Friday, May 31, 2019

Frankenset Page #54

Towards the beginning and middle of May, I struggled to find material for the blog, leading me to miss more posts than I would like during this time period, including 3 posts in a 1-week time frame.

Thankfully, I've since broken free of my temporary writer's block thanks to Monday's Memorial Day Baseball card show and my best 30 cards from all 30 teams series. While I'll pick up where I left off with the AL West tomorrow, today's post is reserved for the 54th page of my frankenset.

At this point in the frankenset series, I'm nearing the 3/4 mark of my custom-made set. This particular page includes a ton of Pirates cards, 4 to be exact, as well as another spectacular Conlon Collection photo.

As I mentioned, I'm nearing the 75% mark as far as these frankenset posts are concerned. Page #54 showcases cards 478-486 and includes cards spanning 4 different decades (1970s-2000s).

#478 1990 Fleer R.J. Reynolds
The initial card of the 54th page is also the first of 4 Pittsburgh Pirates cards on this on the page as well. Nonetheless, I wasn't too keen on showcasing this card, for it's far from my favorite one on the page. 

I've never been a fan of the 1990 Fleer set, nor do I like the overly-bright shade of yellow utilized across the card. If that wasn't enough, the Pirates logo in the top right corner is one of my least favorite insignias of all-time. 

While I realize that some collectors and fans cherish this logo, there's something about it that's simply not true to the Pittsburgh Pirates teams that I recognize and adore.

#479 1981 Donruss Billy Martin
One of the most profound characters in Baseball history, Billy Martin was one of the most outspoken managers in Baseball history along with Earl Weaver. This might not be my favorite Billy Martin card that I own, but the limited amount of gold jersey that is visible, nevertheless, stands out.

The inaugural Donruss set, like the Billy Martin card above, isn't a personal preference of mine. I definitely prefer the '82 and '83 sets, despite their similarity, and the black-bordered '85 design to the initial Donruss release.

#480 1971 Topps Manny Sanguillen
As someone who is thoroughly familiar with the 1971 Topps set and many of its cards, I can confidently declare that Manny Sanguillen's card above is one of the greatest of the entire black-bordered Flagship product.

'71 Topps is home to a surplus of iconic cards; Nolan Ryan, Thurmon Munson, and Willie Stargell all come to mind when I think about this product. However, Sanguillen's clipboard photo is right up there with the best of the best from this sensational set. 

The helmet, the uniform, and, especially, the black-bordered design work brilliantly together. The result? A fabulous card of a key contributor on the dominant Pirates teams of the 1970s. 

#481 2007 Topps Jim Thome
By the middle/end of the 2000s, the greatest years of Hall of Famer Jim Thome's MLB career spent with the Indians and Phillies were behind him. However, he remained a power threat up until the day he retired while playing for teams like the Twins, Dodgers, and White Sox.

Preceded by a card from the only other black-bordered Flagship set in Topps history, Thome's time in Chicago was, nevertheless, nothing to look down upon. He hit .265 with 134 home runs during 4 seasons on the South Side of Chicago.

#482 1990 Leaf Jack Morris
Similar to how we had back-to-back black-bordered Baseball card sets, cards #481 and #482 represent consecutive Hall of Famers in Jim Thome and Jack Morris, both of whom were members of the 2018 HOF class.

While I personally collect both of these retired superstars, it's much easier to find cards for the Thome player collection than it is for the Jack Morris PC. As of now, I have 75 total cards of Thome while Morris' PC is much lower at 22 cards.

#483 1992 The Sporting News Conlon Collection Red Faber
Because of the sheer number of packs of Conlon Collection that I've had the privilege of opening, I've been able to feature a surplus of these gorgeously-photographed cards in my frankenset, specifically over the last 10 or so pages.

This time, it's Chicago White Sox pitcher Red Faber's turn, featuring a photograph likely from 1917. Though he was not involved in the Black Sox Scandal, Faber was a member of the infamous 1919 White Sox team, though he'd go onto have a HOF career with Chicago.

 #484 1982 Fleer Vance Law
Although having 4 different Pittsburgh Pirates cards on 1 frankenset page can be somewhat repetitive, I enjoy seeing the colorful and striking gold and black jerseys of the 1980s, just like the one worn by Vance Law in the card above.

I'm also fond of the flat hats worn by the Pirates throughout this time period as well. I'm not sure if any other MLB clubs wore these caps, but I love the way they look with the rest of Pittsburgh's uniform.

