Monday, November 30, 2020

Closing the Gap on 2015 Stadium Club

A couple of weeks ago now, I received a surprise bubble mailer out of the blue, pretty well stuffed with really great cards that were a home run hit for my collection.  While we hadn't talked directly in some time, I recognized the address as belonging to Jeff, of the blog 2x3 Heroes!

There were too many cards inside to include all of them in a single post, but there were some easy ways to divide the cards up for posting.  Today, a batch of 2015 Topps Stadium Club set-building needs!

Topps Stadium Club is really the only modern baseball set that excites me year to year.  I have sort of a passive collecting goal of completing the entire Stadium Club run since its revival as a brand by Topps back in 2014.  Photographs like the one on this Matt Holliday card here keep me coming back year after year.

As it stands right now, the 2015 release is the set I'm closest to completing of the modern Stadium Club run, and also the only one listed on my Want List here on the blog (though I hope to change that soon).  I was missing 41 cards from the 300-card set prior to receiving Jeff's mailer.

Is Joey Votto a future HOFer?  I'm not sure, but a surprising number of people do think so.  No wonder I'm having a hard time finding an affordable copy of his 2011 Topps Chrome Atomic Refractor for that set build.  

I am certain that this is a beautiful card, regardless of whether Joey gets a plaque in Cooperstown or not.  Practically cardboard perfection if you ask me.

Even lesser-known guys have some really nice-looking cards in Stadium Club, as we all know well.

All told, Jeff sent me 14 cards from this set, each one of which was needed for my own set build thanks to him consulting my want list.  Down to just 27 cards to go now, then I can put this one to bed and get my act together with the other Stadium Club sets.

One of the all-time greatest.  I'm always happy these days to add any new Pujols cards to the collection.  In fact, I picked up a couple of cheap ones over the weekend during COMC's Black Friday promotion.  I'll be blogging about those in the spring by the time they show up I'm sure, which honestly is fine with me.  I've got more than enough backlogged/hoarded cardboard to get me through the winter months here!

I need to head on over to Sportlots one of these evenings and just put the last couple dozen of these that I'm missing to bed.  Unless there's some surprise RC I'm not accounting for, they're probably all available for the site-minimum 18 cents...

A nice Tulowitzki here.  At one point this guy seemed destined for the HOF, but as can happen, his body had other ideas.  I think he's a college coach now, would be cool to see him transition to Major League Baseball in a coaching capacity someday.

Jeff, thanks so much for these set needs!  You (along with the lone card that Collector Chris recently sent me from this set) have motivated me to get my Stadium Club act together, enough so that I think I'll make it a formal goal for 2021!

I've got at least two more posts to go covering the remaining content that Jeff sent along in the mailer.  Until then, thanks as always for stopping by!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Rainy Monday Miscellany

It's a short three-day work week for me with the Thanksgiving holiday, and it's pouring rain and thundering outside on this Monday.  Since I'm having trouble getting the juices flowing on anything too productive or creative, let's take a look at a random smattering of cardboard that's been kicking around my "To Be Posted" folder for way too long...

The blacked out cap on this '68 Joe Morgan All-Star card kind of drives me nuts.  But, given that I found it in really great shape and for less than a dollar at a local antiques store, I decided to scoop it up regardless.

From the same seller in that same store came this 1993-94 Donruss Mario Lemieux Ice Kings insert.  While very short-lived, and not as well-known or appreciated as their Diamond Kings counterparts in the world of baseball, I nonetheless think this is an interesting insert set.  I had four of the ten cards previously, and happily scooped up Mario Lemieux here for just 50 cents, getting me to the halfway point with this small insert set.

Best part is, the store also had two other cards from the set, which just so happened to feature two of my absolute favorite players from my youth, for just 25 cents each.  Pavel Bure's long, flowing locks...

...and Eric Lindros' semi-mullet bring me to 70% complete!  Really happy that I was able to grab three needs from this set for just a dollar.  Whenever COMC gets around to actually shipping within a decent time frame again (hah!), I'll have to see if I can hunt down the final three for cheap coin and put this one to bed.

