Saturday, June 17, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Gold Okajima

It's been a full week since I took a crack at the ol' buyback franken-set, so let's get to it.  Today's batch of ten happen to all be gold foil 2017 Topps "Rediscover" buybacks...

1989 Topps #791 - Jim Lindeman

Jim Lindeman was a first round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals.  He lasted 9 years in the Major Leagues, playing for a few different franchises but never eclipsing 75 games played in any single season.  At #791 this would be the penultimate card in the franken-set binder, but...

...the penultimate card from the year prior is already in the binder in slot 791.  Gotta go with the Ted Simmons.

Lindeman loses the battle of the penultimates.

1974 Topps #321 - Steve Braun

Steve Braun was a pinch-hit specialist, who would win a World Series with the Cardinals in 1982.  I think that's a batting cage in the background, though it's hard to tell for sure.  Not the world's most exciting buyback, and also pretty badly off-center top to bottom.

This extremely airbrushed Rich Hinton is blocking Braun's path to the binder.

Gonna keep the Hinton around for now, and Steve here is off to the reject box.

1989 Topps #572 - Atlee Hammaker

After consecutive conflicts, we get our first new number for the project here with Atlee Hammaker's 1989 release.  While I never knew much about Atlee as a player, he certainly has a recognizable name that I remember from my childhood days of sorting baseball cards on my bedroom floor.  Atlee did lead the National League in ERA in 1983, so that's something.

1992 Topps #726 - Kirt Manwaring

Another new number for the project here, and a nice high one to boot.  I've always felt that 1992 Topps was an under-rated set, and I like the image that Topps chose for this one.  I could certainly do a lot worse for slot 726.  Kirt won his only Gold Glove award at catcher the season after this card was released.

2015 Topps #US209 - Prince Fielder

Up next is a name any modern-era baseball fan will know, slugger Prince Fielder.  It's unfortunate that Prince had to hang up the spikes earlier than he would have liked to, but I think it's great that he finished his career with the exact same number of home runs as his father, Cecil.

Unfortunately, this card is from the 2015 Update Series set.  I'm not counting Traded/Update cards towards the project, so Prince is rejected by default.

2010 Topps #534 - Hideki Okajima

My favorite card in today's post is definitely this Hideki Okajima.  Okajima was a reliable member of Boston's bullpen corps for a few seasons, and I'll always remember his unusual delivery.  He was named an All-Star in 2007 when the Red Sox won it all.

1987 Topps #382 - Rudy Law

I actually mentioned Rudy Law's 1987 card about a month ago, and here it is.  As I noted at the time, this is actually a "sunset card", with Rudy having played his final MLB game in 1986.

There's some stiff competition for slot 382 in the franken-set binder though.  Love the warm-up jacket, and the umpire (or police officer?) in the background there.

There's no way I could choose the Law over that '72 Gibbon.

1987 Topps #361 - Mark Thurmond

Mark Thurmond began his career as a starter with the Padres, and even started a few post-season games in their run to the World Series in 1984.  By the time he reached Detroit he was largely in a bullpen role.  This is my first #361 buyback, so Mark makes the binder!

1989 Topps #537 - Pete Smith

I pulled the bronze foil version of this very same buyback from a lot a few months ago.

That one lost to this '87 Rance Mulliniks.

So obviously this one does as well.

1990 Topps #201 - Cito Gaston

Last card today is from my beloved 1990 Topps release.  This card in particular is one I definitely recall from my '90s collecting days.  I would have loved to welcome it to the binder, but...

...can I really do that over this 1977 Batting Leaders card featuring Dave Parker and the great Rod Carew?

Nope!  All good though, as I've mentioned before I do have the crazy idea in the back of my head of trying to complete an entire 1990 Topps set in buyback format someday.

Today's new numbers were enough to push the project past 55% completion.  Onward and upward!

