Monday, April 30, 2018

The Best Cards of the Day: Card Show Recap #8 Part 2

After sharing the highlights of my first purchase at the Shriner's show during yesterday's post, I'm picking up right where I left off by showing what I got with the rest of my money at the card show yesterday.

Like I said before, I spent a good deal of my funds when I went through those glorious 50 cent bins (I actually only made it through 5/8 rows before I stopped myself), so that took up a decent amount of my budget. I had about half of my money left, and I knew I wanted to make it count by purchasing 2 of the best types of cards in the world; vintage cards and autographed cards.

I ended up starting in a bin from the same dealer that had a bunch of $5 cards. I quickly picked out the best of the vintage baseball cards that were in that bin, which is how I ended up with my very first 1962 Post baseball card that features none other than Yogi Berra. It has a crease right by the edge of his hat which made me a little skeptical, but I knew instantly that I had to get this card for a number of reasons.

1. It's my very first 1962 Post baseball card.
2. It was only $5.
3. It's a card of arguably the best catcher to ever play the game, Yogi Berra.

I PROMISE, I'm not turning into a Yankees fan, but this 1963 Topps Roger Maris was far too good of a card to pass up since it too was just $5. Vintage Yankees cards are typically extremely hard to come by and are usually going for way higher than $5 a piece. This card, like the Yogi Berra, might not be in the best condition, but for the price and the player I got the card of, I'm in no place to complain.

I also mentioned that I bought my very first original Dennis Eckersley card on the Indians yesterday, however, I also stated it wouldn't be the last. That's because shortly after purchasing the 1978 Eckersley, I stumbled upon the Hall of Famer's rookie card from one of my favorite sets of all-time, 1976 Topps. I've seen this rookie card and the awesome-looking Indians jersey many times before, but I never thought I'd have it in hand, let alone for just $5. 

I spent $15 on vintage, so I was looking to spend about the same when I wandered over to a table with multiple stacks of autographed cards on it. When I finished shuffling through the stacks, I realized I had come up with 3 totally different cards.

The first of the 3 autographs was a really obscure one, but also an auto that I was incredibly pleased to see, especially for the price. This Vern Law autographed card is from the 2016 Topps Archives 65th Anniversary set The design chosen is 1966 Topps which is pretty perfect given how well the pink worked on Pirates cards back in the 60's and how it still, in my opinion, works very well today.

The 2nd of the 3 autos was supposed to be the last, but I ended up getting one more card. I'll explain how pretty soon. Anyway, I knew I had to get this Hanley Ramirez autograph as soon as I saw it, simply because he's one of my top 3 favorite Red Sox players along with Mookie Betts and Craig Kimbrel. It may be a sticker auto, but I easily looked past that in order to add this card to my collection. Ramirez is off to a fantastic start to the 2018 season. Hopefully, he can stay that way and play just as well as he did in 2016 and channel the Hanley that played for the Marlins.

These 2 cards added up to be $16 in total which I deemed pretty fair, so I called it a day. While I was handing the vendor my $20 bill he told me "you know these are 3 for 20 right? You're at $16 now so you can add another if you want."

Sure enough, my eyes shifted to an index card that read "$10 each or 3 for 20." I instantly become ecstatic, for I was now able to add a card I never thought I could get when I first saw the price.
This Jonathan Schoop autograph was originally priced at $30 which I thought was too much for me. However, the 3 for 20 sign ended up saving me and helped me realize that I could, in fact, include the Schoop card in my purchase. I guess it was priced incorrectly or something like that. All I know is I was able to end the show the right way by adding 3 fantastic vintage cards and 3 new autos to my collection. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Every Card Shown Was 50 Cents Each!: Card Show Recap #8

After not going to the card show for almost 2 months and not buying new cards for at least a few weeks (probably a new record for me), I am pleased to say that I attended the Shriners card show today and satisfied my need for new baseball cards.

The Shriners show only happens a couple times a year. It's a 3-day show that has tons of vendors, though there weren't all that many today as opposed to when I last went a couple years ago. The show also has autograph guests, the most notable of whom (Bill Russel and Oscar Robertson) were there on either Friday or Saturday.

Since this is only my second time at this show, I decided to wander around for quite a while before buying any cards. After walking around for about 15 minutes, I stumbled upon a vendor from the card show I usually attend. We said hi to one another before my eyes shifted his 2 for $1 bins which I would later decide were some of the best bins I've looked through in a very long time.

