Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Heritage Love and a Rip Card!

This weekend has been an extremely busy weekend, as a ton of Heritage 2009 cards have arrived in the mail. I have been to the card store twice seeking penny sleeves and am finding that even a 660 count box is not going to be big enough to hold 550 sleeved cards. I have also updated my needs list and will soon be posting a duplicates available for trade! I would like to take a moment to thank those who have sent me packages in the last couple days!

Lets start with that rip card! Priceless Pursuit sent me up a few Red Sox cards that I rescued from being round-filed by Joe. Also included in this package was a rather mysterious envelope!

The suspense was overwhelming! To rip or not to rip? Could this be an ultra rare 2009 Heritage SP of Babe Ruth? I HAD to rip it open!
AH! Carl Crawford. One of the many Tampa Bay Rays who ripped my heart out of my chest in game 7 of the ALCS last season. A rare card indeed. This one almost went straight to the Jacoby shredding machine, BUT it is a card off of my need list, so Carl was given a stay of execution. Joe and I also have a little TTM project we are working on together, but I am going to hold off on blogging about that until I know if it works out or not! Joe is also at the Chargers and Seahawks tonight. Last I saw, Seattle was laying it on them, but after all, its just preseason.
The next package came from Ed at Roll Out the Barrel. Ed sent a very generous package of nearly 100 Heritage prints for my project. I really enjoy reading Ed's blog because I am a bit of a Brewer supporter on the National League side of the equation. I am a big fan of Yovani and Ryan Braun (whom I consider the heir apparent to the home run record some day). I also love watching that mascot shoot down the slide, as well as the occasional sausage race. Good, fun team to watch. Ed, I sent you some Ryan Braun cards and the good news is that I am already getting some Chrome duplicates that are all yours! Thanks again for helping out the project.
Next up is Chris Reed from Fan of Reds. Chris not only swooped in with nearly 75 Heritage base cards, but also found a way to knock out all but the three (maybe 4) remaining Allen and Ginter card needs! I am very excited to be THIS close to putting that base set to bed, so thank you very much, and you should have your Turkey Reds any day if you don't already. BTW, my wife says you were very resourceful with your packing technique. I'll leave it at that.

Then, I was excited to receive a package from the Collective Troll! I received the following note... okay! I can not really verify the validity of the "dog ate my homework" claim, but nevertheless, the cards came in (nearly 60) and the Bombshells battled the Rebels! Troll also included a new Ortiz for my Sox collection...

Thanks Troll, and thanks to everybody for continuing to make looking in the mailbox fun again. I hope you are all receiving your packages and enjoying the cards that I sent out as well!
Thats about it for tonight. A TON of stuff happened today that I am excited to share with you, including the results of my second box of Chrome, plus I also want to talk about my great random package as well as post available Heritage doubles. It has been a long day though, and all of these Red Sox losses are taking a toll on my energy, so good night for now!

Topps 2009 Chrome Review

When I first started collecting, I was very happy and relieved to find some nice blogger reviews of new products. From my first decision between Topps Flagship and Upper Deck Flagship, these blog review were very helpful in making a decision. As I continue to learn more about this hobby, I would like to start doing some reviews from a set-collector/greenhorn perspective.

My first review is Topps Chrome 2009. I picked up three boxes of Chrome at right around $55 dollars apiece, which is fairly reasonable considering some of the higher priced options currently out there. Each box contains 2 rookie autograph cards (some with variation) as well as a host of refractor, and refractor parallels. I will start with the results of the break:

Total cards: 24 packs x 4 cards per pack = 96 total cards per box
Base cards in series: 220

Base Cards Received: 75 (78% of box, 34% of base set)
WBC cards: 9 (3 refractors #rd/500, 1 refractor #rd/199)
Refractors: 13 (one blue #rd/199, on RC auto #rd/499)

Auto Cards: You are guaranteed two rookie card autos per pack. While the autos look like they are on a sticker, the autograph is actually right on the card and the sticker fade look actually blends nicely into the card. I was lucky to have the Romero auto also be a refractor version!

Base cards: Some of these cards pop more than others. These are identical to the Flagship set, but when going through this box, some of these FELT like new cards simply because the chrome process really brought out new details in the cards. As a set collector, receiving about a third of the base in this box seems about right...of course who knows what awaits me in the next two boxes. There were no duplicates in this box.

