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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

One Card Post - Buyback Dino

What:  2016-17 Fleer Showcase '92-93 Fleer Ultra Buyback Dino Ciccarelli (#'d /25)
Where: eBay
How Much?:  $2.50 (plus shipping)

Why?:  Because it's been one of those brutal work weeks where all I have the time (and the energy) for is a quick one-card post.  Still absolutely loving these Ultra buybacks from Fleer Showcase, and listing a HOFer from one of my favorite teams from my youth with an opening bid of $2.50 is a good way to get my attention.

Fleer sure knew how to design an attractive card back.

This is the ninth one of these buybacks that I've shown off here on the blog, and I still have a few more to come!

Monday, April 16, 2018

1950 Bowman - Post #8 - Earl Johnson

Last year I officially announced my intent to (slowly) collect the 1950 Bowman baseball set.  These under-sized gems are some of my favorite vintage baseball cards, period.  I finished 2017 with half a dozen of them in hand and profiled on the blog, but have added just one card to that total so far this year.  Seems as good a time as any to look at card #8 in my quest!

Today's subject is pitcher Earl Johnson of the Boston Red Sox!  Earl debuted with the Sox in the summer of 1940 at just 21 years of age.  After the 1941 season he, like so many others of his era, put his Major League Baseball career on hold to support US military efforts in WWII.

Johnson's military career was even more impressive than the one he carved out on the diamond.  Serving in the army's 120th Infantry Regiment, Earl faced hostile fire in combat and was awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star in addition to being commissioned as a lieutenant.

When the conflict subsided the southpaw returned to Major League Baseball for the 1946 season.  He'd stick around for five more seasons with Boston before closing out his professional baseball career with the Tigers in 1951.

Here's a look at the back.  When his playing career wound down Earl served as a scout in the Red Sox organization for many years, making this card even cooler in the eyes of this Red Sox fan.

At this pace it's going to take me many years to complete this set, but I don't mind.  I'm really enjoying the ride as I go, and landing a new Red Sox card like this makes today's feature doubly satisfying!

Thanks for taking a few minutes of your day to stop by, I'll be featuring some more awesome cardboard from this release as the year rolls on!

Set Progress:  8 of 252 (3% Complete)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Buyback Franken-set: Brett Keeps Chipping Away

Let's return to the buyback franken-set after a few days away, shall we?  Another batch of ten today from the recent bubble mailer of buybacks I got from reader Brett.  Last time out Brett added three new numbers to the project, and strengthened up the dedicated 1990 Topps buyback binder some as well.  How will today's batch fare in comparison?  Let's find out!

1990 Topps #182 - Mookie Wilson

Gotta love a 1990 buyback in the pole position.  Mookie Wilson has always been a memorable card from this set for me, due to his classic pose on the dugout steps.  Will this one take up residence in the franken-set binder, or the '90 Topps one?

Well, Lee Lacy occupies slot 182 of the franken-set binder, so...

...easy enough to shuffle Wilson over to the '90 Topps set.

1988 Topps #533 - John Farrell

Nice, here we have former Red Sox manager John Farrell on his '88 release!  John, in just his mid-20s here, would make 30 starts for Cleveland in 1988, going 14-10.  Although 533 seems like a relatively safe, obscure number, Farrell actually gets pitted against a very solid buyback already in the binder in this slot:

Ah, the classic '75 Rudy Meoli card.  I know how this one's going to go.

Meoli survives another challenger!

1987 Topps #470 - Dave Dravecky

Here's lefty Dave Dravecky of the San Diego Padres.  Dave was a bright spot on a mediocre-at-best Padres team during most of the '80s, but was actually dealt away to the Giants midway through the '87 season.  His "multiple of ten" card number though is good enough to get him into the binder uncontested as my first #470 buyback!

1990 Topps #524 - Daryl Boston

Yet another 1990 Topps buyback from Brett, he really hooked me up good.  Boston was dealt to the Mets just a handful of games into the 1990 season, and went on to post a career-high 45 RBI with New York that year.  I wish I could've bolstered my 1990 Topps buyback set with this one, but as it stands it's my first #524 buyback so into the franken-set binder it goes...

1984 Topps #199 - Willie Hernandez

Next up, Willie Hernandez, who looks like he was plucked right out of the '70s and plopped onto this 1984 card with that mustache and 'fro.  Despite being depicted with the Phillies here, Hernandez actually spent the '84 season with the Tigers after being dealt there in March.  You know what's really awesome about this buyback though?  The fact that Willie won the Cy Young and MVP awards in 1984!  I bet at least one person who reads this post will be surprised by that.

I especially love buybacks that feature major award winners from the year in which they won the award, so I fully expect this Willie Hernandez (my first #199 buyback) to retain its spot in the binder for a long while to come!

2006 Topps #UH107 - Kevin Jarvis

As a lover of obscure cardboard this one's another gem.  Kevin Jarvis pitched for ten teams in his 12-year MLB career.  The last 4 appearances of that career (3 starts and one bullpen call) came with Boston in 2006, and now I have that 4-game stint immortalized in buyback form!

Being an "Updates & Highlights" card, this one's not eligible for the franken-set, but will be a cherished part of my Red Sox collection going forward.

1990 Topps #84 - Ray Searage

You thought we were done with 1990 Topps for today, didn't you?  Not quite, as we have Dodgers hurler Ray Searage...

 ...who faces Vince Colbert for a spot in the franken-set...

 ...and thus moves into the 1990 buyback binder...

1990 Topps #725 - Terry Pendleton

...and third baseman Terry Pendleton as well.  Terry missed a good deal of time with injury in 1990, so it wasn't his most impressive campaign...

...and besides I already have this Mario Soto holding down slot 725 in the franken-set.

So, another case where the '90 Topps buyback set binder gets a boost!

1978 Topps #711 - Cardell Camper/Dennis Lamp/Craig Mitchell/Roy Thomas

Don't have many of these multi-player RCs from 1978 Topps in buyback form, so this card is a nice change of pace.  Makes the binder by default too in the absence of any competition for spot 711.  Another nice card for fans of the obscure; Cardell Camper appeared in 3 career games, Craig Mitchell just 5.  Roy Thomas, and Dennis Lamp especially, had longer careers, but all four of them now call the franken-set binder home.

1989 Topps #750 - Bret Saberhagen

Last card for today, and it's another new number (and a "multiple of ten" number at that!) with star pitcher Bret Saberhagen on his 1989 Topps release.  An absolutely fantastic buyback to close out the post with, as 1989 was arguably Bret's finest season.  He led the league in innings pitched (262.1), ERA (2.16), wins (23), complete games (12), WHIP, strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a few other categories en route to his second American League Cy Young Award.  Yup, it's gonna be tough to bounce Saberhagen here with those kind of numbers backing this card.

What an amazing grouping today.  Five new numbers for the project, three new cards for the 1990 Topps buyback set, and a pair of Cy Young winners, both from the actual year in which they won the award.  Simply awesome!  The best part is that I have more buybacks from Brett yet to come!

Franken-set Progress:  586/792 (73%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  492
Total Buybacks in Collection:  1,078
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