Friday, October 18, 2019

Cards from Canada

This past weekend's Signature Sundays post was brought to you by my longtime hobby buddy Douglas, who blogs at Sportscards from the Dollar Store.  As I indicated in that post though, the pair of autographs I featured there were far from the only cards I received in my latest mailer from Canada.

Let's take a look at some of the other highlights, shall we?

There was a decent little stack of Boston Bruins cards to be found in the package.  While I've adopted the B's as my favorite team after the departure of my beloved Hartford Whalers, and watch every game faithfully, I've scaled back my collecting of Bruins cards some in my overall collection purge that's been ongoing over the past year or so.

With that being said though, I picked out my top five keepers here to show in this post, starting with this fantastic Bobby Orr from one of my favorite sets of the 2000s.  I'll certainly be hanging onto this one, as I do with any and all cards I don't already have from this attractive release.  I'm actually pretty astounded that I didn't have a copy of this Orr already, but indeed I did not!

Packaged alongside the Orr was the great Cam Neely from the same set, also a need.

I don't get a lot of modern hockey cards these days, but I'll never turn down a new David Krejci.  I certainly won't turn down a new David Krejci with a photo as compelling as this one!  He was my favorite player in the league for many years, and I even player-collected him somewhat seriously for a year or two.  Most of those cards are gone now, sold and converted into cards that better fit my collecting tastes these days, but this is a good one.

The most exciting young player on the team now is David Pastrnak, who is still just 23 and has already amassed 8 goals this season, just 7 games in.  I'll be hanging onto this SP Authentic single for sure.

Last card on the Bruins front, my first card depicting Rick Nash's 11-game, career-capping stint with the Bruins back in 2017-18.  I wasn't even sure anyone had produced a card of Rick in B's garb, so I was pretty happy to find this one included in the mailer.

Next up, the beast of a set known as 2013-14 Score.  The base set contained 650 cards, but then Panini released another 100 rookie/update cards in their Rookie Anthology release later that year.

Douglas has a penchant for busting cases of Rookie Anthology, in fact I suspect it might be his favorite hockey product of all-time to open.

As a result, he has provided a steady supply of cards to help me complete the high-number portion of the set over the years.

In this package he knocked another 7 needs off my shrinking list as far as those final 100 cards go.  Also, remember David Clarkson?!?!

Vincent Lecavalier was the lone horizontal card in this bunch.

With these in hand I'm missing just 2 cards from the 650-card base set (though I may have them laying around here somewhere, things are a bit cluttered at the moment), 5 of the update cards, and 4 of the update rookie cards.  At that point I could finally put this one to bed, which would feel pretty amazing.

I'd like to say I'll just head over to COMC and bang out the missing cards now, but they don't crop up as often as you'd think, at least not at reasonable prices.  I must not be the only one working on this set years after its initial release.

The final card on the hockey card front as far as this mailer goes is this striking Brendan Shanahan from 2018-19 Chronology.  This is actually a base card, but being a high-end set it's numbered to /222.  This came from the same group break as the great Ray Ferraro autograph I showed last Sunday.  This is the only Whaler on the checklist, instant team set!

As if the two autographs from Sunday and all those great hockey cards weren't enough, Douglas also included some other Red Sox cards in the mailer...

My very first card of any sort from 2019 Donruss Optic, a Mookie Betts Highlights.  As unlicensed Donruss goes this isn't too bad an image, I have to say.

Next up, a couple more cards of Red Sox prospect and subject of last Sunday's autograph post, Nick Decker.  From 2018 Panini Elite Extra Edition we have his base card (#'d /999)...

...and this crazy loud die-cut card!  Two serial-numbered cards and an autograph, now I really have to keep tabs on how this guy does (hopefully) progressing through the minors!

Douglas also hit me up with a nice trio of Sox from 2019 Heritage High Numbers; pitchers Nathan Eovaldi...

...Matt Barnes...

 ...and Ryan Brasier.  Enough bullpen arms there to get you from the 6th or 7th through the end of the game!

One straggler need towards my 2019 Topps Big League team set, which is getting there.

This one is really cool; a die-cut W.A.R. insert from Panini's 2019 Revival of the formerly Donruss 'Leather & Lumber' set.  I really like the design here, and in fact I think I recall possibly commenting on this exact card, or one very similar, on Douglas' blog a ways back.  Awesome stuff.

