Thursday, March 23, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Jack the Ripper & The Green Monster

I haven't been to a card show or my local shop in many, many months.  Combine that with the fact that I've curbed and nearly eliminated my retail spending, and the result is that eBay and COMC have basically been my only two sources for new cards for a long time now.

Today I arrived home from work to find four packages in my mailbox, all the result of recent eBay wins.  Three bubble mailers and one PWE; I'm short on time and mentally exhausted so I grabbed and scanned just the PWE for tonight:

1992 Topps #207 - Jack Clark

When I saw this one listed a couple weeks back for a penny with free shipping it went onto my watch list immediately.  Towards the end I pounced, and my final cost was $1.32.  When you consider that it cost the seller a 49 cent stamp just to ship it to me, it's a very solid addition to my buyback collection for just pocket change.

As a Red Sox fan, this has always been one of my favorite cards from the '92 Topps set, which is really saying something as there are a ton of interesting and well-done cards in that release.  I just love the shot of the pensive slugger, staring off into the distance in what would end up being the final season of his MLB career.

Best of all, I didn't have a #207 buyback previously, so the franken-set is one card closer to completion!

Maybe tomorrow I'll post the contents of one of the bubble mailers...

Franken-set Progress:  345/792 (44%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  135
Total Buybacks in Collection:  480

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Surprise Mailing from The Commish

On Monday I found a PWE from Commishbob of The Five Tool Collector waiting in my mailbox for me after work.  When we were emailing a couple of weeks back he indicated that he had another buyback to send me for my franken-set project, but I certainly wasn't expecting an entire 9-pocket sheet of awesome cards!

For starters I received this 2016 Heritage Combo Card insert featuring a couple of guys who had pretty great seasons last year.  I don't buy a whole lot of modern cards typically, so while I'd seen this one before I always assumed it was part of the base set.  Now I see that they were actually an insert.  You learn something new every day.

There was one hockey card among the group of nine, this O-Pee-Chee Rainbow parallel of B's netminder Chad Johnson.  I love me some shiny cards, so this one is perfect.  Chad is still playing in the league too, he's with the Calgary Flames now and has made 34 starts with them so far this season, splitting time with Brian Elliott.

Bob recently completed the 1958 Topps set, which is quite an accomplishment to say the least.  He was kind enough to share what I assume are some of his duplicates with me here!

Sammy White once scored three times in a single inning for Boston, and caught Mel Parnell's 1956 no-hitter as well!

Bill Renna was just winding down his MLB career with Boston in the late '50s, playing his final two seasons (1958 & 1959) with the Red Sox.

This one is particularly cool as I can never get enough cards of the great (and somewhat strange) Jimmy Piersall.  His '58 release was one I was missing previously, thus this well-loved copy is one of my favorite cards from this PWE.

Bob also included two cards from the fantastically colorful All-Star subset in right fielder Jackie Jensen...

...and third baseman Frank Malzone.  This was the first year that Topps included a separate All-Star subset in its flagship release and the cards are just beautiful in my opinion.  In fact, I enjoy them so much that I completed the entire 21-card run in a grade of PSA 6 a few years ago.  It's great to get a couple of raw copies for my Sox binders, the only one I'm missing raw now is some guy named Ted Williams!

As promised, Bob sent along a buyback as well, though he actually surprised me again here and sent not one but a pair!

1959 Topps #392 - Whitey Herzog

Whoa.  Talk about a solid buyback to start off with.  This '59 Herzog is from the 2014 Topps release; the first year they really did the whole buyback thing (outside of the Heritage box-toppers).  Whenever I hear Herzog's name I think of him as a coach first and foremost, since those were the first cards of his that I saw as a kid.  It's great to get a buyback from his playing days, especially one from a set I like as much as '59 Topps.

I assumed this one would be a shoe-in for the franken-set when I found it in the PWE, but as it so happens I added another nice #392 buyback to the binder only yesterday:

Man.  I really love the photograph on this one, as well as the fact that it came out the same season that the A's made it three straight World Series championships.  This was a painful decision, and I actually had to remind myself that this project is supposed to be fun, not something I agonize over.

