30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, December 30, 2013

Flea Market Finds #51: Baseball Binder & Shoe Box

When:  Sunday, December 29th
Where:  Capitol Flea Market
What:  Budget Baseball Cards
How Much?:  $10

It's been really cold in the morning these past few weeks, so I haven't really been motivated to jump out of bed during the weekends to head out to the flea market.  But I'm sure glad I did yesterday.

My favorite thing to find at flea markets are cheap sports cards and that's exactly what I found on Sunday.  Both of my purchases came from the same vendor... a guy who collected during the 90's and early 2000's.  Sound familiar?

He was looking to liquidate his collection in an attempt to recover some of the money he initially invested... although he understood that the hobby had evolved and his cards were worth only a fraction of what they once were.  Sound familiar?

Most of his collection was laid out on a table.  He had several binders and boxes, but his stuff was a little out of my price range.  I asked if he had any "cheap" stuff and he pulled out this binder...

Purchase 1A:  The Binder $5

Before I even opened it, he told me he was looking to get $5 for the whole thing.  Within two or three pages, I knew I was interested.

Most of the pages were filled with 2002 Topps Gallery baseball cards.  If you're not familiar with the set, it features paintings instead of photos and is one of my favorite products from back in the day.  Here are a few of my favorites: 

The guy was upfront and told me that it was an incomplete set.  However I was pleasantly surprised to see the Joe Mauer rookie card sitting safely among the pages.

In fact, the only card I'm missing is card #157 Morgan Ensberg.  Anyone have one of these laying around?

In addition to the set, there were also a few inserts from 2002 Topps Gallery and 2001 Fleer Game Time:

My personal favorite is this Tony Gwynn insert from the 2002 Topps Gallery Heritage set, which features painted renditions of famous rookie cards:

Last... but not least there was this awesome Greg Maddux relic card:

While I was flipping through the binder, he pulled out a shoe box filled with more baseball cards.  He told me that if I bought the binder, I could have the entire box for five more dollars.

Purchase #1B:  The Shoe Box $5

The guy admitted that he had no idea what was in this box.  But for less than the price of a blaster, who doesn't like surprises?  I figured the shoe box itself was worth a couple of bucks.

When I got home and sifted through the cards, I discovered that it was mostly random base cards with a few rookie cards sprinkled in there.  The best rookie card in the box was a 1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson.  It's not in very good condition, but at least my Damaged Card Binder has a new inhabitant.

There were a few cards in screwdowns as well...

I'm not quite sure why he had an autograph of White Chocolate... but I'll take it.  And the SP Chirography autograph of Konerko is beautiful.  Both will make nice additions to the collection.

Well... that's all that I have for today.  No vintage Mantles or autographs of Jeter, but I'm not complaining too much.  Discount sports cards are more of my style anyways.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Night Five: 1976 Topps Baseball

A few weeks ago, I asked you guys the following question...

What are some of your favorite cards that would be museum wall worthy?

A couple of 1976 Topps baseball cards were mentioned, so I headed over to COMC and started browsing their images.

I have always been a fan of this set's design, because of the bright colors and the little positional figure in the lower left corner.  But I was truly surprised by some of the action shots in the set.  In fact... the set was so impressive, I headed over to eBay to see what complete sets sold for.

I estimated that they would be around $150 to $200 and was surprised to see a few sets sell for under $100.  This definitely caught my attention and eventually I found a pair worth bidding on.  I ended up winning the complete 660 card set + 43 card traded set for $115.28 + $13 shipping.  Talk about cutting things close... my maximum bid was $117.

Tonight... I'll countdown my five favorite.   But before I begin, let me preface things by stating that this was not an easy task.  I primarily based my picks on Topps' photo selection, but also took into consideration the player and team.  It took me about an hour to flip through the set and make my selections.

Then I had the task of ranking them.  It honestly felt like the weekly rankings in baseball, because certain cards went up or down depending on that particular moment's mood.  And with this particular set, nobody stands out so much that they'll be on top forever.

With that being said... let's start off with my honorable mentions:

I spent a solid 90 seconds staring at the Bench and the #5 card on my list.  Johnny's card is definitely iconic with the stare and the dust... but I got a little sentimental with my selection.

#5:  Jim Palmer
1976 Topps #450

Palmer was one of my favorite pitchers when I was a kid and I felt too guilty leaving this card out of my Top 5.  I just wish they would have centered the photo better, so his right foot wasn't cropped out.

#4 Dave Concepcion
1976 Topps #48

Conception wasn't really known for his power... but is there any doubt in your mind that he launched one in this photo?

#3: Sal Bando
1976 Topps #90

If you ask me to rank these guys tomorrow... I might just put this card on top.  There aren't a lot of fielding action shots in the set... and only the Bench and this card are museum worthy in my mind.  Unfortunately, Bench didn't play for the Oakland A's and Sal Bando did. 

#2:  Fred Lynn
1976 Topps #50

I can only imagine how popular this card was back in 1976.  Just prior to the release of this card, Lynn became the first player in MLB history to win both the AL MVP Award and the AL ROY Award in the same year.  Add the beautiful action shot and the Topps Rookie Cup and you have damn near perfection.

