Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Basketball Project? Card Show Pick-ups

Last April, I started on a vintage basketball card project.  The basic idea was that an old-school basketball set would be more interesting to me than whatever Topps and Upper Deck were (and are) churning out in the baseball and hockey realms.  I decided to tackle the 1971-72 Topps basketball set, but only got as far as posting my first two cards before I lost focus.

Well, I did actually make some progress on this project at the Columbus Day card show I attended last year.  This will probably end up being the last show I attend in quite some time, as I only made it up there every couple of years even before the word pandemic was added to our daily vocabulary.

Anyway, that day I found a seller with seven cards from the release in really great shape, and I took them all home for a combined price of $8.  Let's see the new additions that I hauled in for just a hair over a dollar per...

Largely a role player at center who was happy to let his teammates rack up the scoring, Tom Boerwinkle played his entire decade-plus NBA career with the Chicago Bulls.  Once snagged an astounding 37 rebounds in a game against the Phoenix Suns!

Cazzie Russell was actually the first overall pick in the 1966 draft, taken by the New York Knicks.  He'd help them win a championship in 1970 before being dealt to the Warriors the following year.

Next up, Don Smith of the Seattle Super Sonics, showing proper form for making or receiving a pass?  Later changed his name to Zaid Abdul-Aziz after converting to Islam in 1976.

Lamar Green's NBA career was relatively short, but his 1971-72 Topps card seems awfully prevalent.  I'm not sure if this one was double-printed or what, but any time I search out cards from this set his always seems to be one of the cheapest and most readily-available.

All the piercing green on this card almost makes it appear as though Bobby Lewis has green eyes as well.  This would have been a great one to post a while back on St. Patrick's Day!

Lucious "Luke" Jackson was a member of the NBA's All-Rookie Team in 1964-65, and also won a Gold Medal with the United States basketball team at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.  His strange facial expression makes me snicker, possibly my favorite card in this small grouping.

Closing it out, we've got Don May of the Atlanta Hawks, sporting enough orange to make even our current president pale by comparison.  Don actually won a championship with the Knicks in 1970, as a teammate of Cazzie Russell, who was featured above.

So, that wraps up the haul from my last card show, and gets me up to 9 cards total in my lone vintage basketball quest.  It'll be some time before I make much more headway here given the circumstances, but I'm patient and this was going to be a long-term project anyway.

Thanks for stopping by, and I'll be back with something more in my standard wheelhouse for my next post!

1971-72 Topps Basketball Progress - 9 / 233 (3%)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Rainy Sunday Random Baseball Cards

No baseball on the horizon, but plenty of baseball cards still to get through in my long-term organization of my collection.  Taking a break from buying pretty much any new cardboard is giving me plenty of time to appreciate my backlog that's been built up over the years. 

Let's take a look at 16 random cards that I recently processed and added to my digital catalog on The Trading Card Database...

Is there a more insane die-cut set in existence than 1996 Topps Laser?  The '90s were a time of excess in baseball cards, and this release was a premium example of that.  This Hideo Nomo is actually a holdout from my childhood collection, recently salvaged and added to my present collection proper.  Just awesome.

Another mid-'90s set that I adored as a pre-teen was 1995's UC3 release.  These lenticular cards were like the Kellogg's releases of the '70s and '80s on steroids.  They don't scan so well sometimes...

...but in hand they're awesome, in a gaudy sort of way.

HOFers Puckett, Larry Walker, and Greg Maddux were plucked from a quarter box a long while back.

To make it an even dollar spent on UC3, I also snagged this Carlos Delgado RC from the set, which scanned much cleaner due to the vertical orientation I believe.  What a crazy card.

I picked up a lone pack of 2018 Topps Big League a couple of summers ago.  At the time I didn't really realize what a big deal Ronald Acuna Jr. RCs were, but when I stumbled upon this recently while purging out some cardboard I realized this is a $5+ card on COMC these days.  Gonna hang onto it for now given that it's my lone rookie of the Braves star so far.

I think this one may have come from a re-pack.  Held onto it for the sole reason that I love Julio Franco cards.  I don't necessarily search them out that fervently, but I hang onto any new ones that I do come across.

Next up, some keepers from a few '88 Topps rack packs I ripped open.  Always loved this classic Bo Jackson, the color scheme is fantastic.