WBC: these cards are not exactly my cup of tea, but the addition of refractor variety made some of these cards look pretty nice. There are WBC collectors out there, so more likely than not these will find a new home soon. Again, the chrome process really brings out the best in some of these shots.

Inserts: At four cards a pack, I was not expecting miracles in insert sets. Nevertheless, I was pretty impressed with how many refractors were in this box. The odds state a base refractor at 1:3 and 1:16 for WBC refractors. I received 9 base (so right about 1:2.7) and 3 WBC refractors (1:8) so this box was definitely refractor heavy!
Overall: I have to say that the $55 price really is pretty reasonable considering the autos and refractors packed into this hobby box. There are still some short print surprises to be found including a Barack Obama SP, and also some gold and red refractors to chase, so there is still more potential out there.
In regards to the base set, I am just going to predict now that a 4th box is going to be needed to complete this set (if anything, to amass some doubles for trade value). I am definitely happy with this purchase!
Please let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Refractors A Plenty and More Heritage Love!

I came home last night to a couple more packages, well, actually two normal sized packages and one freakin ENORMOUS package that is deemed worthy of its own post over the weekend. My first package came from Jim from Minnesota! Jim answered the call for 2009 Heritage and came through nicely as I am able to cross a few more numbers off of my red list! The first card in the package threw me for a loop... WOW! My second TTM! Yes, this is my first official Jim signed Luis Rivera card. My guess is that it is a 1/1 and will go in the ring of honor in my collection. You will see also that he included a nice Mickey Mantle Longest Homerun card as well. A yankee, but a classic none-the-less. Thanks Jim!

The second package of the evening came from my "Ginter Code Champ Prize Purgatory" partner Nick Jacoby, as he and I both wait patiently (well, me not so much) to hear from Topps. Nick sent me a large stack of Heritage in what turns out to be a botched trade because he was looking for 08 Masterpieces and I have 07. Whoops. Lotta numbers to remember when it comes to collecting. I'll hit you back though with something soon Nick. BTW Nick is in Atlanta tonight and is going to be seeing the Phils and the Braves. No wasting good beer now, Nick!

Near the end of the evening I had the chance to crack open a few more packs of Topps Chrome. For there only being a few cards per pack, it has definitely been worth it regarding refractors. Base card refractors run 1:3 and WBC every 1:16, but only about 12 packs in I already have about 10 refractors, 3WBC. Either a really great box, or the rest are going to disappoint. Time will tell. Here are the refractors of the night, even though the scanner doesnt really work for refractors...

Matt Cain (which is perfect for my phenom collection, and WBC Akinori Iwamura. For obvious reasons Aki does not really fit my collecting needs, so if any of you Rays fans would like to make an offer (perhaps for a Red Sox refractor) let me know!

The last pack of the night could not have pleased me more though....

Ahhhhh, Ricky Romero RC Auto. Perfect for my phenom collection. Absolutely perfect. Even better? Its a refractor as well! Lovin this card! A great way to end the night.
This weekend the hunt continues for Obama and Tommy!

Ebay Treasures!

I mentioned a week or so ago that I was on the hunt for a Bob Uecker card to give to my brother, who had mentioned wanting one while we were out at the ol beachhouse. I began to scour Ebay to see what I could locate, and there are definitely plenty available, but I was looking for one of his earlier cards. Yesterday I found a "Buy It Now" seller who I took a stab at and made an offer for a few bucks less than he was asking. For $12.99 I ended up with this beauty...

1963 Topps Bob Uecker Auto. Now you can tell from the image that the card has slight wear in a couple of the corners, but otherwise is a pretty upstanding card for being 46 years old! The seller specializing in selling common base card TTMs and the description states that this was signed at a old timers game in the late 70's. Now obviously you can never truly verify a non-certified auto, but if you take it for what it is, then it will still make a nice keepsake. Either way my brother will be surprised and that is all that matters!

