Thursday, January 31, 2019

Frankenset Page #39

Year after year, Topps never fails to get me excited about Series 1 release day, even though the product will likely be available on retail and card shop shelves for months to come.

The last few years, in particular, have seen an increase in the number of products that I purchase, both retail and hobby boxes, and it always starts with the first release of the year, Topps Series 1. 

I know I shouldn't be getting so excited over the Flagship design, but there's something exciting about getting my hands on this years' first Baseball card set that causes me to hunt down a blaster box or 2 of Series 1 time and time again.

This year, for the first time since 2015, the Topps Flagship set has borders, and although I feared I wouldn't like it at first, I've grown more fond of the set as I've seen fellow bloggers and YouTubers break open some packs. 

I'll finally have some time on my hands this Friday, so I'll likely be getting my first in-person look at the set tomorrow. However, after learning that a Series 1 hobby box at my LCS is equal to the price of 3 blasters, I may spring for my first-ever Flagship hobby box, featuring a silver pack of 1984 chrome cards, instead.

Moving onto the frankenset which is now over halfway finished as I get ready to show off the cards on page #39. As I continue to progress through the binder, a series of posts that I've had a ton of fun with, I intend to put the finishing touches on my 2nd frankenset so I can have another binder ready to go for when I complete the 1st frankenset series. 

It's time for me to get started with page #39, featuring cards #343-351 of my frankenset.

#343 1973 Topps Bobby Murcer Boyhood Photos of the Stars
Topps included these Boyhood Photos of the Stars cards in their Flagship sets for a few years, including the 1972 Topps set which I have completed. If nothing else, seeing childhood pictures of 70s greats like Bobby Murcer is really interesting, but I don't really know who else, besides Murcer, is featured in the 1973 Topps subset. 

#344 1967 Topps Ossie Chavarria
The brightly-colored uniforms and light blue Athletics team name helps make this classic 1967 Topps card of infielder Ossie Chavarria one of my favorite Oakland Athletics cards of all-time. Even by the 60s standards, very few cards featured as much color as the one above. However, I don't feel it's overwhelming or taking away from the rest of the card.

#345 1992 Fleer Ultra Alex Cole
Like a number of cards that I talk about when writing these frankenset posts, I think this Alex Cole card from 1992 Fleer Ultra was a space-filler after I struggled to find another card for spot #345. Don't get me wrong, as far as 90s cards go, it's not a bad effort, but compared to the other cards on this page, the '92 Fleer Ultra doesn't really stand out.

#346 2015 Topps Heritage Jurickson Profar
It wasn't too long ago when Jurickson Profar was supposed to be one of the league's best young star players. Flash forward to 2019 and Profar has been traded from the Rangers, where he couldn't make it big, to the Oakland A's. 

Something tells me that Oakland, coming off a 97-win season, is going to turn Profar into a much better player.

#347 1981 Topps Harold Baines
This would have to be one of the more memorable cards of recent Hall of Fame inductee Harold Baines in my entire collection. Also, I know the announcement came over a month ago, but it still feels slightly odd to refer to 6-time All-Star as a Hall of Famer. Regardless, it's good for the White Sox to have another player in Cooperstown.

#348 1979 Topps Andre Dawson
This is one of my favorite cards of Hawk, combined with one of my favorite Topps sets of the entire 1970s decade. The retro-style Baseball with the Topps logo looks awesome, but it's the powder blue Expos jersey and the sheer awesomeness of the card that draws me in. Dawson had a lot of awesome cards produced over the course of his career, and this one is certainly near the top.

#349 1957 Topps Nellie King
Even with the simplicity of the 1957 Topps design, this card of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Nellie King will have to go down as my favorite card of the entire page. The background features a surplus of empty stadium seats, likely before a game during practice, but it's the different-colored fonts that give this card a true 60s feel.

#350 1991 Topps Glenn Davis
I don't know if the Astros have worn these 90s uniforms as throwback jerseys over the last few years. While it may seem odd to wear throwback uniforms that were worn just over 20 years ago, it would be cool to see the Astros' superstars of today like Jose Altuve and George Springer wearing the iconic uniforms that Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell wore first.