I picked up a box of rack packs from this set years back and only recently decided that I wanted it gone to make room.  Most of the cards I pulled got packaged in my next flat rate box for Billy at Cardboard History, but the few in this post I kept for my own collection.

Crime Dog!

Barry Bonds doesn't bother me much these days, in fact I find I actually enjoy picking up some of his Pirates era cards in particular.

Another notch in my belt as far as my casual attempt to collect all of the flagship Ripken cards of the '80s from the various brands (Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Score, Upper Deck).  Not one of my favorite cards of Cal's from the decade, but a necessary step on that quest.

Robin Yount's card is another example of when the '88 flagship design shines, in my humble opinion.

Yeah, I held onto quite a few HOFers from the last few packs I ripped.  When I picked up the box years ago I initially thought I'd hand collate a set.  These days I'd rather not keep hundreds of these around the house, and prefer a small sampling of stars, favorite players, and Red Sox cards instead.

Final two cards came from the same quarter box as the UC3 cards above, they're from the Starflics subset found in the 1994 "Sportflics 2000" release.  I love these for the same reason I love the UC3 cards, that very dated 3D effect.  Couldn't pass up two childhood favorites in Cal Ripken Jr...

...and Ken Griffey Jr., for twenty-five cents each.  Awesome, cheap additions to those player collections for sure.

I'm going to get back to organizing, scanning and cataloging on this rainy Sunday, so we'll call it there for now.  Hope you enjoyed this brief look back at decades past, and thanks as always for stopping by!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Buyback Franken-set: Another Quick Dose of 1990

I've got a fever (I don't really, don't worry), and the only cure is more 1990 Topps buybacks...

1990 Topps #132 - Lance Blankenship

6-year Oakland Athletic Lance Blankenship starts us off, showing the batting grip that netted him an astounding 9 career home runs.  Not much to say about this one, though I do recall the card from collecting this set as a kid.  As with all five buybacks in this evening's post, Lance faces existing competition for the franken-set binder...

It's a rough draw in Lance's case too, as he squares off against this absolutely awesome '71.

No contest.

1990 Topps #93 - Shawn Hillegas

Journeyman Shawn Hillegas is next, who saw starts and bullpen work for five different teams across a 7-year MLB career.  The card is about as bland as 1990 Topps gets, even the photograph is blurry and out of focus a bit.

This 1997 Derek Bell buyback is already in slot 93 of the binder.  I have precious few buybacks from the 1997 release, so this one is staying in for variety's sake alone (though it would have won on merit anyway).

Off to the 1990 Topps buyback binder with Shawn.

1990 Topps #436 - Mel Hall

Mel Hall may not have had an amazing season in 1990, but he sure got a nice looking card from Topps.  I love the shot of Hall majestically watching the trajectory of a ball he just launched deep.  My 7-year-old self at the time thought Mel was one of the best sluggers in the league based solely on this piece of cardboard.

Unfortunately it stands no chance for franken-set induction, as this great 1960 Marv Throneberry (who shared my birthday!) blocks its path.

Down goes Hall.

1990 Topps #254 - Francisco Cabrera

A severe amount of airbrushing greets us on Francisco Cabrera's card.  That was probably a Toronto Blue Jays hat, the team that Francisco started the 1989 campaign with, before the artist worked their "magic".  Not much to say about this one either.  I'll be honest, there are some duds in tonight's post for sure.

Have this Gold Glove Award card of Luis Castillo currently in slot 254.  It's a more interesting card, plus I have very few Florida Marlins buybacks at all...

...so, the challenger is defeated in this case.

1990 Topps #184 - Danny Cox

Last buyback for this evening, Cards' hurler Danny Cox.  Danny actually spent the entirety of the 1989 and 1990 seasons in the minor leagues.  Sort of interesting that Topps chose him for the flagship set in '90 based on that.

This colorful John Boozer Topps Heritage buyback from 1965 Topps is blocking Danny's path to franken-set inclusion...

...and it's another easy choice to shift Cox over to the 1990 binder.

Not the most exciting grouping of five cards there, but my 1990 project got a decent jolt nonetheless.  I'm approaching 1,500 total buybacks profiled for this project now, and will make sure to feature a special one when I do finally achieve that milestone.

Thanks as always for stopping by, I hope you're all healthy and staying inside as much as you're able to.  Until next time!