But yesterday I stumbled upon another nice little pickup. As I was searching for some images for my Lunch Break Chrome pack bust (received crickets on that post, hovered near the Mendoza line), I stumbled upon this:

I remember these cards from when I was a kid, and could not resist throwing down the .99 cents winning bid to claim this unopened pack (complete with 29 year old bubble gum!). I figured this would make for a nice trip down memory lane and a nice pack bust blog. I must admit though that I am starting to have a bit of a guilty feeling about cracking this pack open. It is a nice little piece of history from the greatest Star Wars movie, and one of the best Sci-Fi movies of all time. I am going to create a poll on this. Do I crack this pack open?

Addendum to original post: If I crack the pack, do I eat the gum???????

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Actual Chrome Break (for real this time)

I finally had a chance to sit down this evening and bust a few more packs. I really like the look of the 2009 Topps Chrome set, and have already pulled several refractors and an auto in the first six packs of the box. the Chrome is extra shiny and these definitely deserve a binder treatment. One thing I have noticed already is how prone to picking up fingerprints these cards are, so I am being extra careful and slipping them into penny sleeves before really looking closely at the cards. here is what I opened tonight...

George Sherrill
Jon Garland
Nick Swisher (yuck)
Grady Sizemore (when you angle the card he really jumps out at you)

Brian Roberts
Ramiro Pena (Yankee, but rookie at least)
Trevor Cahill (lost in Oakland obscurity)
Jason Bay!

David Wright
Daniel Murphy
Conor Jackson
Tim Lincecum (who is currently battling Tommy Hansen for most studly pitcher award)

here are the hits. the scanner obviously does not show the sparkle of these refractors, but they are quite the sight. My favorite is new Red Sox Victor Martinez Blue Refractor #132/199, RC James McDonald Refractor, and a nice looking auto (non-refractor) of Jason Jaramillo in his temporary Pirates uniform.

Cool product. Can't wait to bust a few more. Stay tuned!

Mail Day Thanks!

Well, Charlie Brown finally got some packages in the mail today, and I am very excited to start crossing some of those red numbers off of my Heritage needs list!

The first package came from WickedOrtega "Mr Marlin". After many left comments interested in Marlins cards, I finally received my first package from the elusive Ortega. I am happy to report that he was able to knock off 26 heritage cards as well as send me several nice Red Sox, including these beauties...I am especially fond of the Pedro Martinez card, especially after a very nice comeback game this evening. He clearly needs to build up some stamina, but I see no reason why he won't produce going into the playoffs. A great pickup by the Phils...

I also received an Oki rookie card that is quite a generous addition as well. Thanks a ton Ortega, and good luck to your Marlins down the stretch!

Second package comes from Don in Arizona. I am uncertain if Don has a blog or not, but I received a contact from Don just a few days ago and he was more than willing to chip in and help out with several Heritage cards from my little project including a great Flashback News subset card. Don is a Tigers fan, and I wanted to let you know that I have something special headed your way tomorrow, so stay tuned for it and thanks again reading my blog. Let me know if if you ever need anything from me Don!

The last package of the evening comes from Jim way out there in NJ. Jim is at The Phillies Room and is seeking out every Phillies card ever in existance (and succeeding, I believe)! We worked out a little deal involving some Ginter, and some heritage needs (including a nice bookend #500 Billy Wagner) in exchange for the mini cards that just perplex me to no end. Check out my new favorite Ginter card...

Richard Gatling! Hell yeah. Inventor of the Gatling gun back in 1862. Bet he kept the crooks and coyotes off of his farm! Sweet card Jim, thanks! Jim also knocked out a good portion of my Heritage list as well. Let me know when you get your cards!

I have sent out several packages in the last couple of days and have tried a new UPS store because I found myself wasting too many stamps instead of paying exact money based on weight. Now you pay in advance and then supposedly they sticker the envelopes later that day. It is a bit of an odd system and worries me slightly, so if you would not mind please shooting me a quick email to let me know when you get your package to give me a bit of piece of mind. I can't imagine a UPS store would screw it up, but would like to know please!

Thanks again to all three of you. I will happily update my needs list as it slowly shrinks to a more manageable number!

Chrome Pack Break: Lunch Edition!

Last night did not ever really lend itself the opportunity to do a proper Topps Chrome break. The evening was filled with grocery shopping and Big Brother debochery, so I never had the chance to crack a couple of packs. I decided on my way out the door this morning to snag a couple and do a Chrome Break: Lunch Edition!