#485 1983 Topps Omar Moreno
When I initially created this frankenset page a couple of years ago, I had no intentions of featuring this many cards from the same team on 1 page, so there must've been a lack of options for at least a couple of these spots. 

With that being said, seeing this page right now, I have no problems with the number of Pirates cards that I included. Granted, I'm not a huge fan of the 1990 Fleer card, but all of the others are true standouts.

#486 1992 Fleer Ultra Reggie Sanders
Last up, a card from another set that's been quite prevalent across the 54 frankenset pages thus far; 1992 Fleer Ultra. Like the 1990 Fleer card that commenced this page, I don't have much to say about the Reggie Sanders card above. I like the uniform and all, but there's not much else to talk about.

Truth be told, if I could find an exciting card that's #486 in a set, I wouldn't mind having a 5th Pirates card rather than the standard Fleer Ultra card above.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Sensational Red Sox Hits; Card Show Recap #21 Part 3

The more I think back to Monday's Memorial Day Baseball card show, the more I realize that it will go down as one of the greatest shows that I've ever attended in my life, even including my trip to The National last year. 

Thus far in my mini recap series, you've seen my posts about player collection additions and an entire 2019 Panini Prizm hobby box recap of the box that I purchased before leaving the show. 

Per usual, however, I've saved the best for last. This rather brief post, dedicated solely to Red Sox cards, features my top pickups of the entire Mansfield show. 

Specifically, there are 2 cards that I bought that have the potential to be a couple of the most valuable cards in my collection someday in the future. Even if that does not happen, the 2 autos are absolutely gorgeous, truly some of the most beautiful cards that I've seen in a while.

As the title suggests, the 3rd and final recap post from my trip to the Baseball card show on Monday is devoted solely to Red Sox hits. 

This post, somewhat shorter than the other 2, features 5 relic cards or autographs of Red Sox players that I purchased towards the end of my time at the show on Monday. As the post progresses, I'll be working my way up to the crown jewels of the entire visit, the 2 previously mentioned autographs.

But first, I have to begin with cards that may not be as glamorous or valuable as the final 2 autos of this post, but they're still, nevertheless, nice additions to my always-growing Boston Red Sox PC. Starting things off, for only $2, is a jersey relic of Don Baylor from SP Legendary Cuts.

Considering the incredibly low price, this card is an absolute bargain, especially since the jersey swatch is both a reasonable size and game-used. I'm just noticing now that the beige/sepia background features a scorecard from an MLB game, a minor detail that I appreciate.

Admittedly, the card isn't going to knock your socks off, but it's a well-made 2000s jersey relic nevertheless. I'm always looking to add inexpensive Red Sox relics to my collection, and for only $2, it was pretty much a no-brainer for the Don Baylor card above.

Next up, a game-used bat relic of a player whom I associate more with the Red Sox than Don Baylor, perennial Gold Glove outfielder Dwight Evans. Across the 19 seasons in which he was a member of the Boston Red Sox, Evans won 8 Gold Glove awards in RF.

The relic, on the other hand, honors Evans' offensive abilities as he finished his career with well over 1,300 RBI and nearly 400 home runs. Although the gold Archives stamp directly over the bat relic is something that has always bothered me about these cards, I've grown used to and accepted it as a part of these relics.

The wood bordered 1987 Topps set is a nice accompaniment to the bat relic, and I'm really fond of these Archives relics as a whole. I don't remember the price of this one, but I recall purchasing it for a reasonable cost.

At this point in the post, it's time to shift our attention over to the 3 Red Sox autographs that I purchased during my time at the Mansfield Show on Monday, all of which are from the Topps Five Star product. 

A high-end set that delivers just 3 cards per box, I believe that this brand includes only autographed cards; some of them are serial numbered, like the Jim Rice auto above, others may not be.

Speaking of the Jim Rice auto, I appreciate how elegant and pristine this card looks, from the gorgeous on-card auto to the background choice and, especially, the banner that contains the player's name. 

To my knowledge, every Topps Five Star autograph is on-card, but I could be wrong about this. My one critique would be the print run (386) is not only an extraordinarily odd number but a high number as well. You'd think something around 250 or 300 is more appropriate, but I suppose that's what allowed me to purchase this card for a moderate price.

This is my first autograph of Jim Rice, and it's a spectacular and beautiful card, especially considering it only cost me half a blaster box in money. However, I will admit that the next 2 cards were far more pricy, but neither myself nor my Dad regrets splurging in order to add these beautiful autos to our PC.