We'll close it out with the remaining 'hit' of the mailer, a Michael Chavis Dual Silhouettes Red relic, serial-numbered to /49.  Michael's future is somewhat of a mystery, at least to me.  Appearing in under 100 games for Boston in his first season this past year, he put up some good power numbers.  The stats seemed to come more in the earlier portion of the season though, before injury caused him to miss some time.  I'm very curious to see how he fits into the plans for the team for the 2020 season.

Well, we've at last reached the end of another great package of cards from Canada.  Thank you so much Douglas for this amazing and thoughtful array.  I know I'm certainly in your debt at this point as far as cardboard goes, and I'll try to find something to return fire with soon here.

To everyone else, thanks as always for stopping by.  Visit again tomorrow if you're curious to see my haul from last Monday's card show!

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Today's card is an example of an eBay purchase gone wrong, but then made right.  Let me set the stage...

For a couple of months now I'd been watching a particular T206 card on eBay.  Priced around $40 with free shipping, it was just a bit more than I was comfortable paying for the card, but I kept it on my watch list regardless.  Well, a week or two ago the seller sent a private offer to anyone watching the card for $33, shipping still free.  I pounced on the opportunity and scooped up the card!

Fast forward to last week, I was on vacation in Washington DC with my wife when I received a message from the seller.  He'd inadvertently sent my card to another buyer, and another buyer's T206 to me.

While slightly annoying to me given that I sell on eBay now too and go out of my way to avoid these kind of mix-ups, I'm not an unreasonable person and I understand mistakes happen.  The seller initially offered me a full refund if I returned the card, or a $5 Paypal payment if I was willing to keep the mistaken card.  I probably would have accepted the latter, but since I wanted the card I'd actually paid for I asked kindly if there was any way to have us both return the incorrect cards so that they could be re-routed to their correct recipients.

To my surprise, the seller indicated that while he isn't able to arrange an exchange, he felt bad about the mix-up and to make up for it he was going to issue me a full refund and allow me to keep the incorrect card!  This was beyond gracious, and more than took away any of the sting of missing out on the card I'd initially gone after.

Here's the one I ended up with in the end...

While not in quite as good a shape as the one I was originally pursuing, this is one beautiful piece of cardboard!  I love the solid blue White Sox uniform contrasted against the bright green grass and that stunning sunset.

As you can see, this particular card is a Piedmont back, which is the most common back among my small grouping of T206 cards at this point.

Lou Fiene was a pitcher known for his spitball, but his Major League career was brief.  He appeared in a total of 26 games, all for the White Sox, between 1906 and 1909.

This is my first non-Red Sox T206 card, and certainly the first T206 I've ever received for free!  A huge thank you to the seller for being a stand-up guy, and more than making up for his mistake.

In other hobby news, I finally made it to a card show this past Monday for the first time in years!  Check in this weekend to see some of my haul.  Until then, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Fivers - Harry Simpson

Fivers is an aptly named series of ongoing posts, each of which will feature a single card that cost me $5 (give or take).  Today's entry came in just a bit under $5 actually, $4.65 to be precise...

Harry Simpson is the latest addition to my small grouping of 1952 Topps cards, which has quietly grown to over two dozen now.  I was pumped to scoop this up during a sale by a particular seller on COMC towards the end of July.  Love the bright, blue sky background.  Harry Simpson may not have been an MVP, but he sure got some nice looking baseball cards!

A nice reference to the Pacific Coast League on the card back.

A couple light scratches that you can see across Harry's face, and that soft lower left corner kept this affordable.  Exactly how I like my cards from this iconic set, beat up enough to be affordable but still visually appealing.  I'll take it!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Signature Sundays - My Favorite Teams

A few weeks ago I received yet another amazing package of cards completely out of the blue from my longtime hobby friend Douglas of Sportscards from the Dollar Store.  It's been years of packages going back and forth between us now, though I fear more cards have crossed the US/Canada border in my direction than in his.  I hope to return fire soon here!

In the meantime, this latest package was a real whopper!  Stuffed full of both baseball and hockey, it contained around two dozen keepers for my various collections.  Today though, as I get a break from my football posts due to the Patriots' Thursday night game this week, I'm going to highlight just two of them in my first "Signature Sundays" post in quite some time...

