Collecting Kershaw: The first pitch from a historic start – The Winningest Left-Handed Pitcher in MLB History

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Game-Used Items with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

The mailman this week brought me two amazing baseballs, one of which will be the subject of this post; the other will come soon.

While Hit By Pitch balls are my niche in game-used baseballs, I also dabble in Clayton Kershaw items. I was able to acquire a ball from the Giants this week that has some historical significance.

Kershaw is at the stage of his career where he is passing folks on various statistical charts, and on 8/27/2020 he won his 173rd career game by defeating the Giants. The win made him the winningest left-handed pitcher in MLB history. It’s sort of a convoluted stat as it’s percentage driven and the number changes, but it is history.

Anyway, the ball that arrived today is the first ball Kershaw used that day against the Giants. The ball was used for warm up pitches and then for eight pitches spanning three batters.

Giants lead off hitter Mike Yastrzemski saw three pitches, the third of which he rapped into center field for a single – his 136th career hit. The ball was fielded by Cody Bellinger and thrown back to the infield where it was tossed to Kershaw for the next hitter.

Wilmer Flores saw two pitches from Kershaw, the second of which he blasted to right-center causing Bellinger to chase it down near the warning track, a play that was replayed on television with high praise.

Evan Longoria, a fellow 2006 draft pick, saw three pitches from this ball including a classic Kershaw knee-buckling bender that was on the inside corner but called a ball. On the third pitch, Longoria fouled the ball off the chalk of the batters box and the ball was removed from play, ending it’s lifespan.

I’m always a tad skeptical when I see balls that are authenticated as used for various batters, especially when they are out into play. So when I opened the package today and saw that this ball is hammered, it made me smile as again the Giants Authentics department left me with zero doubt as to the authentication.

I also ordered the associated Topps Now card pictured below.

In Memoriam: George Thomas Seaver (Nov. 17, 1944 – Aug. 31, 2020)

Posted in In Memoriam with tags , , , , on September 3, 2020 by Cardboard Icons
1967 Topps Tom Seaver Rookie Card

Team Lots for sale

Posted in Misc. on August 26, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

The follow team lots are for sale at the listed prices PLUS SHIPPING. The description for each team gives you an estimate of how many cards are included and some estimate on the number of certain players. I usually rounded down to account for errors.

These lots contain mostly 2008 through 2018 with some 2019 sprinkled in. There are some earlier cards as well, but the majority is from the last decade. The brands are mostly Topps related – flagship, Heritage, Bowman, Chrome, etc and others. There are also some Panini brands as well. Most of these are base cards, but there are some inserts and parallels included, also prospect stuff as well. There will be duplicates.

I realize that shipping is cost prohibitive when dealing with these kind of lots which is why I priced each team as a stand alone and am offering the following shipping options: ONLY SHIPPING TO UNITED STATES ADDRESSES AT THIS TIME.

Medium Flat Rate Priority Mail – fits 3 550-count boxes: $15

Large Flat Rate Priority Mail – fits 4 550-count boxes: $20.

I have included the number of boxes that each team is made up of. If you buy multiple teams I WILL COMBINE SHIPPING when possible. This may include combining teams into boxes if necessary. I am NOT looking to make money on shipping — I hate the cost, but its necessary. I am NOT offering other methods at this time.

If a team is listed as “Sold” or “Not Available” it is not available.

If you buy two or more teams I will offer a 10% discount on the team price. Payment expected after deal is completed; payment through Pay Pal only.

If you see something you want, contact me via Twitter: @cardboardicons. These will be sold on a first come, first serve basis … unless a larger deal is made. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

***** AL West *****

Mariners: About 830 total cards, featuring Felix Hernandez (~50), Ken Griffey Jr (~15), Robinson Cano (~40), as well as cards of Ichiro, Randy Johnson, Mitch Haniger, Edgar Martinez, and many more. All contained in 2 550ct boxes. Price: $25.


Angels: About 770 total cards, featuring Albert Pujols (~75), Mike Trout (~15), Shohei Ohtani (~20), and many more. All contained in 2 550ct. Boxes. Price: $40


Rangers: About 730 cards featuring Nolan Ryan (~14), Joey Gallo (~30), Roughned Odor (~30), Adrian Beltre (~50), Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, And many more. All contained in two 550ct boxes. Price: $20.


