Simple concept, the $20 I would have spent on a retail blaster that would most likely have left me feeling unsatisfied instead goes into my COMC account. Let's see how far $20 goes this time...
2014 Topps Finest Xander Bogaerts X-Fractor RC - $1.63
Mookie Betts had an amazing 2016 season, but Xander Bogaerts is still my favorite player on the current Red Sox roster. I scoop up interesting cards of his anytime I can find them on the cheap. Aside from that though, I absolutely love what Topps did with the 2014 Finest set. These are some of the more loud and colorful cards in recent memory. Unfortunately only 3 Red Sox players made the relatively small checklist, but I'm glad Bogaerts was one of them. Off to a great start here.
1992 Score Factory Set Joe DiMaggio Insert - $.44
There are a variety of reasons why I might pick up any given card off of COMC. Sometimes, as with this Joe DiMaggio card, the reason is just the dirt cheap price. Well, that and the fact that despite collecting pretty heavily as a kid in the early '90s I had no recollection of these insert cards from Score. An awesome photograph of Joltin' Joe on this one.
1959 Topps Hal Griggs - $.50
I've been half-heartedly plugging away at the '59 Topps set for a while now. I am paying no attention to condition here, at least at this early phase. Instead, I basically scoop up just about any common card I don't have if I can find it for around 50 cents or slightly more. Pitcher Hal Griggs' card hit that number right on the nose.
1959 Topps Chico Fernandez - $.55
Here's an even better example of how little condition matters to me at the outset of my '59 set. You can see in the upper right that some aspiring collector went ahead and labeled this as a '59 Topps card, lest he or she should forget. Maybe when I get much further along someday I'll circle around and replace some of the worst examples, but for now this doesn't bother me in the least.
1959 Topps Gene Freese - $.48
If there's one thing I do try to pay at least some attention to with this set build it's the centering of the cards. Really poor centering bothers me more than dinged corners, or even pen marks do. This one is badly off-center, and is scratched pretty well on the surface too, but for 48 cents I got to cross another number off of my want list. All three of these were relatively high number cards too, falling in the #400 - #500 range.
2015 Bowman Platinum Silver Parallel Mike Napoli (#'d /499) - $.35
I'm a sucker for serial-numbered parallels, and this one definitely falls into the "it was just cheap" category. One of the least interesting cards in this post if I'm being honest, but I do like it a bit more after the monster 2016 season that Napoli just enjoyed with Cleveland.
2013 Topps Mini Gold Parallel Bartolo Colon (#'d /62) - $.89
Count me among the many baseball fans that get a ton of amusement out of the ageless wonder that is Bartolo Colon. I can't think of another sport where someone with the combination of Colon's age and body type could still be playing, and doing so successfully. Every so often I take a peek at his available cards on COMC and I think I got a real bargain on this one. I know the Topps Mini release isn't for everyone, but $.89 seemed like a steal for a card of a semi-star with just 62 copies in circulation. I actually have some Colon cards even rarer than this one waiting for their day on the blog...
1973-74 Topps Chuck Lefley - $1.83
In terms of the price I paid, this Chuck Lefley base card might be the least appealing card in this post. Why did I shell out $1.83 for this? Because it filled what was the last empty slot in my 1973-74 Topps set. It was worth a couple of bucks just to put this set to rest for good, especially since it's the oldest hockey card set I've completed to date!
1963 Topps Fred Hutchinson - $.40
This '63 Topps Fred Hutchinson was a no-brainer. If you can look past the rounded corners (which I certainly can) it presents pretty well. I will never tire of this particular Reds team logo either, and as a general rule I'll gladly accept any vintage manager card that I don't already own.
2014 Topps Wal-Mart Blue Parallel Will Middlebrooks - $.62
Ah, Will Middlebrooks. What could have been! This guy looked like the team's future third baseman for a while there, but his career has really gone off a cliff. Doesn't mean I'm not interested in a nice Future Stars parallel for my Sox collection though.
2009-10 Upper Deck Champ's Yellow Parallel Evgeni Malkin - $2.35
I've been chasing these one-per-hobby-box Yellow parallels from 2009-10 Champ's since the set was released. $2.35 is closer to the upper end of what I'd spend on one of these, but they are very difficult to find and Malkin has also been one of the better players in the league over the last few seasons. There are only 100 of these to track down so every one that I add feels significant.
