buyback!

1988 Topps #687 - Mickey Brantley

Next up, an '88 Mickey Brantley.  1988 was the best of the four seasons in Mickey's unremarkable MLB career.  This card isn't exactly an eye-opener, however...

...I already had this 1990 Tim Birtsas in slot 687...

...which allows me to slide the Brantley into the franken-set binder and shift Birtsas into the 1990 Topps binder.  Awesome.

1989 Topps #265 - Kent Hrbek

Here's Kent Hrbek, who appears to be enjoying a cheek full of "chaw".  I'm sure if Kent got a look at this one he might wonder why Topps went with this particular photograph.  1989 saw Kent reach the 25 home run plateau for the fourth consecutive season.  As far as the franken-set goes though Hrbek has a tough draw...

...in the form of smilin' Willie Davis!

It's not going to be easy to boot Willie from the binder, and Hrbek comes up just short in this case.

1990 Topps #452 - Luis de los Santos

Last card for today, and yet another 1990!  If you're not familiar with Luis de los Santos don't be too hard on yourself.  He played just three seasons of Major League ball, appearing in just 55 total games for the Royals and Tigers.  #452 is a new number for the franken-set, so into the binder this one goes, and I'm one card closer to completion.

Four new numbers in today's batch of ten, with two of those completing new pages.  Add to that a trio of new cards joining the 1990 Topps buyback set and this batch was a definite winner!  Next up, the conclusion of Brett's stack of buybacks...

Franken-set Progress:  590/792 (73%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  498
Total Buybacks in Collection:  1,088
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