A’s: About 875 cards featuring: Rickey Henderson (~23), Matt Chapman (~12), Matt Olson (~17), Marcu

Astros: About 970 total cards including Jose Altuve (~85), George Springer (~69), Carlos Correa (~71), Alex Bregman (~47), Justin Verlander (~38), and many more. All contained in two 550ct boxes and one 400ct box. Price: $60.


***** AL Central *****

ROYALS: Not Available.

Indians: About 980 total cards including Francisco Lindor (~60), Shane Bieber (~12), Corey Kluber (~62), Bob Feller, Mike Clevenger, Carlos Santana and many more. The cards are contained in two 550ct boxes with a small amount in the side. Price $20.


White Sox: About 810 cards including Jose Abreu (~45), Frank Thomas (~32), and many more. Note: There are NO Luis Robert cards in this lot. These are contained in two 550ct boxes. Price: $25


Twins: S


Tigers: SOLD


***** AL East *****

Rays: More than 800 total cards including Evan Longoria (~48), David Price (~15), Blake Snell (~15), and many more. These contained within two 550-count boxes. Price: $15


Blue Jays: About 930 total cars including Jose Bautista (~40), Josh Donaldson (~50), Troy Tulowitzki (~15), Marcus Strowman and many more. Contained in a 550-CT and 660 CT box. Price $20


Orioles: About 800 total cards including Cal Ripken (~25), Manny Machado (~65), Brooks and


Red Sox: SOLD


Yankees: SOLD

***** NL West *****

Giants: SOLD

Padres: SOLD


Rockies: About 840 total cards including Nolan Arenado (~40), Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and many more. Inside two 550-count boxes. Price: $20


Diamondbacks: About 890 cards including Paul Goldschmidt (~50), Zach Greinke (~40), Randy Johnson and many more. Contained within two 550-count boxes. Price: $15.


Dodgers: About 1,000 total cards including Cody Bellinger (~60), Sandy Koufax (~22), Jackie Robinson (~10), Clayton Kershaw (~13), Walker Buehler, Duke Snider, Corey Seager and many more. These are in three 550-count boxes. Price: $50

***** NL Central *****


Pirates: SOLD


Reds: About 925 cards including Joey Votto (~70), Johnny Bench (~30), Barry Larkin (~25), Joe Morgan (~25), Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver and many more. Contained within three 550-count boxes. Price: $30.


Brewers: SOLD


Cubs: SOLD


Cardinals: About 1,200 total cards including Yadier Molina (~45), Lou Brock (~18), Albert Pujols (~8), Stan Musial (~17), Paul Goldschmidt (~18), Ozzie Smith (~40), Bob Gibson (~12), Adam Wainwright (~35), and many more. These are contained within three 550-count boxes. Price: $50

***** NL East *****

Mets: About 990 total cards including Jacob DeGrom (~55), David Wright (~40), Noah Syndergaard (~50), Tom Seaver (~20), Nolan Ryan (~15), Mike Piazza and more. These are contained in three 550-count boxes. Price: $40.


Nationals: About 960 total cards including Bryce Harper (~85), Stephen Strasburg (~50), Max Scherzer (~60), Anthony Rendon (~30), Trea Turner (~25), and many more. There are NO Juan Soto cards in this lot. These are contained in two 660-count boxes. Price: $50.


Marlins: About 690 total cards including Christian Yelich (-20), Giancarlo Stanton (~40), Ichiro (~30), Jose Fernandez (~20) and many more. These are contained in two 550-count boxes. Price: $15.


Phillies: About 830 total cards including Aaron Nola (~35), Roy Halladay (~10), Mike Schmidt (~25), Ryan Howard (~15) and many more. These are contained in two 550-count boxes. Price: $20


Braves: About 925 total cards including: Ronald Acuna (~5), Freddie Freeman (~75), Hank Aaron (~9), Chipper Jones (~20), Greg Maddux (~7), Ozzie Albies (~12), Warren Spahn and many more. These are contained in two 550-count boxes and a smaller box. Price: $50

“This is the first basketball I’ve opened since February!”

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , on August 24, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

I’ll never forget the look of joy on my son’s face Sunday night when I presented him with a bag of unopened current product that we had been unable to find on store shelves.