On the baseball side, I found this fantastically bright autograph of prospect Nick Decker for my Red Sox collection in the package.  This is from the 2018 Panini Elite Extra Edition set, and actually represents my first card of any sort from that release.  The blue design on the background really shines, every bit as much in person as it appears to here in the scan.  Looks like this is the base version, but there are many different parallels with varying backgrounds and print runs (because of course there are!).

I have to admit I wasn't all that familiar with Nick when I first laid eyes on this card.  Still just 20 years old, he got in around 50 games at A-ball last year and fared okay.  Red Sox prospecting sites indicate that he's known more for his bat than his fielding, and projects to be a corner outfielder most likely.

I didn't plan it this way, in fact I didn't even know this until looking it up just now, but he's committed to Maryland for school.  This is interesting and coincidental given that I just got back last night from an 8-day vacation to Maryland/DC with my wife.

It'll be fun to keep an eye on Nick's career path now that I have this awesome, on-card autograph representing him in my baseball collection.  If he becomes something this will be a great card to have, but even if he doesn't it's still a nice, flashy hit for my Sox collection.

And now for the other autograph Douglas included this time around...

Bam!  If you've read this blog over the years then you probably know that on the hockey side of collecting I prize one thing above all others.  That one thing would be Hartford Whalers cards.  I don't do a good job of keeping up with any new ones that come out, because frankly there just aren't that many.  Douglas has single-handedly kept me up to date on the modern Whalers cards front over the years though.  He's sent me more than any other collector by far, and more than I've probably even purchased myself!

Well, he out-did himself this time around after landing a spot in a group break of 2018-19 Upper Deck Chronology that included the Whalers.  This bold, on-card autograph of fan favorite Ray Ferraro looks even better in hand than it does here, I assure you.  Upper Deck's choice to go with holographic foil for the border design elements really gives these a classy feel.  This is the lone Whalers card in the "Franchise History Autos" portion of this set.

This is probably the single greatest Whalers card I've added to my collection this entire year.  Thank you so, so much Douglas!!!

If you enjoyed these two, check back later this week to see the rest of the great cards that came with this pair.  Until then...

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Old-Time Baseball - Mike Goodfellow

I've picked up a few of the beautiful, handmade Polar Night cards from Helmar Brewing since discovering them a couple of months back, but just haven't found the time to post about them, which is a shame.  I'll try to start rectifying that here with my second card from the set, Mike Goodfellow of the Cleveland Blues!  

I won't repeat everything I said about the design of these custom art cards in my first post, suffice it to say they're over-sized beauties that contain original artwork.  I love the painting of a glove-less Mike Goodfellow preparing to make the catch here.  Not exactly proper 21st century form, but I'll take it.

Pretty sure this is my first Cleveland Blues card of any sort, so it's got that going for it as well!

Here's a look at the back, which is standard across all Polar Night cards from Helmar Brewing...

That's it for tonight.  This is the final auto-pilot post for the blog, as I've actually been down in DC with my wife for the past week enjoying a vacation.  I'll be back tomorrow with live content.  In the meantime, thanks as always for stopping by my little corner of the internet!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Buyback Franken-set: Heritage Trio

Can't believe it's been over a month since I made any progress on my Buyback Franken-set project.  Let's remedy that today with a trio of Topps Heritage box-topper buybacks, courtesy of COMC...

1969 Topps #384 - Larry Shepard

Grabbed this one because it was less than a buck, and features that fantastic palm tree background.  Larry Shepard's time at the helm in Pittsburgh lasted just two seasons, but at least he got a nice looking baseball card out of it.  Best of all, this is my first #384 buyback, so into the franken-set binder it goes!

1967 Topps #371 - Jim Lonborg

Here's one I'm particularly fond of as a Red Sox fan.  1967 was the famed "Impossible Dream" season for Boston, and Jim Lonborg was a big part of that team.  Certainly the most important pitcher on the staff that season, the best of his career.  He won 22 games and a Cy Young award.  The buyback from that famed season has to make the franken-set, right?

Not so fast, says Sal Bando (also featuring palm trees).  This is a nice buyback as well, and I love the Athletics uniforms of this era, but... can't hold a candle to that Lonborg.  Not as far as this Red Sox fan is concerned anyway...