The first of the 2 magnificent Five Star autos that I alluded to earlier is from 2017; a rookie auto of Andrew Benintendi from their Golden Graphs mini-set. Although the scan makes it challenging to see the on-card auto, rookie symbol, and the player's name, I can assure you that all the factors of this card are more profound in-person.

Serial numbered out of a mere 25 copies, this card has to be one of the most beautiful autos that I've ever seen in my life. The black surface is perfect for the bronze ink that Benintendi signed with, and I adore the purple and gold combination as far as the borders are concerned.

Although I don't typically stray away from purchasing cards from high-end products, I've never done something quite like this; a top tier rookie auto from a high-end set. However, I've been pondering buying a Benintendi auto for well over a year now, and I feel as if he's a consistent enough player for this investment to be worth it.

In the case of the final Five Star auto and card from Monday's show, it's yet another player who's auto I have been chasing for over a year. As of late, he's been swinging an insanely hot bat, and the dealer at the show admitted to me that he hadn't changed the prices on the player's autos following his hot streak.

So, it was at that moment in which my Dad and I collectively decided that we would be splurging and buying not 1, but 2 sensational Red Sox rookie autos from Topps Five Star, both numbered out of just 25 copies. 

This time, the card was from 2018, and the rookie was Rafael Devers who's currently hitting .325 with 7 homers, 31 RBI, and even 7 stolen bases. He's making a strong case to be a starting All-Star for the AL this season and is even putting up numbers that could, ultimately, land him in the MVP discussion.

A performance like this from Devers is not unexpected, for many suspected that he'd have a breakout year in 2019. As of now, that is coming to fruition and as a result of his recent performance, we felt it was time to invest in a Devers auto as well.

Certainly, both of these rookie Five Star autos are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm a huge fan of both Benintendi and Devers as they are incredibly different yet talented stars. 

Now, more so than ever, I'll be cheering for Benintendi and Devers as individuals in addition to the team as a whole. Although I cherish the cards simply because of how stunning they are, it wouldn't hurt for Devers and Benintendi to continue playing at a high level for years to come.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Zebra Stripes and Donut Circles; Card Show Recap #2 Part 2

As I alluded to during my first recap post from Monday's Baseball card show, the Memorial Day visit to the Mansfield show was bizarre, even by my standards. Though it started off with some simple player collection purchases, I soon found myself going in a ton of different directions that I never would've expected.

Going into the show, one of my goals was to sample a few of the different parallels from 2019 Panini Prizm, and I accomplished that feat soon after I began browsing the floor. What I did not anticipate, however, was that I'd end up buying an entire hobby box of the 2019 Panini Prizm product.

I didn't envision purchasing more than a few singles and a hobby pack of the set, but my Dad and I were eager to open packs later in the day. Besides, it was in our price range, and we didn't want to open another box of 2019 Topps Gypsy Queen or Heritage and risk pulling numerous doubles.

Alas, the only option that was within our budget and wouldn't deliver a ton of doubles was Prizm. So, despite the fact that the product doesn't have the MLB license, we decided to look past that in favor of the eye-catching parallels.

Each hobby box promises 3 autographs and 15 parallels (on average). From the breaks that I've seen, you usually pull 2 Prizm parallels per pack, 1 of them serial numbered. I've also noticed that people usually pull 1 insert card per pack as well, so there's a lot of variety within this set besides the standard base cards.

The 2019 Panini Prizm hobby format is very similar to that of Topps Chrome jumbo, only the price isn't close to as high. There are 12 packs and 12 cards per pack, so you still end up with a reasonable number of cards when all is said and done.

The base cards, even without logos, look incredibly sleek while staying true to the Panini Prizm brand. The silver-bordered cards feature little designs that form a frame around the photo of the player, leaving a reasonable amount of space for the colors of the various parallels to pop.

Even in a convoluted product like Chronicles, Panini isn't big on over-complicating their set designs, so it stands to reason that the Prizm base cards are somewhat simple. Like any Baseball card set, Panini included quite a few interesting photos that, especially the Treinen, distract from the logoless caps and jerseys.

While I fully expected Prizm to feature retired players in the checklist, I was surprised by the players that were actually chosen. While George Brett is often a go-to choice, I find it interesting that Panini put Juan Gonzalez in the checklist as well. 