Franken-set Progress: 667/792 (84%)
1990 Topps Buyback Set: 132/792 (16%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 682
Total Buybacks in Collection: 1,481

Thursday, March 26, 2020

COMC Blaster - Quarantine Edition

The whole COVID-19 situation certainly has put a bit of a damper on collecting.  With no live sports to watch, and many folks paranoid enough about getting the illness to avoid trips to a big box store unless absolutely necessary, it's certainly a challenging time for some collectors.

Thankfully, I've spent the past few years acquiring more awesome cardboard than I've had time to possibly write about.  Now that I've got more time, and no new cardboard really coming in at all, it's the perfect opportunity to take advantage of this backlog I've built up and let some fantastic cardboard get featured here at long last.

As a first step down that road, let's raid my card chest and put together a 'COMC Blaster' post.  If you've visited this blog with any frequency over the years you're already aware, but in case you haven't the rules of the game are simple; take a look at a great batch of random cards acquired on COMC that, combined, cost less than the $19.99 that a blaster retails for nowadays.

And we're off!

First up, a basketball card?!?!  I still don't collect basketball by any means, but I find a couple of the early '70s sets fascinating.  On top of that I'm an admitted sucker for "tall boy" sized cards.  Seems an especially appropriate way to feature 6'7" John Trapp here!  I don't know the first thing about the guy, but I know I love the card (my 4th from this set), and could not resist adding it to my collection for a mere 75 cents.

Fantastic cartoon on the back as well.  If I had infinite time (check, for now!) and money (damn!) this is a set I'd consider putting together for sure.  As it stands I'm happy with my four singles.

Not so much these days, but there was a period a few years ago when I was somewhat obsessed with these Bubbles Refractors from 2014 Bowman Chrome.  I've got over two dozen of them now, not bad for a parallel that's serial-numbered to /99 copies each.  There are 220 in the set though, and I don't waste any of my credit on cards like this one anymore.  Oh well, was only 50 cents at least.

I somewhat collect soccer cards.  I don't have terribly many, and I don't want terribly many either, but I do like to pluck cards of players that I enjoyed watching as a fan of the Premier League for nearly a decade now.  Two guys I recall fondly here, on a card that's shiny as hell and super colorful, for 78 cents.  Sold.

This one was purchased strictly for an upcoming 'Stat Kings' post on the 1994 baseball season.  It's not a card I'd otherwise have in my collection, and I may well purge it after I get that post completed.  45 cents.

Sort of a somber one up next, as Yordano Ventura passed away due to injuries sustained in a car accident in the Dominican Republic at just 25 years of age.  In the three seasons prior to his untimely death, he'd become a key component of the Royals' pitching staff and looked to have a promising career ahead.  At some point I could see myself purging or trading this one away, but I'm a sucker for 'Wave' refractors of any type, and the price was right at just 50 cents.

This one actually came from my most recent COMC order, and possibly my last for some time, right before the pandemic hit.  The "short prints" from last year's Allen & Ginter set are insanely cheap on the site, so I've grabbed up any Red Sox I've come across.  How cheap?  Well, this Dustin Pedroia was available for 35 cents.

I'm one of the many collectors who really enjoyed the holiday release from Topps last year.  I didn't scoop any up off retail shelves myself since I'm trying to thin down my collection, but I have plucked a couple of Red Sox off of COMC.  Paid 70 cents for this Bogaerts.  Could have acquired it cheaper had I waited, but these lose a little of their luster once the weather turns warmer.

I'm really excited to watch Rafael Devers grow as a player, if and when the 2020 MLB season gets underway.  He's really the only Red Sox player not named Bogaerts who I search out cards of by name.  I love Topps Chrome Sepia Refractors, and there's not a chance I was leaving this behind at 67 cents for another collector to scoop up.

Alright, now we're entering a run of slightly more expensive cards, with eight of the next ten cards costing more than a dollar (though none of them more than two dollars).

This right here is probably my favorite card of the entire post.  '90s Topps Finest Refractors are my jam, and wow do the Whalers in particular look amazing in the '94-95 hockey release.  At $1.38, this is the first of two relatively rare Whalers additions in today's blaster.

I'm a sucker for a good colored-border parallel.  On top of that I think 2015 Topps is a better flagship baseball release for them than any set that has come since.  For $1.50, I thought this black Wade Miley (#'d /64) was a nice, relatively rare addition to my ever-growing Red Sox collection.

