Archive for baseball

2019 Topps is like 10 days old … now what do we buy?

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on February 9, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Funny thing happens every year. The new Topps flagship hits stores and we buy like crazy.

Then the newness wears off and some of us are left wondering what else we’re going to buy.

My son and I just went to Target to get some groceries and I grabbed three 2019 Topps Series One packs and put them in the cart.

Then something happened. I started thinking that I was going to spend about $9 on three Topps packs when I only need like two cards for the set, and I’ve been buying Kershaw parallels on eBay. In short: I didn’t NEED these packs.

As we returned to registers to pay for our items, I told my son we’d put one pack back and then he and I could each open a pack and then make a trade. However, when my son learned a pack was for him and not for me, he asked for a pack of Prizm basketball instead. I wasn’t too keen on spending $2.99 on four Prizm cards from a loose box that likely had been searched in some fashion.

So we talked and I wound up putting my Topps pack back, talked him out of the Prizm — we opened a fair amount during the holidays — and grabbed a Panini Contenders blaster instead. He remembered these cards were designed to look like a ticket and we hadn’t opened any this year.

I let him open the blaster and keep everything. He didn’t do too bad; he even pulled two Steph Curry cards, which is perfect timing because I’m taking him to his first Warriors game tomorrow against the Miami Heat.

When did the “Junk Wax Era” end?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on February 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The topic of this post is one that I never really though had much wiggle room, but as it turns out, I was mistaken.

I logged into Twitter this afternoon and found myself in a discussion with a fellow Ben (ourtradingcards) from About The Cards Podcast (@AboutTheCards) about “Junk Wax” era cards. Turns out, we had two different definitions of the era.

Ben defines the era essentially as extending from the 1990s into the early 2000s. This blew my mind a bit because I personally think the Junk Wax Era ended right around 1996. I’m curious where everyone else stands on this? And not because one of us has to be right or wrong — I’m curious how folks go about defining such a period of time in our hobby.

I’ll let Ben speak for himself — so I wont put words into his mouth. But here’s how I see things … again, this is MY opinion. It does not mean anyone else is wrong.

Our Hobby underwent a transformation in the 1980s. Card collecting went from something people do for fun, to something that a new wave of people did to make money. There was a massive influx of consumers who saw dollar signs and believed cards were a sound investment. With that new group of people joining the hobby came a massive increase in print runs, this the beginning of my defined “Junk Wax Era.” Personally I see this has happening right around 1988 — just about the time Jose Canseco made a push for 40-40 and his 1986 Donruss Rated Rookie exploded in the secondary market. Hell, remember, this was before Upper Deck broke into the market in 1989. For that matter, few people knew who Ken Griffey Jr. was and certainly no one could foresee the popularity to which he or his rookie cards would reach.

I digress. Production seemed to skyrocket in 1988 and 1989 and continued to do so until about 1994/1995, an era in which products would go from just containing base cards to the inclusion of chase cards, some of which were damn near impossible to pull. And with few exceptions from Upper Deck, Donruss and Score, there were no autographs and certainly no relics. The end of this time frame also coincides with the Strike of 1994, which caused many fans and collectors to leave the market, and in my mind forced to companies to change things up to keep interest.

The hobby would seemingly change in 1995, as the number of chase cards, parallel cards and number of products released every year seem to increase again. And then in 1997 Upper Deck began including autos and relics in packs, and the quality of products seemed to shift again forward, thus marking the beginning of a new era in my mind.

And so, when I think of the Junk Wax Era, I tend to think of products from 1988 to about 1995, with a little wiggle room on both ends of course — especially on the front end. Junk Wax Boxes in my opinion offer NO CHANCE at hits — because they did not exist in the products — or offer a long shot at something featuring a signature. Also, the boxes were produced after the 1986 Donruss Canseco, which I see as a game-changer.

What say you?

My definition is the one I operate under, and by no means am I claiming it to be the end-all, be all of the hobby. But this discussion on Twitter genuinely intrigued me as I did not know others viewed the term “Junk Wax Era” as extending a full decade past when I thought. I’d agree that there was a lot of stuff from 1995 through 2005, but that’s a different era in my mind.

In Memoriam: Frank Robinson (Aug. 31, 1935 – Feb. 7, 2019)

Posted in In Memoriam, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on February 7, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

1957 Topps Rookie Card.

Bryce Harper on the mind … now I want THIS ball even more

Posted in Game-Used Items with tags , , , , , on February 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I have two collecting passions, it’s baseball cards and game-used baseballs. When it comes to the balls, there is a certain niche I began collecting a few years ago and that’s balls used in Hit By Pitch at-bats.

I’ll showcase all those balls in another way later. Rather this topic comes to mind today as we got word of the San Francisco Giants meeting with Bryce Harper this week. Now, ai’m a Red Sox fan but would love to see Harper in San Francisco. After all, the Giants are one of two teams in my area.

I was lucky enough to see Harper play once, and that was on Memorial Day 2017 when I surprised my kids with an impromptu train ride and the game. As it turned out, that was the game when former Giants reliever Hunter Strickland beaned Harper on the hip, and a short fight ensued.

As it happened, my kids and I were walking around the stadium just as Harper was coming up for that at-bat. And when I saw him approach the plate, I pulled out my camera and told my kids I wanted to take a few pictures.