2019-20 Panini America NBA Chronicles and 2020 Topps Chrome baseball have been two of the hottest sellers in recent weeks as they are some of the most recent retail releases. We’ve seen numerous photos on Twitter showing groups of people standing around the card aisles in retail stores just waiting to pounce on the shelves once items become available. The result has been the near impossible task of finding items “in the wild” and having to resort to the secondary market where items are priced out of some folks’ budgets.

For me as the father of a 9-year-old who collects it has left really two options: 1) Use this as a lesson in appreciating what we have and what we’re able to find. 2) Know to what degree we are willing to chase a product and how much we are willing to spend to get it.

To date we have found none of the aforementioned cards in the wild. Shelves here in the Bay Area have been relatively void of “new” product since at least February. We’ve found some Topps Series 2 fatpacks, and even a few Select baseball blasters on shelves, but certainly no basketball, which has been hot all season, but more so since Zion made his debut and the seemingly new interest that has entered our hobby.

It’s been frustrating, and in some cases maddening, but I really can’t blame folks when the profits are there to be had, especially on Chronicles. The blasters at one point were bought to about $20 and resold for seven times as much. If I saw a full shelf I’d clear the damn thing too.

On Friday night, I received a text message from a friend of mine who happened to find some of the aforementioned products near his home about an hour and a half away. I congratulated him and told him that if he ever found a stash of stuff, I’d be more than happy to pay above MSRP for a blaster or two of the products so that I could open with my son. It was a low key ask of a great friend, Rod, but told him I understood if that wasn’t an option as I would never expect anyone to turn away massive profits in a case like this.

My friend had some great luck. He and another friend split the findings of one of their local WalMarts and out of his haul he opened the cards — he’s a collector NOT a flipper — and pulled a Zion Williamson autograph from Chronicles. It’s like a $2,000 card.

The next day I was at work and received another message from Rod, he was telling me he was coming to town that day and he had a bit of a surprise — he had found a few more products at another store along the way and wanted to get them to me as I had asked.

I repeated my line about not wanting to be greedy, just wanted a few things to open with my son. At this point in my collecting career the experience I share with my son is worth more than anything I could get out of these packs. My friend showed up with a bag of unopened product and he agreed to sell me a blaster of Chronicles, a hanger of Chronicles, two fat packs of Chronicles, a Blaster of Topps Chrome baseball and a Value Pack of Topps Chrome baseball. There were three conditions: I pay him MSRP only; accept a second Topps Chrome blaster as a gift for my son; and if we pulled a $10,000 card we agree to kick him something. That last part was said as a joke, but if we did I totally would.

The boxes and packs sat at my place until Sunday evening when I got my kids back from their mother. I placed the bag on the table and pulled one item out at a time and explained how these came into my possession. The last item I removed from the bag was a Topps Chrome blaster which I told him was his as a gift from Rod.

Rod is retired. He and I became friends at work about eight years ago when he found out we shared a common hobby — sports memorabilia, specifically cards. He has told me about his father who used to sell 1986-87 Fleer basketball cards — yeah, the Jordan rookie year — from his ice cream truck and how he has found amazing items at thrift stores and flea markets, which is also a method I love doing during healthier times. He has two adult children, including a son who likes sports but never really expressed an interest in cards. Rod has said how happy he is to see my son interested in my hobby, his hobby, and loves the idea of growing it through the kids. And so this blaster was for my boy, free of charge.

The look on my son’s face when I showed him everything, and told him about the gifted blaster was priceless. He’s sort of a shy kid, just like I was and still am even at age 40, but he graciously accepted the terms of the break. He knows how hard this stuff is to find.

So we divvied up the products as follows: Each got one Topps Chrome blaster, each got two packs from the Chrome Value pack; each got a Chronicles fatpack and then I let my son chose the Chronicles blaster that contained 40 cards or the hanger that had 30. He chose the blaster, which I was more than happy with since I always let him keep whatever he pulls and the packaging method offered more excitement and 10 more cards that he’d appreciate more than I.

We opened our Chronicles fatpacks first and each took turns reading names. I got Lebron, Giannis and Steph, as well as a Zion Threads design rookie card. My son pulled the same stars except Giannis, as well as a Zion in Prestige design. We were off to a good start.