There are certain problems with being away from my scanner. I am pretty much at the mercy of the internet when it comes to finding images of the cards. Even more difficult is finding the images of cards from a brand new product line. Luckily I scoured the web and was able to find some reasonably similar renditions of the actual Chrome cards that I pulled. Below are the first 8 cards in my 1st 2009 Topps Chrome box. I am desperately hoping these packs include Obama and Tommy Hansen short prints! Lets see how we do...

Card #1 Jeremy Bonderman

Card #2 Chi-Hung Cheng Refractor! Wow, already hit my first refractor and as you can see it really shines!

Card #3 Pedro Martinez WBC - Its great to see Petey back on the mound for Philly tonight. Going to be nice to see those curls flowing in the wind once again! Hopefully his comeback is a bit more successful than Mr. Smoltz.

Card#4 Todd Helton

Card #5 - Brian Duensing RC - First rookie pull, no auto yet!

Card #6 - Barry Zito - This particular card is really well done, and really captures the emotion of the moment, most likely after actually striking out a batter.

Card #7 - Geoff Jenkins

Card #8 - George Posada - What pack pull is complete without a dreaded Yankee. It ain't easy being green....

More packs to come!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stir Up the Pot!

Things are a little bit slow here in the blogosphere today, and I am just waiting to bust outta here and go home and check my mail, so I thought in the meantime I would ask you all to help educate a greenhorn regarding a site I learned about recently called Zistle. my blog still here? Is Big Brother watching me? Have I been shut down yet?

When I started this hobby a couple months and many many posts ago, I nearly immediately signed up for Beckett Online (see how I did that? Everybody wins!) not so much for the ability to price my cards, but more for the pretty thorough product listings, meaning that all the sets, subsets, etc are all listed. For a beginner like myself, it made for a great reference to all the zillions of products I was trying out.

Last week I was meandering though blogs. I like going to blogs that I follow and then clicking on a link that they follow, and then another link that THAT person's like a six degrees to JD's Wild Cardz. Plus its a great way to stumble upon new trade partners! Anyways, there was a contraversy a-brewing about the merits of the pricing systems of Beckett vs Zistle. "What the heck is Zistle"? I asked myself and before I knew it I had signed up online.

Now keep in mind that I have only used Zistle for a very very brief amount of time, but here are my comparisons.

Beckett - Positives
  • complete listings of any and all available products plus pricing (on most)

Beckett - Negatives

  • New product pricing is most N/A for several months, keeping you guessing on the value of what you have got.
  • Many products (even years back) dont have images available, so it makes it difficult to tell the difference between a green/gold/rust colored Masterpiece border (luckily I have the rust!)
  • you have to pay for each type of card you collect??!?
  • System crashes OFTEN

Zistle - Positives

  • LOVE the search function. Many photos are tagged well, so I can quickly search through my cards by brand, year, status (rookie), name, etc. Pretty slick.
  • Can search for ALL sports (in case I ever get the urge to fire up a WWE collection.
  • FREE!

Zistle - Negatives

  • Questionable pricing on SOME products - I know that pricing is really subjective and mostly meaningless. I mean if I were to offer up a couple of Brooks Robinson patches for a few Topps SP's, then it is really not about the book value of each, but rather the sedimental value attached to the products that should drive the trade. Each person wants something, you make good on your trade, and you call it a day! But that is neither here nor there.

Nevertheless, pricing does play a small role, at the very least it is there to make you feel good about something cool that you have. I get a bit concerned when I punch in my Babe Ruth Topps SP and its value is at .60 cents avg. On the other hand I punched in both my Jacoby and Dustin rookies and they are right about where they should be. So my guess is that the Ruth card has very little data to back up that equation (most likely because people are not selling them).

  • Lack of images. This appears to all dependant on users uploading scans, so for the most part, given enough time, most of these should fill in over time.

So as you can see, both have pluses and minuses to each system. I am looking to open up a little discussion here as to why you prefer which system. Thanks for participating. Please keep it clean!

