Sunday, June 30, 2019

Couple of Old Hanks

Just a quick post tonight with a couple of old Hank Aaron cards that I never got around to posting when I originally acquired...

First up, the 1971 NL RBI Leaders card from the 1972 Topps set.  Joe Torre paced the league in RBI in 1971, and thanks to his induction into Cooperstown as a manager we've got a trio of HOFers gracing this card.  Almost 20 years into his career, and Hammerin' Hank was still raking the ball as well as anyone in the league at this stage.

I landed this one all the way back in April of 2008.  I grabbed it just because Hank Aaron has been a favorite of mine since childhood, and it was relatively cheap for a very clean, graded copy (under $10).  I could see myself unloading this one though in the future, as I'm considering a somewhat massive sale of some parts of my collection in the next couple of months to thin things out and raise some funds.

The other Hank Aaron I have for tonight though, I have no plans to part with!  A legendary player from a legendary set.  I'd love to pick up Hank's entire run of playing-era Topps flagship singles, or at least the entire run except his rookie, and then cross that bridge when I come to it.  I've got at least a handful of them, and this '72 is every bit as nice as any of the others.

Even if I went really crazy and thinned my collection down to about 10% of current size, I'd hang onto this one and my few other graded Aaron Topps flagship cards.  I'm glad it finally gets a moment to shine on the blog here.  I'm trying to get better about not waiting so long to show some of my better pieces.  As an example of just how bad I can be with that, I scored this card all the way back in May of 2007, months before I even typed the first few words that would become this blog!

I'm planning an entire future post about sports cards as, in some very particular circumstances, investments.  When I get around to that I could certainly use this card as an example.  I paid $70 for it back in 2007, and 12 years later based on recent eBay sales I'd have no trouble unloading it for easily twice that amount, if not more.  A better than 100% increase in twelve years isn't too shabby if you ask me.

That's all I've got for tonight, thanks for swinging by and checking out a couple of my finer Aarons!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Old Whalers Become New Whalers

My collecting always seems to wane some in the summer months, and that's been the case again this year.  Just too much to do, and to be honest it's hard to sit inside scanning baseball cards or using a laptop when it's warm and sunny outside and the ocean, parks and mountains are close by.  With that in mind let me at least sneak another quick post in before what looks like a beautiful summer weekend ahead...

Today I've got two Whalers cards of old, re-branded as buybacks in recent Upper Deck products.  The first is the legendary, scrappy, under-rated star Pat Verbeek!  I've said it many times before, but he was the epitome of the cliche "you love him when he's in your sweater, hate him if you're an opponent".

This card is from the 2014-15 Upper Deck buyback promotion, with each card being hand numbered to /25 as you can see in the scan.  A great card of a great player, and a unique and hard-to-find addition to my ever-growing Whalers collection.

Upper Deck had some great card backs, so of course I had to show it here.  Is it me or did Verbeek not only play similarly to how Brad Marchand does these days, but also look just a little bit like him as well?

Today's other buyback is my latest from the '92-93 Ultra buybacks that were included in the 2016-17 Fleer Showcase release.  These are numbered to /25 as well, though foil stamped as opposed to hand numbered.  I'm up to 15 of these puppies now, and that's just the non-autographed versions.

Here's the back of the Cassels buyback, after all Fleer Ultra was one of the few releases that could compete with Upper Deck in the realm of quality card backs at the time.

So there you have it, a pair of old-yet-new Whalers in my never-ending quest to build the world's finest collection of Whalers on cardboard.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Ten Random Cards

Hectic week here, not a lot of time to crank out blog posts.  Let's go with something quick and dirty, ten random cards that I just added to my collection.  In reality this translates to ten random cards that I bought in some cases long ago, but just got around to scanning and adding to my "officially tracked" collection now.

Starting off is a simple '57 Topps card.  Always loved this set, as I do nearly all Topps and Bowman releases from the '50s, but doubt I'll ever take a serious crack at it.  Nonetheless, I generally grab cards from the release if I find them in good condition for a buck or less.  I'll certainly grab cards of stars like Camilo Pascual here for that price!  This one came from a dollar box if memory serves, though it was long ago.