It pains me to say it but I'm going with the Dick Green, based largely on the photograph.  I'm fairly certain this might be the first HOFer I've rejected to date, but I'm sure it won't be the last.  I really do love all buybacks though, and even my ever-growing box of franken-set rejects is one of the most prized parts of my collection.

Besides, Bob had better luck with the other buyback he sent along:

1985 Topps #675 - Tony Perez

Sweet!  From the 2017 Topps buyback program comes my very first buyback of 7x All-Star, World Series champ, and HOFer Tony Perez!  What an awesome buyback to receive completely by surprise.  A great action photograph and a nice, large Reds logo make for a very visually-appealing card.

Like with the Herzog buyback, there's some existing competition here for the binder:

This buyback, featuring a "less than flattering" photo of Tim McCarver, was part of a contest winnings package from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown.

I hope Gavin won't be offended, but I have to go with the Perez over Tim here.

Bob, what a spectacular surprise this package was, you certainly know how to brighten up a Monday!  Two HOFer buybacks and some '50s Red Sox, it truly does not get much better than that.  Thank you!

Franken-set Progress:  344/792 (43%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  135
Total Buybacks in Collection:  479

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: '74s & a Pilot

Ten more buybacks to look at today from the large lot I won a while back.  All of today's save one are from the 1974 Topps set.  Let's see how they fare...

1974 Topps #12 - Dave May

Dave May was coming off the best season of his career here.  He hit .303 in 1973, with 25 home runs, 93 RBI, and the most total bases of any player in the league.  I love the way Topps framed the bat barrel shot here, and it almost looks like Dave just "popped up" the buyback stamp in the upper right.

Unfortunately I've already got this great 1967 Strikeout Leaders buyback in slot 12 of the binder.

There was no question as to how that contest was going to end.

1974 Topps #140 - Darrell Evans

Next up is the man Bill James dubbed "the most underrated player in baseball history".  Evans always struggled with his batting average, but could draw walks with the best of 'em, and possessed good power as well.  He hit 20 or more home runs in 10 different seasons, and most impressively led the league with 40 round-trippers in 1985 at age 38!

Unfortunately for Darrell, this Bret Saberhagen buyback beat him into the binder when it showed up recently in a PWE from Joe Shlabotnik.  A tough call for sure...

...but I'm going with the 2x Cy Young winner.

1974 Topps #392 - Dick Green

Next we've got an awesome horizontal photo of Dick Green turning two!  It's not just the photograph that makes this one a nice card however, as Green and the A's would win their third straight World Series championship in 1974.  Dick won the Babe Ruth Award that post-season as well, and retired after the A's released him in the off-season.  Talk about going out on top!  With no current competition for slot 392 I'm pleased to say that this one makes the binder.

1974 Topps #442 - Alan Foster

Here's another one that makes the cut without contest, featuring right-handed pitcher Alan Foster of the Cardinals.  The dugout backdrop here is unique, I'm amused by just how little protection there was between the field and the guys on the bench in those days.

1974 Topps #568 - Jack Brohamer

The Indians drafted Jack Brohamer in 1967, but he wouldn't make his MLB debut until a few years later.  He actually got a hit in his first at-bat against the Red Sox, the team he would later finish out his career with between 1978 and 1980.

Despite being a relatively high-numbered card, Brohamer isn't safe as I've already got this '77 Steve Renko in slot 568.

I'm going with Renko and that baby blue Cubs uni.

1974 Topps #571 - Rich Hand

A lot of nice higher numbers in this batch, actually.  Rich Hand, whose MLB career actually concluded at the end of 1973, is in at #571.  I love the busy background on this card.

