Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: This Should Keep Me Busy for a While!

This large box appeared in my mailbox late last week, the result of what I consider a pretty epic eBay win.  What's inside?  Buybacks of course!  Check it out:

When this auction came up in my daily saved search email alerts I was drooling, as it's one of the largest lots of buybacks I've ever seen listed on the site to date.  The seller had a great feedback rating, and indicated that the lot contained every "Rediscover Topps" buyback that came out of ripping an astounding 12 cases of 2017 Topps Heritage!

The listed Buy-It-Now price was more than I was willing to shell out, but I just couldn't get the auction out of my mind.  I threw a low-ball offer out there that was only about 50% of the asking price.  I thought that most likely I would never hear back on it, but to my surprise the seller accepted only an hour or so later.  I think I just happened to catch this at the right time, as the auction had only been up for a few hours.  Based on what I've seen other lots go for I think the seller would have gotten much closer to his full asking price had he waited it out some.

Needless to say, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of this package last week.  I really have no idea what's inside, as there were too many buybacks to list out individually and the auction had just a single photo with only a handful of cards actually visible.  I'm somewhat fearful that I'll end up with mostly '87 Topps commons or something along those lines.  Given the sheer amount of cards this seller opened in order to acquire these though, and the fact that he seemed to rush this listing with very little information provided and an immediate acceptance of my best offer, I'm hopeful that maybe this is just someone who views these cards as junk and was trying to recoup some of the money he spent on his dozen cases.

Rather than spoil the suspense for myself, I've decided to just leave these boxed up, and to show some restraint by pulling just ten random cards at a time for analysis.  I think this lead-in has been more than lengthy enough, let's see the first ten cards...

1989 Topps #225 - Ramon Martinez

Okay, this is a good start if you ask me.  Pedro's older brother may not be a superstar per se, but he had a very good MLB career, racking up 135 wins and even tossing a no-hitter in 1995.  This '89 Topps is actually his rookie card, and I love the photograph with the colorful Dodger Stadium backdrop.  I was ready to slide this one into its slot in the binder but found this card already present there:

Not much of a contest here; a wrinkled, off-center Paul Splittorff with rounded corners.

Paul's out and Ramon is in.

2010 Topps #US272 - Brian Stokes

The next card that I grabbed from the box presented me with a dilemma.  I've never encountered a buyback from a Topps Update/Traded release until now.  For a moment I considered counting this as a normal #272 buyback, but I thought better about it and I'm not going to consider these for the franken-set at this point.  I doubt I'll ever end up with enough of them to do an "Update/Traded" franken-set either...

...so unfortunately Brian never stood a chance.  Nice to add some variety to my reject box at any rate.

1987 Topps #675 - Ed Romero

Just three cards in, and I've already plucked my first Red Sox buyback from the box.  I'm not that familiar with Ed, and unfortunately he faces a brutal match-up for the franken-set project:

This great Tony Perez that I received from Commishbob just fought its way into the binder recently, and already has to face another competitor.

Though I'm a Red Sox fan through and through, Perez easily takes this one.

1989 Topps #537 - Pete Smith

The Braves were hopeful when they acquired righty Pete Smith that he'd develop into a solid starting pitcher alongside guys like John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, but after some early flashes of brilliance he kind of leveled off.  The Braves eventually dealt him after the 1993 season, and he had short-term stops with a few different franchises before wrapping up his career in 1998.

This '87 Rance Mulliniks buyback that I received in trade earlier this year is already in slot 537...

...and I'm going with Rance over Pete for the franken-set.

1990 Topps #494 - Terry Puhl

I'm hoping to land quite a few 1990 Topps buybacks courtesy of this mega-lot, so it's nice to see one already in the first grouping of ten here.  Longtime Houston Astro Terry Puhl started with the team in 1977 and lasted through the 1990 season.  He'd play one more year with the Royals in '91 before retiring.  Terry is a member of the Canadian Baseball HOF!

I already had this '74 Ed Goodson occupying slot 494.  I have a feeling I'm going to hear it in the comments from some folks who were kid collectors in the '70s for this but...

...I'm a kid collector of the late '80s/early '90s and it's my franken-set, so I'm going with the Puhl!

1971 Topps #132 - Jose Laboy

I was pleased to find slot 132 vacant, because this '71 Jose Laboy is just an awesome card.  I always appreciate a nice Expos buyback, and there's something about the foggy/dreamy look of the landscape here that I think is kind of neat.  Laboy's story is interesting as well, as he spent most of his career mired in the minor leagues before the '69 expansion draft gave him new hope with the Expos as a 29-year-old rookie.  Happy to have this one in the binder.