I was a big fan of Adrian Gonzalez during his brief tenure in Boston, and briefly player collected him during that time.  I'm pretty certain I snagged this silk version of his 2012 Topps flagship card (#'d /50) on eBay right around when it was first released.  I thought it was a unique addition to my collection, but if I have a gripe with it...'s that they didn't bother with any sort of back whatsoever.  I get that replicating small, detailed statistics would've been tough here so I'm not suggesting they should have attempted to replicate the actual card back on this material, but any effort at all would have been nice.  I could see myself selling this one someday, perhaps soon.

Around 16 years before Adrian Gonzalez briefly held the title of My Favorite Red Sox Player, that honor belonged for a good long while to Nomar Garciaparra.  I happily snagged this Future Stock parallel of his '95 Upper Deck Minors card from a quarter box way back when.

My love of buybacks extends beyond baseball cards.  Here's another of those buyback versions of the original Star Wars cards (foil stamp is lower right) that were included in that 40th Anniversary set Topps did a couple of years back.  I don't search for these all that actively, but nonetheless I'm up to a dozen of them now.

Sticking with the Star Wars theme for a moment, here's a rare (#'d /25) "Cloud Diffractor" of the Wampa from the 2015 Star Wars Tek release.  They sure have some strange names for the parallels in this set.  Honestly, this doesn't really fit into my collection at all.  I believe I grabbed it just because I was buying something else from the same seller, it was dirt cheap, and they offered combined shipping.

I hardly ever encounter any of these one-per-box yellow parallels from 2009-10 Champ's hockey that I need anymore.  What a frustrating project collecting this 100-card set has been.  Mike Modano here gives me 55, with 45 remaining.  I highly doubt I'll ever encounter even half of those 45 in the wild over the remainder of my collecting years.  I'll keep looking though...

Let's wrap things up with a dollar spent on four quarter box pulls.  The first two are from the '81 Fleer set, Danny Ainge's RC...

...and a colorful Billy Martin, rocking the not-often-seen white A's cap with green trim.

Probably my least favorite card of tonight's grouping, this was added to my stack simply because I've enjoyed the Fleer Provision inserts since their debut in '91.  This '94 set is particularly cool.

Lastly, a nice Donruss flagship card from Wade Boggs' prime.  I find this hard to believe, but this is the very first '85 Donruss Red Sox card in my entire collection.  Surprising for sure, but at least I picked a great player to start with I guess.

That's about all I've got time for tonight, thanks as always for stopping by!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Catching Up with Joe Shlabotnik

Lazy Sunday for me after back-to-back Dave Matthews Band concerts the past two evenings.  Seems as good a time as any to catch up on an amazing envelope that showed up a few weeks back from my longtime hobby friend Joe Shlabotnik.  As you'll soon see, Joe really out-did himself with this latest delivery.  Let's dive in...

Of course, the bulk of the delivery consisted of new Red Sox for my team collection, including this absolutely awesome Andrew Benintendi from 2019 Opening Day.  This is actually my very first card from this year's Opening Day effort, but there are a few others from this set to come later in the post.

Benintendi also provided me with my first look at 2019 Donruss.  I kind of like what they did with the design this year, but lacking a license these are pretty much for team or player collectors only for the most part.

Let's turn the clock back about 25 years here and knock off a pair of cards from the 1994 Score Rookie/Traded set.

Feels great plugging holes from somewhat random or obscure releases like this.  I'm not sure the two photos mashed together without any type of border or fading where they intersect works too well, but I appreciate them regardless.

This envelope actually contained my first base card from last year's Opening Day set as well.  A great one at that, I appreciate any new Devers card for sure.  Still just 22 years old, he's improved his numbers each year since his debut.  He's currently sporting a .309/12HR/48RBI stat line with an OPS of .864.  I've actually been grabbing a bunch of his rookie cards lately just because they're still relatively cheap and he if continues to progress at the rate he has been that may not be the case much longer.  I can cross Opening Day off my list thanks to Joe!

How about a tandem from Topps Gallery?  The artwork on this David Ortiz came out fairly well.

This Chris Sale though?  Not so much.  I guess that's the double-edged sword element of illustrated sets like Gallery.

Let's move into Topps Heritage territory for a few cards.  I'm still somewhat amazed by how Hanley Ramirez's career wound down.  Seemed like he was still hitting the ball fairly well when Boston let him go, yet next thing you know he was out of baseball.

Many of the Red Sox have photographs from in front of this same generic wall in 2018 Heritage for some reason.

A nice Boston Bashers combo card to close out this portion of the package.

Still not done with the Red Sox additions though!  Next we've got a trio from everyone's favorite line, Topps Total.  Third baseman Bill Mueller....