#1: Dave Parker
1976 Topps #185

Now this is what a baseball card should look like.  Whoever photographed this card timed it perfectly.  If I were a Pirates fan, I'd have this card blown up and framed in my garage.

Well... that's a wrap.

What'd ya think about my list and what are some of your favorite 1976 Topps baseball cards?

Happy holidays and sayonara!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Humm Baby Holidays!

"I don't care if you like each other right now, but you will respect each other." -Coach Boone (Remember the Titans)

I'm a huge fan of this quote... and it actually rings true in my personal life.  I've been an Oakland A's kid since I was a kid, while simultaneously strongly disliking their rivals across the bay... the San Francisco Giants.

In other words... I wasn't a very big supporter of The Humm Baby Giants during the 80's.  But over the years, I learned to admire those exciting Roger Craig led teams featuring Will Clark, Mike LaCoss, Robby Thompson, Scott Garrelts, Kevin Mitchell, Matt Williams, and Mike Krukow.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that I won an on-card autograph of Mr. Craig in The Snorting Bull's 500th post giveaway.

I never realized that Roger Craig played for the Brooklyn Dodgers... let alone that he was split-finger specialist who had a twelve year career that included three World Series Championships.  Oh... the things we learn from cardboard.

Thank you Mr. Bracke for the awesome autograph and congratulations on reaching and surpassing 500 blog posts.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Craving Cornstalk on Christmas

Good morning fellow collectors.  I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season and spending quality time with your families and loved ones.

It's time to show off the last remnants of my Black Friday shopping spree.  I'll keep things short, so you can get back to your eggnog and Christmas presents.

I picked up ten 2013 Leaf Holiday Bonus Packs in hopes of pulling one of those really cool cornstalk cards.  Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.  At least I was able to pull a few cool items for my collection.

I'll start off with a pair of 2012 Leaf Originals:

I absolutely love the simplicity of this set and the fact that the autographs are on-card.  Speaking of on-card autographs, I also pulled this card of HOFer... Lenny Wilkins:

#'d 7/10

These three cards are the only ones I'm definitely keeping.  However I also pulled a pair of low numbered baseball prospects:

#'d 1/1

The Crawford is a special Holiday Bonus 1 of 1 parallel of the Philadelphia Phillies 2013 1st round draft pick.  Last season, he was their #4 ranked top prospect.  I'm not a big prospect guy, because I'd rather collect guys who have already made a name for themselves (thanks a lot Signature Rookies).  But I might hold onto the Crawford to see what he ends up doing.  Same thing goes with this card...

#'d 1/2

Mr. Harvey was the 22nd selection in the 2013 MLB amateur draft.  Like Crawford, Harvey was the 4th ranked prospect for the team that drafted him... the Baltimore Orioles.

The rest of the stuff was pretty uneventful, so I won't waste anymore of your time and just show them off.

Merry Christmas everyone!  Happy holidays and sayonara!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Grand Finale

Okay... maybe it wasn't exactly "grand".  But yesterday I busted the final two boxes from my Black Friday haul.

I started off with the box of 2009 Topps 206 and was pretty impressed with what I pulled.  Each box guarantees two autographs and/or relics per box, 20 minis, and 20 bronze parallels.

I pulled a few Oakland A's minis for my collection and this pretty cool Thurman Munson SP Variation mini:

It was definitely a New York Yankees hot box, because I also pulled short prints of Jeter, A-Rod, and The Mick:

And if that wasn't enough... I beat the odds and pulled a Yankee printing plate of Mark Melancon:

It's a shame it wasn't Jeter... it would have helped pay for this little shopping spree... because the autograph I pulled definitely won't:

Thankfully the other hit in the box will make a nice addition to my Ichiro collection...

I'm a huge fan of Ichiro.  And I love framed relics.  Combine the two and I'm pretty content with the contents of this box.

Next up... my 2011 Topps Lineage box:

I saved this box for last, because it's the one I was most excited about.  For some reason, I thought the base design was like Topps Archives and based on past designs.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I saw this:

Actually... I can live with the front of the cards... but I'm not a fan of these card backs:

Where are the stats?  Topps definitely dropped the ball in this area.  Fortunately, they made up for it in the area of inserts:

My favorites are the stand-ups, cloth stickers, and 3D inserts.  The 75 minis are pretty cool too.

And the hits?  Well you get two autographs and one relic per box.  After twelve boxes, this was my last chance to hit a home run and pull something epic for my collection.  Let's see how I fared:

A home run... this was not.  But I didn't necessarily strike out either.

Tim Lincecum is a fan favorite in the Bay Area and I've already found a nice home for him.  The Rodney isn't anything special... but damn did he have an amazing season two years ago.

And finally... I was fortunate enough to pull an on-card autograph of an old-timer.  Based on what I've read, Yost was a solid leadoff hitter known for drawing a lot of walks.  Unfortunately, he passed away just over a year ago at the age of 86.  I haven't finalized what I'm going to keep or trade away... but his autograph was the highlight of this box and is definitely a keeper.

Happy Monday and sayonara!