Franken-set Progress:  438/792 (55%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  249
Total Buybacks in Collection: 687

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

One Card Post - Sticky Langway

What:  1985-86 Topps Sticker Inserts #10 - Rod Langway
Where:  COMC
How Much?:  $.70

Why?
:  I completed the 1985-86 Topps hockey set years ago, but when I was working on that project I only ended up with 9 of the 33 sticker inserts.  I decided a while back to finish those off so that I could include them with my set in the binder.  I found a seller on Sportlots with all but one of the remaining stickers I needed at the minimum price of 18 cents each.

That left one lone sticker still missing...you guessed it, Rod Langway!  70 cents later, that problem was solved.  It felt good adding all the stickers to the binder, and my '80s Topps hockey run is all the more complete now.  Gotta love the internet.

It's somewhat random that Rod was the final sticker I needed, as I just acquired a much nicer Langway card around the same time as this one.  I'll be showing that one off soon!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Topps Star Wars 40th Anniversary Hanger Box

About a week ago now I found myself in my local Target grabbing a shower gift as a favor for my wife, and decided to reward myself with a little retail cardboard.  It had been some time since I scratched the itch and busted a pack of anything.

Honestly, there just wasn't much in the baseball or hockey realms that really appealed to me, so instead I ended up with this:

With 2017 being the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars franchise, Topps and Disney have teamed up for a release that looks at many different aspects of arguably the most successful science fiction saga of all-time.

I settled on a hanger box containing 16 cards, which I think set me back $5 if I recall (though it might have been $5.99).  Let's see how it went for me...

The checklist is just 200 cards deep.  Cards 1-100 hit on a wide variety of themes and topics from the franchise's history, and all use this same border and overall design.  As someone who really loves the movies but has never gotten deep into the other aspects of the franchise like many super-fans have, I learned quite a bit from these.

For example, the first card I pulled talks about Star Wars Art: Visions; a hardcover book that was released in 2010 that features 120 unique Star Wars paintings from a wide variety of artists.  It is now on my Amazon wishlist.  While the backs of the cards don't knock my socks off design-wise, the write-ups are at least interesting in my opinion.

Here's the final card from the first half of the checklist, celebrating last year's release of Rogue One.  My wife and I saw this in the theater, and I've watched it again at home since, and I have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit.  The big thing you see written about this latest film is that it's more of a gritty-style war drama than previous films in the franchise.

I'm easy-going and don't get all bent out of shape arguing the finer points of the films like hardcore fans do, so I thought it was a great addition to the catalog.  I'm happy to see Disney expanding the series with supplemental films beyond the originally scheduled/planned 9 episodes.

Here's another example where I learned something new.  Despite having been a fan of these films since I was a young kid, I had no idea that there was a corresponding series of NPR radio programs released.

In fairness, the first installment came out before I was born, and the second one when I was just a year old.  Still, I am surprised I'd never heard of these before and I'm interested in seeking out a copy to give it a listen.

The movie I was always most fond of from the original trilogy was Return of the Jedi.  We had a recorded VHS copy that my brothers and I just about wore out.  Since we lived in a pretty remote area and spent a lot of time playing in the woods I always enjoyed the scenes from that movie that take place on the forest moon of Endor in particular, so this was a cool card to pull for me.

The first seven cards of the hanger box are all from this first half of the set.

One of the more classic moments from the first film, which started it all back in 1977.

The last of these that I pulled was the least interesting for me personally.  I draw the line at the feature films, and have never checked out the animated series on Cartoon Network.  Just haven't had the time or enthusiasm to ever get into it.

What would any Topps product be without some parallels?  There are a few colors available, with green being the most prevalent, followed by blue I think.  Only the first 100 cards are available in parallel form, since the second half of the set lacks borders.  Hard to believe it's been almost 20 years now since The Phantom Menace came out.

This one's neat, Classic Star Wars was a comic book series published by Dark Horse for over 10 years beginning in 1992.  While I'm not a comic book guy I love the artwork on the card and again, it's something I was totally unaware existed.