Back when I first got into soccer cards years ago, I picked up a complete set of these 1939 Wills Footballers cards.  They were surprisingly cheap, and I thought it was awesome to have an entire set of pre-war soccer cards.  I chose this example at random to show, even though I'm not familiar with Peter Doherty, just because I know Manchester City is a team that people with only a vague familiarity with professional soccer are likely to have heard of at least.

Here's a look at the back, pretty standard fare for these tobacco-sized minis of the time.  Cool set, and did not break the bank for it at all.  Too lazy to look it up to confirm, but I want to say I paid less than $30 for the 50-card release.

Here's one that I picked up years back, finally scanned and added to my collection proper on only today.  When I grabbed this Vladimir Tarasenko Young Guns rookie, he was one of the hottest scorers in the NHL, a pure sniper.  I've always enjoyed Russian hockey players, I think because I came of age during the Stastny/Fedorov/Bure era when those guys first burst onto the NHL scene.

When healthy, he's a lock to net between 30 and 40 goals a year, and to produce that same number of assists.  Tarasenko missed the majority of this past season due to injury, though.

Depending on how the 28-year-old rebounds from injury, he could still become a borderline HOFer with another good stretch of six years or so, like the one he enjoyed to start his career.  Time will tell, but I'm happy to have this rookie card in my collection while we see how things turn out for Vlad...

I picked up two packs of the Topps 206 set that was distributed via online-only release earlier this year.  I actually showed the first pack off here, which was banged up pretty badly when I received it.  Thankfully the cards were in fine shape, although as time wore on I found I was not all that impressed with them.

Turns out I like my T206 cards to be 100+ years old, with obscure players on them that I get to go research.  I'm not even going to post my second pack, and have already sent most of the cards from it away to other collectors.  I did keep this Xander Bogaerts that I was lucky enough to pull for my player PC of him...

...and it's a Piedmont back parallel.  I think these are the most common back parallel, but I don't care to go confirm that at the moment.  Either way, I will never turn down a new Xander card.

If you stop by the blog with any frequency, you've seen me show off some 2017 Donruss Optic parallels recently.  Well, here are a few others for a shiny binder project I'm working on.  I picked up three of Jackie Bradley Jr's Holo parallel...

...and three of his Pink parallel as well.  I plan to have an entire page dedicated to this card, three copies each of three different shiny Jackies, in the binder.  These came courtesy of Sportlots, and I believe they were 25 cents each if memory serves.

Also grabbed five, yes FIVE, copies of Xander Bogaerts' Holo parallel in the same order.  For a site-minimum 18 cents each, I figured I might even end up doing an entire page of just this card.

A while back, I became somewhat obsessed with the 2013 Topps Archives Gallery of Heroes stained glass baseball inserts.  I need to get back on that train here on the blog, as I do have a few others to show off, but in the meantime I stumbled across this fantastic Peyton Manning from 2000 Topps Gallery football and could not resist.

Just as with the baseball inserts, these are acetate, and look exactly like a stained glass window when backlit.  Truly awesome cards, and they can be had for pretty cheap coin, too.  I paid $2.99 with free shipping to grab this one off of eBay back in June.  While I'm not a football collector, I could see myself leisurely pursuing this 10-card set.  I wish Topps would give us an insert this innovative in a 2021 baseball release.

Here's the back, where you can obviously tell this is an acetate card.  Interesting that the football release added a die-cut element, as the upper right corner (or upper left back here) is cut away.

Well, I think I've rambled on enough for one day, and the To Be Posted folder is looking much tidier as well, so we'll call it here for today.  Thanks as always for stopping by, and I'll be back with a more structured post soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Itch to Rip - Another Blaster of 2019 Stadium Club

Yep, it's time to tear into another one of these 2019 Topps Stadium Club blasters I landed during the early days of COVID.  It's been sitting on the shelf collecting dust for long enough now, and since I'm motivated to get my want lists up to date for all modern Stadium Club baseball releases, I'm ready to rip!

Going into this blaster, I'm sitting at 118 cards out of the 301-card base set, good for just over 39% complete.  I'm not hoping for any big hits or autos, or anything fancy at all really, would just love to land some singles that I'm missing and improve that set completion number some.  After all, with Stadium Club it's all about the great photographs on the base cards.

Rather than breaking down every single card from the blaster, I'll just show some of the highlights of the blaster for me, pack by pack...