#351 1999 Topps Chrome Carlos Guillen
Even with the chrome cardstock not being as high-quality as it is today, this 1999 Topps Chrome card of Carlos Guillen is a nice way to end off the page. On this card, I really like the picture, especially the background. The darkish tinge to the card makes it hard to see what ballpark is showcased behind Guillen, though it looks to me like either the White Sox or Athletics' home stadiums.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

My Top 10 Boston Red Sox Cards

Just because one particular team is your favorite doesn't necessarily mean that you're destined to pull countless cards featuring members of that team from packs. I've certainly learned this lesson over the years, for even though the Red Sox have always been my favorite team when I pull a special card or open a blaster box, I don't usually end up with many Red Sox cards.

The Chicago Cubs, my 2nd favorite team, is likely the team that I've pulled the best cards of as well as the team that I see show up the most in my pack openings. Other teams include the Angels and Cardinals, teams that always seem to show up in my pack breaks, whether it be the hits or base cards.

Therefore, because I often find myself not pulling as many Red Sox cards as I would like, I attempt to compensate for that through the Baseball card show or the internet. I'm always buying or trading for new Red Sox cards to boost my collection.

Over the years, I've accumulated a few thousand Sox cards, though the exact total is unknown as of now. Once I figure out a way to organize my non-player collection Sox cards, I could definitely see myself having a completed and up-to-date inventory.

As the title suggests, this post is dedicated to the top 10 Red Sox cards in my collection, not necessarily my favorite 10, a subject I could save for the future. Moreover, only 2 of the cards on this list were actually pulled from packs, and I'll make sure to point out which ones when they come up.

#10 2018 Topps Now World Series Champions Ian Kinsler Blue Auto
At the time, I wasn't too thrilled that my 20-card exclusive set commemorating the 2018 World Champion Boston Red Sox landed me an Ian Kinsler autograph. However, over time, the encased autograph has become a nice addition to my Red Sox collection. Not only is it numbered out of 49 copies, but the card is still an auto of a member of the World Champion team, even if Kinsler was a midseason acquisition.  

#9 1964 Topps Carl Yastrzemski
Aside from another card that you'll see later on this list, my 1964 Topps card is my only other vintage base card of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski. While I have no shortage of league leaders and All-Star cards, I didn't have an original Yaz base card until I picked up this one at last years' National if my memory serves me right. The condition, especially the surface, isn't perfect, but that didn't affect the card's placement on this list.

#8 1959 Fleer Ted Williams Cards
I kind of cheated on this countdown by grouping all 20 or so of my 1959 Fleer Ted Williams cards into 1 spot, but that's only because there's no one card that I like more than all the others. I currently have roughly 25% of the set complete, and it will truly be an incredible accomplishment the day I finish piecing the set together. With cards like the one above, the 1959 Fleer Ted Williams set is truly a near-masterpiece.

#7 1975 Topps Fred Lynn and Jim Rice
Both Jim Rice and Fred Lynn's 1975 Topps rookie stars cards seem so synonymous with one another which is a major reason why I grouped the 2 cards together for the #7 spot on my list. Both Red Sox icons came up in 1975 and played tremendous roles on one of the greatest Sox teams of all-time, despite eventually falling short in the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

#6 2017 Topps Heritage Andrew Benintendi Rookie SP Variation
Graded at an 8.5 solely because of its poor centering, this SP variation is one of the 2 cards on this list that I actually pulled from a pack back before I began blogging. 

The rookie cards in Topps Heritage almost always feature 2 or 3 players on a rookie stars card, but there are additional rookie variations in which some players get there own Heritage rookie card. I pulled Benintendi's card after he came up in the summer of 2016 and have held onto it ever since. If only the centering had been right then I could really have a valuable card on my hands.

