Sunday, November 30, 2014

D&A Cyber Monday Sale is Live

Just a heads up that it looks like Dave & Adam's Cyber Monday deals went live - Stadium Club is up at $49 a box, and a bunch of the retail Panini boxes.  Prizm is also available at $49, though I forgot to add that one to my order.  I wasn't able to find enough products to hit free shipping during the BF sales, so it was nice to see 5 boxes I wanted listed at the same time.

An Autograph a Day, Part 12

Bob Montgomery was a longtime backup catcher for the Red Sox (they had another pretty decent guy behind the dish those days).  He gets credit for playing his entire career in Boston, and for being the last player to bat without a batting helmet, instead using a reinforced lining inside his cap.

And while I realize the Red Sox cap has become rather iconic, I still prefer the red hat with dark blue B.  But that's just me.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everybody is having a great Thanksgiving.  I did a little online shopping before prepping the bird and making stuffing this morning, so hopefully we all enjoy the much deserved food coma this evening.

The best news?  I'll be kicking off 2015 with a brand new laptop, finally retiring my 8 year old Toshiba Satellite that still runs pretty well aside from a clogged up heat vent and fan.  But it was time for a little more RAM, so hopefully that will give me an excuse to play around with some new features on the blog.

Remember, COMC's Black Friday sale kicks off at midnight Pacific, aka the wee hours of the morning for us east coasters.  And for anyone doing any shopping online, don't forget cashback sites like ebates and bigcrumbs.  I snagged an extra 2% back on the laptop, which will be headed straight into my COMC account tonight.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An Autograph a Day, Part 11

Bruce Van Dyke is perhaps one of the best Steelers offensive lineman not to line up with a quarter back directly behind him.  He played with the Steelers from '67-'73, earning Pro Bowl honors in 1972.  

How often do you see offensive linemen getting cards these days?  It's a trend I'm not a fan of, personally.  No love for the big men, I tell ya...

Monday, November 24, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'll save you my ravings about Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the ills of American consumerism.   While the rest of America upgrades their 60 inch HDTV to a 70 inch super magic plasma 3d thingamadoodle, I'll be sitting in my underwear at 3am Friday morning buying a bunch of baseball cards.

COMC's Black Friday sale has become one of the highlights of my card buying year.  Those cards I've been keeping in my cart all year may finally come down to prices I'm willing to pay, and with a little luck some sellers will blow out inventory at dirt cheap prices.  

I spent a few minutes reviewing my purchases from last year, just to get a little idea of what kind of prices I might expect this year.  And it was fun to revisit some of the finds from last year as well.

After a while, you start to forget what you bought when and where, and for how much.  The "how much" part is sometimes best suppressed.  But I was pleasantly surprised at some of the sub $1 prices I found on numbered cards.  I also noticed I didn't buy that many autographed cards last year, instead finding the best deals on inserts and numbered cards.

But there are definitely some factors that make this Black Friday different from previous years, which could work for or against buyers.

- Loss of Beckett data
When COMC and Beckett parted ways earlier this year, it had an undeniable impact on the site.  I say good riddance to anything Beckett-related, but the lack struggle to rebuild a complete database of cards has hampered the site's functionality.  And I know that when my "Pirates" search brings back Wade Boggs DRays cards and autographs of Rangers, there are probably an equal number of Pirates cards that are being mistakenly filtered out of my results.

And the one thing I will miss is the "search by percentage off" function.  It's still there, but what determines those results would make your guess as good as mine.  Some of my favorite pickups from last year were Steelers or Pens cards I only came across because there were heavily discounted from meaningless BV.
I just hope I can still discover some of those hidden gems this year.

-Fewer incentives
Last year saw a number of incentives for buyers, including buy $100 of store credit and get a bonus $5, and a bonus $5 (bringing it up to $10) for every 100 cards shipped.  Both those promos are gone this year, with the only real incentive being random store credit giveaways that most us will likely never see, and the free shipping promo that pops up every so often.