The first pack yielded this Justin Verlander for my set build.  I'm hoping he returns to full health and has enough gas left in the tank for another dominating season or two.  Even if he hung up the spikes today though, I'm confident he'll end up with a plaque in Cooperstown.

Pack one also had this great shot of Jackie Bradley Jr. leaping out of the dugout.  Doubles as a need for my set and a new Red Sox card, score!

Pack two had a pair of set needs for me in it as well, with the highlight of the pair being this great celebration shot of the late Roy Halladay.

The third pack continued the emerging trend, with two new base cards for my set.  They weren't the most exciting cards in the world, so I selected Wil Myers here for blogging purposes.

Pack four brings us to the halfway point of the blaster.  It yielded three new cards for my set, my favorite of which was by far this great Eddie Murray.

Pack five provided just a single new card for my budding set.  Here it is.

Same with pack six.  Cool card of the newest AL MVP, at least.

The seventh pack made up for it though, as it contained three base cards that I needed, the best of which was this Shohei Ohtani.  My favorite card in the pack wasn't one of those base cards though, it was this one...

I don't usually hang onto my inserts or parallels from Stadium Club, most of those go out in trade packages to other collectors.  I just had to hang onto this Rogers Hornsby Red Foil parallel though, just perfect for a Cardinals card.  That is one sweet uniform, the team should bring those back for Retro Night in 2021.

Sure, Ty Cobb isn't the most popular baseball player among fans a century later, but regardless of your personal feelings about the man, I think we can agree this is a nice-looking card for a turn-of-the-century subject anyway.

Cobb came in the final pack of the blaster, along with two other base cards I needed.

Also pulled this cool Bo Jackson in the final pack, looking much the way I did after I finished scanning and sorting these into my set.

That was a fun blaster all in all.  I'm up to 135 cards from the 2019 set now, closing in on the 50% mark, plus I got a cool keeper parallel, which is rare for me in modern stuff.  I've got a couple more blasters of this still on my pack shelf, so I'll be creeping closer to set completion whenever I next get the urge to rip.  I sure am glad to have the pack stash to help get me through the long, cold, dark winter ahead.

Until next time, thanks as always for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Cool Cards from Chris

A few weeks ago, I received a completely unexpected PWE in the mail from my hobby friend Chris, who writes at both The Collector, and the newly-launched The 1993.  I have enjoyed his writing for years, and am especially loving The 1993 so far, given that I was an impressionable 10-11 years old in that great year!  In fact, I've considered launching a "The 1994" blog inspired by Chris' work, but we'll see about that, I have enough trouble updating this one at times...

Anyway, Chris has already featured the small batch of Sox I returned his way on his own blog, so it's high time I got to featuring the cards he sent me here...

Most of the PWE contained some set filler cards from my long-neglected Want List here on the blog.  Most of those set needs were for my 1994-95 Parkhurst Missing Link set.  I was collecting as a kid the first time around when this set was released, and loved the glimpse back at the NHL players of yesteryear.  At the time anyway, I don't think the NHL did a great job teaching young fans about the history of its sport the way MLB did, so I just thought these were great (and still do!).

I don't think I had more than a few packs of the stuff as a kid, but I've been slowly accumulating the set since returning to the hobby as an adult.

So few hockey sets were produced in the '50s and '60s that many of these players are new to my collection entirely.  Case in point, this is my very first hockey card of Rudy Migay, despite the fact that he played in well over 400 NHL games.

My favorite of the bunch that Chris sent along (all Toronto Maple Leafs, coincidentally) has to be this Ed Chadwick.  I've mentioned this on the blog before, but I'm a total sucker for old-school goalie cards featuring brown leather pads and wooden sticks.

This card actually reminds me that I have a fantastic Ed Chadwick card to show off that's been waiting in the wings for a while now.  I'll try to see if I can move that one to the top of the "to be posted" pile...

Rounding out the Parkhurst Missing Link cards is this Tod Sloan Scoring Leader subset card.  Love the mitts here too, actually.

I highly recommend that anyone who has an interest in hockey history pick up some of these cards.  They are a great window to the past, and you're bound to learn a few things in thumbing through them.  I'd just barely tipped past the 50% complete mark on the 180-card set prior to receiving this handful, so I'm well on my way to 60% complete now.