#5 2018 Topps Triple Threads Chris Sale Relic
I picked up my very first Triple Threads relic that included spelled out words towards the end of last year at my LCS. For the price of a blaster box, I grabbed this awesome Chris Sale 4-color relic card that spells out "Locked In" in all 4 Red Sox colors, grey, white, blue, and red. Better yet, because the card is a gold parallel, it's serial numbered 3/9 in the top righthand corner.

#4 2010 Topps Triple Threads Carlton Fisk Relic
Fisk's 2010 Topps Triple Threads relic card is the most recently-acquired card to make it onto my list as I picked it up just over a week ago at the MLK Mansfield card show. I'm not sure if there's a specific name for these Triple Threads relics that spell out certain words or stats, but one look at this card affirms why the Topps Triple Threads brand is known for creating beautiful relic cards just like this one.

#3 2014 Topps Chrome Update Mookie Betts
The final 3 cards on this list are all rookie cards featuring some of the most talented Red Sox players of all-time. Coming in 3rd is a card that I pulled out of a repack back in early 2017, a Mookie Betts rookie card, my only one to-date, from the 2014 Topps Chrome Update set. 

This isn't the only bit of luck that I've had with the Fairfield 20-pack Baseball repacks as I've also landed a Zack Greinke relic card and a Kris Bryant Topps rookie card out of them as well. It's just a shame that it's been almost 2 years since I've spotted one of those Baseball 20-pack repacks at my local Target.

#2 1972 Topps Carlton Fisk
There were a couple of expensive cards that I didn't need to worry about finding while I was putting together the 1972 Topps set since my Dad had pulled some of them back in '72 when the set was released. One of these cards was Carlton Fisk's awesome rookie card, featuring the green color used for almost every Red Sox card in the set. As far as rookie stars cards go, this has to be one of the most iconic ones of all-time.

#1 1961 Topps Carl Yastrzemski
I know it's not Yastrzemski's true rookie card, but vintage, in my eyes, will always prevail and make it to the top. Regardless of whether it's Yastrzemski's actual rookie card because of his 1960 card, this is still one of the oldest Red Sox cards in my collection, and, like the Fisk rookie, the 1961 Yaz card checks a major card off my want list for the 1961 Topps set that I'm putting together.

Who knows, maybe 2019 will be the year when I pull an insane Red Sox card to make up for years of missing out, or maybe I'll have to keep on buying or trading for most of the cards on this list. 

Personally, I don't really care too much, because this list has affirmed that I've accumulated some awesome Sox cards and that it doesn't matter how I get them.

Monday, January 28, 2019

My Initial Thoughts on 2019 Topps

With the release date of Series 1 just 2 days away, the 2019 Baseball card collecting season is almost underway, bringing with it a wave of new set designs, including Topps' most popular set, Series 1.

I usually stay away from Series 2 because it's released around the same time as preferred products such as Allen & Ginter and Stadium Club, but Series 1 is a completely different story. After going roughly 2 months without an affordable product being released, Topps kicks off the new collecting year with a product that has continuously featured a wide variety of base cards, inserts, and parallels.

I can't say for sure what I think of the set design until I have the cards in person, but the product certainly appears to be better than 2016 and 2017 and if nothing else, more exciting than 2018 Topps. 

The team name and position are a bit too small for me, and I'm not too crazy about the players' last name being above their first name. It just doesn't make sense. However, a preview of card #1, Ronald Acuña Jr, on Topps' Instagram, revealed that the card backs could feature a career's worth of stats, not just from the past few seasons.

First and foremost, borders are (half) back. With a design fairly reminiscent of the 1982 Topps set, the borders cover roughly half of the card. Thanks to the return of borders for the first time since 2015, we're able to have much better parallels for not just Topps Flagship, but Topps Chrome as well.

One of my major issues with 2018 Topps was how the parallels and refractors seemed to block almost the entire background on every card. This time, it looks as if the parallels are designed so they don't take anything away from the rest of the card.

One of the major promotions that Topps appears to be running in 2019 is the 150th anniversary of Professional Baseball. With Aaron Judge and Babe Ruth sharing the cover of Series 1, Topps seems to be bridging the gap between old and new with the Series 1 set. 