Recently-retired guys like Alex Rodriguez and Adrian Beltre are also intriguing options, for I didn't expect either of them to be featured so soon after their retirement. This choice is aided by the fact that A-Rod is shown as a member of the Mariners, not the Yankees which would've been a more traditional option.

As I previously declared, I opened 12 packs of 2019 Panini Prizm and accumulated cards from 9 different insert sets, all of which look fabulous on the signature silver Panini Prizm cardstock. Sets like Instant Impact and Star Gazing showcase beautiful and colorful set designs, even though I feel the borders for the Kris Bryant card don't do the rest of the design justice.

Illumination and Machines, another duo of colorful insert sets, also feature some of the game's brightest stars. I'm guessing that the latter is reserved for hitters only while, Illumination, although it lacks a true theme, has a stunning and vibrant background.

Other insert sets, like Lumber Inc and Numbers Game, combine bold designs with creative concepts, although this isn't the first time that we've seen a Numbers Game insert (2016 Topps A&G). 

I'm thrilled that, out of the 13 inserts I pulled (12 base cards + 1 silver Gary Sanchez Lumber Inc), I landed the 2 Red Sox cards above as well as 2 Cubs inserts (Bryant Star Gazing + Baez Fireworks).

I may not have displayed every one of the 9 insert sets that I pulled cards from, but I made certain to include my personal favorite. Out of all the different designs, I'd build the Numbers Game insert set if I had the choice.

The variety of different insert sets is sensational, and I'm thoroughly impressed by the base card design as well. With that being said, if I'm going to invest in Panini Prizm, the main thing that I'm looking for is parallels. Thankfully, I ended up with a little more than 15 Prizm parallels that each box averages.

While the box breaks that I had previously watched delivered roughly 2 parallels per box, I managed to hit a hot box in which I found 2 of the blue prism cards above in every one of the 12 packs. Thus, by the end of the break, I wound up with 24 of these cards, including the highlight of the group, Mike Trout.

Before I continue onto the rest of the parallels, I'd like the point out how gorgeous these parallels are, especially considering that they're not serial numbered. They look like enhanced versions of the hyper Prizm parallels from last year's Chronicles set, and I really dig how all these different Prizm parallels look.

If we're talking solely about the blue prisms, I already exceeded the odds by pulling 24 different parallels. However, I mentioned that this was a hot box. In addition to the 2 blue prisms per pack, I also pulled 2 other parallel cards, 2 of them serial numbered, in all 12 of the packs that I opened.

As a result, I ended up with 60 total parallels across my 12-pack hobby box break; 24 serial numbered, 24 blue prisms, and 12 other non-numbered cards (silver, red, or blue parallels).

Running at 3 per hobby box on average, the silver parallels are something that I recognize from Prizm Basketball and Baseball as the rookie silver cards are highly sought after in both of these sports. 

Andrelton Simmons and Miles Mikolas were nice enough as far as these silver parallels are concerned, but the best silver of the box, by a long shot, is the Pedro Martinez card above. I can't imagine how much improved this card would be if Martinez was shown in the powder blue Expos uniform instead.

The blue parallels may not be numbered, but the bold color truly pops more so than many of the other Prizms in this set. I landed 4 of them in my box, but the best of these parallels were, yet again, a retired player. The combination of the dark blue parallel with Kirby Puckett's powder blue jersey is quite sensational.

The red parallels, on the other hand, don't stand out nearly as much as the bold blue Prizms, but I, nevertheless, enjoy what they contribute to this product. In a set that features extremely complicated Prizm parallels, it's nice to have a simple alternative like the red parallels of which I pulled 5 in my box break.

Taking the blue prism parallels into account, I pulled 3 non-numbered Prizms in every single pack. Conversely, I found 2 serial numbered refractors in every pack, and there were a ton of different options within that category.

Out of all the serial numbered Prizms in this year's product, the blue mojos have the highest print run at 399 copies. Upon looking at these cards, you'd think that they'd be numbered out of 99 or 150 copies, but 399 seems absurdly high.

On the bright side, this allows me to acquire these stunning cards more easily and for a lower price. Dating back to last year's Chronicles set, I've been fond of these mojo refractors, and these light blue cards and their unique color are no exception. 

Before I opened this hobby box, I sampled a few different parallels from this complex product, one of them being the red mojo cards, numbered out of 299 copies. Again, I feel as if the print run is a little high for such an intricate Prizm card, but I'm also not complaining. I landed around 7 of these beautiful cards, including stars like Miguel Andujar and Corey Kluber.