1969 Topps #364 - Tommie Agee

Final card for today is Tommie Agee's 1969 release.  Like the Lonborg above, this one's significant in that 1969 was one hell of a season for the Mets!  The blotched out helmet logo really annoys me, but the interesting (if a bit fuzzy) background action more than makes up for it.  A fine buyback indeed!

Agee comes up against a buzz-saw as far as this project goes though, as slot 364 is currently occupied by Claude Raymond's infamous unzipped fly!  One of the more comical and notable cards from the '67 release.

I may regret this choice down the line, and I reserve my right to change my mind at a later date, but for now I'm sticking with the adolescent humor and keeping Claude in the binder.

That's a wrap for today.  We got one of each possible outcome within this trio; a new number for the set, a card that successfully battled its way in, and another that lost out in its bid for the binder.  I'll take it!

Franken-set Progress: 653/792 (82%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 119/792 (15%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 619
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,391

Thursday, October 10, 2019

A Football Card Experiment - Game 6 - G-Men

In an attempt to increase the size of my very small football card collection, I'm picking up and featuring one new card for each of the Patriots' 16 regular season games this year.

For week 6 action, the Patriots host the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA in the Thursday night prime-time game!  Sticking with the theme of this series so far in picking up cards of the opponent each week, I've got a nifty Giants card for today...

Pretty cool, huh?  As was the case with the 1951 Bowman card I showcased for week 5, this is my very first card from 1950 Bowman football.  I've got quite a few from the similarly designed (and sized) baseball set, but never held a football one in hand until now.  While I'm much more passionate about baseball cards on the whole, I can certainly say that I love these little square beauties in football form as well!

As for the subject, this is Joe Scott, who played six seasons in the NFL (1948-1953), all with the Giants.  The running back racked up just over 1,200 yards in his career, and scored 22 touchdowns.  Based on those stats I'm thinking he was a short yardage/heavy back who frequently got the call in the red zone, or when the team needed a couple of desperate yards.  Just a guess though, so take that with a giant grain of salt.

The summary on the reverse indicates that Joe was somewhat of a prolific kickoff returner as well.  At 6'1" and 200 pounds this guy is about my same height and weight almost to a T!  Didn't know that when I picked up the card, but it's an interesting coincidence.

So, there's this week's football card entry, coming on a Thursday.  Good news there is that it frees up my upcoming Sunday to begin to revive my long forgotten Signature Sundays series here on the blog.  If you're an autographed card fan, make sure to stop by in a few days!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the football game tonight NFL fans!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Keepers! Cognac

Time for the next installment of "Keepers", a thought experiment where I theoretically whittle my entire collection down to just 2,000 cards; 1,000 baseball keepers and 1,000 other keepers.

On the baseball front it's been all about the vintage up until this point, which isn't surprising.  There are plenty of modern cards that I enjoy as well however, and today I've got a pair of them to induct into the Keepers collection...

Yes, it's everyone's favorite parallel from 2011, the Cognac Diamond Anniversary cards, also sometimes referred to as "liquor-fractors".  Even eight years later, I can still remember and completely understand the hype that existed around these, and their Platinum Diamond Anniversary brethren.  I haven't seen a parallel this attractive in a Topps flagship set in the time since!

I've got a handful of these, many of which are the retired legends short prints, but two in particular stand above all the others and merit addition to this collection.  First up, Jose Altuve's RC.  I picked this copy up back in 2016 for the unbelievably low price of $19.  Nowadays it's worth around ten times that much, not that I plan to ever part with mine (that's kind of the point of this exercise, after all).

If you think that was a fortunately timed purchase, the other card in tonight's post blows it out of the water...

A couple months before I grabbed the Altuve, just before the start of the 2016 MLB season, I snagged this Mike Trout for $189.99 with free shipping.  At the time it was one of the most expensive single cards I'd ever purchased, certainly top five.  I didn't mind ponying up given that Mike had already secured a Rookie of the Year and an MVP award before I grabbed it, and at a young age seemed poised to continue to perform at an elite level for many, many years.  I had a gut feeling that if I didn't grab one of these then, I might never get one.

