Thursday, February 28, 2019

Buyback Franken-set: Black Friday Buybacks

It's been well over two weeks since I've made any progress on my Buyback Franken-set project.  I'll have to pick up the pace if I hope to finish this project in 2019, which is probably a coin flip at this point.  Anyway, to get things moving again I've got the buybacks that I picked up on COMC during last November's Black Friday promotion.  I picked up exactly ten over the course of that weekend, which is perfect...

1969 Topps #292 - Al Downing

This one was an obvious choice.  What a fantastic, classic photograph on Al Downing's 1969 release.  I like this one so much that I broke my informal self-imposed rule of paying $1 or less for buybacks on COMC unless it's a superstar or some other very rare buyback.  Paid $1.15 for this one and don't regret it one bit!

Ron Schueler's '75 release is in slot 292 of the binder.  Al or Ron, Ron or Al?  Hmm...

Downing's in.  I checked and it looks like Night Owl already has this one in his '75 Topps buyback quest, so Schueler is off to the rejected box.

This number is part of a completed page, so here's a look at the page now with Al Downing in place.  My favorite here might be the Downing, or maybe that '76 Ted Simmons at top center.

1990 Topps #229 - David Wells

I'm constantly on the lookup for cheap pick-ups in my quest to complete 1990 Topps in buyback format.  A nice addition towards that end here with pitcher David Wells.  Any time I pick up a buyback from this set I secretly hope it loses out for the franken-set so that I can shift it to the 1990 Topps binder.

In this case I already had this loud and very '90s Frank Thomas buyback in slot 229, allowing me to do just that!

1981 Topps #582 - Gaylord Perry

Here's a fun one.  I hemmed and hawed over this '81 Topps Gaylord Perry buyback for quite some time.  It had been in and out of my cart on occasion for months, but priced just a big higher than I was willing to pay for it.  When it dipped to $1.75 during the Black Friday sale, I pounced.

I had this '76 Mike Kekich in the franken-set at #582.

Had because obviously I went with the spit-balling HOFer over Kekich.

1990 Topps #330 - Ron Darling

Yeah, another 1990 Topps buyback.  It won't be the last one you see tonight, either.  1990 was Ron Darling's final full season with the Mets, and it wasn't one of his more memorable ones.  He went 7-9 with a 4.50 ERA, the worst of his career to that date.

Darling has a number that's a multiple of ten as well, which means a tough match-up generally speaking.  Certainly the case here, as he is pitted against one of my all-time favorite buybacks in this '74 Juan Marichal.

Easy call there, the 1990 Topps buyback set gets another card.

1963 Topps #373 - Jim Campbell

I grabbed this one because I love old catcher cards, and am also a fan of franchises of the past.  Jim Campbell's two MLB seasons weren't exactly stellar, but I just love the aesthetics of this particular card.  Will that be enough to get it into the franken-set, though?

Ah man, I was really hoping so, but this Tom McCraw is one of my favorite '71 Topps cards.  This is a tough one for sure, without a real clear winner in my mind.

I'll stick with the McCraw for now, but that was pretty much a 50/50 call.

1990 Topps #22 - Bruce Ruffin

Another '90 Topps buyback, this one not quite so exciting.  Surely this one's destined for the '90 Topps set...

Looks that way!  That World's Fair shoulder patch alone is enough to best Bruce Ruffin.

1958 Topps #138 - Earl Torgeson

Couldn't resist this one on a few counts.  First, I enjoy vintage players wearing spectacles.  Secondly, 1958 Topps has been growing on me more and more in recent months.  Finally, #138 is a number I was missing from the franken-set, which means Earl gets automatic entry into the binder and I get one card closer to completion.

Best of all, he completes a new page for me as well!  A lot to like on this page, I'd have a hard time picking a favorite.

1990 Topps #320 - Dave Stieb

Next on the 1990 Topps front, David Wells' rotation-mate in Toronto, Dave Stieb.  Stieb went an impressive 18-6 in 1990, with an ERA below 3.00.  He was named an All-Star for the final time that season, finished 5th in AL Cy Young Voting, and was even named on a few MVP ballots.

320 is a new number for the project as well, and completes another page!  Given that I simply purchase buybacks that I like at random and haven't gotten to the point of checking card number needs when buying new ones yet, it's somewhat amazing that I hit on two new numbers in a row in the later stages of the project here.  A trio of '75s, a Schilling, a Pilot, and a Pumpsie Green rookie here, not bad!

