Friday, September 29, 2017

Mail From Topps

Earlier this month I opened some 2017 Topps Heritage High Number retail packs and was very surprised to pull a redemption for a real one autograph in one of the packs

Autographs in Heritage are hard to get, let alone retail. So I was happy to redeem this card.

I've heard that there can be a long wait time to get your redemptions from Topps which is why I was surprised to see a package from them in the mail today.

Topps always includes an extra autograph or some kind of card like that in along with the redemption card, for they never know how long it may take. I was lucky to get mine in less than 2 weeks, but some are forced to wait months or even years.

I had never heard of Matt Dominguez before. My guess is that he was a redemption card that never got redeemed, so the card was included as an extra card with the actual redemption. I don't mind the card solely because it's an Autographed Relic and I don't have that many of those in my collection.

And here's the card I actually redeemed, the one I've been waiting for.

Christain Arroyo isn't as highly thought of as some prospects, but he's often mentioned by people who know their stuff. The position on the card says shortstop, but he's become more of a 3rd baseman for the Giants which is one of the tougher positions in baseball. 

He got injured in August and was declared out for the year after hitting below .200, but he's only 22 years old. I have some faith in this guy since he's pretty well thought of and that he could become an All-Star caliber player. It just might take a few years.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Top 5 Cards: Rod Carew

Throughout the 70's when you thought of some of the best hitters in baseball Rod Carew came to mind. He may not have had the power nor the fielding ability of some players, but the 18-time All-Star had the ability to hit that most players will never be able to match

Since I began collecting him a few years back I have amassed 57 cards of Carew. Here are my top 5.

#5 1980 Topps
No matter the Topps set it always seems like an All-Star symbol is included with most cards of Rod Carew and this one is no exception. The card is mainly made up of 3 colors. Purple (the border for the All-Star text), blue (the dark jersey and the team name flag), and pink (the position flag and actual All-Star Text.) These colors aren't usually used on baseball cards as they are very unconventional and that's the reason this card made the list.

#4 1977 Topps
Another All-Star symbol card, this one featuring Carew in an action shot at 1st base in one of the most underrated Topps sets ever made. The big colorful team name looks nice on each card and the All-Star symbol uses a great choice of colors that truly scream All-Star. The photo itself is pretty blurry, but that's the 70's for you. And if you can look past that the card is definitely a standout. 

#3 2014 Gypsy Queen
Believe me, after how much I've raved about this set I wouldn't have put this card on the list unless I thought it was truly something else, and it is. This action shot of Carew is very different from the 1977 Topps one as it features Rod tossing a ball into the air. His bright Angels uniform suits his stylish hair and helps create one of the best cards from the 2014 Gypsy Queen set. However, the next card beat this one, not because of the picture, but the borders.

#2 1985 Donruss Highlights
1985 Donruss is the perfect example of a set that I wish I had a lot more of. The black borders are something that worked well in 1971 Topps and Donruss took note of that. The borders just make the cards seem cooler and slicker than most other cards. It gives the card and the entire set a whole different feel than if it was just boring white borders. This set stands out and therefore this card stands out which is why it made the #2 spot. 

#1 2015 Gypsy Queen
In my opinion, this card is truly symbolic of who Rod Carew is. The big smile on his face, holding the bat in the card, and the powdered Twins uniform are all things I associate with Carew. The brown borders allow the card itself and the stunning colors it uses to standout not just in the set, but out of all sorts of Rod Carew cards. This card is Rod Carew, and Rod Carew is this card. That's why it got the #1 spot.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Team Collection Additions Part #2: Card Show Recap #3

In yesterday's post recapping my most recent card show trip, I stated that I stumbled upon the Red Sox inserts for my team sets after the 10 cent cards. Despite the prices being more than any other team because the show is 20 minutes away from Boston I still decided to take a look.

The first card, however, isn't an insert, nor is it a card from a set I collect. It's not even of a player I collect. This is Bryce Brentz's 2010 1st Bowman card which I felt obligated to get. Brentz hit 31 home runs in Triple-A Pawtucket this year and his bat is something the Red Sox need. However, for some frankly idiotic reason, he was not called up to the major leagues. Brentz is a free agent after this year and I doubt he wants to return to a team that doesn't let him play. I don't blame him and I wish him all the best wherever he ends up.

The next pile had these 2016 Allen & Ginter Number's Game cards for just 50 cents each. The Red Sox had a lot of these inserts last year and I was instantly a fan. It's such a creative thing that has never really been done before. Especially when you look at the backs.

The backs don't just include all-time greats to wear that number, but also players from that team to wear that number. I appreciate that inclusion as it allows me to become more knowledgeable about the Red Sox. 

After acquiring cards from perhaps the most interesting insert set of 2016 I turned my attention to the blandest insert set of 2016.

This Baseball Legends insert set is an idea that has been used hundreds of times by every single card company. The design really has to be fantastic for me to be intrigued and it's just subpar. I do appreciate Williams being included, for he's not in many sets. I just think it's pretty boring.

But that didn't stop me from getting more cards of Yaz and Ted.