1974 Topps #508 - Montreal Expos

The Expos were a middling team in 1974, finishing 4th in the NL East with a record of 79-82 (they must have had a rain-out that was never replayed), 8 1/2 games behind the division leading Pirates.  The most notable player on the roster was probably rookie catcher and future HOFer Gary Carter, who was called up in September after putting up great numbers in AAA for most of the season.  In order for this one to make the franken-set it will have to surpass this card:

Holy airbrushing batman!

Pagan is out, and the Expos are in.

1974 Topps #368 - Manny Mota

Manny Mota played for a few different franchises in the 1960s before catching on with the Dodgers in 1969.  He'd play for Los Angeles through 1980, and then coached with the franchise all the way until 2013, one of the longest coaching stints anyone has enjoyed with a single team to date.  Manny was coming off his lone All-Star season in 1973 here, and as my first #368 buyback he makes the binder.

1974 Topps #439 - Norm Miller

Next up, outfielder Norm Miller of the Braves.  '74 was the final season of Norm's mediocre career, as a nagging back injury forced him from the game at age 28.  At least he bothered to smile for the camera.  This is not my first #439 buyback... this '75 Ed Brinkman is already sitting snugly in the binder.

Generally speaking, '75s trump '74s for me, and besides the background on the Brinkman card is far more interesting.

1970 Topps #323 - Wayne Comer

Here's the last card of the day; I tend to do these in batches of ten but had only nine '74s, so Wayne Comer is the odd man out.  I'm always excited to land a new Pilots buyback, I have precious few of them and I'm a huge fan of the short-lived franchise.

Wayne Comer won a World Series with the Tigers in 1968 (including a pinch-hit in game 5!) after being called up earlier in the year as a spare outfielder when Al Kaline fractured his arm.  He caught on full-time with the Pilots in 1969, and actually led the team in runs scored that year.  While all of that is interesting enough, I'm more intrigued by the large, grassy hill behind Wayne in the photo here.

This '78 Jim Fregosi was slid into slot 323 only recently...

...and his time in the binder was short-lived for sure.

That's a wrap for today, just a couple more posts and I'll be crossing the 500 total buybacks threshold here!

Franken-set Progress:  344/792 (43%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  133
Total Buybacks in Collection:  477

Monday, March 20, 2017

Shiny Sox from Mark Kaz

A week or two ago I found a surprise PWE from my good buddy Mark Kaz waiting in my mailbox for me after work.  I'm grateful that, despite the fact that Mark is no longer blogging, we can continue our back and forth mailings of Red Sox and Mets.  Let's check out the grouping of 9 new Boston cards that Mark sent my way...

Shiny seemed to be the theme with this particular envelope, starting with this Diamond Anniversary parallel from 2011 Lineage.  Fine by me!  I'll always remember this particular release as being totally botched by Topps.  There was a lot of hype prior to the set coming out but man, those card backs were just atrocious.

Here's an awesome one from 15 years prior to that, a nice Upper Deck SPx Mo Vaughn.  Holograms were huge in the '90s, and I'm positive that had I owned a copy of this one as a kid it would have gotten the top-loader treatment!

Brandon Jacobs was once ranked within the top 50 prospects in all of baseball, but as is so often the case he never made the big show.  A nice, bright Purple Refractor regardless!

Mark indicated that he had grabbed most of these from the latest card show he'd attended.  One of the vendors there must have had a good selection of 2016 Donruss, because I received the only Red Sox card from The Rookies insert set...

...and the only Red Sox card from The Prospects insert set as well.  The lack of logos do bring these down a notch, but I really like what Panini has done with the Donruss brand the past few years.  The 2017 release in particular looks awesome, if they were officially licensed I probably would have grabbed a box or two already.

Here's an awesome card if you're a fan of obscure players like I am.  Juan Pena's entire MLB career consists of two starts that he made for Boston during the 1999 season.  Despite going 2-0 with a minuscule 0.69 ERA, he would never pitch in the Majors again.  Seems unfair to say the least.  This might be my favorite card in this PWE based on the obscurity factor alone.

