Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Getting There

After I recently acquired 8 more 1972 Topps cards from my want list, I am now down to my final 42 missing cards from the 787-card set. This means that I have about 95% of the set that my dad has been collecting since it came out. From color variation cards to in action cards, we're just 42 cards away.

This feat, however, will not come easily to us. One of the final missing cards is Steve Garvey's rookie card, another is a notoriously expensive Thurmon Munson card. And even players I've never heard of could end up costing me a fortune simply because they are high numbered cards. 

But on the other hand, there is good news. Every one of the cards shown in this post was purchased for $1, yes $1 at the card shop I visited a few weeks ago. I was already over budget before I looked at these, so I decided not to go crazy. That being said, I will definitely return to the card shop soon to check many more cards off my list.

Like I said, the cards I am currently missing are very high numbers. In fact, the lowest card number shown here is 658, which was until a few weeks ago, the lowest numbered missing card. Now that title belongs to card #661, Bill Virdon. 

And despite the low price, these haul of 1972 Topps cards delivered some nice images like this Pat Jarvis taken at Spring Training with a few of his fellow teammates in the background.

Along with this card of Phillies pitcher Chris Short, which was my favorite card I got during this trip. The 70's Phillies uniform is one of my favorite jerseys of all-time. That, paired with the crazy colors used at the top of every 1972 card makes for something that is very 1970's.

And even though I'm not big on condition, all of these cards are in very good shape. There are no marks, not even any slight creases or heavily bent corners. I almost feel bad buying these cards for $1 each because honestly, they are worth a lot more.

But the final card I got was surprisingly a card of a player I collect, Paul Blair. Blair was a key part of the Orioles' success throughout the 60's and 70's. The 8-time Gold Glove award winner was a star outfielder for the team that he helped guide to 2 World Series wins. He, in fact, won 2 more in his career with the 1977 and 1978 Yankees.

Also, please let me know if you have any 1972 Topps cards from my want list as I would be more than glad to trade for them with you. Just send me an email with what you have and want and I will get back to you ASAP.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Most Unique Cards on the List: Top 25 A's Cards List #10-6

After a few weeks of posting a new part to the list, we've officially reached the top 10 A's cards of my entire collection. These are the elite cards, ones that stood out to me and were on my mind before I even started this list. 

As each section of the list has had, this part has a theme which is pure uniqueness. There are only 2 Topps base cards in this segment and 1 is even a combo card. The rest of this part features slightly more unconventional but still wonderful cards of Athletics legends.

Here we go, cards 10-6 on the list.

#10 1976 Hostess All-Star Team #61 Bert Campaneris 
The #10 spot on this list is reserved for a player whose card truly is the definition of something unconventional and different. The Hostess cards have been one of my favorite parts of 70's baseball cards for quite some time now, but it's the 1976 set that, to me is far above the rest in terms of set quality and player choice. The red, white, and blue stripes at the bottom are the perfect size to include key information about Campy like his name, team name, and position. The rest of the card is reserved for the picture of him which is at the same level as the quality of the set design which helps create a balanced card. 1976 was the first year in which my dad didn't collect cards since 1968, so I don't have as many of these Hostess cards as I'd like. However, it just took 1 Campaneris card and that was enough for the #10 space on the list.

#9 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen #294 Reggie Jackson
The final Gypsy Queen card on this list is 1 of 2 Reggie Jackson cards that will be shown in this segment alone. And while his 2013 Gypsy Queen card was a close call, it was his 2012 card with my favorite A's jerseys of all-time that made it to the top of the list. Not only does the set look great, but it also seems like the gold design throughout the top and bottom of the card was meant to match the gold on the A's jersey perfectly and create a card that's on a completely different level than most other baseball cards. The nice action shot is the crowned jewel of this card that is not only #9 on my list but possibly the best card from 2012 Gypsy Queen.

