Archive for baseball

Going against the grain: The devaluing of high-end base card

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

There was a time when this hobby was built entirely on the base card. No gimmicks. No frills. Just a picture, a name, some stats and maybe a cartoon or infograph.

The value of the base card was that this one card released each season was your shot at collecting the player’s image and a tangible way to keep record of his statistics. It was a way to keep score at home as to which players were still with your favorite team, and which ones got traded elsewhere. The value of the base card was at time priceless … even as late as the 1980s.

By the 1990s things shifted, as most know. Collector interests began to turn toward different things, also the reasons why some people collected changed. And by the later part of the century, our means of collecting information about players also moved to a digital format — The Internet.

The value of the base card in our hobby had diminished. But through all of this, there was still some value placed on them by player collectors, especially when it comes to premium issues, or so it seemed.

I remember paying or trading at a premium for base cards of my favorite players from 1989 Upper Deck, 1990 Leaf, 1991 Stadium Club, 1992 Ultra, and 1993 SP, and so on. And 1993 Finest was basically the epitome of base cards. You could not acquire any single star card from this ultra premium set for less than $15.

There are a lot of factors that played into the “value” these cards at the time, much of which was linked to availability — remember, we didn’t have the resources of the world available to us. The cards we could acquire were the ones that were available at the local shops and shows, and maybe via mail order catalog if you were into that kind of thing. And then of course you had the cost associated with the acquisition price of the pack/box — how much more did you value cards from the packs that cost a few dollars than the ones that cost maybe a third or a quarter of that?

So, what brings this up today?

Well, I did my daily search of items on COMC the other day and a batch of newly uploaded Clayton Kershaw cards hit the market — among them were two 2018 Topps Museum cards, one base and one non-serial numbered parallel. I could have had both cards for less than $1.35.

These were not the first Topps Museum cards of Kershaw to hit the market, but this was the first time I paused my search for a second and thought about the ridiculous state of the hobby. How is it that as a player collector I can get two cards from a high-end product like Topps Museum — or are we calling this middle-of-the-road nowadays? — for damn near the same price of base cards of 2019 Topps?

Am I the only one who finds this odd? How are the base cards from premium products now “less valuable” than those of readily available products like Flagship?

I know our collecting ways have changed. And I know this topic is not knew; hell even manufacturers have gone away from making the base cards in higher-end products — they’ve created the hit-only type releases that cost several hundred dollars for anywhere from one to five cards, all of which have relics or autographs. And along with that, we are becoming more desensitized to anything that does not garner some wacky-ass catch phrase from a breaker.

In some ways I love that I can reap the benefits of this new era; but also it makes me a bit sad as at times it seems as if the future is very grim for our hobby. The hobby isn’t disappearing, but the dynamics have changed, so much so that there is very little value in anything other than the best of the best … and as we’ve seen, the hobby is constantly looking for ways to out-do itself. And that may not always be a good thing — unless you’re a player or team collector collecting base cards, then this evolution can be seen as a great thing,

Trade of base dupes leads to PC items, and bonuses

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , on February 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I enjoy when I buy product to build a set and then take my duplicates and find a trading partner who needs a good chunk of them for a set they’re building on their own. What makes that process even more gratifying is when the partner has cards I need for my PC.

Such was the case recently when Scott (@saadams81) showed me a list of the 2019 Topps cards he needed. I was able to locate 66 cards he needed for his set. Scott had two Kershaw insets from 2019 Topps that I needed, and I inquired whether he had any of the guys I collect. He managed to have a few more Kershaw and Roger Clemens cards I needed for my PC.

My packaged arrived to him first, and his was delayed coming to me due to bad weather. But when the package arrived I was thrilled to find the cards we agreed upon, as well as two bonuses …

Scott was very generous in sending these two Stadium Club autos of Jharel Cotton and Matt Olson. Whats great is baseball season is around the corner and both guys are with Oakland still, and we’ll be seeing plenty of them as the season gets under way. Both cards will go into my son’s baseball binder.