The Power Alley insert set from 2016 Gypsy Queen featured a nicely designed border with a great photo of the player included with that player's career home run total featured in the middle of the card. This, like the Number's Game, is a unique insert set that really stands out among lots of other cards produced in the last few years.

This 2014 Gypsy Queen short print is the card I paid the most for on Sunday. It went for $3 which I thought was reasonable considering the fact that it's a short print of a Red Sox legend from a mid-end set. I haven't made a checklist for this set yet, but since I got this card I can tell it's only a matter of time.

With $5 left I turned my attention to what the best possible cards I could get for that money would be, and I was pleased with what I decided on.

Andrew Benintendi is a player who just keeps finding a way to improve as the season progresses, therefore, the price of his cards have been steadily going up. His 2017 Topps rookie card was available for a very reasonable $2. The design and picture are nothing spectacular, but overall it's a nice card.

But that card couldn't compare to his Gypsy Queen rookie. This card went for just a bit more ($3) and was worth every penny. The picture improved as did the set design and even the rookie card symbol is different. It's more purple than usual which is kind of strange. Still, with Benintendi improving at the rate he is I thought it was smart to pick up these 2 rookie cards before they became too expensive or scarce. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New Team Collection Additions: Card Show Recap #3

I attended my local card show last Sunday in an effort to obtain more cards for my Red Sox team set want list. When I went in I saw the case breaker who is the only vendor that I buy from at every single card show. He had dime bins organized by the set then by the number which is where I knew I'd be able to find cards I needed.

Like Allen & Ginter.

He had lots of Allen & Ginter cards from the past 2 years available for a good price. He had a wide variety of Red Sox, an opportunity I was glad to take advantage of.

I also didn't limit myself to the sets already on the list. 

I found this 2017 Panini Donruss Wade Boggs card in the same bin. He's the only retired Red Sox player in the set, so this was a great card to pick up.

As was this Donruss Optic Rick Porcello. I didn't have either of these sets on my list until I got these cards. Now all the base cards and inserts are on the list.

I also took this opportunity to get cards from sets I haven't bought much from yet.

I've opened just 5 packs from 2017 Topps Series 2 and I have yet to get a memorable card or any Red Sox cards. So I got all the cards from Series 2 I could get, for I doubt I'll be buying any more of it.

There were even sets that I have a lot of cards from that I needed base cards from, but I found more cards from 2016 Gypsy Queen than any other set. I was especially happy to get a card of Carson Smith since he's finally pitching and actually pitching fairly well.

2017 Bowman is the exact opposite for me. I haven't opened a pack of this all year and I have no more than 10 cards from the set. The Bradley stands out to me for the sole reason that the bright red jersey stands out. Like the Donruss and Optic, I didn't include these on my want list until Sunday.

(Apologies in advance for the weird colors that were included in the scanned image)
Bowman Platinum is a set I've talked about a lot and I'm glad to acquire more cards from this foil-centric set. I had none going into today and now the only base card I need is Betts. 

Gotta love team collecting right?

There were even cards from 2016 Bowman Chrome, but I got very confused after I looked at the Red Sox checklist on COMC. There were these referred to as Bowman Base Chrome.

While these 2 were called Bowman Chrome Base. Could somebody please explain the difference to me?

Speaking of Chrome.
There was Topps Chrome galore. 

2016 and 2017 Topps Chrome were available and plenty of it. I've collected a fair amount of each set and now I have a bit more of each. 

The Rick Porcello card in the bottom left looked normal to me. That was until I looked on the back.
And saw this printing error. 

This card must have accidentally been printed some way that allowed a bit of yellow to sneak onto the back. It sure is weird, but I don't mind it much at all.

So I picked up all of these and was ready to cash out. That was until I found the inserts...

Monday, September 25, 2017

1 Year Ago: The Day That Shocked the Baseball World

Exactly 1 year ago today, Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident. He was just 24 years old.

I couldn't recall a more somber day in the baseball world. Every tv and radio station was talking about it. Fellow players paid tribute to Fernandez. It seemed like everyone, regardless of team, performance, or race came together to honor him.

Moments that change the world have a way of causing people to remember who they were with and what they were doing as soon as they found out, and I remember the moment I found out about it like it was yesterday. 

I was sitting with my dad talking when a notification on my phone was heard. I chose to ignore it until I left the room about 5 minutes later. I glanced at my phone and learned that he had died earlier that morning.

My jaw dropped, it all seemed so surreal. The feeling that someone so young and so talented would die so abruptly was shocking. That feeling stuck with me the rest of the day. 

We had planned on going to the card show all week and despite this news, we decided to go. As soon as we walked in we knew people were talking about it. He was just 24, Fernandez, boat crash, all these words were echoing throughout the room. 

I picked up a few cards of Jose that day as a way to carry on his legacy and the best way to do that is through cards. Cards tell a story and each one can hopefully carry on a part of his life.

The next day was an off day for the Red Sox, so I decided to tune into the Marlins game. I knew that they were planning to all wear the all-black jerseys with Fernandez's name on them as a way to pay homage to their friend and teammate. I can still remember Dee Gordon's leadoff home run during their next game against the Mets. The way he rounded the bases crying for Fernandez is one of the more emotional memories I can remember in sports.