2011 Gypsy Queen Framed Paper Parallel Red Schoendienst (#'d /999) - $.49
You know you're a proper baseball card collector/fan if you can spell Schoendienst correctly without looking it up! I've really soured on Gypsy Queen over the years, and I kind of wish Topps would give the set a rest. I gobbled up the first release back in 2011 though, with my absolute favorites being these Framed Paper parallels (or their Framed Green retail counterparts). I hope to complete the entire 100-card set of these in the future, and this great shot of Red gets me one step closer.
2013 Topps Gold Parallel Ryan Sweeney (#'d /2013) - $.57
A nice enough card, but if I had to pick one from this post to get rid of this would be it. It's not a bad card or anything, it's just not all that interesting either. Plus, I probably could have found one in a dime or quarter box at some point. It's cards like this that have me rethinking whether I want to continue accumulating every Red Sox card that I can, or instead scale back a bit and focus on select sets or players that are more interesting to me.
2010 Topps Update Legends Variation Jim Palmer - $2.00
This one, on the other hand, I love! I will never tire of the retired Legends parallels that existed in the flagship and Update sets for a few years there. I would love to acquire every one of them someday, but they aren't all that common and sometimes command a pretty penny. If I find one that I didn't have yet for just a couple of bucks or less I'm sold.
1994-95 Pinnacle Rink Collection Martin Brodeur - $1.00
If you've been reading the blog for any length of time you've probably seen me say that the Rink Collection parallels from Pinnacle are some of my favorite cards of the '90s. The chance to add one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the game to my collection for just a buck was one I couldn't pass up.
2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces Nolan Ryan - $1.10
Who doesn't love the Masterpieces sets that Upper Deck put out almost a decade ago now? I completed the entire 2007 set, but never did so with 2008 thanks to the introduction of short prints. This Nolan Ryan is one such short print. You don't see this angle on too many cards, and I love the gaudy '80s Astros jersey. A solid addition to my small Nolan Ryan collection for just a hair over a dollar.
2011 Topps Legends Variation Cognac Diamond Anniversary Parallel Larry Walker - $.80
Man is that a mouthful! In 2011 the Legends parallels got the same Diamond and Cognac Diamond treatment as the base cards did, so if you count the regular release there are actually three versions of each retired player to collect. At 80 cents I would pick these up all day long. Hell, I'd probably buy some that I already have at that price just to use as trade bait.
2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Eduardo Rodriguez Autograph - $1.95
I had really high hopes for lefty Eduardo Rodriguez coming into the 2016 season, and was psyched to land a certified autograph from Gypsy Queen for less than $2. Rodriguez had a so-so year, but did show some flashes of brilliance. Either way, this is a nice enough on-card autograph and I didn't exactly have to break the bank to obtain it.
1959 Topps Jack Urban - $.61
Just about approaching the $20 mark here, only a couple of cards to go. Despite the little stain or whatever in the lower right corner this is a card that's in decent enough shape that I'll likely never feel compelled to try to upgrade it. For 61 cents I'll take that!
1994 Topps Finest Refractor - Julio Franco - $1.45
I'm fascinated with people in any sport that play until well beyond the age of most of their competitors. There is some dispute as to his true age, but the general consensus is that Julio took his final Major League at-bat at age 48. That is just unreal to me, and makes me feel young at heart as well. When I found his '94 Finest Refractor at what I'd consider a bargain price, I jumped on it. I have no idea how rare these are compared to their infamous predecessors from the year prior, but they do seem to be relatively scant. They're also shiny as hell and look outstanding in the right light at the right angle.
Well, that brings us very close to the cost of a retail blaster at $20.01, so I'll stop there for today. Works out pretty well too, having started and ended the post with a Topps Finest baseball card. I say this every time, and sound like a broken record doing so, but there's a slim to none chance that a retail blaster would have provided me anywhere near this level of enjoyment. For this reason, COMC will continue to get the bulk of my hobby funds for the foreseeable future. Sorry Target!