I got one blue parallel, and this one really took me back!  We were fortunate enough to go on family trips to Disney World outside Orlando Florida a couple of times growing up, and I remember this ride so well.  These were built out of military-grade flight simulators and took riders on a virtual adventure that felt cutting edge at the time.

This card shows the one opened at Disneyland in California, though the same ride was built in Orlando as well as in a couple of other parks around the globe.  It was ceremoniously decommissioned in 2010 and replaced with a newer version, glad I can say I rode on the original!

You get one of these promo code cards for a free pack of digital trading cards in each hanger box.  Since I prefer to be able to hold my cards in hand I doubt I'll ever use this, but maybe I'll tuck it in my wallet in case I get really bored in a waiting room someday.  This does not count as one of my 16 cards, thankfully.

The second half of the 200-card checklist is comprised of different artistic interpretations in the form of movie posters and art.  This movie poster by a comic book artist came out right around the release of the first film in 1977.

Another movie poster that I believe is from the late 1970s.  I have to say I enjoy these as well, it's fun to see how different artists interpret the films.

The next two cards were done by illustrator John Berkey.

He has a unique style, and it's easy to see the similarities between the two.  They're both cool, but if I had to pick a favorite I'd go with the second one.

By far the oddest card in my entire hanger pack.  This one was done by a Polish painter, and is certainly...different?

We've arrived at the final card in my pack, featuring a poster that was used to promote the franchise in Japan.  I love the addition of Japanese text, as well as that small Oscar statue along the lower left edge.

I have to say, this was honestly a lot more fun to rip than I expected it to be.  The movie poster cards are great, and it's interesting to see how far this franchise has expanded beyond just the films in 40 years of existence.

I could definitely see myself grabbing some more of this if it's still on the shelves next time I get a craving, and that's about the biggest compliment it could possibly get coming from me.  If any of you picked some of these up and didn't enjoy them as much as I did I'd love to trade!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

COMC Blaster - Shiny & See-Through

It's been a while now since I did one of these COMC virtual "blasters", but as a kind of reward to myself for completing a 5-mile run this morning before the heat hit, I decided to raid my re-purposed sewing needle chest where I keep my COMC backlog to pull and scan until I reached $20.  Let's get started...

This isn't the most visually appealing card in my collection, not by a long shot.  It was produced for The National Convention in 2013, and is limited to 499 copies.  I couldn't resist it at 75 cents though, given that it's a somewhat rare rookie card of one of the best pure snipers in the NHL.  Tarasenko is still just 25 years old and has registered 37, 40, and 39 goals in his last three seasons.  Dude can shoot.

If you've checked in here before then you may remember that I'm somewhat obsessed with these Bubbles Refractors from 2014 Bowman Chrome.  I paid a little more than I typically do for this one at $1.95, but Pedroia is one of the top two Red Sox second baseman of all-time.  Plus I'm also tantalizingly close to a complete Red Sox team set.

This one I don't believe requires much explanation at all.  What a simply beautiful card.  I know it's "not worth anything" (I paid $.52), but I pretty much love everything about this one.  Well done Topps!

I'm foolishly trying to accumulate as many Refractors from the first two Finest hockey releases as I can.  They're not the most plentiful parallels out there, so any time I can find one I need for less than a buck I bite.  That's exactly what happened here with Michael Nylander from the '95-96 set for $.78...

...and yes, a Refractor version of the checklist for $.89.  What can I say, when you're trying to get 'em all, you're trying to get 'em all.

John LeClair here, on the other hand, is tied for second-most-expensive-card-in-this-post at $1.55.  I didn't mind paying that, after all LeClair was one of the most dominant scorers in the league for a few years there (three straight 50-goal seasons!) during my formative hockey years.

A couple of mini cards of Xander Bogaerts are up next.  From 2015 Allen & Ginter we have the regular mini...