Next we opened the Chrome baseball. My son’s gifted blaster and two packs from the Value Pack collectively included a sweet Decade of Dominance die-cut refractor design Ted Williams insert, some second-tier rookies including Dunstin May, Nico Hoerner, AND Trent Grisham. His other inserts and parallels included a Christian Yelich base ref, Keston Hiura Future Stars and Shohei Ohtani and Pete Alonso 1985 inserts, and a Sepia Refractor of Albert Pujols.

My pink pack from the Value Pack contained two A’s rookies, and the blaster wasn’t nearly as satisfying, except for a 1985 Luis Robert, which of course is a great-looking card.

While the Chromes were fun, we both knew Chronicles has been the real unicorn product. As mentioned above, he chose the blaster, thereby leaving me with the hanger box. I opened the hanger first and netted two of the lesser Ja Morant rookies, a green parallel of Luka Doncic, and a great-looking Airborne autograph of Josh Okogie.

My son ended the session with a blaster that definitely lived up to the Main Event billing as he pulled a Luka pink parallel and four Ja Morant rookies from the box, including two from the same pack. The highlight of course is that flashy silver prizm parallel of the Flux branded card … copes of this have sold recently between $125 and $250 and reportedly are super tough to pull.

“This is the first basketball I’ve owned since February!” My son exclaimed.

So the boy did it again. With his somewhat limited opportunities, he pulled from a pack another great card for his PC, and we have my friend Rod to thank for this experience.

Is It Time To Buy or Sell? Answer: Both

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on August 19, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

The current state of the hobby is an interesting one. In some ways this feels unnatural since things that were irrelevant now matter (again), but at the same time there is a familiar feel of days gone by, a time when lots of people were talking about trading cards and telling stories about how they collected when they were young.

It’s a fascinating thing to witness as a middle-aged man, considering the last time this market was booming — early 1990s — I was an impressionable youth trying to find my way.

For those who’ve been here a bit, this quick-paced market now leaves some confused about about how to feel about things. Will this last? Is this a fad? Are were still on the upswing or are we peaking? Is it time to sell what I own, or is it time to keep buying?

None of us should be telling others how to feel about this market, our cards, or anything else. But in terms of reconciling the the latter part of that series of queries, I do have a recommendation: It is time to sell AND buy.

Yes, this is typical me, kind of being neutral, but hear me out. In my 33 years of collecting I cannot recall a time when this hobby was hotter. More eyes are on this field than ever, and social media has given us access to so many more potential selling/buying/trading partners than we ever had before. And what this means to us who have loads of cards just sitting around is that this is an opportunity to turn some of that stuff into something we want … or re-purpose that money.

Two and a half decades ago it was easy to take your unwanted cards and find trading partners, whether it be at the card shop, a card show or with others you knew. Trading still exists, but since a lot of it is done online there are associated costs, specifically shipping. You might have once agreed to trade your 1989 Donruss Don Mattingly for that 1988 Topps Kirby Puckett, but would you have done so if you knew the transaction would cost each of you the price of a stamp? Probably not. The result is that a lot of the stuff we owned became dead stock for us; it sat and sort of became useless and in some ways worthless.

But what’s old is new again. While the Mattingly for Puckett swap mentioned above still may not make since today’s market — they’re both worth about a dime each — there are surely other examples of items in your collection that have just been sitting for years and suddenly they are relevant again. This is the time to seize that opportunity and dig out all of that stuff and find someone who will appreciate it; someone who will give you a few bucks for a card that has been sitting in your closet for a decade.

Forget seeking the next flip online when your closet, basements and storage units are full of items that had been carrying little to no value for you. If you look at it the right way, that’s all “found money.”

In terms of buying, I’d say this is also a time to seek the items you always wanted. Take all that money from the aforementioned sales and sink it into an item (or multiple items) you once thought was (were) unattainable. And even if you’re coming into this era of the hobby with no card cache but with a wallet or account full of cash, don’t follow the trend and buy the new shiny hotness, unless of course that is all you know. Bottom line: If cards talk to you, find the ones (new or old) that make YOU happy and give them a new home.

And if you’re here just to flip? Then you keep doing you, and accept the results, both good and bad. There is room for us all.