#8 1969 Topps #556 A's Stars Bando/Campaneris/Cater
Topps' combo cards in their flagship set nowadays may not be very impressive, but back in the day, they were actually one of the high points of the set. This combo card features 2 A's players of whom you may have heard of before in Sal Bando and Bert Campaneris. Along with them is a player, Danny Cater, who you might not have heard of before. Regardless. this is a breath of fresh air from the standard 1 player card as it puts 3 talented A's players in their classic A's jerseys on 1 card. In addition to the players, the lack of color in the picture is offset by the bright yellow top and bottom of the card which matches the Oakland's yellow to a certain extent and is another bright spot (literally) on this already fabulous card.

#7 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #58 Vida Blue
Not only does this card feature one of my favorite Athletics of all-time in a fantastic bright jersey, but it also recreates the 1971 Topps set almost perfectly and with these 2 contributing factors, you get a magnificent card. Like I said, Topps did an excellent job recreating the set, but they also used newer photo techniques and quality to enhance the photo of Vida Blue and were able to pair it with a nice bright blue sky as the background which was another smart move by Topps. Finally, a small detail I admire is the All-Time Fan Favorites gold stamp in the top right. I'm a big fan of those types of stamps on cards so that along with all the other features helps create the only card from the 2000's to make the top 10.

#6 1975 Topps #300 Reggie Jackson
Unsurprisingly, cards 6-1 on my list are from th3 60's and 70's and I still be closing off this post with Reggie Jackson's recognizable 1975 Topps base card. Because I've already talked about 1975 Topps a lot, I've decided to stick to what makes this card unique. The blue and orange color combination is pretty nice and something I didn't think would work with the A's. However, the best part of this card by far is the primarily green jersey that Jackson has on which is fairly uncommon in Athletics cards. It's not the clearest photo, but details like that along with Reggie's sunglasses are key details that are hard to miss and help create another one of my personal favorite A's cards that barely fell short of the top 5.

Next time I post from this list it will be time for the final 5, cards 5-1. Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and supported these posts since the start. I really enjoyed doing the list and posting about it, so if you have suggestions for another top 25 or more than 25 card list please let me know.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Couple of Quick Packs From the Past

Right now many card collectors are opening packs of Topps' revival of Topps Gallery. I, on the other hand, am not, because the product is Wal-Mart exclusive and the Wal-Mart closest to my house doesn't even sell baseball cards (gotta love retail shopping).

Anyway, I still have 2 packs from 2016 Series 2 that I got a week ago, so I thought I'd show these cards because it's probably been a while since some of you have seen the infuriating smoky borders of the set.

Pack 1:

#485 James Paxton
The first card is of James Paxton, a player who just came off a break-out season. He went 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA for Seattle. The Mariners just made the only notable move of the offseason thus far after trading for Ryon Healy a few days ago.

#632 Ramon Cabrera 

#678 Carlos Martinez
Carlos Martinez's 2016 Flagship card was and remains one of my favorite shots from 2016 Topps. It has a pretty simple background which allows for the action shot of Martinez to become more noticeable.

#430 Ariel Pena

#573 Tom Koehler
Another nice photo, though there haven't been any star players in the pack thus far.

Chi Chi Gonzalez is the 4th pitcher card in a row in this pack.

Finally a star player! Masahiro Tanaka may have been dominant in the postseason, but his performance in the regular season not only left something to be desired but left many fans wondering what the future would look like for the 29-year old pitcher.


The insert of the pack may not have fully shown up on the scanned image, but this Tribute to the Kid insert remains one of the best concepts executed by Topps in 2016. Each card itself looks rather similar, but the card backs highlight milestones from the Hall of Famers illustrious career.

#644 Angels Team

These "team" cards have been around for a few years now. They took the place of the standard team cards and remain one of my least favorite parts of card collecting to this day.

#510 Tony Watson

Pack 2:

#444 Jordan Zimmerman
Zimmerman must be sorry he left the Nationals after how well his former teammates Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, and Max Scherzer pitched this season.

#389 Sam Dyson

#593 Alex Cobb
Here's another example of a good photo choice by Topps. Cobb is a free agent this offseason and has been rumored to go to the Orioles as well as the Cubs.

