I guess you could say my not attending a card show for around a month is what drove me to go to my local baseball card show earlier today, but that's only part of it.
Having not gone to the show in just over a month, it was nice to be able to show up, talk with some of the vendors, and of course, find some cards along the way. Our conversations ranged from 1 dealer saying he saw my dad and me on TV at the Red Sox game last weekend while talking with another about the 1974 A's World Series team.
As always, I wanted to at least stop by the dime boxes today and go through them, even if it was minimal. However, it was a smaller show today and the dealer that brings the dime boxes didn't have enough table space for all of them, so I was forced to change up my plans right away.
Luckily, the case breaker at the show who I've actually gotten to know quite well had his usual selection of cards from recent and not-so-recent releases, including one of my favorite new products, 2018 Panini Chronicles. While I'd never see myself completing the massive set with over 17 brands, I can see it as a fun product to collect for the pure joy and randomness of it.
When I think about it, I can't say I've ever collected a set simply because it's a fun set. Granted, I collect and pursue multiple sets because I enjoy the design or the set themselves, but the collecting of these sets is always towards some greater goal, like adding to player collections or eventually completing the set itself. That's definitely part of what makes Chronicles a fun set for me. It's not for player collections or competition. It's simply because I enjoy the set, and that's about it.
The Anthony Rizzo is a blue ice parallel numbered to 149, the same type of parallel as the Rafael Devers card from the blaster I opened yesterday. I can't image all of their sets have the same parallels, but I bet the chrome cardstock parallels have similar parallel cards while the standard cards, like the Jose Altuve Prestige card, have their own parallel colors as well.
Though it's hard to tell when scanned, the Altuve is a gold parallel, because in 2018 all it takes to make a card a gold parallel is to have the "Prestige 2018" written in a gold font. Regardless, the card of the reigning AL MVP, numbered 36/99, cost me less than half of the price of a Target rack pack.
Though his stock has definitely fallen due to his injuries and regression, picking up this neon green Spectra parallel of Miguel Cabrera for less than a quarter of the price of a blaster box was an easy decision. This not only serves as my first Spectra card from Chronicles but also adds to my list of numbered cards from the set. After picking up the cards above at the show today, my total currently sits at 5.
While I love what I've seen of Chronicles so far, I knew I wasn't going to spend all my money on those cards. After not finding any dime bins at today's show, I went for the next best available thing.
And that would be 50-cent card bins, consisting of tons of special insert or numbered cards. The bins belonged to the same dealer as the one who was unable to bring his dime boxes so I can tell he more than made up with it by providing some stupendous 50-cent boxes.
As is typically common with dime, quarter, or 50-cent baseball card boxes, there always seems to be 1 or 2 players who seem to show up multiple times, a great deal more than any other player. As I began to look through the cards he had available, it became evident that there were 2 players that met these criteria; Pedro Martinez and Rod Carew.
The 2nd (2005 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia) and 3rd (2004 Playoff Honors) cards shown above are numbered, highlighting how great of a selection these 50-cent boxes had. While I didn't show all the Carew cards, I also found 4 cards of his, 1 of them being numbered.
Though it can be hard to find many or any oddballs when you have a small selection of around 2 2-row bins of cards, I was able to track a couple down. Coincidentally, they both happened to be of Al Kaline, who, thanks to my player collection spreadsheets that I completed a couple weeks ago, was able to surpass 50 cards with the addition of these 2 oddball cards.
Even the Kimbrel collection was able to benefit from these 50-cent bins as I discovered an X-Fractor parallel which I believe to be exclusive to Walmart mega boxes alongside the rest of the cards. Though it can be hard to pull a lot of his cards, I do think to complete the refractor rainbow from Topps Chrome, especially 2018, definitely has its benefits.
Just like I didn't want to go too crazy with Panini Chronicles, I didn't want to overdo it with the 50-cent player collection cards. As I checked out with what I had of 50-cent cards, I looked at what else the same vendor had with about $15 remaining in my card show budget.
I made 2 pickups with what I had remaining, and they easily became the best purchases of the show.
I didn't know if this Hoyt card from 2007 Topps Heritage was a bat relic or stadium seat 'till I looked a bit closer at it, but when I saw the $5 sticker on the card, it became an easy decision. As someone who appreciates stadium seat relics and Hoyt Wilhelm as a player, I know this card is pretty special. On the back, Topps reminds me that the ballpark the Orioles used to play at was called Memorial Stadium, and that's where this stadium seat relic is from.
Okay, the Wilhelm card took up $5, leaving me with $10 left if I was able to find something that caught my eye. I knew I didn't want to throw the money at just anything, but considering what I bought, I definitely don't think I did that.
Finding an original 1958 Topps Ernie Banks card for half the price of a blaster box of cards symbolizes exactly why the baseball card show is the greatest place for a collector. One of just 3 years of Topps base cards of Banks that I didn't have going into today has now been knocked off the list, for a price that absolutely shocked me, and in a good way.
With the addition of his 1958 Topps card, my Ernie Banks player collection is now only 1 card away from 100. More so than that, I am only 2 Topps base cards away from having every single one of Ernie Banks' Topps cards, only taking standard cards like the one above into account meaning no combo cards or separate All-Star cards included. Those 2 years are 1956 Topps and 1965 Topps. The '65 shouldn't be terrible. It's 1956 I'm worried about.
But I checked a huge one off the list today and for a price, no one could object to. Not only that, but I was able to get all sorts of new cards, ranging all the way from 1958-2018.
And this is what makes the sheer randomness of the baseball card show one of the best experiences any collector can truly have.