Then again, this one is right up there as well.  I really liked Boomer during his short stint with the Red Sox, and this refractor from 2005 Topps Chrome is now my best card of his from his time in Boston.  Awesome stuff Mark!

Here's an odd insert from one of the many yearly Bowman sets that links Jacoby Ellsbury (23rd overall pick in the 2005 draft) with James Ramsey (23rd overall pick in the 2012 draft).  With five years now passed since this insert was issued I think we can say who the better pick was with certainty!

Final card for today features Andy Abad and his 'professor specs', courtesy of 1999 Bowman.  I believe this is an International parallel, though I'm not really sure what significance that has other than the card having a lot more foil than its base counterpart.  Either way, nice goggles.

Thanks as always for the great assortment of cards Mark, I'll be sure to get some Mets routed your way by the end of the week!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Sunday COMC Blaster

Had a little free time to do some scanning this morning, and it's been a while since I did one of these COMC "virtual blasters".  So, I hit up my card chest where I store my backlog of to-be-processed cards from past COMC orders and grabbed and scanned at random until I reached the $20 mark.  Let's take a look at some of my pick-ups...

2015 Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor - Mookie Betts - $2.20

I read an article the other day that was strongly hinting that Mookie Betts might be the best player in baseball, ranking him ahead of Mike Trout.  I think the author of that one needs to slow it down and give it a few years here, but at the same time I'm beyond excited as a Red Sox fan to see what kind of season Mookie will put together in 2017.  This Atomic Refractor satisfied my appetite for shiny, and I guess I did okay negotiating the price as well, as the cheapest example listed on the site today is going for more than $4.

2009-10 Upper Deck Champ's Yellow Parallel - Jonathan Toews - $2.50

If you check in here even semi-regularly then you've probably seen me post some of these parallels before.  $2.50 is more than I'd like to pay for one, but as I near the halfway point with the 100-card set it's getting harder and harder to track down the ones I need.  Besides, Toews and Kane cards tend to demand a premium, and now I have them both.

2015 Allen & Ginter 10th Anniversary Buyback - Curt Schilling - $1.19

I've become somewhat obsessed with Topps buybacks in recent years, but my love of the buyback is not confined to the ones offered in Topps flagship and Heritage each year.  I've also got a few of these A & G 10th Anniversary buybacks in my collection, and in a moment of weakness I paid just over a buck for this Schilling.

2007 Goudey - Vladimir Guerrero - $.85

2007 Goudey was the set that got me back into collecting, ten years ago now.  I bought a ton of blasters of this stuff, and completed the entire 200-card set in both red and green backs.  The 88 short prints have been a different story, though I'm really getting close to the end now.  Finding one I needed for under a dollar was completely unexpected, and awesome.  Even if I have to overpay for the last few I'm determined to knock this set off this year.

1994-95 Pinnacle Rink Collection - Alexandre Daigle - $.61

These days Alexandre Daigle is remembered as a giant bust, but I was right in the middle of my childhood phase of collecting when he was a hot prospect pre-bust, and I remember the hype.  With Rink Collection being among my favorite parallels of the '90s I was certainly grabbing this one at 61 cents.

2013 Panini Golden Age Tip Top Bread - Red Grange - $.63

I recently discovered these Tip Top Bread inserts from 2013 Panini Golden Age and fell in love with them.  I am a fan of the simple design, bold colors, and the fact that they're die-cut in the shape of a bread tag.  These have a nice, vintage feel to them.  Since I'm not a football guy this is my first card of the infamous Red Grange as well.  Love that helmet!

2014 Allen & Ginter - Xander Bogaerts - $.65

Xander Bogaerts is my favorite current player, has been for a few years running now.  I've done a good job chasing down some of his higher end parallels and even a few autos, but inexplicably had not tracked down his basic Allen & Ginter rookie card until now.  Problem solved for 65 cents.

2015-16 Upper Deck SP Authentic All-Time Moments - Wayne Gretzky - $.49

The SP Authentic "Moments" subsets of the past few years have provided some of my favorite photographs on hockey cards, and this Gretzky is just further proof of that.  Less than 50 cents for this one?  Yes please!