There has been a lot of speculation about the health of COMC's business model.  And who knows, really.  But the combination of a rough year for the site's functionality and processing times undoubtedly had an impact.  And the fact that the site basically wiped clean the incentives it has built in over the last few years and don't replace them with anything new isn't exactly clamoring to bring in buyers.  I imagine if Best Buy stopped posting discount movie sales on Black Friday, its customers would start speculating as well.

- Longer Promos
As Black Friday rapidly creeps up the calendar to become Black November, COMC jumped on board.  The traditional Cyber Monday/Black Friday weekend sales have supplemented with two weeks of "pre-Black Friday" sales.  I'm curious to see how sellers respond to this.  Will they slowly increase the percentage off, still offering top deals on Black Friday?  Or are the current prices the best deals some sellers are willing to offer?  And perhaps more importantly, has some of the best inventory already been grabbed up?

I found some good deals, but I've noticed sales have been slow.  I think buyers are waiting for Black Friday to get the maximum deals.  But it definitely adds an extra variable to the equation.

There isn't anything that caught my eye from the "mainstream" Black Friday sales.  I already have X-Men: Days of Futures Past and the Avengers on Blu Ray shipping from Amazon at the Black Friday prices.  And I've never been one to care much for the big item deals people go crazy for.  So yep, after the turkey coma starts to wear off, I'll be grabbing another slice of pie from the fridge and picking up some $.50 cards.

What is everybody else looking for on Black Friday, cardboard or otherwise?  

An Auto a Day, Part 10

Today was highlighted by a tree falling down and landing about 6 inches from my car, as I stood about 10 yards away and watched in horror.  Tons of fun.  Luckily there doesn't appear to be any major damage to the car - a little bark scrape on the side that should buff out pretty easily.

And on the cardboard side of things, longtime Bucco player, manager, and coach Bill Virdon signed a '55 Bowman.  I just love the old school tv design on the set, and though I doubt I'd ever collect a vintage set, if I did this would be it.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

An Autograph a Day, Part 9

I've always liked cards of teams that don't exist anymore.  And the Senators are perhaps at the top of that list (or maybe 1a and 1b with the Expos now).  

Bob Oldis played in the majors over parts of 10 seasons, but never appeared in more than 47 games.  He played for the Pirates in '60 and '61.  When digging through vintage boxes at shows, I always keep my eyes open for vintage cards of players who I know are reliable signers.  And though this '54 card is fairly well worn, for a mere $1, it was a no-brainer to add it to my pile and get it out in the mail a few days later.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

An Autograph a Day, Part 8

Lonnie Smith is one of those guys who stole a whole lot of bases in the early to mid 80's.  He had a pretty lengthy career, and even picked up MVP votes in three seasons.

He came off the bench for the Bucs in '93, but was released mid season.  He latched on with the Orioles, and finished up his career after the '94 season.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

An Autograph a Day, Part 7

Just follow me on this one.  For the last few years, I have played Out of the Park Baseball.  It's by far the most accurate and realistic baseball simulation I have ever played (and I've played my fair share).  I've never had much interest in "fantasy" sports.  OOTP offers a great amount of depth, giving the average baseball nerd tons of data to pour over.  I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is even slightly interested in baseball "games."

Anyway, a couple years ago I decided to replay the entire history of the game.  Yeah, the whole thing.  Starting in 1870 something, I simulated each season to recreate the game's entire history.  Start from scratch, if you will.  And for the most part it's been amazingly in line with reality.  But the fate of essentially redrafting the entire majors have made for some interesting combinations.  Forget Murder's Row.  Instead Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby teamed up to create one of the most fearsome and high scoring lineups of all time.  Or an outfield with Clemente, Hank Aaron, and an aging Ralph Kiner, who wasn't forced into early retirement.

