Sunday, February 24, 2019

One Last Hurrah

I'm very certain that in the distant future, I'll look back at this particular week as one of the most exciting weeks for Baseball cards in my entire life.

Including this one, my last 7 blog posts have been devoted to new cards that I've acquired within the last 10 days or so. Trades, Baseball card show trips, eBay packages, and LCS pickups have all been present as of late, and I still have one more group of cards left to go.

In a way, it'll be nice to go back to a calmer week where I'm not adding new Baseball cards to my collection nearly every day. With that being said, Topps Heritage's impending release this Wednesday means things won't settle down completely, and I'm totally fine with that. 

After all, Heritage has consistently been my favorite overall product for years on end. Even though I've never completed a Heritage master set in my life, the variations, SPs, and simply the recreating of a vintage Topps design makes this product extremely appealing.

I'll have more time to talk about Heritage next week, but in the meantime, I have one final group of new Baseball cards that I added to my collection during this action-packed week. 

These cards, courtesy of my LCS, are from the dime bins, though I could expect to see a majority of these cards for a far greater price than simply a dime.

Included in the owners' dime box this time around was an impressive stack of 2017 Topps Museum base, including 9 different players that I collect. It's not uncommon to spot high-end cards in the dime bins, but typically, I stumble upon 2 or 3 of them. Never have I spotted so many cards of guys I collect from a product as expensive as Topps Museum.

Better yet, the lot featured far more retired players than current MLB stars. Of the 9 players shown above, only Ichiro and Anthony Rizzo are currently playing. All the others, including my largest player collection, Nolan Ryan, are retired MLB legends.

After picking up the base card, bronze parallel, and serial numbered red parallel of Greg Maddux, card #84, I could see myself going after the complete parallel rainbow. If I can track down a sapphire blue (#/150) and an amethyst (#/99), I'd have my first ever parallel rainbow completed, assuming I'm not forgetting any other colored cards from the product. 

Update; there's an emerald 1/1. So, unless I can track that card down and for a reasonable price, my hopes of obtaining the entire rainbow will be unsuccessful. 

For a dime each, I have zero complaints about these holo blue parallels from 2018 Panini Donruss, even if the logoless hats are rather obvious. I was able to spot 4 different cards of players that I collect, including my 2nd Nolan Ryan card of the trip so far. 

I think I acquired somewhere between 3-5 Ryan cards at this trip to my LCS alone, making my goal of reaching the 500-card mark for his player collection in 2019 much more achievable. 

The very moment that I spotted this Roger Clemens card in the dime box I was searching through, I found a strong resemblance between this card and the holo blue Donruss parallels. 

Even though the similarities appear far more evident in-person, I wouldn't be shocked to hear that Panini took inspiration from this Ultimate Victory parallel when designing their holo blue parallel cards.

While Baseball fans are continuing to wait for marquee free agent Bryce Harper to sign his much-anticipated max contract, I wasted no time in adding these 2 high-end base cards of the 2015 NL MVP to my stack of dime box cards. 

I realize that neither Triple Threads nor Museum revolves around the base set design, but I still must commend Topps on creating 2 well-executed and elegant base set designs, both from the last few years.

This duo of dime box pickups, like the 2 Harper's shown above, also appears very elegant with the border color and photo choice. However, the Ozzie Smith and Ernie Bank's cards are not from a high-end product like Museum or Tribute. 

Instead, I believe these cards are inserts from a certain set of cards. Titled "The Elite," these could be a rare inclusion in Flagship or some sort of special insert from an actual high-end product. If anyone recognizes where these cards are from, don't hesitate to let me know.

As if I hadn't already picked up enough retired players' cards from this particular dime box, a duo of early 2000s Upper Deck cards boosted my total even more. The Gibson card is classic-looking while the Fingers, featuring a gold uniform and yellow/orange border, is a far more unconventional choice from the 2001 Upper Deck Decade 1970s set.