#375 Jordan Lyles

#664 Mikie Mahtook

#670 Will Smith

Sheesh, this pack has been disappointing.

#667 James McCann

But with another nice card, it could be looking up.


Here's the card which is by far the best one out of each of these packs. For those of you who don't know this insert set is called Berger's Best. It commemorates 1 card from each year of Topps that was designed by Sy Berger.

#602 Keith Hessler

#398 Indians Team

We end with another "team card."

Also, sorry for not posting in a few days for the 2nd week in a row. I was away for the weekend, but I'll be getting back into more frequent posting this week.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A New Place to Buy Cards Part #3

Another highlight of my purchase at the newly discovered card shop was a set called Upper Deck Rivals. This set came out in 2004 right after the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. This 32 card set features this rivals jumbo card shown above along with some other cool cards of Yankees and Red Sox stars that I will show here.

The main part of this set consists of the rival base cards. This shows star players from both franchises, both past, and present. The design is very Upper Deck as it has a modern design with a nice Rivals logo in the middle of the bottom part of the card. The A-Rod card is pretty good however

I was more excited to see Yankees legends like Yogi Berra and Lou Gehrig. The black and white pictures were truly a smart decision as it shows those who buy the set how far back this rivalry really goes, to way before color images were first developed.

And while all these Yankees cards are nice to have

I was obviously way more excited to see what Red Sox players would be included. These cards include images of older players like Luis Tiant and Fred Lynn, but much to the credit of Upper Deck, these are pictures that I haven't seen anywhere else. The Tiant card is by far my favorite not just since he's one of my favorite Red Sox players included in the set, but also because it shows the star pitcher in a more unconventional photo as he appears to be signing his 1976 Topps card (I can tell it's 1976 by the card back and that it's easier to see in person).

The other Red Sox players include Pedro Martinez and Bobby Doerr who tragically passed away earlier this week at the age of 99. Doerr, at the time of his passing, was the oldest living Hall of Famer.

RIP Bobby.

In addition to the star player cards, Upper Deck chose to include cards of players from the rival teams to commemorate, well, how big of rivals they are with one another. It honors not just players such as Wakefield and Boone, bur also skippers like Don Zimmer and Billy Martin.

There was also another part of this set in which they show players who dared to wear both the Red Sox and Yankees uniforms. Obviously, we have Babe Ruth, but then we have one of my favorite players of all-time in Wade Boggs. The 3rd baseman is another player of whom I have over 100 cards, mainly on the Red Sox but also on the Yankees and even the Rays.

And the final card of the set is this special What If insert (the back is written by Peter Gammons) where Gammons suggests different situations involving these 2 teams in which a different outcome could've changed history. I was lucky enough to get a card of Yaz which is numbered 2147/2150. This card is by far my favorite of the box, because of how sleek it is and how it reminds me of the glory days of baseball card collecting. Plus, I got this card of a Red Sox rather than a Yankee, so that's another plus for this box. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A New Place to Buy Cards Part #2

Yesterday I posted some dime cards that I bought at newly discovered card shop somewhat close to where I live. Today, I will be showing off a variety of inserts and parallels from the same place. The total for all of the cards that I'm showing off today came to $15, a total that will seem like a steal after you see all of the awesome cards I bought.

We start off with not 1, but 2 2002 Topps Total inserts of Ichiro. He was a player who I got a lot of dime cards of yesterday, but these Total inserts take his cards to the next level, and even though I've never collected Total myself, cards like this make me think it's not a bad set. The first one also commemorates Ichiro's historic 2001 season in which he won Rookie of the Year and MVP. 

The next player was another player of whom I got a slew of dime cards of like Ichiro, and a player I got a nice looking insert card of, also like Ichiro. This card is a 1996 Pacific insert called October Moments and features a leaf pattern at the bottom, fitting for October. I also like how they extended the brownish-bronze October color throughout the entire background because it's able to add even more October theme to this already festive card.