1963 Topps #192 - Clay Dalrymple

Here's another one I grabbed mostly because I enjoy the photograph.  I didn't really intend to grab two catcher buybacks from '63 Topps in this same batch, but it worked out that way.  Will Clay make the binder, or meet the same fate as the Jim Campbell above?

Ouch, some big names on this "Active NL Home Run Leaders" card from 2012 Topps.

I can't see bumping those three guys for Clay.  Oh well, my rejected box certainly got a lot nicer with some of these additions.

1990 Topps #582 - Rick Honeycutt

How about another 1990 Topps buyback to close things out?  Rick Honeycutt sure answered the call to the bullpen a lot in the late '80s and early '90s for Oakland.  63 appearances in 1990.  He must have been icing up that arm constantly!

That Honeycutt buyback is the same card number as the Gaylord Perry from earlier in the post.  Didn't take Perry very long to be challenged, that's for sure.

Obviously I'm leaving Gaylord in the buyback binder, and Rick joins the 1990 Topps set.

That was fairly successful.  Two new numbers, two new completed pages, and a handful of cards closer to a 1990 buyback set.  I'll take it!

For the next Buyback Franken-set post, I've got a great batch sent to me by a fellow blogger.  Until then, thanks for stopping by!

Franken-set Progress: 644/792 (81%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 111/792 (14%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 575
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,330

Monday, February 25, 2019

Betting on Barzal

Only have time for a quick post tonight after a mentally exhausting day at the keyboard for work.  Here's one of the two cards I picked up with my $50 Amex gift card that I received for a 15th year work anniversary gift:

I watch a good deal of NHL hockey, maybe too much if you ask my wife.  While I watch every Bruins game that I can manage, I'll also put on just about any nationally televised game in the background if we're just hanging out.  I also try to catch the NHL Network's daily "On The Fly" highlight show.

One of the young players in the league that I find to be the most exciting and dynamic is center Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders.  New York wisely used their first round pick (16th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft to land the youngster from British Columbia, and he's been a solid addition to an exciting team that looks poised to make a playoff run this season.

In his first full season last year, Mathew appeared in all 82 games and racked up an impressive 85 points.  That was good enough to place within the top 15 in league scoring, and Barzal rightfully captured the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's Rookie of the Year.  This year he has again appeared in every one of New York's games, has 51 points and counting at the time of this post, and as I mentioned is a big reason why the Islanders sit atop the Metropolitan division at the moment.

Mathew has racked up 136 points already in less than two seasons, and is still just 21 years old!  I have a feeling that hockey fans will be hearing his name for many, many years to come.  I enjoy his play enough that I decided a while back to try to add a rookie card of his to my hockey collection, because I don't see them getting any cheaper as time passes if he can keep producing the way he has so far in his short career.

I settled on the Canvas parallel version of his Young Guns rookie from Upper Deck.  I've always enjoyed these parallels, and they're a bit more rare than their standard Young Guns counterparts.  I paid a whopping $27.99 for this one if you can believe that, which is quite a bit more than I'd typically shell out for a modern hockey single.  I had the gift card though, and wanted to use it on something I normally wouldn't buy myself, so here we are.

I look forward to watching Barzal's career progress over the next few seasons, for better or worse.  While I don't collect cards for their monetary value but rather for the enjoyment of it, it will nonetheless be amusing to look back at this post in a few years to see whether this has held or increased its value, or on the flip side has tanked and is worth pennies.  Either way I have no regrets, and I'm happy with this representation of Mathew in my ever-growing hockey collection!

2016-17 Upper Deck Mathew Barzal Young Guns Canvas - $27.99 (Amex Gift Card)
2019 Running Total - $34.81

Sunday, February 24, 2019

SIgnature Sundays - Seeing Double with Glen Wesley

As I alluded to earlier this week, I've got an autograph to feature that was sent to me by my buddy Marc B.  Check it out!

Aw, yeah!  Another card down in my lifelong quest to accumulate 1989-90 Topps and O-Pee-Chee autographs.

I've talked about it ad nauseam here on the blog, but I have more fond childhood memories tied to this set than any other.  These were the first cards my brothers and I collected as kids, and my Dad would bring packs home from work for us every week.  We'd spend hours sitting at the kitchen table trading doubles and rearranging the cards in our 3-ring binders.  Those were great days that I'll remember for as long as I live.