In Panini Prizm Basketball and Baseball, these cards are referred to as speckle parallels, as far as I know, yet the Baseball product decided not to use that name. Rather, the Prizms above are referred to as lime green and orange donut circles respectively. Yes, you heard that right; donut circles.

The greens (#/199) and the oranges (#/150) were surprisingly prevalent across the box despite their shorter print run. I showcased the other orange donut circles parallels, Roberto Alomar, at the top of this post while I pulled 2 additional neon green parallels.

I was also intrigued by Panini's decision to feature Albert Pujols as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals on this card, especially since he has another card in the checklist that shows him as a Los Angeles Angel.

Like the donut circles parallels, the Zebra stripes Prizms, another bizarre choice for a parallel by Panini, appeared numerous times (3) over the course of my box break. 

Numbered out of just 99 copies, the Zebra stripe refractors are one of the most creative concepts that I've seen on Baseball cards in an incredibly long time. The biggest name that I landed was Rockies ace Kyle Freeland while the other 2 parallels that I pulled feature 2019 rookies.

Next up, the equivalent of a Topps Chrome x-fractor, the power plaid Prizms, numbered out of just 75  copies. Although I pulled just one of these brilliant cards in my break, I truly cannot complain about the players that I landed.

Rafael Devers has been swinging one of the hottest bats in Baseball over the month of May, for he's hitting around .330 as I speak and seems to be hitting dingers every other day. The refractor may not as colorful as the donut circles or as creative as the Zebra stripes, but, as far as the player is concerned, this was my greatest pull of the box.

Last but certainly not least, the cards with the lowest print run of the parallels that I pulled from this unbelievable hot box; the shimmer parallels, serial numbered out of just 60 copies. In addition to the Matt Chapman card that you see above, I also pulled a Framber Valdez shimmer parallel, bringing my grand total of Prizm parallels to a whopping 60 different cards.

Yes, I hit my 3 guaranteed (on average) autographs as well, but there wasn't anything too notable. The best of the group was a Dakota Hudson shimmer auto out of 60 copies, my 25th numbered card of the box. Thankfully, all 3 autos were rookie parallels, but only the Hudson was numbered.

However, I decided to leave them out of this post for the simple reason that they're not as significant as the rest of the cards, particularly the Prizms. Clearly, this set is more about the different parallels that you can pull and less about the autographs, especially since the rookie class isn't too strong.

I'm still unsure as to what I'm going to do with the 60 parallels that I pulled, but I'd love to hold onto them. These cards are simply so beautiful and unique that it would be challenging for me to part with them.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Best 30 Cards From All 30 Teams; AL Central

After overviewing my best cards from each American League East team on Sunday, I'm continuing on with the best 30 cards from all 30 teams mini-series today before I return to my Mansfield show recaps later this week. This time, it's the AL Central's turn.

Going into this post, I expected the AL Central to be much more challenging than the East. The latter of the 2 divisions had multiple teams with a surplus of different options for the best card (Orioles, Red Sox, and Yankees). 

Since those are 3 teams that I collect heavily, especially the Red Sox, I had no trouble finding a sensational card for teams in that division. On the other hand, I don't have many stellar cards from the AL Central clubs, so this list requires a bit more thought and creativity.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed compiling this countdown just as I did for the AL East list. I came up with the idea for this mini-series just a few days ago, and I was instantly intrigued by the concept. 

By the end of these 6 posts, I'm really looking forward to having 30 fabulous cards, one from each MLB team. Alas, it's time to continue on and showcase 5 more standout cards, 1 from each team in the AL Central.

Chicago White Sox
I didn't want to include as many relic cards as I did for this division, but I ended up going back on my word when all is said and done. To be fair, my choices for some of these AL Central teams are limited, forcing me to choose a standout relic card since I don't have a whole bunch of other options.

Regardless, that's not to take away from the fact that this 2001 Leaf Certified Materials relic card of Hoyt Wilhelm truly is the greatest Chicago White Sox card in my collection. I'm thoroughly impressed by the sizeable jersey swatch, especially for someone who played as long ago as Wilhelm.

It's clear that Leaf went above and beyond when creating this card, a trait that's always worthy of recognition. In this instance, going above and beyond also merited this card being the #1 White Sox card in my collection.