...and the A & G back variation as well.  Both were available for 50 cents each, a nice little push to my Bogaerts collection for just a buck total.

This one's been kicking around for a while, I think I picked it up a few years ago actually.  It's from the 2013 Topps Archives release, a Gold Rainbow Foil or something like that.  Why did I buy it at a dollar even?  Hernandez is a damn good starter, and it's somewhat limited at 199 copies, but really it was my love of 1990 Topps that did me in here.

A nice Allen & Ginter RC of the man who is currently leading the AL in doubles.  Seriously, he is.  Shocking huh?  This one was had for just 38 cents, which isn't bad at all since it's also a short-print.

Here's a nice insert from 2010-11 Donruss, Les Gardiens.  With rounded corners and printed on clear acetate it very much has the size and feel of a credit card.  I'm really digging these, I'll be on the lookout for others for sure, especially if I can find them for as little coin as I did this one (53 cents).

This card is so bizarre that, as a Fedorov fan, I just had to buy it.  It's allegedly from the "Sport Unites Hearts USSR National Team" set.  I guess based on the name and the design that they're really playing on the whole different cultures being united by sports thing.  The back is even better though:

Definitely the only card in my entire collection that features a Russian nesting doll holding a hockey stick.  Just awesome.  I grabbed this one for 85 cents but would have paid twice that or more.

I actually shelled out $1.25 for this Ryan Dempster Topps Heritage card.  Why would I do that?  Because it's the Venezuelan black back parallel:

I really just wanted one of these for my collection and wasn't picky on who it featured, so here we are.

For 51 cents I'm now one card closer in my quest to complete both of the 100-card "framed" parallel sets from the inaugural Gypsy Queen release.

Here's another acetate card, much like the Felix Potvin insert above.  I learned about these Panini 2010 World Cup cards on another blog I think, but I can't remember exactly where.  They're actually kind of tough to find cheap, so the buck fifty I paid for Luis Suarez here is actually a pretty good deal.  I loved this ear-biting Uruguayan when he played with Liverpool years ago.

The Target Throwback retro parallels from 2009 Topps are really nice, as they're printed on the older Heritage-style card stock.  I was happy to pay 80 cents for future HOFer Vlad Guerrero!

My second shiny Pedroia of this post with a Blue Refractor from 2012 Topps Chrome.  This card, which features a fantastic shot of Pedroia mid-air while turning two, is limited to 199 copies.  At $1.55 I didn't exactly get a total steal on it, but it's a fair price.

I miss team photo cards.  I was pleased to snatch up this Gold parallel from the 2007 set for 75 cents.  It actually features the 2006 team photo if you look closely, with a couple of pasted in portrait headshots of players acquired in the 2006 off-season, but whatever.  Actually, the headshots feature green backgrounds and it almost makes them look like they're score tiles for the manually operated Green Monster scoreboard in the background there.

Pinnacle Rink Collection is one of my favorite parallels of the '90s, period.  Combine that with one of the best defensemen ever to lace up skates at 66 cents, and I'm powerless.

I've gone on record a few times as saying that I love the die-cut parallels from Panini Golden Age.  For under 50 cents I welcome Eddie Cicotte, famed member of the Black Sox, to the collection.

We're getting close to $20 here, so just two more cards to go.  We'll finish off with a pair of shiny Red Sox additions.  I was astounded last year to find that someone had listed this Yoan Moncada parallel from 2016 Donruss at just $1.11.  Given that he's one of the hottest prospects in baseball I pounced on it immediately.  For the record, I don't mind the Sale trade at all.

Closing things out we have a  nice Gold Refractor of Brock Holt from the 2015 Topps Chrome Update set that you could pull in those holiday mega-boxes.  I went kinda crazy with these, completing the entire set, and now I've even chased down a few parallels like this one of the Red Sox players on the checklist.

Well, that takes us to $19.96, so I'm gonna call it a day.  Thanks for stopping by, hopefully you saw a couple of interesting cards that made it worth your while.
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