I'm not sure if the gold stamp and the gold Topps logo are the only differences between the 150th-anniversary parallels and the base cards, but I am certain that Topps will have to do better in order for me to be impressed with their efforts in this product.

Side note, but I'm really excited about ballparks being included within the 2019 Topps base checklist. This idea was tested out in the 2018 Topps Big League set, and I was instantly a big fan since it's been far too long without ballpark cards in sets. Forget some random rookie pitcher from the Padres, let's see a card of Wrigley Field for a change.

For the 3rd year in a row, Topps will be featuring another one of their previous sets, once again from the 1980s, as a giant insert set that will likely be stretched out across Series 1, Series 2, Chrome, and Update. 

I didn't have a problem with 1987 Topps going into 2017 nor did I with 1983 Topps last season, but something about the redundant and unnecessarily-large insert sets took away from my enjoyment of the original product. Hopefully, Topps doesn't ruin the incredible product that is 1984 Topps for me in their 2019 sets.

I don't really know anything about some of Topps' Series 1 insert sets like Greatness Returns, but I'm just happy that we're finally rid of Topps Salute. As if 1 giant, continuous insert set wasn't enough, Topps Salute featured mediocre designs and truly lacked personality. I'll take a few of these smaller insert sets over a gigantic Salute set any day of the week.
As I previously stated, Topps' main promotion for their 2019 Series 1 set is the 150th anniversary of Professional Baseball. In addition to the 150th-anniversary parallels, there's a humongous, 150-card insert set that's divided into 3 groups, featuring the Greatest Moments, Greatest Players, and the Greatest Seasons in MLB history.

Based on the brief glance I took at the insert set, it appears to feature a ton of Red Sox and Yankees players. Shocking, I know. I'm not sure if each of the cards will look like the Greatest Moments Jackie Robinson card above, but I'm more excited for the card backs and what's being said about the moment, player, or season rather than the insert set design.

New releases are always fun, but when it's Topps Series 1, the first set of the year, there's an added sense of excitement. With only 2 days to go until release day, I'm excited to see what these cards end up looking like in-person before I can truly assess what I think of 2019 Topps.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Top 5 Cards; Mariano Rivera

I must admit, I was fairly surprised to see Mariano Rivera elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 100% of the total votes. This made him the first unanimous inductee in Hall of Fame history.

Nothing against Mo, but we've seen legends like Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr. and all-time greats like Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth fall short of receiving 100% of the votes. 

The Hall has been reluctant to induct relievers on the first ballot, hence why guys like Trevor Hoffman and Goose Gossage weren't elected into Cooperstown right away.

However, all the past reluctance to elect relievers and closers into Cooperstown was eradicated last Tuesday when Rivera made history. 

Some are saying that it couldn't have happened to a better guy, although it should have happened before. I suppose I agree with that as I have nothing bad to say about the 13-time All-Star.

As far as my player collections go, Rivera is near the top with a current grand total of exactly 80 cards. I always seem to bring back some Rivera cards from each one of my trips to the Baseball card show, so I'm feeling pretty confident that his player collection will reach the 100-card mark sometime this year.

Now, here are my 5 favorite cards of the greatest relief pitcher of all-time.

#5 2012 Topps All-Time Saves Leader
I really do love cards like this, featuring photos tributes or gifts being given to certain exceptional players. David Ortiz has a card similar to this from 2017 Topps Stadium Club, but it's Rivera's framed piece entitled "Best Ever" that caught my eye along with 4 other cards. It was designed to commemorate Rivera becoming the all-time saves leader, and it was awesome to see Topps include the card as part of the 2012 Series 1 set. 

#4 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee
Although I usually include refractors or parallel cards in my top 5 cards post, I unintentionally took a different approach to Mariano Rivera's list. I saw myself drawn towards more simple cards such as the one above from 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee set. The landscape-style cards usually work well for photos of pitchers, but this photo, combined with the retro color combination, is an absolute standout.