The next card is a card of one of my dad's favorite player of all-time in Pedro Martinez on the former affiliate of the Padres, the Wichita Wranglers. This minor league card of Pedro shows Martinez when he was just 24 years old and just about to get his career started a few seasons later. I absolutely love this card and especially the uniform, so as a Red Sox fan I consider it a steal to get this card for just $1.

After finding a few cards of some older products, I made my way to newer sets and more sleek designs.

Topps Chrome in particular. This 2013 Topps Chrome refractor shows Sale in a throwback jersey when the White Sox wore red. I'm writing this minutes after it was announced that Corey Kluber edged him out for the Cy Young award. Of course, disappointed that Sale lost, but he had a terrible 2nd half and Corey Kluber absolutely deserved to win the award hands down. 

The next Chrome card is of another one of my favorite pitchers in baseball. This 2016 Topps Chrome card is a Prizm refractor of Jake Arrieta, another player who knows what it is like to win the Cy Young award. Unfortunately, Arrieta is 31 years old and unless he has a spectacular season next year or the year after, he won't have a season that can match his 2015 Cy Young season.

The next card is a fellow Cub and teammate of Arrieta's, 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant. I am a huge fan of these 2017 Bowman Chrome reprint cards, paying tribute to past Bowman sets in a chrome design. This card is based off the 1948 set and even though it may be a bit unconventional, I like the idea and the direction that this set tried to go in, so I admire what Topps did with this insert set.

Moving on to some irresistible unlicensed cards like this 2017 Donruss Optic Buster Posey. This is a Prizm parallel which is their equivalent of the base refractor of Topps Chrome.

UPDATE: Max Scherzer just won the NL Cy Young for the 2nd year in a row. Congratulations Max on a great season.

Moving on we have quite a few numbered cards from 2017 Donruss, a product I have barely gotten any cards of thus far.

This Chris Davis card is numbered to 459 to commemorate his .459 slugging percentage in 2016. This card was available for 50 cents.

And so was this Yadier Molina grey parallel which is numbered 081/199. Panini really needs to do a lot more with cards of Catchers because they're able to make the cards look like they are licensed. Maybe an insert set or two of just catchers?

Here's another grey parallel, this one is the Diamond Kings card of Nolan Arenado. This, like the Molina, is numbered /199, only this one was priced at $1, which I was certainly willing to pay to get a card of one of my favorite young players in the MLB.

Now we're getting into my favorite cards of the purchase.

Including 2 Dodgers, one of Corey Seager from 2017 Topps Finest. This insert set from Finest shows players in the 1994-1995 Topps Finest Basketball set. I never really understood why they put Baseball players in Basketball card designs, but the card works and is colorful as well as a card of my favorite Dodger so I can't complain.

The other card is also from a high-end product, only this one is even more high-end than Finest. This 2017 Topps Museum Canvas Collection Clayton Kershaw card is my very first card from Topps Museum, ever. I've seen these cards before online, but to get my own, especially for only $1 is truly a treat.

Now we are moving back to numbered cards with this 2016 Topps Finest Felix Hernandez parallel (numbered 071/150). I personally think this blue and teal color combination is fabulous as it shows distinctive colors of the Mariners.

This card, on the other hand, is printed at a much higher level (1350 cards), but it is a card of Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and it was just 50 cents so I gladly picked up this card.

Along with this orange bordered Vladimir Guerrero card which is numbered 1/250. This card is from late in Guerrero's career and is from the 2007 Bowman set. This card, along with his 2007 year was fantastic as he hit 125 RBI's and finished 3rd in MVP voting.

The final card is actually of a player I didn't collect on Sunday, but after getting this card I am adding him to my list of players I collect. For 50 cents I was able to get...

A Michael Fulmer gold parallel numbered 2 of just 50!

 I was ecstatic to get this card of the 2016 AL MVP even if I didn't collect him when I chose the card. There was no way I could pass up getting this low-numbered card, especially for such a good price. After getting this I am hoping he has many more successful years, so maybe I'll have a chance to get more cards of the Tigers ace (he has to be their ace since Verlander left). If only he had a team that could produce more runs, we could possibly hear his name in the middle of November as a potential Cy Young candidate.