On the hockey side of the house, one of my absolute favorite releases since I returned to collecting is the 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum set.  Not so much the base cards, but the wonderfully colorful parallels.  I'd like to casually assemble a franken-set of one parallel type of each card on the checklist at some point.  This David Krejci is a "White Ice", serial-numbered to /199.  Mine for $1.49!

Just a cheap Bogaerts card here, nothing more.  These Silver parallels from 2015 Bowman are numbered to /499, so not exactly all that rare.  Not exactly all that expensive either though as a result, hauled this one in for 65 cents.  I'm officially up to 190 different cards of Xander now, though in reality I have many more that I've yet to catalog and add to my collection on The Trading Card Database.

Upper Deck Exclusives are a cool parallel from their flagship hockey release, some extra shine and decently rare with 100 copies of each in circulation.  I don't typically see many of these available for under a dollar on COMC period, so I was shocked to happen upon this Chris Pronger (a HOF defenseman and former Hartford Whaler) for the very reasonable asking price of $1.27!

The 2008 Topps Chrome release had these Copper Refractor cards available as pulls.  You'd think there would be plenty of these around and available given that 599 copies were made of each, but I can never find any Red Sox I need for less than a dollar it seems.  Varitek here set me back $1.65, but it's a pretty gorgeous card in hand so I stand by my purchase here.

Here's the other Whalers card for today, and it's also the most expensive card in the post at $1.93.  These Artist's Proof parallels from 1994-95 Pinnacle were tough pulls.  Don't hold me to it, but I believe they fell at a rate of 1-per-hobby-box, or rarer.  This is just the third one in my collection, and my first Hartford Whaler.  I was drawn to this one in particular because Verbeek is a very under-rated player, and because the photograph is top notch. 

Nobody is practicing social distancing here, that's for sure!

I'm particularly proud of this pick-up.  I already had Greg Maddux's '87 Donruss and '87 Topps Traded rookie cards in my collection, and here I was able to complete the trifecta with this '87 Fleer Update.  Just $1.10 to acquire an iconic rookie card of one of the absolute best pitchers in my lifetime?  Yes, please!  Besides, all that blue in the '87 Fleer design works great for Cubs cards.

Here's one I purchased years ago but only finally pulled out of my card chest for posting and cataloging now.  Would I buy this one today for the 90 cents I paid for it back then?  Honestly, probably not.  It was just some cheap prospecting I suppose.  In any event I suppose I could have done worse, as the cheapest copy on COMC at the time of this post is now more than $2.25.

For these next two cards we're going obscure.  This one was originally from the 1969 Topps football set, but if you look in the lower left corner there you'll see this is a stamped buyback from Topps' 2015 flagship football release.  Yes, while I primarily focus on the Topps baseball buybacks, my love for buybacks doesn't end there.  This one was too interesting to me to pass up for $1.30.

I knew nothing about him when I grabbed the card, but it turns out Ed Meador was no slouch on the field.  He was a 6x Pro Bowl selection, including multiple First and Second Team All-Pro nominations.  In fact, he's a member of the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team.  An interesting cheap addition to my small football card collection.  With that we've covered the four major North American sports, and soccer in this blaster!

Speaking of which, how about we follow that American football card up with a European football card?  This well-loved gem is my very first single from the 1958-59 A & BC Gum soccer card set!  I'd really never seen these before when I stumbled across this one, and for 90 cents I couldn't click the Purchase Now button fast enough. 

Bobby Robson here was pretty successful as a player, appearing in 20 games for England's national team, and even more so as a manager, where he led England to the semi-finals in the 1990 World Cup.

Last card for today is this absolutely stunning Babe Ruth, courtesy of 2011 Topps Marquee.  This set was an absolute goldmine for really unique and interesting photos of the game's greats.  I've plucked a few of them off of COMC over the years, and I'm really happy with this one at 99 cents.  I'd love to see this set/concept make a comeback for just one more release at some point.

That brings today's total to $19.76.  Can't find a card on COMC for just 24 cents or less, so I know there's nothing else in my backlog that I could squeeze in here.  We'll call that a blaster at an even 20 cards.  Once again, I'll take that haul over anything on the shelves at Target or Wal-Mart any day!

Thanks as always for stopping by, and stay inside if you can!
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