Topps Chrome Tuesday

Monday was a sad day. I stared into a deep, dark mailbox, completely void of any brown envelopes or WBC Topps Redemptions (4-6 weeks...seriously??).
My brother-in-law did make good on his little side wager that I would not come back and beat my dad at the annual family Texas Hold-Em tournament. I was outchipped about 4-1, but hit two freaking straight flushes (only the 3rd of my lifetime) and caught the River for the knockout. I earned that side-bet!

Today is going to be WAY different. The Heritage need list is lit up like a Christmas tree thanks to the generosity of my readers.

You guys are fantastic, and I have your trade packages flying out the door as quickly as I can! Today Jeremy, Mr Mets himself, yours is headed out the door! Fan of Reds, I have yours here and ready to go, but need your addy!

Also waiting for me on the porch this afternoon will be three boxes of these beauties! I noticed a box break summary of four boxes over at Wax Heaven completed about 86% of the set, so I will most likely end up a bit short on this and have some doubles if any of you will be looking to trade.
When I searched on Ebay for the Topps Chrome image above, I was very surprised to see the card below...

This is great! Is the Pres part of the base set or is Topps doing some SP Parallels again? I would love to pull this card or trade for it if any of you happen to stumble across it. As I mentioned yesterday, I will probably be doing a slow-burn on the pack rips as I am trying to pace myself on pack rips and save up for Updates and Highlights. I will be happy to share all of my results with you!

Not really much else to say at this point. I am pretty much in purgatory with cards until the waves come crashing in this evening and I can start filling up that Heritage box. Thanks again for contributing to my project and let me know if there is every anything I can do for you!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mail Going Out!

Well, I have to say that it was a pretty successful weekend all around. Jacoby (and parents) survived the zoo on a weekend (I have a feeling that a lot of families are doing the back to school shopping so it was not TOO crowded). I still think night zoo would be cool though...turn out all the lights and make it pitch black except for a flashlight to guide you around. I would pay to do that!

Also made incredible headway in my organization project. I am literally down to one 330 count box of randoms to be sorted. Everything else is in its proper box, or in mini stacks waiting to be mailed out to you all.

By the way, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everybody for helping be knock out this Heritage project. The need board is starting to look more like a Keno board as many of the numbers are lighting up in red. There has been an incredible response from everybody, and this has been a blast!

Speaking of blasts, I am still quite pleased with my blaster from yesterday. It was not only that I defied odds on that Al Kaline card, but also that I estimate that 90-95% of the cards I pulled I needed for my set and were not already pending trades, so that is definitely money well spent.

So now the tables are set for Topps Chrome, which will be arriving tomorrow. I have three boxes of this coming and plan on doing a lot of blogs about the pack breaks. I am going to pace myself (my wife always rolls her eyes when I say that), because I want to slow down a bit and save up for the Updates and Highlights in a couple months. So in the coming weeks I plan more blogs on Chrome breaks, Heritage project updates, and the MASSIVE 150th post celebration. EPIC. Well probably not that epic. I think between organizing Heritage mail (checklists, doubles, taking them off the blog, etc) and organizing Chrome, that it should keep me sufficiently busy for now.

Okay, now the main topic- Mail Going Out! Thanks to my wifes brilliant idea of going to Office Depot, I am now stocked to the gills with brown envelopes sufficient for small packages. I also got a roll of bubble wrap. I think this will be way easier and cheaper than bubble mailers. I learn more each day! Most of you will be getting a brown envelope with a hard case on each end, enclosed in a toploader. I didnt use bubble wrap on most of these, so I definitely would like your feedback on how they arrive. They should be in good shape, but if something goes wrong, I want to know so I pack differently in the future.

Here are some packages going out today!

David - Canada
Jim -New Jersey
Marck - Florida
Justin - Florida
Jim - Minnesota
Wicked Ortega - Florida

I have some packages ready to roll, but pending address:

Chris - Redsfan
Nick Jacoby - Ginter Partner in Crime
Don - Arizona (got your address now)
Jeremy - Oklahoma (got your addr this morning) it will go out manana. And by the way, if THIS ONE does not get to you, then clearly your postman collects Mets.

If there is anybody else that I have talked about trading with that I have forgotten, please shoot me an email, and jog my memory. Thanks!