One of the first cards I saw was the Ken Griffey Jr. Foot Locker card. I know, I can't believe how obscure the card is either. Due to him not wearing a hat and having no logos visible on the jersey, I'm guessing Foot Locker didn't have the MLB license. But considering I'd even buy a Foot Locker baseball card in the first place, I don't think it really matters all that much to me. 

At least, in my opinion, it's hard to get super excited about 1978 Topps. The design is too simple and some of the images aren't too great. With that being said, the selection of 1978 Topps cards available in the 2 for $1 bin was exceptional and even included my first original card of Dennis Eckersley on the Indians, though you'll see in tomorrow's post that it won't be my last. I also don't have that many original Pete Rose cards, prompting me to pick up this nice card of Charlie Hustle for 2 quarters.

I also discovered a couple of highlight cards from 1978 Topps in the bin. The Lou Brock commemorates his breaking of the stolen base record while the Reggie Jackson card highlights his Yankees winning the 1977 World Series against the Dodgers. 

I continued my finding of 70's cards when I picked up a 1975 Topps Rod Carew and a Bob Gibson from '73 Topps, both cards still just 50 cents each. The Gibson isn't in the best condition since it has a couple of creases on the bottom, but the Carew is still in very good shape and I believe it is a need for me to complete the 1975 Topps set.

It was pretty ironic that I found some 2001 Topps Archives cards at the show today considering that I was just talking about the set pretty extensively in yesterday's post. The dealer had a couple of them, some of which I knew I already had. Others, like this Stan Musial from 1958 Topps, were cards I knew I could use for my player collections.

The Ernie Banks card from '01 Archives is supposed to emulate his 1954 Topps rookie card, and it does a very good job at that just as it does for the rest of the cards in the set. I didn't think I had it already, so I added it to the stack and when I got home and found it wasn't in my Ernie Banks collection, I felt proud that my memory served me well.

If we're talking the best uniforms out of all the cards I bought, then these 2 1975 SSPC cards take the prize without a doubt. The card on the left is a rare card of Frank Robinson on the Indians which suddenly makes me want to own every Frank Robinson card ever made that shows him in that red jersey. The Reggie Jackson card shows him in the eye-catching gold A's jersey with a little bit of green on it. Definitely 2 of the best cards I bought today, especially for the price of 50 cents apiece.

The 2001 Topps Combos insert set delivered one of my favorite cards ever made, but I had never seen this Mike Piazza and Josh Gibson combo card before until today. Despite only owning it for a couple hours, I've already grown to love this card and appreciate Topps for including Gibson on the card in the first place.

There were additional 2001 Topps Combos cards in the bin such as this Shortstop Supremacy card of Banks and A-Rod. Granted, neither played shortstop for their whole career, but the idea behind the card is very cool and it was executed very well.

Xander Bogaerts came back from his injury on Friday, so I thought I'd celebrate by purchasing a couple Xander cards at the show today. The one on the left is his rookie card from 2014 Bowman while the one on the right is from just a year earlier, but shows X-Man as a prospect.

I later turned my attention to a couple of 2017 Topps Gallery inserts that I was unable to pull in packs last year. The Ken Griffey Jr. is from Hall of Fame Gallery while the Correa is a Masterpiece insert that I noted before strongly resembles the Donruss Diamond Kings cards from the 80's.

I was even able to pick up this New Age Performer card of Joe Votto to my collection. Unfortunately, I later discovered I already had this insert, so I suppose it'll go to the Joey Votto collection unless anybody needs this insert for their Reds or 2018 Heritage collection.

As I began to accumulate a very large stack of cards, I decided to do a quick count and found myself 50 cents under $30 bucks, meaning I had 1 card left to get in order to reach a fair total for the first and biggest purchase of the show. I looked for a couple of minutes before finding this Derek Jeter card which is numbered 24/25 on the back. I believe it's from the 2005 Leafsportcasters set, a set that can get very complicated. Especially when it comes to the different colors on top and the different positions in the little square in the top right of the card.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Old Archives vs New Archives

Topps has had a couple different editions of the Archives set, both of which heavily vary from one another. The first set began in 2001 and only lasted a couple of years while the revived Archives set debuted in 2012 and has been released each year since then. 

Personally, I don't have one that I like all that much over the other simply because of how they are quite different from each other. Today, I'm going to explain the differences between the first edition of Topps Archives and the one we see released nowadays. 

The major difference between the 2 Archives sets are the sets Topps chooses to include in the set. The first edition wasn't just limited to 3 or 4 sets, but rather, all of the Topps Flagship sets they wanted to use. Take 2001 Archives, for example, this set includes cards from (I believe) every year of Topps up until, well, 2001. The vintage cards from the 60's as well as 80's cards are the most prominent while the 50's and 70's don't fall too far behind, and rightfully so. No one buys Topps Archives to see junk wax 90's cards, they want to see vintage.