Cleveland Indians
One day, I could envision my 2014 Topps Jose Ramirez rookie card taking Eckersley's place as the greatest Indians card in my collection. For the time being, however, this spot is reserved for the 1976 Topps rookie card of the Hall of Fame pitcher.

The colorful 1976 Topps set may not be home to many iconic rookie cards, but Dennis Eckersley is one of a few featured in the product. In addition to the orange and pink at the bottom of the card, blue and a faint amount of red are also present in the photo of Eck himself.

As I alluded to, my 2014 Topps Jose Ramirez rookie card may eclipse Eckersley and earn the #1 spot someday. However, even if that's the case, the 1976 rookie card will remain my personal favorite.

Detroit Tigers
As many relic cards as I have in my collection, very few of them feature legends who played as far back as the 30s and 40s. One of those players is Hank Greenberg, and the card is a gorgeous one from the 2010 Topps National Chicle set.

An art-based product indeed, I'm very familiar with 2010 Topps National Chicle, for I purchased the base set at the Baseball card show when it was released. Years later, I purchased this bat relic card at the same show for a bargain of a price, and I've cherished it ever since.

Better yet, the card back is a National Chicle back, a variation of sorts, meaning this card is numbered out of 199 copies. If you have a minute, take a look at the 2010 NC relics on COMC. Some of them are absolutely breathtaking.

Kansas City Royals
Just last week, I listed this 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Eric Hosmer mini framed relic as the #1 card on my top 5 Kansas City Royals autos/relics list. Thus, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that I selected the same card for this list as well.

I pulled this card myself from a pack on my birthday a few years ago, and it's since been one of the most beautiful relics in my entire collection. The black border and frame is an excellent contrast to the bold blue jersey relic that's numbered 05/10.

It's hard to say much more than what I've already said about this relic card, but it's truly spectacular. Out of all 5 teams in the AL Central, choosing the Hosmer relic for this list was the easiest decision that I had to make.

Minnesota Twins
After selecting relic cards for 3 other teams in the AL Central, I wanted to avoid doing the same when it came to the final team in the division, the Minnesota Twins. However, I cannot control the fact that so many of my best cards from each MLB team are jersey relics which was the case yet again as it pertains to Minnesota.

However, that shouldn't discredit how elegant and lavish this Harmon Killebrew relic is. I happen to have a sizeable number of these 2005 Fleer Greats of the Game Cooperstown Tribute cards, but for some reason, the Killebrew has always been one of my favorites.

I have never collected the Twins or, for that matter, any of the AL Central teams all that heavily. While I certainly appreciate each and every one of these cards, I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little motivated to collect a wider range of different cards, even for teams that I don't collect all that seriously. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Wide Range of PC Pickups; Card Show Recap #21

Let me preface the next few posts by declaring that today's Memorial Day Baseball card show was one of the most bizarre shows that I've ever attended, and I mean this in the best way possible. 

Although the cards featured in today's post aren't anything out of the ordinary for me (mostly player collection pickups), the Baseball card show, as a whole, was insane.

Looking back at my goals for today's show, I definitely departed from the objectives that I set for myself. Rather than searching through the dime bins and chasing down specific cards, I went for quality over quantity.

While I certainly wanted to adhere to my goals, I have no regrets about any of the purchases that I made. As you'll see in the following days, I went in a few different directions earlier today, including picking up a couple of players whose autographs I've been thinking about purchasing for over a year now.

Later this week, I'll get into my autograph pickups and the packs that I opened. For now, I'll start things off with a look at the group of player collection additions that I gradually purchased throughout today's show.

As I mentioned, today was one of the few shows that I've ever attended in which I avoided the dime bins altogether. I'm not always going to have this quality over quantity mentality, but it was a departure from my usual visits to the show.

Across the 2ish hours that my Dad and I passed at the show, we continuously added new cards to our player collections, both together and separately. While I was walking around the show at the beginning of the day, unsure as to what to purchase, my Dad grabbed a stack of cards that were priced 4/$1.

The cards that he ended up with consisted primarily of retired players' cards from the early 2000s, just like the 4 Mike Schmidt cards above. Although I have a ton of cards from this era, the 4 major card companies (Donruss, Fleer, Topps, and Upper Deck), produced an unprecedented number of sets, resulting in a huge volume of cards like the 4 above.

Greg Maddux is an example of a player who benefited tremendously from the significant production of cards in the 90s and early 2000s. His superstar status allowed for an insane number of Maddux cards to produced. 