 The point is - while the years came out looking rather familiar, there were some big twists and turns.  And the best part of that is discovering some players I had never known about.  Like Claude Osteen.  A few years ago I would have said Claude who?  Osteen was certainly a solid pitcher, picking up 196 wins across parts of 18 years.
 But in my world, he was exceptional.  Hall of Fame good.  Multiple Cy Young awards good.  For whatever reason, the data in the simulator broke all the right ways for a solid career to become exceptional, probably helped in part by a few seasons in pitching in front of that powerhouse Clemente/Kiner/Aaron outfield.
So it's added an extra level of fun to TTM autographs, collecting autographs here and there of players who, at least according to the series of 1's and 0's in my laptop's hard drive, were immortal.

And as we bring our tour back to reality, checking out the terrible airbrushing on the '75 Cardinals hat.  Who's the one living in a fantasy world now, Topps?

Stay Gold: Group Break Results

The group of team collectors I'm a part of did another group break on Halloween night.  The break was a little smaller this time, since new low to mid tier products have come to a trickle this time of year.  But we managed to scrounge together a decent break: 2 jumbox of Topps Update, 2013 Topps Mini, and a box of the heavily discounted 2014 Stadium Club, which was down to something like $67 when we ordered (compared to the cool $95 we paid for our first box).

While I'll always stick to buying singles over boxes, I love group breaks.  Not the 85 Monster Case Break Blowout, complete with dbag acting like Don West from Shop at Home.  But a small break like this with some good buddies?  Sign me up.  For $10, I knew I would be getting the Update team set, a few other commons I needed, a couple low end inserts, and at least a fighting chance at a nice hit.

And fight I did.
The break was actually looking bad for my Bucs heading into the last box.  Nothing of note, except for a foil and gold parallel.
And then - bam!  The next to last jumbo pack held a beautiful Clemente Gold Label card pictured above.
Anybody who even occasionally reads this blog is probably sick of hearing about how much I love 90's cards, and how 2000 was the year I got back into collecting.  And Gold Label from 2000 was a set that still holds fond memories, though I don't think I ever opened any packs until a few repacks years later.
 And though the scan doesn't show it, the card is insanely thick.  Like...I have it in a one of those old 25 card snap cases right now, because I couldn't find anything that was the proper size.  I don't know if the card had to be printed that thick for a specific reason, or if they just thought it would look better in a quarter inch thick gold frame.  But either way, it's a beautiful card that brings back some warm and fuzzies for me.

On top of that, I was able to just about complete the non-parallel team set from Topps Update.  I didn't pull the Josh Harrison Stat back variation, and I'm still missing one of the Polanco FIN inserts, McCutchen Power Players, and all the World Series Heroes.  But along with the Clemente I did score the Polanco image variation SP.

While it is a cool photo, and I'm thrilled to not have to actually spend money on this card...could somebody tell Topps this is the exact same photo they put into Stadium Club?  You'd think in the day and age of digital photography, where photographers can literally take an unlimited number of photos without any real concern for printing, storing, or running out of film, that Topps could find one additional cool image to use for this SP.

Not bad for $10, right?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Autograph a Day, Part 6

I spent way too much of my day sitting at the tire place getting a new set of tires on Kate's car, so forgive the lack of words in this post.

Dick Groat is perhaps one of the least famous MVP's in baseball history.  But he was one heck of an athlete, starring at Duke and playing one seasons in the NBA with the Pistons.  He's the member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame, and has been a play by play man for college basketball in Pittsburgh for the longest time.

He was also born and raised in the same steel mill town that my dad grew up in about 5 miles down river from Pittsburgh.  He was the Pittsburgh kid long before Neil Walker was even an afterthought.