#3 1997 Bowman
Even for a Yankees player, the black and red color combination of the 1997 Bowman set looks pretty awesome. Seriously, what's there not to like about black-bordered cards? Along with the majority of Rivera cards, this one, in particular, shows the Hall of Fame inductee smiling while getting ready to throw his pitch. Throughout his career, Rivera was one of the most well-respected players in the game, and he always seemed to have a smile on his face as well.

#2 2006 Topps Heritage
This is what I mean by how much I was drawn towards simple cards for my top 5 cards post for Mariano Rivera. Even though the 1957 Topps set is quite possibly the most basic set in Topps history, Topps created a near masterpiece with Rivera's card, even having it be #42 in the set. Of course, the Yankees' home uniform is a must, and yet again, Rivera's smile makes an appearance on yet another card on the list.

#1 2014 Topps
At this point, I think I have like 3 copies of this card, maybe more. For good reason, though, because this has to be one of the most iconic cards of the entire decade thus far. After his retirement in following the 2013 season, Topps, similar to what they've done for Derek Jeter and David Ortiz, produced one last Flagship card of Mariano Rivera.

What they were able to create was a perfect card, and that's not a word I use too often. Even being a Red Sox fan and having to watch Rivera shut down the Red Sox time and time again, I'd be willing to pay good money for a parallel of this card, even if it wasn't numbered. 

That's how fabulous Rivera's 2014 Topps card truly is.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Frankenset Page #38

On Tuesday, 4 more talented individuals joined Lee Smith and Harold Baines as the members of the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame Class. Before I share my thoughts, congratulations to Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Roy Halladay (RIP), and of course, the first-ever unanimous selection, Mariano Rivera.

This year's HOF class is definitely pitching heavy with 4 pitchers, including 2 relievers being elected. Rivera being a unanimous decision is surprising, especially when you consider that Ken Griffey Jr. was 3 votes away from that mark back in 2016. Seriously, I would love to hear a justified reason for not voting "The Kid" into Cooperstown.

Better yet, it took Trevor Hoffman, arguably the 2nd best reliever of all-time, 3 years to make it into Cooperstown. While Rivera has certainly earned his place in the Hall, it was surprising to see him be the first unanimous inductee.

As for Martinez and Halladay, both of them were included on my 2019 Hall of Fame ballot. One of the most dominant pitchers of the 21st century and one of the 90s' most feared hitters, I'm thrilled to see both Doc and Edgar be elected into Cooperstown. 

Martinez along with Tim Raines being elected on their final years of eligibility also gives me hope that Todd Helton will be elected someday, having debuted on the ballot with just 16.5% of the votes.

The only inductee I'm struggling to agree with is Mike Mussina. On his 6th year of eligibility, Mussina received roughly 76% of the votes, including a pretty large jump from last year to 2019. 

However, with only 1 20-win season, his final year, under the 5-time All-Star's belt, his numbers don't exactly blow me away. His career 3.68 ERA is fine, but it doesn't exactly scream Hall of Fame. I suppose his 2,813 strikeouts help his cause but keep in mind that number is through over 3,500 innings pitched.

I could talk about the Hall of Fame class for much longer, but I'm going to move onto the 38th page of my frankenset now. This page includes cards #334-342.

#334 2014 Topps Heritage Alcides Escobar
A true test of how good a Topps Heritage set recreates the original product is having not just the set design, but the pictures resemble something you'd see in the older set. 

1965 Topps featured a lot of headshots rather than action images or photos of that sort, so I must give Topps credit for the image they used for this card as well as the ability to use a nice retro color combination for a team like the Royals who weren't around back in 1965.

#335 2008 Topps Heritage Brandon Phillips
It'll be a shame once I reach the mid-400s of my frankenset, for there will be little to no Topps Heritage cards remaining. I always count on there at least one of them on any given page, and with cards like the Escobar and Phillips, it's easy to see why Topps Heritage is my favorite set year after year.