Maddux has always been one of my favorite players to collect, and the cards above symbolize exactly why this is the case. Despite the 250+ cards that I have of the 4-time Cy Young award winner, we're constantly finding new ones to add to his player collection.

The affordable prices and the wide availability of these cards is what allows me to grow my player collections up to gold and even platinum tier status. Even on the rare occasions when I opt not to go through the dime bins, a Baseball card show hasn't passed in which I haven't picked up new cards for my PCs.

The Nolan Ryan card in the top left corner is from an oddball set called Starline from 1990. It may be the sole card of Ryan's that I picked up today, but it will, nevertheless, help me towards achieving my goal of 500 cards of the all-time strikeouts leader by the end of 2019.

Since 2017, Topps Inception has produced some of the most beautiful base cards out of any high-end set. The white backgrounds with a gorgeous splash of color resemble a more lavish version of Allen & Ginter.

The boxes, although not outrageously expensive, deliver just 7-8 cards for around $60-70. Because of the significant price per card, I'll likely never buy a box of Inception, but that won't stop me from keeping an eye out for the base cards from this beautiful set for some of my top tier PCs.

Up until 2015, I typically avoided new releases in favor of trips to the Baseball card show, so I never collected the Diamond Anniversary and Cognac parallels from 2011 Topps. 

Years later, I'm making up for the lost time by occasionally adding one of these beautiful parallels to my collection. Today, it was "Mike" Stanton and his 2011 Topps rookie cup card that I picked up for short money towards the end of my time at the show. 

Even though I didn't see all of my goals for today's show to fruition, I got my desired sampling of the parallels from 2019 Panini Prizm from the show's case breaker. I didn't want to go too crazy with these cards, so I limited myself to only a few parallels that piqued my interest.

Among the cards that I chose were 2 red mojo refractors, numbered to 299, of George Springer and Andrew McCutchen. Prior to the show, Collecting Cutch asked me to keep my eyes open for any low-numbered McCutchen cards, a request that I was more than happy to abide by.

If you haven't bought the red mojo card already, I'd be pleased to send it your way.

In addition to the 2 red mojo parallels, I was captivated by 1 additional parallel of a guy that I collect from 2019 Panini Prizm; a snakeskin parallel of Kris Bryant numbered to just 50 copies. 

Panini, especially with Prizm, Chronicles, and all of their Basketball and Football products, are insanely creative when it comes to parallels. Seeing this bizarre snakeskin parallel only makes me wish that they'd have the MLB license, for I cannot imagine how much these cards would improve if only Panini could use Baseball logos.

After directing most of my focus towards modern cards from the post-2000s, I gravitated towards a couple of vintage cards as the show came to an end. Specifically, I picked up 2 base cards of Johnny Bench that I'd yet to acquire for his player collection, one of them being his 1973 Topps card.

Most of my viewers know my feelings on the 1973 Topps set; I love the photography but feel that the base design is far too boring. However, the product is home to a surplus of unique images and angles that separates the photos of '73 Topps from that of virtually every other Topps Flagship product.

For a few dollars, the '73 Bench card was an easy choice and a fabulous pickup. Then, I stumbled upon another card of the HOF catcher that, even taking the condition into account, was priced at a bargain.

For far less than the price of a blaster box, I acquired Bench's 1969 Topps All-Star rookie card that, aside from the surface, is in excellent condition. For whatever reason, vintage rookie cup cards have evaded me, for I don't have all that many of them in my player collections.

Now, I have a fabulous new rookie cup card for my Johnny Bench player collection, thus becoming the oldest card in my Bench PC. I've seen reprints of this iconic card before, but I never thought about owning this beauty myself. 

That all changed today, thanks to an unusual visit to the Mansfield Baseball card show.

To be continued...

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Best 30 Cards From All 30 Teams; AL East

At first, I wanted to create 1 post featuring my best card from all 30 MLB teams. I thought it would be really interesting to have 1 card from every Baseball team in 1 total post, but I soon discovered how difficult it would prove.

When the idea of showcasing all 30 cards together in 1 post was still a reality, I began brainstorming which cards I'd select for each and every club. Some teams, like the Cubs, Yankees, and Angels, had a ton of different options to choose from.

Others, like the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers, seemed to have no legitimate candidate for the "best card." While it doesn't necessarily have to be a hit, relics and autographs usually make up the top tier cards in my collection, though this isn't always the case.