On the contrary, the newer edition of Topps Archives set usually has 3 different sets that all consist of 100 cards. This adds up to 300 cards, which is also the average number of cards in a base-heavy non-flagship set like Archives, Gypsy Queen, Stadium Club, and Allen & Ginter. The set size highlights yet another difference between the 2 sets. The '01 Archives set was released in 2 series of 225 cards each, creating a 450-card set, much larger than today's Archives sets.

One of my favorite details from the first Archives sets is the gold Archives stamp placed on each and every card. The first Archives cards were meant to recreate classic and iconic cards from the last 50 years of Topps. For example, this 1985 Topps card of Bob Watson looks just like the original 1985 Topps Bob Watson card.

See what I mean? 

I find this detail pretty interesting if nothing else. However, after a while it kind of makes me think "why bother collecting this set if all the cards look just like the originals?" It kind of defeats the point of the set. However, the inclusion of all past players in the set (unless they were still lingering around in 2001 and 2002) makes up choosing the same photos as the ones on the original cards.

As for today's Archives sets, the only stamped cards are the Fan-Favorites autos. The stamps don't show up super well when scanned, but the stamp just shows that this is an Archives Fan-Favorite auto, the major autograph set within Archives. I pulled this Jose Vizcaino auto out of a box of 2016 Archives, and I still have no clue who this guy is. It's cards like this that make me apprehensive about buying an Archives hobby box. I don't want to pay $100+ dollars to get autos of guys like this. Unless I can find some Astros super-fan or some Jose Vizcaino enthusiast to trade for this card. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Top 10 Players 25 and Under Part 2

Yesterday, I began the first of 2 posts in which I talked about the top 10 players ages 25 and under. I discussed 10-6 yesterday, which means it's time for me to talk about players at spots 5-1 today.

I chose the age 25 because of how talented all these players have already become despite not even reaching the age considered "prime" quite yet. In today's game, players are becoming stars way faster than they did in the past. These guys are emerging as prospects younger, making All-Star appearances at a younger age, and are becoming the best of the best on their teams and at their positions with a solid 10-15 years left in each of their careers if all goes well.

The players I chose to make the top five have appeared in a combined 13 All-Star games. Again, all before any of these guys have turned 26 years old. Now, to finish up the list, here are my top 5 players in baseball ages 25 and under.

#5 Corey Seager
Seager came out swinging during his rookie season back in 2016, and his bat has never quite settled down since then. The 2016 NL Rookie of the Year was elected to the All-Star team and named a Silver Slugger in each of his first 2 seasons. He even finished in the top 3 of the 2016 NL MVP voting, trailing only Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Unbeknownst to me until I checked just now, Seager is celebrating his 24th birthday today just as Aaron Judge celebrated his 26th yesterday. He's been in the league for 2 full years now and in my opinion, is getting ready to make another push at the MVP award this year.

#4 Carlos Correa
Other than the fact that Correa has played 1 season more than Seager, these 2 are not too different. They're both key franchise pieces who have been bringing power at shortstop, they are both Rookie o the Year award winners, and they both faced off in the Fall Classic last year. However, it was Correa helping to lead the Astros to victory in the World Series that convinced me to put him higher than Seager on the list. Nevertheless, these 2 are very evenly matched and are both superstar players as well as 2 of the best shortstops of the game. Therefore, I'm definitely expecting to see these 2 go back and forth for years to become baseball's best 5-tool player.

#3 Mookie Betts
As much as I wanted to put Mookie higher on the list, he simply does not have the experience that my top 2 picks have. But for the years that Betts has been around, he has established himself as a possible top 10 or even one of the top 5 players in baseball, he just hasn't played enough to move higher up on this list. Mookie has proven time and time again that he is the definition of a multi-tool player. He can power-hit, contact-hit, he has speed, he's an exceptional fielder, and he's incredibly versatile in terms of where he can bat in the lineup, though the Sox seem content with him leading off, and I absolutely agree with that. There's a reason Buck Showalter called him the "best right fielder I've ever seen," a true testament to the unbelievable talent Mookie possesses.