#336 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Ivan Nova
Even with my dislike for the Yankees, I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing crisp and bright Yankee home jerseys with pinstripes on cardboard. The Yankees' home uniforms are one of the most recognizable uniforms in all of the American sports, hence why I collect so many Yankees players like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

#337 2016 Topps Heritage Yordano Ventura
It's been roughly 2 years since the Baseball world lost Yordano Ventura to a tragic car accident in the Dominican Republic. He was such a key part of the 2015 Royals World Series team, and I fondly remember Edinson Volquez's no-hitter back in 2017 which he dedicated to Ventura, his former teammate. 


#338 1986 Topps Jorge Bell
When you have a set as large as 1986 Topps, 792 cards to be exact, it's almost necessary to have some untraditional photos that aren't necessarily taken on a Baseball field. That's what makes this Jorge Bell card so cool, along with the slightly sideways Blue Jays cap that he has on and the awesome Blue Jays uniform from the mid-1980s.

#339 1984 Topps Roy Lee Jackson
Speaking of the cool Blue Jays uniforms from the 80s, here they are once again, this time in the 1984 Topps set. Roy Lee Jackson's card, along with Jorge Bell's, is predominantly blue. Even the Blue Jays' pitchers' pants seem to be a light shade of blue along with the uniform, seats, player name, and team name throughout the card.

#340 2010 Topps John Buck
I didn't even realize until I started this blog post that I have 3 straight Toronto Blue Jays cards on my 38th frankenset page, but at least I made some good choices. I love seeing action shots of catchers make it onto Baseball cards which is the main reason why a lesser-known player like John Buck made the cut for this page.

#341 1983 Topps Doug DeCinces
In one way or another, Topps' methods of overproduction can be a blessing in addition to a curse. For example, 1983 Topps has always been a very underrated set, but after Topps chose to include the product as an insert set throughout 2018 Topps Series 1, 2, and Update, myself along with all sorts of collectors were able to become more familiar with the greatest Flagship set of the 1980s.

#342 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen B.J. Upton
While we've all been waiting to see where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado end up, MLB has taken the time to inform us of other, less exciting news. For instance, apparently, Melvin Upton Jr, formally B.J. Upton, has changed his first name back to B.J. 

Side note; I really do like this card. I just wish MLB free agency was a little more exciting during these cold, New England months.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Major Kimbrel Collection Addition From The Collector

I've been "super" collecting current free agent closer Craig Kimbrel for a little over a year now. Although my Craig Kimbrel player collection isn't the largest out of all the guys I collect, a grand total of 117 cards is not too shabby for a guy who isn't included in every Baseball card product. 

Not to mention, the player collection total was hovering around 30 cards just over a year ago.

I usually stay away from describing my Craig Kimbrel player collection as a "super collection" for a number of reasons. First and foremost, although it qualifies as a Gold Tier player collection through the system I organized, my Kimbrel player collection is far from my largest PC, although doubles are uniquely excluded from the Kimbrel Collection.

Moreover, with all the different players, sets, and cards that I collect, classifying my Kimbrel PC as a super collection would indicate that it's the primary focus of my collection. While I'm always on the hunt for new Kimbrel cards, I can't see myself prioritizing the Craig Kimbrel collection over everything else that I collect.

With that being said, I'm always looking to add new Kimbrel cards to my collection, and I was able to get my hands on an awesome new card courtesy of Chris of The Collector. Before I get to the Kimbrel card, I'll also show a few of the Red Sox singles that he sent my way.

The very thin and flimsy cardstock of each of these Red Sox legends' cards implies to me that they're both from some sort of magazine. While I know the David Ortiz is out of Sports Illustrated Kids, I don't quite know where the Carl Yastrzemski card is from. Nevertheless, it's a nice new addition for my Yaz player collection and features some nice artwork on the front as well.

In addition to some nice new cards for my Red Sox team collection which is currently under reorganization, Chris sent over a couple of nice new cards for my Nomar Garciaparra player collection, one that reached Gold Tier status just a couple of days ago after receiving my package from the team collectors.

Although his final days in Boston weren't too memorable, Nomar was one of the most talented athletes in the entire city for a number of years. While I have reasons to stop collecting guys like Curt Schilling or Roger Clemens, I don't see a major reason to quit adding cards to my Garciaparra player collection.