There's something about 2011 Topps that enhances these retired players' short prints even more than any other Flagship product to date. Alongside a plethora of fellow legends, Mike Schmidt was included as a retired player SP in 2011 Topps. 

Sharing card #50 with Alex Rodriguez, the Phillies' 3rd baseman is shown in the classic powder blue Phillies uniform while perhaps making a call to one of his fellow infielders.

Even if I spent the next 20 years focusing on it, I doubt I'd be able to complete the 2008 Upper Deck Yankee Stadium legacy set no matter how hard I tried. That doesn't stop me from adding new cards from the 6,227-card insert set. At this point, I've probably acquired around 50 cards, so on the bright side, I'm 0.008% of the way there!

Similarly, Mickey Mantle has an insert set from 2007, consisting of, I presume, 1 card for every home run ever hit by the 3-time AL MVP, afar easier set to complete than the Yankee Stadium Legacy. I've seen yellow, red, and blue-colored cards from this product, but I'm not sure if the colors are different just for the sake of it or if there are actual different-colored parallels in this insert set.

Card companies never fail to get me hooked on shiny cards and refractors, something that's proven every time I return home with a stack of dime cards. This time around, in addition to plenty of others not shown on this post, a Craig Kimbrel refractor and a Jim Thome Bowman's Best insert are among the many shiny cards that I landed thanks to some well-stocked dime bins.

While I'm on the topic of bright and shiny Baseball cards, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the duo of cracked ice parallels of Cleveland Indians' ace Corey Kluber that, somehow, are not serial numbered at all. I honestly have no clue how Panini can produce enough of these cards without serial numbering them, but that's not to take away from the gorgeous parallels that these cards are.

Considering that both the cards I picked up are inserts, I'm guessing that the cracked ice cards also appear in the base set. Now that's a parallel worth chasing down, especially if you're looking for a particular player's cracked ice card.

Another high-end product that I was able to locate some dime cards from, Topps High Tek was also quite prominent during this trip to my LCS. In this case, for almost every player who had 1 card in the dime box, there was a different pattern card of that same player right near it. 

Among some of the parallels, the various black pattern parallels take a standard pattern and change the background to black rather than white. This enhances the card quite a bit, especially when there's a colorful uniform to counter the black background like there is for deGrom and Bagwell.

It's going to take me a while to find this specific Ken Griffey Jr parallel on COMC and list it on my player collection inventory, but if that's the price I'm forced to pay in addition to the mere dime that this card cost me then so be it. 

This parallel of The Kid is serial numbered out of 250, and he is shown on my favorite team that Griffey Jr played for, the Cincinnati Reds.

Here they are, the 2 rookie phenoms from 2017 who cleared out retail shelves and caused hobby prices to soar at a nearly unprecedented level. As if this box improve any longer, I spotted not 1, not 2, but 3 rookie year cards of Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger towards the end of my time at my LCS.

Along with another holo blue parallel from 2018, I found a Bellinger insert from 2017 Bowman's Best along with both players' Rookie Performers inserts from 2017 Topps Heritage High Number. Thanks to the retro design, the Heritage High Number inserts are definitely my favorites of the bunch.

Finally, the greatest card I found in the entire dime box, and one that I certainly would never expect to be there; a 2014 Bowman Chrome prospect card of none other than the previously mentioned, Aaron Judge.

I don't care that the card isn't his 1st Bowman card. I couldn't care less about the centering. I understand the surface isn't perfect, but none of this is a big deal for me. Finding this card in a dime box was nothing less than shocking, and I couldn't add it to my stack fast enough. 

Judge is currently entering his 3rd season, and even as a Red Sox fan, I don't hate seeing him do well so long as it's not against Boston. In addition to the rookie cards that I have of #99, I now have my 1st ever Judge prospect card, giving me even more incentive to hope for his success.

But regardless of how I feel about him or any of the other cards that I purchased from this dime box, the Judge card alone makes the entire trip completely worth it.

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