Well, in the season immediately after I acquired this, Trout earned his second AL MVP award, and he has continued to be arguably the top overall player in the game since.  Still just 28 years old, he's already cemented himself as a legend of the game.  After nine seasons in Major League Baseball, his career OPS is 1.000, and his career slugging percentage is .581.  Yes, you read that right.  He's also got 200 stolen bases, and we all know he's the king of WAR.

A solid pair of additions to this project today, and I can confidently say that if circumstances forced me to condense my baseball card collection in extreme fashion these would both make the cut.  The Trout in particular has become somewhat of an iconic card already.  Maybe one of the most recognizable/important baseball cards of the 21st century so far?

That's 11 cards down in the Baseball Keepers collection altogether now, 989 to go.  You can see the virtual album here if you're interested.

I'll be back with more keepers soon, in the meantime thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Fivers - Iconic Sherm

Fivers is an aptly named series of ongoing posts, each of which will feature a single card that cost me $5 (give or take). Here's one I'm particularly proud of!

Lately, my collecting has been almost laser-focused on baseball cards from the '50s or earlier.  This beauty fits the bill, from the iconic 1952 Topps set.  So much to love here, the old-school White Sox logo, the very dated "tools of ignorance", or even that fantastic wooden grandstand backdrop.

I'm still in almost outright disbelief that I was able to snag this one during a COMC sale for just $5.85.  This card is pretty damn crisp; visually stunning, well-centered, crease free and with relatively solid corners.  Easily one of the better examples condition-wise of the more than two dozen cards I now have from this set.

1952 was Sherm's first season with Chicago, and the many-time All-Star started at backstop for well over 100 games for the White Sox that season.

So, there you have it!  Is it possible to get more fulfillment in this hobby than this for around $5?  In my humble opinion the answer is no, but everyone collects differently which is the beauty of the hobby.  In any event, for a 5-spot I couldn't be happier.

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Shane Sports Cards - Meant to Be!

A while back I placed a small order on Sportlots for a trio of cards that had been on my want list for some time. I took a chance with the purchase to some extent, given that you (in most cases) aren't able to see the actual card you're purchasing on that particular site.

When the envelope arrived however, I knew before even opening it that I'd made the right call.  Check this out!

Yep, while I didn't have any way of knowing this when I made the purchase, the Shane that runs this blog wound up being the recipient of a PWE from Shane Sports Cards!  How perfect is that?

I mentioned above that I took a small risk with this purchase, and that's because the three cards are all Atomic Refractors from the 2011 Topps Chrome release.  Collectors frequently confuse certain parallels, and more than once I've seen X-Fractors listed as Atomic Refractors, and vice versa.

In this case, I went for it sight unseen and my gamble paid off.  The seller had correctly identified and listed these, and as a result I'm three cards closer in my insane quest to complete this entire set in Atomic Refractor format.

Mike Minor (now with the Rangers) had a really solid 2019 season actually, making 32 starts for Texas and finishing the year at 14-10 with a 3.59 ERA.  He was named an All-Star and achieved 200 strikeouts on the season as well, both career firsts.  I can cross his rookie card off the list as far as this set quest goes.

Next up, CarGo.  Man these are absolutely beautiful pieces of cardboard (or whatever they're made out of)!  Topps Chrome Atomic Refractors from any year are just about my favorite shiny cards of all-time.  For the majority of the Chrome releases though these were super tough pulls, sometimes numbered as low as /10.  The reason I chose to pursue the 2011 set is because they were somewhat more plentiful at /225 copies each, but I've learned as I've gone along that this is still a real challenge.

Rounding out the small lot is Chase Utley, who was no slouch.  Bonus points for the Green Monster backdrop on this one!

A really solid trio of players there, no scrubs among them, and these three cost me just $5 total including shipping.  With these three cards in hand, scanned and bindered up, I'm now up to 192 of the 220 cards needed to complete this project, good for over 87% complete. 

Of the 28 cards that I've yet to track down, the toughest remaining names are probably Andrew McCutchen, Derek Jeter, Steven Strasburg, and far and away my biggest headache, Freddie Freeman's rookie card.  I've seen that last one go for more than $50 at least a couple of times now, and there aren't any available on eBay right now for less than $99.  Ugh!  See what I mean about this project being more challenging than you'd think?

It may take me some time to finish this up, if I ever do get there, but in the meantime this particular Shane is quite pleased with how this order from Shane Sports Cards came together. 

Thanks as always for stopping by!
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