Thanks to Chris who actually bought this card on COMC before trading it to me, I now have a new favorite card in my Craig Kimbrel player collection, a Topps Strata patch card from the reliever's brief time with the San Diego Padres. 

Although the scan makes it hard to see, the card is serial numbered 44/50, making it my lowest numbered Kimbrel card. The patch is a gorgeous tri-color jersey swatch from either his name or the San Diego Padres logo, though I'm leaning towards the name instead. 

The patch card also features a certified code on the hologram on the bottom right corner of the patch. After I finish this post up, I'll verify it online to see what game this awesome patch is from.

Major thanks once again to Chris for the trade. I hope you enjoyed the cards I sent you in return. I know I'm definitely ecstatic to add this Kimbrel card to my collection.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

'61 Commons and Graded Rizzo's; Card Show Recap #16 Part 3

For the remainder of my time at Monday's Mansfield card show, I ended up focusing solely on 2 different things. The first was cards from the 1961 Topps set, and the 2nd ended up being new additions to my Anthony Rizzo player collection.

With new Red Sox additions and dime cards serving as the primary focus for a majority of the time that I was there, I wanted to make the most of my remaining time and allotted budget by expanding the selection of cards that I brought home. 

By doing this, I could also accomplish one of my primary goals for this card show; track down some cards from the want list. The way I was able to do this was by purchasing some commons from the oldest set that I'm currently trying to piece together; 1961 Topps.

Last summer at The National, I was able to make some significant progress with the 1961 Topps set thanks to a major purchase of discounted cards from a vendor at the show. It was that significant purchase that confirmed my mission to complete this set and with my key rookie cards already in my collection (Santo, Williams, and Yastrzemski), there aren't a ton of key names still left to chase down beside Mickey Mantle, a card that's likely to set me back quite a lot of money.

I was able to put together a reasonable stack of 15 cards for an even more reasonable price with each card costing either $1 or $2 each. 1961 Topps isn't a huge set at only 589 total cards, but the set is home to dozens of Hall of Famers and, because of how old it is, even the costs of low-numbered cards can be a bit higher than one would expect. 

Because of that, any dent I can make in the set is extremely helpful towards my goal of completing the entire set within the next few years.

With 15 more cards going towards my set, I'm now 291 cards away from completing this product. While that may seem like, and still is, a lot more cards to track down, this 15-card purchase from Monday's show set me over the halfway mark which isn't too shabby considering I haven't even been collecting this set for a full year.

I must admit, 1961 Topps commons and graded Anthony Rizzo cards are a pretty strange combination for this blog post, but towards the very end of the card show, I ended up making my way towards a dealer who had marked down prices on all of his PSA and Beckett graded cards, including a surplus of cards of Cubs 1st baseman, Anthony Rizzo.

For the price of 2 retail packs of Topps Series 1, I picked up a graded yellow parallel from 2014 Bowman of the 3-time All-Star, numbered out of 99 copies on the back. While I first thought the bright yellow parallel would be too much for this card, I've grown to appreciate the untraditional color the more I look at this Beckett graded card.

It's kind of hard not to get sucked in by bright colored refractors and parallels, especially if it's a rookie card of one of your favorite players in all of Baseball. While this purple refractor from 2011 Bowman Chrome isn't serial numbered, the rookie card is graded at a PSA 9, and it just so happens to be my first rookie card of Anthony Rizzo, showing the slugger with the team he got his first hit with, the San Diego Padres.

And while Anthony Rizzo first played in the big leagues with the Padres, the 2-time Gold Glove award winner was originally a prospect in the Red Sox organization before he was traded for Adrian Gonzalez back towards the end of 2010. 

Much like the Bowman Chrome card was my first rookie card of Rizzo, this 1st Bowman card is my first ever card of Rizzo as a member of the Red Sox. Better yet, it's graded at a 9.5 by Beckett with some nice sub-grades, including a 10 for the surface. 

I could have paid $1 more for a black parallel graded at a 9, but I went with the higher grade and lower price instead, and I don't think I could've been happier.