...the great Tim Wakefield...

...and a couple of unfamiliar names get me three cards closer to owning every Red Sox Topps Total card ever produced!

Into some oddballs next, with a trifecta from the very colorful "Baseball Immortals" release.  Love these cards, and rarely come across them for whatever reason.

Aside from the bright design that's reminiscent of 1975 Topps baseball, the set contains a lot of names that you just don't run across elsewhere in the hobby all that often.

Just my fourth card of Herb Pennock here.  His 1922 American Caramel card is a white whale of mine.  They do pop up from time to time, but you'd be shocked and amazed at what they sell for.

Would have absolutely stuck this one on my grade school folder or trapper keeper back in the day.  Nowadays it ticks my Red Sox collection up by one.

Joe tossed in a pair of the 150 Years inserts that I'm assuming he either pulled himself or possibly dug up at a show for me.  Either way, they're some of the better inserts that I've seen from Topps in recent years.  In the annals of Red Sox history you can't find many names bigger than Ted Williams...

...and David Ortiz.  Topps used some odd white outline effect on Ortiz here, and it makes it look like this is a photoshop fake if you ask me.

I loved the 2008 Upper Deck baseball release, and even completed that monster of a set.  Was missing this Hot Commodities insert though, score!

Here's another Williams insert, slightly less successful if you ask me.  I guess it's a photo I haven't seen a thousand times though at least.

A nice enough photo on this Fred Lynn, but a definite example of excess foil gone wrong.

Sticky Yaz!

I'm having trouble identifying this oddball.  Anyone know what it is?  I didn't think to measure it, but the dimensions are slightly less than a modern trading card.  I'm thinking a Baseball Card Magazine type thing, but I couldn't find it on The Trading Card Database to be certain.

Best oddball in the package has to go to this Tetley Tea Wade Boggs disc.  Simply fantastic!

I don't think this guy ever made the show, but I appreciate this relic card just because you don't see a whole lot of Lowell Spinners hits out there.  I've actually never managed to see a Lowell Spinners game, but I have seen Wilco play in their ballpark so I guess that counts for something...

One last oddball here, the Queen of Clubs Bob Zupcic.

And one last Fleer sticker as well.

I really enjoy cards featuring Wally the Green Monster.  I think I've got just about a complete run at this point, and thanks to Joe I can add the very latest available example to that small collection.

This Chris Sale from Archives is a Silver parallel and is numbered to a relatively scant /99.  A very cool card to throw in as a surprise.  Note the same wall and bushes that I commented on in the Topps Heritage cards above.

Perhaps the coolest thing to spill out of the envelope were a pair of Red Sox postcards!  I believe Joe landed these at a postcard-specific show that he attended a while back.  I'm so grateful that he was kind enough to keep an eye out for a couple of Sox postcards for me while perusing around.

This Tom Burgmeier appears to be from a late '70s team-issued set possibly?  A nice black-and-white close-up shot.

The other postcard I received is in glorious color.  Check out that fantastic Don Baylor!  These are really cool collectibles, I'm going to have to get some different Ultra Pro sheets to start storing these in my binders.

There were a few hockey cards sprinkled into the package as well, like this awesome Glenn Resch Topps sticker.  This is one of the best looks at the short-lived Colorado Rockies in my entire hockey collection.  Love it.

Here's a nice reprint of Gerry Cheevers' Topps RC.  I don't have an original, it's one of the many big cards from the '60s I hope to eventually track down one day.  Until that day comes this is a great placeholder.

Acetate is an automatic win, you can't go wrong sending me a see-through card.

Finally, as if all of that (and the buybacks I showed previously) weren't enough, Joe knocked a trio of cards off of my '59 Topps want list!  Rocky Nelson...

...Whitey Lockman...

...and Jack Meyer are already crossed off my list, and tucked snugly into their appropriate slots in my '59 Topps binder.  This is a slow-burn of a set build for me, just been picking away at it for years.  It has really added up though over time, as these three take me to 304 cards in my set now.  Well past the halfway point, but I have a lot of the big cards left to go so I've still got years before I close in on this set.

Joe, thanks so much for this amazing delivery!  Sorry it took me so long to properly thank you with a post.  The sheer number of cards that needed to be scanned and sorted is my only excuse, but it's a poor one.  This package was a ton of fun, and I'll be sure to reciprocate soon.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday everyone!
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