After the home run, I decided to take a look at my Fernandez cards and I stumbled across this one. Nothing, in particular, struck me until I read the back caption on the card.

"As if it's the last game I'll ever pitch."

If only he knew how soon that would be.

Rest in peace to a man whose time was too short, but his impact was great. A man who changed how his team, as well as players from Cuba and even baseball, was viewed. 

Rest in peace José Delfín Fernández Gómez

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Red Sox Team Set Want List is Up

I have been working diligently over the last few days to create a start to my Red Sox team set want list.

I began with a few basic rules for myself to follow. 1. No taking from player collections unless I have more than one of that card. 2. Start with only the 2010's. 3. You must have at least 2 base cards from that set to include it on the list.

The sets on the list range from 2011-2017. There is no set from 2013 yet because I don't have many cards from that year. Once I'm able to finalize the 2010's then I will move on to the 2000's and eventually all the way back to the 50's. 

A fun part about making this list is that I got to see some names on the card that I hadn't seen in years. Does Daniel Bard, Ryan Kalish, Felix Doubrant, and Ryan Lavarnway ring a bell to any Sox fans out there? It feels like these guys were supposed to be the next big thing decades ago, but in reality, it was only 4-6 years ago.

The whole point of doing this was to improve my Red Sox collection. I've been collecting and rooting for the Red Sox since I was 3 and by doing this I am able to keep up with each team from each year and see how the franchise evolved.

There are going to be a few exceptions to this list. When I acquire new cards from the list it is up to me to either put them in the team set or in player collections if I collect that player. The decisions will be difficult, but I know I have to eventually prioritize one over the other. I just don't know which one yet.

There will also be a few exceptions to the list. No 2015 Topps or inserts, no 2016 Heritage SP's or inserts, no 2017 Heritage SP's or inserts, and no 2017 Series 1 inserts. These are all sets that I am pursuing as a whole, not as just a team set, so if you have any of these to trade the best place to look for what I need is my general want list.

But overall this is going to be a new experience in card collecting for me. I've never team collected before and I'm excited about the challenges, triumphs, spectacular, and lackluster moments. After all, it's all about the cards. 

If you have any Red Sox cards you think I may need please check out my Red Sox Team Set Want List at the top of the page. I hope you will join me on this crazy journey. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Top 5 Cards: Tony Pérez

Out of all the members of the 70's Big Red Machine team, Tony Pérez had what was probably the longest career. The 7-time All-Star and 2-time World Series Champion played illustrious 23-year career with a number of teams including the Reds, Expos, Red Sox, and Phillies. 

With the addition of the Archives card (shown above) that I acquired not too long ago, my Tony Pérez player collection has reached exactly 5 cards. Only 10% of those cards made my top 5 list, here they are.

#5 1982 Topps

People generally associate Tony Perez with the Reds, but besides Cincinnati Pérez is generally recognized with the Red Sox. Tony played 3 seasons in Beantown where he hit an okay .266 with 175 RBI'S. His 2nd Topps card with the Red Sox features Perez baserunning in his home jersey. The blue and red "hockey stick" design bleeds from the top to the bottom, and it actually goes well with the card. I wish we could see more of his face as well as a more interesting and clear background, but it's a pretty nice card besides those few flaws, and that's why it made the top 5.

#4 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen
I'm sure by now you're all tired of seeing Gypsy Queen on my blog, but let me just show one card and then I'll try to stop for a while. This card shows Tony in one of the more classic uniforms in baseball history, practicing his swing. The spotless red helmet and the smile on his face are another 2 factors that cause this card to stand out. The background is pretty standard, but it looks nice and works well with the card. It doesn't blow you away, however, it does enough to make it to #4.

#3 1984 Fleer
This top 5 list covers 3/4 teams Pérez played for and the Phillies were not to be left out. This shot from 1984 features Tony coming out of the dugout for his new team. In modern sets, this would probably an SP action variation, but not back in 1984. This is just a great photo and a card that wasn't impossible to acquire. The dugout background is pretty great, but the only reason this card didn't make the top 2 is that it lacks a certain wow factor that the last 2 cards have.

#2 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites
1967 Topps was a perfect example of making simple work, and so the recreation of Pérez's 1967 card also worked well. The major changes happened with the picture and camera quality. They enhanced the picture, big time and focused in on other elements than just the batter, while also allowing the background and fake signature to be seen. This card may look great, but it looks nothing like his actual 1967 card.
They changed the card design a lot, and I'm okay with that. I just don't understand why the team name in green suddenly became yellow, and so this small change from set to set is what prevented this from being the #1 card.

#1 1981 Topps
Rarely for top 5 card lists of retired players do I choose an original card from their playing career as the #1 card. I usually believe that modern sets do a much better job of making cards of retired players than past sets, but not in this case. This action shot of Pérez features him playing 1st base on the road with Boston and does an excellent job of it. We usually see the same shot of the player swinging the bat in every card, so this breath of fresh air and a unique picture is what landed this card the top spot on my list.