I think that is about it. Still looking for a taker for the O-Suck-Y cards that I posted about yesterday!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


As promised, I have scrounged through my ever-shrinking team box, and have produced a good handful of one of the most underwhelming products of the season. One collectors trash is another collectors reward though, so here are the 2009 O-Pee-Cee availables!


Pee-Colored Back, Black Bordered Parallels:


Walk Off Winners: Johnny Damon (of course)

Sunday Pizza/Gallardo/Blaster!

My wife took JD shopping at the factory outlets today, so this gave me a great opportunity to watch a little baseball, eat some frozen pizza, and run out to Target to grab a blaster to help me out with my project. First things first. Yovanni Gallardo is taking the mound against Houston, so I have my game to keep me busy until Sox, Yanks tonight.

Secondly, the pizza. Oh yeah! I love a good frozen pizza and without a doubt I highly recommend the Red Baron Sausage and Pepperoni. Accept no substitutes! Now on to the matter at hand. Lets blast some Heritage!

Now I purposefully went to a Different Target today because the other day I ended up grabbing random retail packs because there were no blasters available. I really wanted a blaster because I have this crackpot theory that it will give me the best chance to 1) get eight packs and no dups, 2) maybe get lucky and snag one chrome card and 3) have the freshest sticks of Topps bubble gum...mmm mmmm! Lets see how I do...
Pack #1
Trevor Hoffman
David Wright
Justin Verlander CHROME! Nice, first pack and I have my chrome at 1:10 odds, and I could do much worse than a borderline pitching phenom.
Dusty Baker
Joey Gathright
Fred Lewis
Mike Napoli
Joey Votto selected by youth of America

Pack #2
Cincinatti Red Coaches SP
Jason Motte RC
Troy Percival
Johnny "gas can" Cueto
Alcides Escobar RC
Jeff Mathis
Jason Werth
Chipper Jones

Pack #3
Joe Girardi
Carlos Lee
Casey Kotchman (welcome to the Red Sox sinking ship)
What the??Al Kaline Stadium Relic Flashback!! Authentic Briggs Stadium seat (feels kinda like bat to me)! WOW, this was the absolute last thing I expected to find in a blaster and at 1:390 packs I am feeling pretty good about this box already with a chrome in hand as well. Cool!
Todd Helton
Rich Harden
Chone Figgins

Pack #4
Edwin Encarnacion
Baltimore Orioles Team Card
WOW- Shut the front door! Another Chrome, this time Albert Pujols! Is this super blaster or what?
Tim Redding
St Louis Cards Coaches SP
Aaron Rowand
Jorge De La Rosa
Jesus Flores

Pack #5
Mark Teahan
Kerry Wood
Carlos Guillen
Jose Lopez
Will Venable RC
Aaron Cunningham RC
Luis Castillo
Scott Elbert

Pack #6
New Age Josh Hamilton (talk about a drop off for mr hamilton this year)
Rival All-Stars David Wright and A-Rod
Devon Lowery RC
Chris Davis
Brian Buscher
Jack Cust
Raul Ibanez
Alfredo Simon RC

Pack #7

News Flashback - Fifty-Star flag. Ah the addition of beautiful Hawaii to the Union. Thats one area where I have you East-Coast suckers beat! Six hours non-stop flight and I am in paradise! Did you know this flag was designed by a high schooler?
Alfonso Soriano
Jim Leyland
Adam Jones
Ryan Church
David Eckstein
Blake Dewitt
Xavier "who do I play for this season" Nady
Pack #8
Brad Penny
Marlon Byrd
Yankees Coaches SP
Luis Aparicio/Willy Taveras Then and Now
Alex Cintron
Shaun Marcum
Rickie Weeks
Matt Antonelli RC
Well there you have it. While it cooled off at the end, this was one heckuva blaster. Never thought I would see a relic pop up, and those are the surprises that keep me going back for more!
I am starting to develop some dups and I plan on posting the first list of those later today. Also I am going to go through my team box and sort out the O-Pee-Chee and list those for whoever is working on that set. Maybe we can work a Heritage for O-Pee-Chee deal?
Brewers Update: Yovanni is getting hosed with no run support, and the two-run blast from Geoff Blum (of all people) is probably going to seal the deal. His only mistake of the day.