1989 Topps #283 - Andy Allanson

Andy Allanson was a catcher known more for his defensive abilities than for his bat.  He stuck around with the Indians, who drafted him, for a few seasons before winding down his career with short stints with the Tigers, Brewers, Giants and Angels.  Not a fantastic card by any means, but I do like that he's pictured donning the "tools of ignorance".  Besides, I was lacking a #283 buyback previously so Andy has a place in the binder, at least for now.

1987 Topps #157 - Danny Darwin

Danny Darwin was an average pitcher, finishing his career with just about a .500 win/loss percentage and an ERA just under 4.00.  He did lead the entire NL in ERA in 1990, something I was unaware of until typing up this post.  I associate him most with his stint in Boston between 1991 and 1994.

Unfortunately for Danny, he's matched up against the most amusing-to-a-juvenile name in the franken-set thus far (at least until I acquire a Rusty Kuntz buyback):

Yup, it's LaCock in a landslide.

1990 Topps #739 - Dale Sveum

Nice, a second '90 Topps buyback featuring Dale Sveum of the Brewers.  This is a Blue Foil version, which I think are somewhat rarer, though I don't really care about that sort of thing as this project goes.  Dale was on the Red Sox coaching staff when they broke the curse and captured a World Series title back in 2004.  The best part about this one is that it's an extremely high number at 739.  So much so, in fact, that Dale currently has an entire page to himself in the binder!

1989 Topps #343 - Gary Sheffield

The last buyback for today is definitely my favorite of the group; a nice 1989 Topps Future Star Gary Sheffield  rookie card!  This post started off with a nice '89 Topps rookie and ends with an even better one.  Without checking, I'd venture a guess that this is the only card of the slugging outfielder that depicts him wearing braces.

This is the sort of card I'd expect someone to pluck from a lot and list individually if they were inclined to do so, so it gives me hope that I'll find some other stars (and maybe even some HOFers) within this large lot after all.

This wrinkled card of a cap-less Joe Christopher was already in slot 343...

...but even as a Red Sox fan I can't in good faith choose this card over the Sheff RC.

That was a fun and encouraging start for sure.  Part of the reason I picked up this lot is that I'm hopeful it might put me on the precipice of finishing this project, but in the future I'm going to have to do better than the 3/10 I achieved here as far as new cards numbers go.  Either way, I'm confident that it will provide a ton of enjoyment for me.

You'll obviously be seeing many more buybacks from this box in future posts, but for now thanks for reading as always...

Franken-set Progress:  358/792 (45%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  152
Total Buybacks in Collection: 510


Unknown said...

Awesome find Shane!!! How many completed pages do you have?

shoeboxlegends said...

Thanks Shane!

Unbelievably, despite nearing the 50% mark on the franken-set overall, I've completed just a single page so far. I actually have a gallery I've set up for completed pages, there's a link right underneath my blog header. With just one page complete it's not much to look at yet so I haven't really publicized it so far, but I expect it to start looking better soon here! I'll also be showing each page as I complete it within the post itself...

Mark Hoyle said...

Can't wait to see what comes mes out of that box

Marc said...

Wow! That sure looks like an amazing lot. Best of luck of finding some sweet buybacks. You're showing some great restraint in not just tearing through to see what you have.

Brett Alan said...

Wow...exciting to see the possibility of so much more progress!

Yeah, I'm old enough that I would have kept Goodson, and probably Splittorff too. But I can see why you wouldn't. FWIW, I would vote to include the Update card. Why make it harder than it has to be? It's an impressive enough undertaking as it is....

Anonymous said...

Daaaaaaaaaaamn! That's the proverbial crap-ton of buybacks! I can throw one more in the pile, because I pulled a buyback out of a pack I bought today... but obviously that one can wait a little while.

Have fun!

Nick said...

Wow! You must've been like a kid on Christmas when that thing showed up on your doorstep.

shoeboxlegends said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Brett, you have a point there, however I neglected to mention in the post that I already have a better #272 buyback so that Update card would have lost out regardless. We'll see if it comes up again down the road here!

The Angels In Order said...

That's insane. And please note that your response above was posted at 4:44 the very reason I collect baseball cards numbered 444. Insane as well.

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