That’s when this happened.

I have several other frames in between and after these images, but these photos tell the story.

It was an amazing sight, something I had to explain to my kids, who were ages 8 and 6 at the time.

I digress, today’s news about Harper’s meeting of course gets talked about locally and this play gets brought up a lot. Also getting discussed is the fact that Strickland — the pitcher — is no longer part of the team so that wouldn’t be an issue.

I feel lucky to have witnessed the play and have document it with my camera, but what I REALLY want is that damn baseball … and you can see it just lying there on the ground in the third photo.

I did acquire a ball from that game — a Matt Weiters single. But I want the ball that struck Harper; it’d go great with the other HBP balls I already own, including ones that struck Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, and the ball that struck Alex Bregman in his very first HBP.

I’ve asked Giants if they have it, and they apparently they do not. I’m hoping it was authenticated by MLB and the Giants that day.

Do you know where the ball is? Have a lead on it? Let me know.

**Updated** The issue of Not-So-Authentic “Topps Certified Autograph”

Posted in Collcting Clemens, Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

**Updated: see the end **

Late Monday I was doing a search for Roger Clemens items on eBay and came across a newly listed autograph that was portrayed as a 1998 Stadium Club Co-Signers Card with the 7-time CY Young winner and Cardinals pitcher Matt Morris.

I’ve seen the cards before on eBay and COMC, but this particular copy stopped me dead in my tracks — and it wasn’t because of the price tag. It caught my attention because the damn thing looked fake as hell.

The card is actually being sold through consignment site COMC and offered on eBay through the optional service COMC provides its sellers. The card is actually listed on COMC at a slightly lesser price. (I already contacted them about “questionable authenticity.”)

I digress, the signatures on the card do not look authentic to me. Hell, the ink on the cards is just wrong.

Look at these other five different examples of the same card:

What’s scary is the card in question bears the “Topps Certified Issue” Gold Foil seal on the front of the card. And it is that seal alone that really sets that card apart from the numerous “proof” (read: fake) unsigned Co-Signers cards hitting eBay in recent months.

The issue with fakes has become so rampant among collectibles that it really turns folks away because we collectors have to question everything. No longer can we simply accept that a card is what it is.

I know this Clemens card doesn’t look right so I won’t be buying it. And odds are no one else will either. But someone might. And that one sale is all it takes.

The issue of fakes has really hit home lately with the 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout cards — some are legitimate Reprints, where as some are basically prints of high-quality scans. The same can be said for the 2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Tom Brady, serial numbered 012/100, or even the basic version really.

Fakes kill collectible markets.

Do not buy them. Do not sell them. Do not create them and call them art, or reprints.

They’re not authentic issues released by a licensed source and were created for one purpose only: To make money on gullible buyers.

Don’t be a victim.

**Update: COMC has removed the Clemens card from active status and it is no longer viewable on COMC or eBay. COMC has said via Twitter it will try to recognize suspicious autos even on “Certified” cards in the future.**

First Kershaw 2019 Topps parallel has arrived

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , , on February 4, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

One of the first things I did on Wednesday after sorting my 2019 Topps hobby box was check eBay to see how much the new parallels of Kershaw were going for. And just as I suspected, some were selling really cheap, like for the price of three packs, because some folks were looking to strike while the iron was hot and sell whatever they could to get back some of the money they spent.

As you know by now, 2019 Topps pack prices increased to $2.99 retail (or about $3.50 a pack for hobby in some places) as the card company decided to change some of its pack specs: Topps bumped up the number of cards per pack, and decreased the number of packs from 36 packs to just 24. It’ll take some time getting used to, but I don’t hate the change. Although there have been varying opinions from persons who who buy and break in quantity as it has changed the landscape for building complete sets or even master sets.

I digress. The Kershaw base card and parallels of it are the ones that I really had my eye. So I decided to pounce on a half dozen eBay listing featuring the parallels at a price point I was comfortable with.

The first of those purchases arrived over the weekend, and it was the Vintage Stock serial numbered to 99 copies, which I managed to get for under $12 shipped.

I have a few more on the way; I’m sure I’ll post them, especially the Independence Day one that should be here mid week. I really like those Patriot parallels.

Generous Friend strikes again – 1989 World Series Press Pin

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , on February 3, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I have this one friend who is a hardcore game-used uniform collector. From time to time he brings me pieces to photo match for him, or to simply let me get hands-on with. Recently he brought me a lot he purchased that included a Buster Posey used equipment bag. In the lot were a pair of used batting gloves, a signed 2012 World Series ball (not used), a used Posey beanie cap, and two lapel pins, one of which I identified as a Press Pin from the infamous 1989 Bay Bridge World Series. The pins were gifted to members of the press in the press box. They are highly collectible, although the older ones certainly carry much more value.

I pointed this fact out to my friend and he said, “Cool. Now you have a Giants World Series Press Pin. It means more to you since you used to be Press.”

I asked three times if he was serious and he answered in the affirmative each time. He also gifted me the other pin, which I believe is also a press pin from the 1984 MLB All-Star Game played at Candlestick Park, then-home of the San Francisco Giants.

Both pins are made by Balfour, which has made both pins and championship rings for MLB and other sports entities. Thanks, Al, the gifts are always appreciated and totally not necessary.