Saturday, April 29, 2017

Night Owl Completes a Page

I received a nice surprise package last week from Greg, aka Night Owl, who was hitting me back for a couple of buybacks and some other cards I sent his way.  He managed to send me something that I don't receive all that often but appreciate for sure; Star Wars cards!

Greg must have seen me mention at some point that I'm a fan of the movie franchise and have been since I was a kid.

In this package I found ten of these cards from the 2015 Topps "Journey to The Force Awakens" set.

I purchased a few packs of this when it was released and have about half of the 110-card set already.

Amazingly, Night Owl went ten for ten in terms of new cards for my collection with the batch he sent.  I'm still reorganizing my collection after the great Zistle fall-out, but I think it's time for me to get a want list up for this one soon.

There was also one "Behind the Scenes" insert in Greg's package, which I also needed.  Score!  Okay, that was a terrible pun.

Of course there were some baseball cards included as well.  Since I've been staying strong on avoiding retail purchases, this Dustin Pedroia is actually my first base card from this year's Opening Day release.

Here's another new card, a Topps Salutes Father's Day insert of David Price, who has yet to throw a pitch this season but may be nearing action soon if you believe the headlines.

I also received a couple of Sox from the 2006 Topps flagship release.  This is a nice enough design, but I wish Topps would have laid off the foil just a bit here.

I always enjoy cards from 2006 though, since I didn't get back into collecting until 2007 these are a bit foreign to me.

The Opening Day card wasn't the only Pedroia that Greg sent my way, as I received this Gold parallel from 2012 Bowman as well.

This one made me smile, probably my favorite card of the package.  I enjoy mini cards, and the sepia parallels really work well with a vintage-inspired design like Gypsy Queen.  This one, from the 2012 release, is serial-numbered to /99 too!  A nice card of arguably the most clutch hitter in franchise history right there.

Love this '72 John Kennedy as well.  I've nearly purchased this one on COMC many times but never actually pulled the trigger.  This one has a hole punched in it, but I certainly don't mind it as a placeholder until the day comes when I can acquire another.  This is a relatively high-numbered card too, in fact it's the highest numbered Red Sox card that I have from this release.

1973 Topps #91 - Los Angeles Dodgers

The last card I received from Night Owl is a buyback, and it's very appropriate for my franken-set project.  Funny to receive a 1973 Topps Dodgers buyback from a Dodgers collector/blogger who just recently announced that he's going after the '73 Topps set.

I was happy to see this card included as I love all buybacks, but when I flipped it over and saw that it was card #91 I was thrilled.  I knew without even looking that this was the final card I needed to complete page 11 of the franken-set.


This is the second page in the franken-set binder to reach completed status.  A whole lot of '60s here with 2/3 of the cards coming from that particular decade.  I'll have to do something about the back-to-back Sonny Siebert cards at some point, but that's the fun of the franken-set, knowing that no completed page is ever set in stone.

Greg, thanks for the thoughtful package!  I'll be sure to hit you back with some more '75 buybacks soon!

Franken-set Progress:  398/792 (50%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  190
Total Buybacks in Collection: 588

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Refractors, Rookies, Parallels and Even a Football Card...Another COMC Blaster

Let's take a break from buybacks today and check out a virtual blaster that I built with $20 in credit on COMC.  I've been doing these posts for years; they're some of my favorites to put together and some of my favorites to read when I see them on other blogs.  I guess I just enjoy seeing how different collectors approach the overwhelming behemoth that is COMC.

Anyway, let's see what I ended up with this time around...

A football card?!?!  No, you have not landed on the wrong blog here.  I don't collect football cards at all, so please don't send me any.  I do enjoy the NFL though.  While I wasn't really into football at all as a kid, I became an unabashed Patriots fan in high school/college about 20 years ago now.  I've been fortunate enough to see them win an unbelievable five Super Bowl championships in my lifetime.  You can let me have it in the comments.

Back to the card, why this one?  Well, look at the upper left's a buyback!  What can I say?  The seller accepted my best offer of 63 cents, and "Sugar Bear" Hamilton became my first football buyback.

I'm pretty much all in on these Tip Top Bread inserts from Panini Golden Age at this point.  I showed one in each of my last two COMC virtual blasters, and Brooks here puts me at 3 out of 10.  I'm sure with patience I could have found a copy of this for less than the $1.16 I paid, but I just want them all!

Next, a couple of Jose Fernandez cards.  I really enjoyed him as a player, he seemed like one of those athletes that was genuinely having a good time whenever he was at the ballpark.  This Topps Tek Ice Diffractor is serial-numbered to just /75.