#2 Manny Machado
I'm not exactly sure who I would call the best defensive player in baseball, but I do know the Manny Machado would have to be in the discussion and would likely end up in the top 3. His superb defense has been compared to Brooks Robinson and not just because he too is an Orioles 3rd baseman. Over the last 3 years, Manny has crushed over 30 home runs in each season while (mostly) maintaining an exceptional batting average in each of those years. He'll be playing even harder this season, because he will become a free-agent once the year is over, and if he continues to impress people with his defensive and offensive abilities, his contract size could rival the contract the player at #1 is expected to get.

#1 Bryce Harper
I had to check multiple sources to confirm that Bryce Harper is still, in fact, only 25 years old. He's been playing since 2012 and has 6 full seasons under his belt with his age-25 and most important year being 2018. The 2015 NL MVP winner has been one of the faces of baseball (along with Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw) since he came up back in 2012 and just like Machado, he will be a free-agent after this year. I personally wouldn't give Harper a massive contract due to his less than spectacular seasons (case and point, 2016), but I know there will be many teams in the Harper sweepstakes. Still, he's one of baseball's best, whether we like it or not, and he certainly deserves the #1 spot.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Top 10 Players 25 and Under Part 1

Today is April 26th also known as Aaron Judge's birthday. You probably already know this because MLB and Topps are making sure you do by flooding your twitter feed or internet browser with all sorts of highlights about Aaron Judge on his special day. But if you ask me, turning 26 isn't all that great for Judge. He's only played 1 full season yet is past the years where he'd be considered a young superstar. Don't get me wrong, he's still an incredible athlete, but considering many articles about young MLB superstars focus on players 25 and younger, Judge is officially out of that discussion.

Because today is Judge's birthday, I decided to begin my list of the top 10 players 25 and younger. He won't be able to be included on this list since that he is now 26, so I won't have to hear it from some Yankees fan that I put him below Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

I'll announce players 10-6 during today's post and I'll finish up the list with spots 5-1 tomorrow. Every age is done as of today so as long as the player is 25 or younger right now, they're eligible to make the list.

#10 Andrew Benintendi
If I had done this post a day ago, Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi would've had to be left off the list in order for Aaron Judge to be included. Now, the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up has a spot of his own, and rightfully so after hitting a respectable .290 with 20 homers and 90 RBI last season. Benny isn't hitting that well to start the 2018 season, but he has driven in 13 runs so there's something to be said for that. Better yet, he's still just 23 and won't be turning 24 until July which means he's still young enough to improve in certain categories for the rest of his career.

#9 Cody Bellinger
Like Benintendi, Cody Bellinger's #1 area for improvement would have to be his batting average. If Bellinger can bring it up to around .280 and maintain the power-hitting he showed last season, then Bellinger could find his name on a plaque in Cooperstown in around 20-25 years. The 2017 NL Rookie of the Year went back and forth with Aaron Judge last season to see who the best rookie was. Judge's contact hitting is quite better than Cody's at this particular moment, but Bellinger also understands what he needs to do in order to hit well and hit the ball hard. His sophomore season will truly be a test of his skills. Can he rise to the occasion, or will he join the long list of players who had a couple of good seasons, but nothing more?

#8 Gary Sanchez
Gary Sanchez has barely had 750 at-bats yet has already hit 58 home runs and 150 RBI while maintaining a .275 average despite some hitting struggles to start the 2018 season. If those stats don't scream "slugger" and "incredible hitter" than I don't know what do, and I don't even like the Yankees at all. Sanchez has established himself as one of baseball's most talented catchers and has done a very good job behind the plate for the Yankees since being called up in 2016. The Yankees have him bat cleanup quite regularly as well, a testament to his ability considering Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge are also in that lineup. He's quite a talented player and is definitely a part of the Yankees' future. But, a major issue with catchers is staying healthy, so we'll have to wait and see.

#7 Luis Severino
At just 24 years of age, Luis Severino is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and has only intensified the Red Sox vs Yankees rivalry thanks to his numerous pitcher's duals with Red Sox ace Chris Sale. He struggled heavily throughout the 2016 season, but had a bounce-back year last year, even making the All-Star game and finishing 3rd in the AL Cy Young voting. Severino also looks poised for another good year in 2018 which is good news for the Yankees. I think even they are aware that no matter how much power you have, pitching is absolutely necessary and Severino is their guy. 

#6 Francisco Lindor
Lindor officially became a power-hitter in 2017 by blasting 33 homers which are more than he had in 2015 and 2016 combined. He took a slight dip in batting average but improved in nearly every other category including doubles, RBI, SLG percentage, and OPS. He's become a magnificent defensive player and also is a fantastic base-runner despite not stealing bases all too often. Unfortunately, other shortstops like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager narrowly beat out Lindor to sneak into the top 5. But if Francisco has the MVP caliber season in 2018 that I know he can have, he'll easily beat out one (or both) of them on this list. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Frankenset Page 5 Plus 200th Post Giveaway Results!