Another musing side note - I have two copies of Groat's '57 Topps...the one I got signed was creased to hell.  The other copy I own is trimmed, with all the borders cut off.  But that gives them character, right?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An Autograph a Day, Part 5

 Dave Goltz had a pretty solid career across 12 major league seasons, including winning 20 games for the Twinkies in 1977.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the Twins powder blue uniforms.  Generally speaking, I hate power blues unless it's North Carolina.  But it seems like just about every other uniform combo the Twins have tried looks...well, worse.  I wasn't a fan of the cream jerseys they wore the last few years, and I really hate the gold trim they're adding for next year.
 Ironically, the one thing about the Twins uni I was the "M&M's" script hat logo they wore through the 90's, which was sadly short loved.

2000 Topps Chrome Refractors

Player: Tino Martinez
Card Number: 370
Set: Base

Set Progress: 5/478 (1%)

Woo, finally up to a full percentage point!  This Tino came in from sportlots for a mere $.20.  He had a pretty productive career for the Mariners and Yankees, and was probably a bit underappreciated in the offensive boom of the 90's.  And of course Yankee Stadium's short right field porch undoubtedly helped his numbers.  Compared to the money and production the Yanks have gotten out of Texeira, Tino looks like a real steal in my eyes.

Hometown Heroes BoxBreak Scans and Set Needs

Hometown Heroes was one of the few products that have really excited me over the last few years.  While the concept was pretty similar to Archives/ATFF, I like the fact that the set had some unique inserts and a consistent base design rather than the Topps reprint designs.  And that the product wasn't put out by Topps.  

But with three autos per box, prices were a little higher than I was willing to go.  And for whatever it seems like very little of this product trickled into the second market, making singles tough to find.

So a retail box for $13 from D&A?  Yes please.  I should have grabbed a second box, but was in such a rush to complete my order before Stadium Club sold out that I only picked up the one.

 Still, it was a great break for $13.  I love the selection of inserts and parallels.  I got shut out on Bucs in my box, pulling only one Pirate.  But there are still a few cards that will be sticking in my pc.  I also picked up a decent portion of the base set, which I'm going to try to complete.  If anybody has any commons for trade, my needs are below.  Drop me an email, and I'm sure I have something that would be of interest.
 Base Needs: 1,2,3,9,10,13,14,15,16,19,26,27,28,39,30,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,51,55,56,57,58,60,61,68,70,71,72,73
 I was lucky enough to hit an auto, and better yet a new one for my autograph collection.  He's kind of a one year wonder, but it was a great year.
 And while I will probably hold onto just about everything from the box, this Trout is most likely heading to ebay.  Looking at completed sales, it should just about pay for the box.  He's obviously playing out of this world over the last few seasons, but ultimately I just don't have any interest in Trout cardboard.  Fishing...that's a whole different story.
Overall, I really like what Panini did with this set, and I'm disappointed it didn't return for a second season.  But I'll be on the lookout during Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals to see if any more boxes go on sale.  It was a great product to break on the cheap.

Monday, November 17, 2014

An Autograph a Day, Part 4

Alright, the one a day thing went down the tubes when my scanner decided to crap out on me.  But we're back and ready to go.   And this is one cool autograph.  Or perhaps I should say the cardboard it's on is awesome.

You could say Diego Segui was a pretty well traveled guy by the end of his baseball career.  And he has the distinction of playing for both Seattle teams, perhaps a feat that no other player accomplished (though I'm not quite motivated enough to check on that).
 Segui had perhaps his best season for the Pilots in '69, and eventually found his way back to the Emerald City in '77 with the Mariners.  And while Topps apparently never came across a picture of him with the M's (the photo is pretty clearly from his Red Sox career), the Pilots card instantly becomes one of my favorite non-Pirate autos.

Apparently all that baseball paid off though.  Diego is the father of longtime 1B David Segui, who is also a fantastic TTM signer just like dear old dad.