Grabbed this Blue Wave Refractor rookie simply because I love all of the wave refractors from Bowman Chrome.  This pair of Fernandez cards ran me $3.16 combined.

Here's a nice '85-86 O-Pee-Chee card of one of the most successful players in NHL history.  Picked this one up for 85 cents (seems like the perfect price for a card from '85) to use in a future Stat Kings post.

This Mookie Betts was one of the better bargains in today's post.  I picked it up back on September 1st, 2014 for 56 cents (goes to show you how long some COMC cards sit in my card chest before I randomly pull them for posting!).  These days Betts is one of the hottest players in the game and in the hobby, and you'd be hard pressed to find a copy of this one for less than a couple bucks.

Still working on the set that got me back into collecting, 2007 Upper Deck Goudey, after all these years.

These two short-prints inch me closer.  I will finish this one off in 2017!  $2.20 for the pair, if only I could find the remaining short prints I need for that price.

I busted a box of '92-93 Upper Deck hockey a few years ago and hand-collated a set, but I'm still chasing down the last few Gretzky Hockey Heroes inserts from the release.  Shelled out 58 cents for this one, not bad.  Love the Oilers sweater here.

There's really no room on the current Red Sox roster for Blake Swihart, but as I said above I'm a sucker for wave refractors.  79 cents I'll never see again.

I feel like every one of these COMC posts that I do ends up with at least one framed Gypsy Queen card in it.  This time around it's a fantastic shot of Mel Ott, which was a steal at 50 cents.

I will buy any 2014 Bowman Chrome Bubbles Refractor I see if the price is right.  It certainly was on these two, as I paid 60 cents for the Castro...

...and 62 cents for Josh Beckett.

Here's another nice shiny card, a '95-96 Topps Finest Refractor of Scott Niedermayer.  Scott seems to be one of those HOFers that gets very little hobby love for some reason.  I'm not entirely sure why, maybe it's the fact that he played defense.  Whatever the case, these refractors were tough pulls, and I happily forked over a buck twenty five for this one!

This card represents probably my poorest decision of this post.  I picked this one up solely because it's an image variation, and because it could be had for 75 cents.  I have nothing further to add.

A Roger Clemens Red Sox insert with fire in the background for less than 40 cents?  Sure!

Here's the latest Xander Bogaerts card to debut here on the blog.  I've talked a few times before about my love for 2014 Topps Finest, one of the more colorful sets in recent memory, and this is a "Hot Box Orange Refractor", whatever that means.  A beautiful, shiny Bogaerts rookie that I got a real steal on.  The seller at the time accepted my best offer of $1.15, these days the cheapest example on the site is north of $4.

Still plugging away at these incredibly tough one-per-box yellow parallels from 2009-10 Champ's hockey.  One HOFer closer!  I am getting close to reaching the halfway point now with this 100-card set, not too bad!

I'm frequently on the lookout for cheap Bartolo Colon pick-ups, since I find him to be one of the more fascinating present-day athletes out there.  This Gold Refractor from 2014 Bowman Chrome certainly fit that bill at an even dollar, which seemed more than reasonable for a card that's serial-numbered to /50.

Last card of the day is the most expensive card in this entire post, ringing in at a whopping $2.11!  I love, love, love the early Topps Finest refractors from the '90s.  While the '93s are considered the holy grail among collectors, I truly appreciate the '94 and '95 versions just as much.  They're not the easiest cards to come by, especially on a budget, so I didn't mind plucking down $2 and change for this Greg Harris for my Red Sox collection.

That brings us to $20.04 on the day, close enough!  Thanks for reading along as always!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Buyback Franken-set: Halfway Home!

The other day I showed off some '65 Topps buybacks I had picked up on eBay for this project, today I've got the other half of that order to get through.  Let's dive in...

1965 Topps #367 - Leon Wagner

Leon Wagner was an impressive power hitter during the early to mid '60s.  He started his career with the Giants, then the Cardinals, but had a tough time cracking the lineup with either organization.  When he was dealt to the Angels in 1961 and finally got a chance to play full-time he really began to blossom.  In 1962 he belted 37 home runs and over 100 RBI in what was his finest individual season.

After his playing days wound down, Leon struggled in life and battled some demons.  He died a homeless man living on the streets of Los Angeles in the end, but I'd rather remember him how he's depicted here, gazing up towards the sky on a sunny ball field.  As my highest numbered '65 buyback to date, Wagner makes the binder uncontested.

1965 Topps #97 - Pedro Gonzalez

I don't really know the first thing about Pedro Gonzalez, but I was drawn to this one simply because I like the photograph.  Sometimes I don't need more of a reason than that!