After announcing my 200th post giveaway a week ago, it's finally time for me to announce the winner who will receive a stack of 50 cards that includes some vintage as well as a relic or autograph from the favorite team of the person who is last on the list, just to spread the wealth a bit.

However, before I announce the winner of the contest, I thought I'd show my 5th frankenset page before officially randomly selecting the winner at 6:00 PM ET.

I've been posting about 1 frankenset page a week and I have to say, I've really enjoyed these posts quite a bit. I've mentioned this before, but I created this set around a year ago by choosing some of my favorite cards of players I don't collect to make the set. At the time, I paid a lot of attention to the cards, but I haven't looked at this set in a while. Therefore, I don't remember every single card I chose which makes looking through the pages and posting them all the more exciting.

Now, before I announce the giveaway winner, here's my 5th frankenset page.

#37 1974 Topps Dave Sells
Some 1970's uniforms (Angels and Cubs, just to name a few) had the players' number on the front of the jersey for a couple years or so. I personally really liked these quite a lot and wouldn't mind seeing them on jerseys today given how repetitive they can be, especially the road jerseys with just a simple city name on them. Just think how much more interesting they'd be if they looked like this.

#38 2002 Donruss Gary Sheffield
This is a relatively intricate design considering it's just a simple Donruss base set and nothing more. I could do without 4 blue and red baseball diamonds, one in each corner. But I do like the faint grey pinstripes that serve as the card's border.

#39 2010 Topps National Chicle Michael Young
If I could pick any discontinued Topps set to be revived, it would be 2010 Topps National Chicle. It was like a more interesting version of Topps Gallery with far more interesting backgrounds and well-chosen colors for every card.

#40 2016 Leaf Babe Ruth Collection
I included a Babe Ruth collection card on one of the earlier pages as well. This card shows Ruth chatting with fans before the game and maybe even signing a priceless autograph to change some young fan's life. That is if they hung on to it for a while.

#41 2011 Topps Chrome Refractor Danny Valencia
Since I can never seem to stop pulling his cards, I've decided to let my frankensets become a safe-haven for all Danny Valencia cards. Even though it seems he's been around for far, far too long, he will no longer be an outcast. Especially if the cards of him are as shiny as this one. You gotta just love refractors, am I right?

#42 1977 Topps Jose Cruz
My favorite uniforms in all of baseball history were shown on the backs of multiple Astros players in the 1977 Topps set. This included Jose Cruz, who could possibly win the award for one of the best Astros cards ever made. Awesome batting stance? Check. Best uniform ever? Check. Dugout in the background? Check. Pink team name color? Check. What else does one need?

#43 1999 Fleer Mystique Rondell White Gold
I'm pretty sure this is the gold parallel, though it's hard to tell given the pictures of this card on COMC. Anyway, I think from now on, one card per page should be of an Expos player. Not just to keep the team as alive as possible, but because Expos cards are freaking awesome.

#44 1977 Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars
Long before he was a slightly irritating color commentator for the Boston Red Sox TV station, NESN, Jerry Remy was a star second baseman for the Angels and eventually with the Red Sox as well. He may not be my favorite guy in the world, but an opportunity to put 3D cards in the frankenset will be taken advantage of.

#45 1974 Topps Dave Johnson
Look at me! 4 1970's cards on one page and I'm breaking free from my 2010's baseball card overhaul (not really, but I'm trying). We end with Dave Johnson whose 1974 season was his 2nd and final with the Atlanta Braves.

And now, the moment (most) of you have been waiting for. The winner of the 200th post giveaway.

As I included in the post. I am going to randomize this list 5 times at 6:00 PM ET. Whoever is at the top of the list will receive the stack of 50 cards while the person listed last will receive a relic card or autograph from their favorite team.

I just randomized the list 5 times. Below are the results.

Congratulations to Mark Hoyle who has won the stack of 50 cards as well as Matt Stupienski who will receive a relic or auto from the team he chooses (just let me know which team, Matt and I'll send your package as well as Mark's out soon. If you could both email your addresses to I'll be able to get your packages out later this week).

Finally, thank you all once again for sticking with me for 200+ posts. I look forward to doing another giveaway at possibly the 1 year anniversary of the blog on August 12th.

Until the, expect posts to come out almost daily and once again, thank you all for the views, commentes, trades, and support.