Anyway, before I get to the post itself, I should briefly go over what this series is going to be like. Basically, for the next 6 posts, I'll be showing off my best card from all 30 MLB teams. However, I won't be going strictly off of value since there are numerous factors that come into play.

As you'll soon see, my best doesn't always mean necessitate an extremely valuable card, for there are a couple of teams of which I don't own a highly sought after rookie card or autograph.

I'll be writing these posts on and off for the next 10 days or so, in between the Baseball card show recap posts that I'll start tomorrow. I'm hoping, through these posts, that the viewers will gain insight into my collection and learn things that even I didn't know about my collection.

I'll be making my way through the league, so these posts will start with the 5 AL East clubs; the Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays. 

While I have marquee cards from some of these teams, this isn't the case for the latter 2, forcing me to do some digging to discover the top card from each of these franchises.

Baltimore Orioles
This pick shouldn't really come as a surprise, for I placed this 2018 Topps Archives Rookie History auto of Jim Palmer at #1 on my top 5 Orioles relics/autographs list a couple of weeks ago. Out of all 5 AL East teams, this was by far the easiest decision for me to make.

This card, more so than any other Orioles card that I own, has a distinct story behind it; I purchased a redemption card for this autograph at the Baseball card show a few months back for the same price as a blaster box of cards. Now, this rookie reprint auto has become the best Orioles card in my collection.

There's different serial numbering for each of the Topps Rookie History autos, and Palmer's happens to be out of 125 copies. While I'd prefer to pull a card like this from a pack myself, I paid far less for this than I would for a hobby box of Archives, and Palmer's a better name than most of the guys in the set.

Boston Red Sox
In this series, I'm most excited for the chance to display cards that I haven't had the chance to or decided not to showcase on the blog beforehand. One of these cards is an absolutely gorgeous encased autograph relic out of Topps Luminaries, an on-card auto that I picked up at the Baseball card show earlier this year,

Admittedly, this was a splurge purchase from the Mansfield show earlier this year, but I opted not to feature it on the blog until now. Numbered 2/10, the card is absolutely breathtaking, and it features an autograph of one of my favorite Red Sox players of all-time.

New York Yankees
Although I've only just begun this series, I'm certain that choosing my best New York Yankees card will be one of the most challenging decisions that I'll have to make. Considering the wide variety of Yankees cards that I have, from vintage cards to printing plates, deciding on just 1 wasn't easy.

However, my 1962 Topps Mickey Mantle card is on a higher level than every other Yankees card that I own. Vintage Mantle base cards can hold a tremendous value depending on the card's condition, and a 3.5 isn't too shabby considering how profound the damage is on the wood-bordered set.

Even though I have some pretty awesome Yankees cards of guys like Whitey Ford, Gleyber Torres, and even Babe Ruth, there's something about Mickey Mantle that makes him the most collectible player in Baseball history. I cherish this unbelievable '62 Topps base card that I have of his, and that's why I selected this card as the best New York Yankees card in my collection.

Tampa Bay Rays
Although I love the style of these mojo refractor cards from 2019 Bowman, I'm hoping that this Wander Franco card won't be the best Tampa Bay Rays card in my collection for long. I hope to sell this card on eBay very soon, for I'd rather cash in on this card while these mega box exclusive parallels are still hot.

This card was an extremely recent pull, for I landed it out of a Target mega box last weekend. Immediately, I listed it on eBay, and I've since had 4 people start "watching" the item. Franco is a top tier prospect at just 18-years old. 

The chances of him living up to the hype surrounding him now, in my opinion, are slim, so I'd rather sell this card and choose the Gypsy Queen framed relic that I have of Evan Longoria to take Franco's place on this list.

Toronto Blue Jays
The final team, the Toronto Blue Jays, was an extremely difficult one to decide on. I don't have any valuable Blue Jays cards or Vladimir Guerrero Jr rookies. This forced me to be more creative when it came to my choice since there were no immediate options that came to mind.

After pondering this decision for a while, I decided on my 1 and the only rookie card of the late Roy Halladay. A member of the 2019 HOF class, my one rookie card of Doc is from 1999 Topps Finest, and it still has the protective coating over the chrome card.

Highly-desired Blue Jays cards aren't exactly common like the Red Sox and Yankees, so it definitely required more thinking as to which card I'd choose for Toronto. Nevertheless, I'm pleased with my decision, because Halladay's rookie truly is the best Blue Jays card in my collection.