Glen Wesley specifically is an awesome autograph to get, as I certainly recall the rough, hulking defenseman being viewed with disdain in our household of Whalers fans.  Ironically, he would be traded to Hartford during their final few seasons and went on to enjoy quite a bit of success with the team in Carolina.  In fact, he excelled with the Hurricanes, winning a Stanley Cup and becoming the only player to play in each of the franchise's first ten seasons after the move south.  His number is retired by the team even.

This was a perfect inclusion by Marc in his latest trade package.  So much of a hit, in fact, that I already had an autographed copy of the O-Pee-Chee version of this card:

Here's my O-Pee-Chee, autographed in blue sharpie...

...and here's the Topps version from Marc, signed in black.

This is definitely the first card where I've ended up with signed copies of both the Topps and O-Pee-Chee versions so far.  Awesome stuff, and the cherry on top of what was a fantastic package of cards overall.  Thanks again Marc!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A Quick, Rare Whalers Card

I've been sick the past couple of days, so I'm not feeling very verbose.  Here's a quick single-card hockey post for today...

Grabbed this one a few weeks back on eBay.  These foil-stamped and hand-numbered buybacks from 2014-15 Upper Deck aren't that easy to come by at just 25 copies each.  I actually had some competing bids for this Kevin Dineen, which was surprising.  In the end the price was driven up to $4.25, which I was still comfortable with given that it may be years before I ever see a copy again.

Kevin was one of the more memorable Hartford Whalers, and was certainly a fan favorite.  I've always liked the photograph that Upper Deck used on this '90-91 card, featuring Kevin stretching at the bench.  It's interesting to me that the arena in the background appears to be empty.

Of course, the backs of Upper Deck's inaugural hockey effort are every bit as nice as the fronts, so I went ahead and scanned it as well.  Looks like Kevin is on the verge of adding to his goal tally in this shot!

So there you have it, that's about all the energy I have for blogging today.  This is my 1,462nd unique Whalers card in my collection on The Trading Card Database, good enough for 4th place at the moment...

2014-15 Upper Deck '90-91 Kevin Dineen Buyback - $4.25
2019 Running Total - $34.81

Friday, February 22, 2019

End of the Week COMC Blaster

It's Friday night, and what better way to celebrate the end of the work week than with one of my patented "COMC Blaster"s.  Let's see what $20 in credit netted this time around on the most addicting website in our hobby...

In the lead-off spot tonight is a beautiful over-sized team card of the Phillies from 1956 Topps.  Like many collectors I really enjoy '56 Topps, but I have too many other projects to make collecting this set a priority.  I do grab singles on the cheap when I run into them here and there, but this is my first team card from the release.  While the front is nice enough, this is one of those cases...

...where I feel the back of the card is the star of the show.  I love that Topps provides a list of franchise records, and I especially like the diagram that gives the dimensions of their home ballpark.  Despite a few surface wrinkles on the front, I feel I got a fair deal on this card at $1.47.

I've written a few times about how I have fond memories of attending AA Norwich Navigators games as a kid back in the mid-'90s.  Every so often I peruse COMC for Navigators cardboard for my small collection of that team, and this Nick Johnson was picked up for 40 cents as a result of one of those searches.

A Star Wars card makes it into today's post, with the Purple Starfield parallel of the first card on the checklist for the 2015 Topps "Journey to the Force Awakens" release.  I paid 54 cents for this one a couple of years back just to have at least one of these parallels in my collection.  I'm not sure I'd bother with it nowadays and would probably use the credit on something else, but at least it was cheap.

My quest to complete the 2014 Finest set in X-Fractor form continues.  Rafael Montero's RC was available for just 46 cents, so I snatched it up.  Rafael didn't pitch at all last year after a stinker of a 2017 season, but he was signed by the Rangers last month so maybe he'll see a Major League mound again someday.

The other X-Fractor that I have tonight is one of the bigger names on the checklist, the free agent that everyone has been abuzz about for months now (will you just sign already, Bryce?).  I ponied up a full $4 for this one, just because Harper's cards seem to demand decent prices and I felt I probably wouldn't find one for much cheaper than this at any point.  The best thing about it though is that it's my 33rd X-Fractor from this set, putting me at 1/3 complete as far as this project goes!