This '74 Bob Bailey already occupies slot 97 though, and I like the photograph on this one even better.

Sorry Pedro!

1965 Topps #310 - Johnny Callison

Next up is Johnny Callison.  He played before my time obviously, but I consider him a member of the "Hall of Very Good".  Johnny patrolled right field for the Phillies throughout the '60s.  He was named an All-Star for three seasons during his time with the Phils, and was coming off a second place NL MVP finish in 1964 when this card was issued.

Slot 310 in the binder was occupied by another well-known Phillie...

...but Callison bumps him out!

1965 Topps #70 - Bill Skowron

Next up is "Moose" Skowron, who I mostly associate with the New York Yankees, the team he began his career with.  In 14 seasons, Skowron was named an All-Star in six of them and won an impressive five World Series championships (four with the Yankees, one with the Dodgers).  This is a cool buyback in that '65 was his last really good season in the Majors (and his final time selected as an All-Star).

I had this "Father & Son" subset card of Roy Smalley/Roy Smalley Jr. in slot 70.

While I enjoy this one, and the variety that it added to the binder, five World Series rings is nothing to scoff at.

1965 Topps #86 - Les Narum

Leslie Narum, who was affectionately known as "Buster", pitched for five seasons with the Orioles and Senators.  In the era before the designated hitter, Buster was not very effective at the plate, turning in a lifetime batting average of just .059.  He did hit three round-trippers though, including one in his first ever MLB at-bat (the first Baltimore Oriole to accomplish that feat).

As a card #86, Buster has an absolutely brutal match-up for franken-set induction.

Easy decision there.

1965 Topps #232 - Steve Blass

Here's a nice early-career Steve Blass card (he didn't really catch on full-time with the Bucs until 1966).  Steve would win a career-high 18 games in 1968, but is better remembered for the two complete game wins that he authored in the 1971 World Series.  Once again, I really dig the photograph on this card.

I had this '75 Topps Diego Segui in slot 232 up until now.

Even as a Red Sox fan though, I've gotta go with the Steve Blass.  Sorry Night Owl, but this is one '75 buyback I'll be hanging onto for my Red Sox collection.

1965 Topps #314 - Sterling Slaughter

Sterling Slaughter's entire MLB career consists of just over 50 innings pitched in 1964.  I decided to add this one to my order though just because I love the name Sterling Slaughter.  Well, that and the fact that I didn't have a #314 buyback previously, so this one fills an empty slot in the binder.

1967 Topps #97 - Mike Cuellar

Like most baseball fans, when I think of Mike Cuellar I think of his dominating run of seasons as a starter with the Orioles beginning a couple of years after this card was released.  This is still a cool buyback though, as Mike won 16 games with Houston in 1967 and was named an All-Star for the first of four times in his impressive career.

For the second time today the '74 Topps Bob Bailey buyback is challenged.

This time though, Bailey is toppled.  Off to the rejected box for Bob.

1961 Topps #13 - Chuck Cottier

The last two buybacks I have for today are 2014 buybacks of '61 Topps cards.  First up is Chuck Cottier, who spent nine years as an infielder with four different franchises.  Some heavy airbrushing is evident here, as Chuck has spent the previous two seasons with the Milwaukee Braves.  The best thing about this card is that it filled an empty slot on the second page of the binder!

1961 Topps #57 - Marv Throneberry

The last buyback I have for today is actually the one that led me to this seller to begin with.  I've wanted a Marv Throneberry buyback for this project for a while, as he's one of a few Major League players that was born on the same day as me (September 2nd)!  Marv actually came up with the Yankees, but is pictured here with the KC A's, as he was part of the deal that brought Roger Maris to New York before the 1960 season.  Due to the personal connection, this is a very cool buyback to me, but if it hopes to make the binder it will have to unseat this card...

Buybacks from the '50s aren't the easiest to find or obtain...

...but I have to go with the Throneberry anyway.

I'm happy to report that today's grouping, despite containing just three new numbers, officially pushes me past the 50% completion mark for the project!  I've become somewhat obsessed with these in case you haven't noticed, and I've surprised even myself by reaching the halfway point less than a year after beginning this project.

I don't expect to finish the second half nearly as quickly as I did the first, given that the likelihood of hitting new numbers diminishes with each post, but I'm still hopeful that I can get into the 65-75% range by year's end.  Thanks for stopping by and following along on my quest to build the best collection of buybacks out there!

Franken-set Progress:  397/792 (50%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  190
Total Buybacks in Collection: 587
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