2000 Topps Chrome Refractors

Player: Kelvim Escobar
Card Number: 336
Set: Base

Set Progress: 4/478 (0.8%)

Now that is a nice looking card!  The colors just really seem to pop with the blue jersey.  Escobar looked like a very promising pitcher in 2000, and he did manage to have some good seasons as both a starter and reliever.  But ultimately injuries ended his career

Sunday, November 16, 2014

2000 Topps Chrome Refractors -

Player: Eric Karros
Card Number: 33
Set: Base

Set Progress: 3/478 (0.6%)

I just got in a couple orders from sportlots that should give me a nice little jump on the set on the cheap.  The cards ended up averaging out to about $.50/card with shipping, so that percentage will finally start moving up into the whole numbers!

Karros was a mainstay in the Dodgers lineup throughout the 90's.  I don't know that he was ever really the face of the franchise, superseded by a rotating cast of Piazza, Nomo, Sheffield, and Shawn Green.  But he definitely wins the longevity award.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2000 Topps Chrome Refractors

Player: Carlos Beltran
Card Number: 178
Set: Base

Set Progress: 2/478 (0.4%)

Mmm, rookie cup goodness.  This card was pulled from one of a few boxes of Chrome I bused for X-mas one year.

Beltran has been a consistently exceptional player throughout his career.  But his production with the Royals and combo of speed and power likely made him one of the best players in the league who few people were able to watch throughout most of the early 00's.  I can't tell you how thankful I am that access to has completely opened up our ability to watch the entire league.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oh, hey, you again...

Looks like A.J. Burnett is headed back to the Steel City on a one year, 8.5M contract.  The deal seems reasonably priced, the Bucs have a gaping hole in the middle of their rotation, and I don't think leaving the bandbox that is Philly could possibly hurt a pitcher.

A.J. was probably my favorite Pirate since Jack Wilson was traded, so I'm happy to see him back.  What type of impact he has on the field is yet to be seen.  But this definitely feels like a wise use of money when a guy like Josh Johnson with injury questions and a far worse year got similar money last offseason.

After largely sitting on their hands last offseason, and then getting knocked out in a rough Wild Card game and watching the division be very much within grasp had some additional improvements been made (ie not Ike Davis), it's nice to see the Pirates striking early with AJ and the Cervelli trade.

Hometown Heroes Break, Part 5

And on to the last part.  Hoping for some Buccos in this batch.

Pack 19:
Frank White
Rickey Henderson Curtain Call Gold
Kevin Seitzer

Pack 20:
Bobby Witt
King Felix
Ozzie Guillen
Dwayne Murphy (this one feels like a bit of a stretch)
Trout State (well, that should about pay for the box!)

Pack 21:
Reggie (A's)
Halladay (is this the Phillies pack?  I just hit two more Phillies in one pack than total Pirates!)
Bobby Thigpen Auto!Harold Baines
Houston Street

Hitting an auto is great - there wasn't anything guaranteed on the box.  Better yet, it's a player I don't have an autograph of.  A lot of the Larry Bowa and Greg Gagne type signers in this product are guys who are great signers TTM, so it's nice to add a new auto to the collection.

Pack 22:
Cleon Jones
A-Rod (NY) Hero seems like a gross misnomer here...
Dave Stewart
Pendelton (StL)
Edgar Martinez Defining Moments
Reggie (NYY)

Pack 23:
Matt Williams (Dbags)
Harvey (another dup)
Bill Buckner (Dodgers) - again...really?
Scherzer Area Code parallel
Steve Finley

Pack 24:
Teddy higuera
Jerome Walton
Harold Reynolds (ugh)
Rick Monday
Matt Williams State (Giants)
Rusty Greer
Jeff Montgomery

So there you have it.  A stack of inserts, a very well composed base set, and one freaking Pirate card.  Looks like I pulled one SP, Wade Boggs Yankees.  The auto was a great bonus.  It does seem nuts that I only pulled one of the 9 Pirate cards from the set, but I guess that's the way breaks can go.