Yep, more 3-D dinosaurs from the 2015 Upper Deck release.  Dilophosaurus was made famous as the "spitter" dinosaur that killed Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park.  $1.60 for this one...

Also grabbed the Troodon, which I confess I have never heard of before.  Apparently this was one of the first dinosaurs discovered in North America and, being relatively small, was actually thought to be a lizard for the first couple of decades after its discovery.  $1.25 for this card, and we're just about at the halfway point with a current running total of $9.72.

Here's the first of two soccer cards in tonight's post, a Blue & Red Wave parallel of Liverpool and English national team striker Daniel Sturridge.  Huge game coming up this weekend for the Reds against a scorching hot Manchester United team.  I haven't been this excited for a soccer match since last summer's World Cup.  I'll certainly be tuned into all 90 minutes plus, watching with baited breath.  75 cents for this card.

For 63 cents I'm one card closer in my quest to complete a '59 Topps set.  I detest cap-less ballplayers on my baseball cards generally speaking, but the price was right.  Besides, that fantastic Mr. Redlegs logo more than offsets the lack of a hat on this one.  294 cards and counting in the '59 Topps binder now.  Someday...

Every couple of months or so I seem to search COMC for any cheap needs from the early run of Bowman releases from 1948-1955.  I think the set I've had the most good fortune with so far would have to be '54 Bowman.  I love these simple, over-sized works of art, and it's amazing the cheap prices you can find them at on occasion if you're patient enough.  Case in point, this Sal Yvars only set me back 82 cents!  Can anyone name the ballpark that Sal is depicted in here?

Here's the other soccer card in tonight's post, featuring the man who was voted the top footballer in the world in The Guardian's 2018 list of Top 100 Footballers.  That's right, for the first time in years the top player was not Messi or Ronaldo, it was Luka Modric.  Luka has been a rising star for years but had his best year so far in 2018, highlighted by Croatia's unlikely run to the World Cup Final.  Even though Croatia was topped by France in the title game, Modric deservedly received the Golden Ball award for top overall player in the tournament.

Soccer doesn't get the love that the "big four" sports do with collectors here in the States, but I still think I stole this Artist's Proof parallel from Panini Aficionado for just a dollar.

A new card for my ever-growing Nolan Ryan collection here.  This one may not have the same weight as the '71 Topps that I showed a few days back, but it's wonderfully colorful.  The Astros "tequila sunrise" uniforms and Topps Fire seem like a match made in heaven to me.  I didn't think twice about paying 72 cents for this one.

I'm always looking for opportunities to plug holes in my '70s hockey card collection.  1972-73 Topps/O-Pee-Chee is one of my favorite sets of the decade.  I enjoy the trophy cards near the end of the Topps checklist in particular, and grabbed this Art Ross Trophy in fantastic condition for 73 cents.  For those who don't follow the NHL, this is awarded annually to the player who leads the league in points.  If you're curious, Phil Esposito was the winner in '72-73.  He actually won the award five times in a six year span around this time period, which is insane.

We'll close it out tonight with a couple more shiny cards, one baseball one hockey.  On the baseball side, a 2013 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects "Silver Ice" parallel of my favorite active player, Xander Bogaerts.  This is the fourth version of this "pre-rookie" card that I've acquired to date (Bogaerts didn't debut with Boston until late in the 2013 season).  $1.61 for this one...

On the hockey side, another of my favorite parallels ever, the Blue Cubes cards from 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum.  I've shown a few of these over time, in fact Vladimir Tarasenko here is my 13th to date.  They're not always easy to come by at just 65 copies each but they look stunning in hand.  Obviously, a shiny blue parallel like this looks great for a St. Louis Blues player also.

Tarasenko has been a very consistent scorer since joining the league, and can be one of the more dynamic forwards in the NHL when he's hot.  That's certainly been the case recently as he led the charge during the team's franchise-best 11-game winning streak that has them right back in playoff contention.  I used $4 in store credit for this card, more than I'd typically shell out for a modern single, but I don't regret it one bit.

Well, that takes our running tally to $19.98 for tonight, so we'll stop there.  Pretty amazing actually that I got within one cent of the cost of a retail blaster.  I hope you saw a card or two that you liked or that interested you, and if not thanks anyway for stopping by anyway!
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