2015 Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor (#'d /250) - Blake Swihart - $1.30

I'm a sucker for a serial-numbered parallel, and I picked this one up right around the time that Swihart was first getting regular playing time with Boston.  Not exactly my favorite card of today's post, but I guess I could have done worse with a dollar and 30 cents.

2013 Panini Boxing Day - Gordie Howe - $.65

I don't think this one needs much explanation.  Happy to add any cardboard featuring the great Gordie Howe from his stint with the Whalers.  I think these were some type of hobby shop giveaway promo up in Canada for Boxing Day.

2014 Bowman Chrome Shimmer Refractor (#'d /15) - Bartolo Colon - $2.35

I can never get enough of Bartolo Colon, he's one of my favorite figures in all of sports.  Guys that play at the top level well into their 40s are impressive, and the fact that he's made it this long with his "physique" makes Bartolo in particular even more fascinating to me.  Numbered to just 15 copies, this is probably the star of the small collection of his card that I've assembled over time.

1999 Team Best Player of the Year - Alfonso Soriano - $.44

I'm always on the lookout for new cards featuring the Norwich Navigators, the short-lived AA team that played their home games just 30 minutes from where I grew up in Connecticut.  At 44 cents this might be one of the cheaper finds I've ever had for this mini collection.

1987-88 O-Pee-Chee - Mike Bullard - $.75

I picked this one up for a future Stat Kings post.  Bullard had a hell of a season in 1987-88, lighting the lamp 48 times.  His goal totals dropped significantly after this season, and he finished his career overseas.  More on this one in the future...

2016 Panini Diamond Kings - Ted Williams (Photo Variation) - $1.38

I thought Panini did a great job with Diamond Kings last year given their limitations.  Had they been able to show proper logos and uniforms this would have been one of my favorite sets of the year.  As it stands I'd like to at least complete the Red Sox team set, and this photo variation is one of the more difficult cards I'd need to do so.

1995-96 Topps Finest Refractor - Doug Gilmour - $1.25

I really enjoy the two years of Finest hockey refractors from the mid-'90s.  These '95-96s fell at just two per box in what was a high-end product at the time, so they're not all that common even nowadays.  Scoring a HOFer that I needed for a buck twenty-five felt pretty good. 

2014 Bowman Chrome Bubbles Refractor (#'d /99) - Jacoby Ellsbury - $.80

I've shown a few of these Bowman Chrome Bubbles Refractors over the years, and I'll pick up just about any star I can find for less than a dollar.  I know I like a design quite a bit when I find myself shelling out cash for a modern day New York Yankee.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Legends Die-Cut - Nolan Ryan - $.83

I've been casually collecting Nolan Ryan cards for just about the entire length of time that I've been into sports cards.  1990 Topps was the first baseball set that I opened packs of, and the 5 card subset tribute to Ryan that kicked off that set got me hooked.  I still search COMC for cheap Nolan Ryans from time to time, and 85 cents seemed like a great deal for this die-cut insert from Stadium Club.

2013-14 Panini Prizm Initial Impressions Prizm - Dougie Hamilton - $.85

I was a big Dougie Hamilton guy during his brief tenure with the Bruins, and I was among those fans who were disheartened to see him dealt to Calgary.  This rookie year insert is a Prizm parallel (basically Panini's equivalent of the refractor), so it's extra shiny.  A nice minor addition to my Bruins collection on the cheap.

2013 Gypsy Queen Framed White - Jim Abbott - $.36

Jim Abbott is easily one of the most inspiring athletes ever to step onto a baseball diamond, and I love that I can often find his cards for super affordable prices.  I recently landed a great buyback of his for my franken-set project, but that will have to wait for another day.  For now, this framed Gypsy Queen parallel was a nice add for mere pocket change.

Well, these 19 cards bring my total to $20.08, so I'll stop there for today.  I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the results of my COMC window shopping, thanks for reading!
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