I'm think I'm going to try to complete the base set (minus SP's), so if anyone has any doubles from their boxes or isn't particularly attached to the base cards, let me know.  I'll probably hold onto a couple of the inserts and the auto, but if anybody is interested in anything just drop me an email.

Hometown Heroes Live Break, Part Cuatro

And into the second half we go...

Pack 13:
Jordan Zimmerman
Bernie Williams
Jose Rijo City Hall

Pack 14:
Frank Robinson (Reds)
Wil Myers
Buckner (Chicago...I highly doubt he is a hero in Boston)
Oscar Gamble
Dave Kingman Sportdiscs
Fred McGriff Blue Jays.  I hope/assume there is a Braves card in the set as well.
Mark Lemke - there was something that I loved about Mark Lemke, despite hating the Braves.  Maybe it was the shared first name.  Is it just me or were Lemke and Blauser perhaps one of the worst hitting middle infield combos for a team that had as much success as the Braves.

Pack 15:
Blackjack McDowell
John Turod (former Bucco, but a Cardinal on this card)
LaRussa (A's)
Jeter Curtain Call, perhaps a year prematurely
Matt Moore
Jay Buhner, aka the epitome of cool

Pack 16:
Mickey Lolich
Keith Moreland - this is another one who was a headscratcher, though at least the name was familiar
Jose Rijo
Andre Thornton
Doc Gooden Defining Moments
Marc Rzepsdfgrehetgrwegrwh
Joe Girardi -Rockies

It definitely seems like they had to dig pretty deep to find players for the expansion era teams.  I have yet to come across a single (Devil) Ray that wasn't an active player.  And who the heck would you even include?  Jose Canseco?  Boggs and McGriff would seem like the most logical, but they already fit in with multiple other teams.

Pack 17:
Shawon Dunston, a player who will forever be one of my favorite Pirates after 50 games in Pittsburgh
Kevin Mitchell
Lou Pinella Calling the Shots
Dickie Thon
Eric Davis

Pack 18:
David Freese
Rickey Henderson Yankees?
and even more questionably, Tom Seaver White Sox. That seems like a somewhat questionable call to me.
Mike Schmidt Homegrown Heroes.  Interestingly, it appears the card uses the Pirates jersey font.

3/4 of the way through, and no Pirates to be found.  There has been a healthy selection of inserts, and I'm really falling in love with these base cards the more I see of them.  Even with the airbrushed logos, Panini clearly went out of their way to use photos from the players' time with that specific team.  Bravo.

Hometown Heroes Live Break, Part III

After a pause for a quick bite to eat, we're back.

Pack 7:
Rick Aguilera
Wade Boggs (Bos)
Willie Horton
Ruben Sierra
Nolan Ryan Curtain Call

Pack 8:
Nolan Ryan
Fernando Valenzuela Nicknames
Bob Horner

Pack 9:
Ron Gant
Skip Schumaker
Boggs (NYY)

Pack 10:
Mark Grace (a double?)
Pete Rose
John Franco
Adam Jones
Edwin Encarnacion

Pack 11:
Joe Charboneau (featuring the most terrifying grimace I've ever seen on cardboard)
Denny McLain
Jim Abbott
Jack Clark
Gary Sheffield State
Juan Pierre
Mike Hargrove

Pack 12:
Ron Cey
Luis Gonzalez

The last pack had some 90's magic.  There goes the streak of every pack having an insert, though some of the base cards are SP's I believe.  I'm wishing I would have picked up a second box at this point.  Shut out on Buccos, which seems a little strange.

Hometown Heroes Live Break, Part 2

And we're off...