Thanks again, Scott. I’m sure we’ll continue trading in the future.

Traffic, weather ruin Valentine’s plans; leads to Optic, Topps break

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Well, yesterday I spoke of having Valentine’s Day dinner plans with my girlfriend after work. As it turns out bad weather caused unsafe road conditions and actually closed the roads over the mountain between our houses.

I spent three hours on the road trying to get there, but I had to be at work the next morning so the plans got nixed.

So I got off the freeway and found myself at Target, where I decided to cheer myself up with trading cards.

The Optic packs felt like I had to jump on them or I’d never see them again. The highlights were a Base Luka Doncic rookie and a Blue velocity retail exclusive Trae Young Rookie. Also, the Warriors cards are a nice addition to my collection.

The Topps pack was a no-brained as the Mike Trout green retail exclusive was on the front.

Doncic, Young and Warriors are not available, but the others may be had for Kershaw cards I need or current Golden State Warriors cards.

3 things I learned today from card backs

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Ah, it’s Valentine’s Day.  Love is in the air for some, and for others … well, it’s just another day of baseball cards.  Could be worse, right?

I actually do have dinner plans later this evening, but for now during my lunch break it’s just me and handful of Clayton Kershaw cards, three to be exact. And why these three? Well, the backs of these three cards taught me something fun about my favorite current Major League player.

***

We’ll start with the love portion of this post.  Clayton Kershaw and his wife Ellen are religious and charitable people, which is wonderful as it works for them and they appear to be positive people making a positive impact on the world.  What I didn’t know is that the Kershaws apparently started dating in middle school, which is chronicled on the back of this 2014 Topps 1989 Die-Cut Mini.

The text reads: “Clayton became chums with Ellen Melson in junior high and now, as a married couple, they devote much of their time and resources to helping poor children in Zambia and the US.”

 ***

The second card in this selection is the 2013 Topps Chrome Kershaw which tells us about the southpaw’s taste in music. Either Topps fibbed here, or they went to town with the fact that Kershaw enjoys Taylor Swift’s music, and then used the musical artist’s last name (Swift) as a pun to describe Kershaw’s attributes, and then drew a parallel between Taylor Swift being the youngest album of the year winner, and Kershaw being the youngest lefty to win 20 games.  Also of note here is that the text above the paragraph sid as of 2013 Kershaw was 4,740 strikeouts behind all-time leader Nolan Ryan’s 5,714.  Entering 2019, Kershaw is now 3,439 short of the record.

***

And lastly, a glance at the rear of the 2011 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw reveals that he is the great-nephew of Clyde Tombaugh, the Astronomer who discovered Pluto. How’s that for random.  Funny note about Pluto … I grew up like many others with Pluto being identified as a planet.  It was not until sometime in the last few years that my kids advised me that Pluto is now a dwarf planet. Go figure.  

 

 

Mailday brings Kershaw XFractors, inserts; Stash of Soto rookies

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

It’s been a nutty week at work with the amount of stuff that needs to be done. But at the end of the day, it’s always nice to return home and find a mailbox stuffed with items to add to my collection.

Today’s mailday comes from a Twitter follower named Jake (@Jake1725) who was offering cards for sale last week including a lot of five Juan Soto rookies for $10. I snatched them up as soon as I saw them available.  I then inquired if Jake had any Clayton Kershaws for sale, and he most certainly did.

As it turned out, Jake had 19 Kershaws that I needed, and so the package quickly grew from just five Soto cards to more than 20 as a whole.

The Soto cards are nice additions to my Soto stash. They included a Topps Living Set card, two Topps Update Chromes and two Topps Update rookies.

The Kershaws were also a welcome addition as they included various parallels – namely a run of Topps Chrome Xfractors from 2010 through 2014, and 2013 Topps Heritage Retail Black border – and a bunch of inserts that filled some gaps in the binder pages.