Chris also hooked me up with a modern hockey card, one that I need in my slow-burn attempt to complete the 2013-14 Prizm hockey set.  I wish Panini could have stuck around longer in the hockey card market, as I really enjoyed this release.  I've already completed the 200-card short set, but have a few dozen of these pesky SP rookies still to go.  One fewer now, though!

The PWE wasn't all hockey cards, as I found this very surprising Red Sox need inside.  I would have guessed that I'd already completed the 2014 Topps flagship team set, but a quick glance at shows that is not the case.  Happy to welcome Stephen Drew to the collection.

Last, but certainly not least, a lone need for my 2015 Topps Stadium Club baseball set build.  It's interesting that Chris included this one, as I've been telling myself lately that now that I'm getting more organized and purging so much, I need to get my hands around where I'm at with my 2014-2020 Stadium Club baseball sets.  It's pretty much the only release I enjoy collecting each year, so my plan is to get my want list up to date for every one of those sets.

2015 is the one Stadium Club release from the modern run that I actually do have updated, and thanks to this card I'm down to just over 40 remaining needs to knock it out.  Amazingly, I received another surprise package out of the blue shortly after this one that got me even closer to set completion.  But, that's another post for another day.

Chris, thanks so much for the awesome surprise, it made my day finding these in the mailbox.  I'll try to get another batch of Boston cards out to you soon.  In the meantime, thanks everyone for stopping by, and stay safe out there!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Shiny Cardboard - MVP!

Well, I didn't mean to take a full week off from the blog there, but it's been a little hectic and that's just the way the cookie crumbled these past few days.  I've got a really significant pick-up to show off today though, making up for lost time.

This is actually a card that I picked up months back, but it just so happens to be an opportune time to showcase it.  Behold!

Years back I made the somewhat foolish decision to try to complete the 220-card 2011 Topps Chrome set in Atomic Refractor format.  Atomic Refractors (or "Cracked Ice" in the Panini World) are arguably my favorite shiny cards of all-time.  The Topps Chrome versions have typically been scarce over the years, often numbered to just /10.  In 2011 they were less rare, being numbered to /225, so I figured this would be the year to try to complete a set of them from.

Well, hindsight is 20/20 as they say, and it turns out this project is much more difficult than I anticipated.  Even cards with a couple hundred copies each in existence get pretty damn scarce ten years later.  Some of these may have been lost to time, others snatched up by player collectors, or forgotten about in private collections.  I was able to cruise through the first 150 cards or so, but then things sort of ground to a halt.  As I've closed in on 200 of them in recent years, one remaining name towered above the rest, and that was this Freddie Freeman rookie card.

I'd seen a few copies of this one sell for north of $100, which at the time I just wasn't willing to pay since I'm not a Freeman or Braves collector, and just wanted the card to complete my set quest.  After passing on those, I started to feel some regret as I'd go many months or longer between seeing a single copy available for sale.  This spring, the above copy triggered my saved eBay search at $70 Buy-It-Now.  I snatched it up before any other collector could beat me to it, and arguably the biggest remaining missing piece of my set fell into place!

Here's the back, you can see the serial-numbering along the bottom there in the center.  Obviously the attraction here is the brilliant, vibrant, shiny card front, but the 2011 release had a solid back design if I do say so myself.

The chase for this card was frustrating to say the least, but ultimately rewarding.  It definitely taught me that I'm not much of a set collector these days, and certainly not enough so to try anything in parallel format like this again.  I'm just glad I scooped it up when I did, because after his NL MVP win earlier this week this now appears to be closer to a $200 card on the open market.

With Freddie in the collection at last, I'm now up to 199 Atomic Refractors out of the 220 in this set.  I've got another cheap one I picked up on Sportlots on the way in the mail, so I'll be hitting the magic 200 number very soon.  The remaining cards are going to be brutal though.  How brutal?  Well, I placed what I thought was an absolute overkill bid on an Andrew McCutchen ($25) when it popped up a couple months after Freeman here, and lost...

I'm committed to getting there someday.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying the chase the best I can.  Thanks as always for stopping by, and enjoy your Sunday!

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