Pat The Bat Burrell
Shean Green (it's easy to forget how good he was in Toronto before the strange Raul Mondesi trade)
Pablo Sandoval (curse, you Giants!)
Alex Gordon
Andres Gallarage City Hall insert
Jim Sundberg
David Wright

Pack 2:
Juan Samuel (this will be heading out to be signed ttm next spring)
Vince Coleman
Mo Rivera
Brooks Robinson - is it just me or has Robinson been almost entirely absent from products since Donruss closed shop in 2005?
Evan Gattis RC
Curt Schilling Defining Moments Gold
Mark Grace
Wally Joyner

Pack 3
Paul Oneil
Bucky Dent
Asdrubal Cabrera
Dusty Baker
Frank Viola City Hall Black
Joey Bats
Willie McGee

Pack 4
The Big Hurt
Joe Carter
Mike Schmidt
Dan Petry - who the heck is Dan Petry???
Ryu RC
Mike Mussina

Pack 5:
Rick Dempsy
Mike Greenwall
Mike Boddicker
Shelby Miller
Steve Stone Rivalry
Larry Bowa
Fergie Jenkins

Pack 6:
Billy Butler
Tino Martinez...Mariners?  Yankees would make more sense to me
Rob Dibble - is this the first retired product he's been in?
Johnny Ray - finally a Pirate! ...that I already have
Chris Perez
Todd Helton State parallel

I'm off to a good start.  The base set looks great, and I love the range of players they've included.  It really does feel more like "hometown heroes," as opposed to Topps "we sign whichever players will autograph cards for dirt cheap" Fan Favorites.  And with an insert in just about every pack, it's giving the break a little excitement.  Some more Buccos would be nice, though...

2013 Panini Hometown Heroes Live Break, Part 1

UPS just dropped off my order from their lightning deals a few days ago (thanks again, Matt!) and I could use a little entertainment to break up the afternoon monotony.  The Stadium Club and Pinnacle will probably wait until Christmas, but the glorious 12.95 box of Hometown Heroes Retail is alllllll mine.

Hometown Heroes was a concept I was really interested since the product released, but singles have been damn hard to come by.  The product appears to have been a major flop, and didn't return for a sophomore year.

I really have no idea what to expect with this retail box, since there are no odds for inserts and I couldn't find any retail breaks online.  But for this price, it should be fun just to put together the base set.  And at this price I'm kicking myself for not grabbing a couple more.

There are 24 packs per box, so I'll post the break 6 packs at a time.  Should be fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

2000 Topps Chrome Refractors: Technical Difficulties

Player: Sammy Sosa
Card Number: AT9
Set: All-Topps Team
Set Completion: 0.2%

I had a group break post almost ready to go up when my scanner decided to stop working.  So in the mean time, more shiny cards!

I doubt I'll ever have the patience or spare funds to go for a master set of 2000 refractors.  Most of the insert sets are loaded with 90's star power, and I think nearly 500 cards in the base set should be enough to keep me busy.

But that doesn't mean I'll turn down any of the inserts at the right price.  This All-Topps Team design might be my favorite insert from the set, and looks amazing in refractor form.

Slamin' Sammy seems like little more than an afterthought to most collectors these days, but there was a time when he was on top of the hobby.  While I wasn't quite a big enough fan to start a player collection, he is definitely in my second tier of "not a PC, but I'll gobble up as many inserts as I can" category.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You Can Never Have Too Many Yankee Backup Catchers?

The Bucs just dealt from an apparently bullpen surplus for Francisco Cervelli.

I was fairly sure of two things this winter:
1) The Bucs would not and could not afford Russell Martin
2) Whoever was playing catcher for the Pirates next year would not be nearly as good as Russell Martin

I just didn't think we'd have that set before the first snowfall.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a pretty minor move.  The Bucs have lots of bullpen options, including a few 5th starter/longman types at AAA who can probably step in and do an admirable job.  But Justin Wilson was one of my favorite players on the Bucs roster.  He's a lefty (like me), throws hard, and we have had a couple conversations about his admiration for my beard.  He's a great guy, in my book.  I'm not sure where this puts one of my other favorite Buccos, Tony Sanchez.

But I guess we'll see how all that plays out when the weather warms up a bit.