I’ve been wrestling a bit with my feelings on Twitter sales – my timeline seems to flooded with them recently — but when you find a purchase that makes sense and the cards arrives safely, it certainly instantly changes the mood in a positive way.

 

Pack Break: 2 1984 Topps packs

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

So, later today my son and I are going to our first Golden State Warriors game together and I knew my son was excited when he woke up this morning asking to go to the card shop.

Turns out he not only was thinking about the game all night, but he also was thinking about Panini Optic basketball, since I had explained to him yesterday that the product came out this week.

“Daddy, can we do go the card shop today?” he asked not less than five minutes after waking up. Uh, yeah. You know I’m always down for an LCS run.

So we went and he grabbed a retail Value Pack featuring three retail packs and one of the retail exclusive packs. I didn’t have anything in my hands and wasn’t going to buy anything until I realized the LCS had packs of 1984 Topps behind the counter at $3.50 per pack. I wouldn’t know if the price was high, but I figured that two packs of that would likely be more enjoyable than buying something else I didn’t want. Besides, I’d never opened these before.

The Don Mattingly rookie card is the one to own in this set, and they are not overly expensive. But the nostalgia of opening a pack 35 years old and not breaking the bank to do so sounded well worth the $7. Also, my son recognized that these original 1984s were the set upon which the 2019 Topps anniversary silver pack and insert cards were based.

So, without further adieu, here are the results. These contain 15 cards, one contest card, and one piece of gum.

Pack One: Doug Bird, Alredo Griffin, Rick Sutcliffe, Scott McGregor,Ken Oberkfell, Onix Concepcion, Tigers Team Leaders, Bob Gibson (rookie card), Rick Miller, Dickie Noles, Rich Hebner, Don Slaught, Ryne Sandberg (second year), Bob Shirley, and Harry Spillman.

Pack Two: Rick Sweet, Checklist #1, Luis Sanchez, Mike Proly, Mike LaCoss, Bob James, Andy Hassler, Dave LaPoint, Dave Lopes, Hal McRae, Jerry Remy, Jerry Martin, Tom Tellmann, Ken Forsch, and David Green.

As you can see, the first pack was solid with a sweet Ryne Sndberg second-year card.

The second pack was saved, in my opinion, by the checklist (which shows Don Mattingly at #8) and by the existence of Jerry Remy and Jerry Martin on back to back cards to give me the duo “Remy Martin,” which got a giggle from me.

Thanks to South Bay Sports Cards (Sunnyvale, Calif.) for having these available.

Collecting Kershaw: Today begins a new page, the first of 2019

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , on February 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Today I woke up and saw that I left my Clayton Kershaw binder on my kitchen table. I opened the binder and the first page was that containing various 2018 Topps Heritage cards. It’s a beautiful page, but it also represented cards from last season.

2019 Topps is by my count 11 days old today, and since the product hit shelves I have been trading for and buying various Kershaw inserts and parallels. I’v e had several maildays over the last week or so, and today I decided to put them all in the binder to effectively begin the new card year in this collection.

The page has seven of the nine pockets full, but by the middle of the week this page will be filled with parallels of this base card, and a second page will have been started.

For the record as of this moment I have the Base, Gold, Rainbow Foil, Black, Independence Day, Father’s Day Blue and Advanced Stats back; I have the “150th” gold stamp and the Meijers Purple versions on the way to fill out this specific page. And a pair of inserts are on the way, and of course I’ll need the parallels of those at some point.

Collecting these parallels has kept me away from buying more of the 2019 Topps packs for the most part. Typically I would have gotten several blasters, tons of loose packs and other type of packs by this point. Instead I’ve kept it fairly light — a hobby box, two blasters and handful of packs. And I’ve managed to trade off some base doubles for Kershaws, so that’s a win.

Have something I may need? Hit me on Twitter @cardboardicons.