Archive for Cardboard Icons

2018 Topps cards offer these amusing Twitter and IG handles

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

In recent years, Topps has been doing a great job of incorporating social media into its physical baseball cards.

A few years ago in its Bowman brands, Topps had prospects sign cards with their Twitter handles. And in recent flagship issues we’ve seen Topps print the handles of players on the cards.

While sorting the handful of 2018 Topps packs I’ve purchased, I decided to choose the top five from the cards in my possession.

Clearly this list isn’t definitive,

and it’s totally subjective. If you’ve got a favorite, add it in the comments below.

No. 5: Sean Manaea (@BABYMGIRAFFE / Twitter)

While I’m not sure what the genesis of this username is, it appears to be “Baby,” his initials “SM,” and “Giraffe” pertaining to his height, which is listed here as 6’5. It’s probably worth noting that Manaea hasn’t tweeted from this account since October 2016.

No. 4 Harrison Bader ( @aybaybader / Twitter)

I don’t listen to rap or hip hop the way I used to, but even I could see this from a mile away. Harrison Bader riffed on Hurricane Chris – “Ay Bay Bay” here and it’s wonderful. A quick check of Twitter shows Bader is an active tweeter.

No. 3: Scott Feldman ( @scottyf_baby 37 / Instagram)

If I weren’t a wrestling fan, this may not have made my lost. But. When I read his Instagram handle (he has 3,730-plus followers) it made me think of Adam Cole … baby!

No. 2: Chad Kuhl (@KuhlWhhip_11 / Twitter)

A clever play on his name and the Cool Whip brand … I think. Whatever it is, it made me laugh. Chad had just shy of 3,900 followers at the time I wrote this.

No. 1: Walker Buehler (@buehlersdayoff / Twitter)

This was hands down the best twitter handle I’ve seen in my stack of cards and was really the reason I even decided to generate this list. I’m a big fan of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And so, Mr. Buehler, if you ever read this …

Imagine me as Cam, sitting on the edge of the hot tub after Ferris saves him when he sinks to the bottom of the attached swimming pool:

“Walker Buehler you’re my hero …”

All I need to know about 2018 Topps I learned in three retail packs

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

The release of the latest Topps baseball set used to be cause for celebration for me.

I was like many of you, pining for something new after a winter of hearing about draft baseball products and numerous football and basketball releases.

But what’s funny is that I’ve never fancied myself a set collector, and Topps in and of itself has never been the object of my desire.

Now, before a I start down this slippery slope, I will say that I am in a different place on my life than before. And the focus of my collection is such that the latest product — of anything really — doesn’t quite jive with what truly makes me happy.

I like that old smelly cardboard, the ones that reek like my grandfather’s ashtray, the ones that look like they thrown around the house like a ninja star, the ones featuring the true icons of the sport, not the youngest kid on the block who gets labeled as “the next (insert superstar name here.)” In a nutshell, I want the cards that I never could have imagined owning — and not because they are rare due to manufactured scarcity like we get today.

That said, opening packs of cards is part of my being; it’s been a part of this hobby of mine since I opened my first wax pack on 1987.

So it’s impossible for me to say that I’ll never open another pack again; especially while I continue to collect.

And so there I was last week when 2018 Topps hit the shelves with Twitter abuzz over every card, good or bad. I was fighting that urge to buy a box — or three — which isn’t uncommon for a guy who at times does show an addictive mentality. So I stayed out of the conversation, avoided my Local Card Shop — sorry, guys, I had to — and tried to steer clear of the card aisle at Target.

After a few days, when I felt I could handle buying a few packs, I decided to do so. And in those three packs I learned — or should I say reminded myself — why I shouldn’t be buying much of this product.

The first item I unearthed in my very first pack of Topps was a blank security card, which I found apropos since the card literally said nothing — kind of like the cards within the pack did nothing for me.

And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with the product. It’s the same formulaic stuff that works for most people. It’s that for me the blank card, along with the contents of the three packs, just felt like a waste of time.

I didn’t care much that I now owned Salvador Perez as my first true card of a 2018 Card set. Or that I also got a Charlie Blackmon home run National League League Leader Card after he finished THIRD in that category. Hell, I got two Derek Jeter insert cards and really don’t care because neither he nor that insert set are my cup of tea.

Topps baseball has been fun for me in the past, and I suppose it could be again on the future. But right now, I’m not feeling it. And unless my kids show some interest in ripping with me, I’ll stay away because that’s what’s good for me. In those three packs, I learned the two important things about the set — it’s just not something I NEED, and I had no pleasure at all from opening the packs. And those lessons — if you want to call them that — were important to experience because I sometimes fail to realize them until I’ve already lost control and bought too much.

I leave you with this thought today:

If you aren’t finding joy in your hobby …

If you find your hobby spending to be out of control …

If you feel you’re lacking focus …

… it’s OK to step away and regain whatever control you need so that you can maintain a healthy balance of life and hobby. Your hobby shouldn’t rule your life.

Collecting Goals for 2018

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

Every year for the last decade or so I’ve sat down in late December or early January and penned a piece in which I declared goals for the upcoming year.

Well, I’m kind of off to a late start here as we are closing in on Week Three of 2018. Nonetheless, collecting has been on my mind lately, and thus it felt appropriate to declare my goals for the upcoming year in hopes that it will help keep me focused.

Without further delay, here are Cardboard Icons’ top five collecting goals for 2018.

GOAL #1: No more duplicates*

A reoccurring theme in recent years has been this ideology of thinning out the herd. In other words, stop hoarding stuff that doesn’t matter to me. If you buy packs, boxes, spots in breaks or whatever, then you’re likely to at some point come up on some duplicates. For me, this has sometimes led to owning two, three, or four … or 15 or 20 of the same card — and usually without doing it on purpose. So, it is my intent to get rid of extra stuff – with few exceptions of course. I own three of four 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookies and all will stay with me.  But any extra 2017 Aaron Judge rookies shall be moved.

GOAL #2: Buy packs in moderation, if at all

I can’t say that I’ll never buy a pack again, but in 2018 I plan to stay the hell away from the card aisle at Target. Why? Because nothing that I pull from those packs really conforms to the standards of my collection.  Most of the time those purchases are made out or boredom, to help suppress feelings from other aspects of my life, or simply because I’m getting caught up in the internet hype of products or prospects.  I won’t declare that I’ll go pack free – buying cards has been in my blood for three decades. But I will exercise restraint and buy only in moderation; not because something in trendy or a product is hot. It’s so easy to dump $20-$40 into products that ultimately wind up as clutter. I refuse to do that in 2018.

GOAL #3: Buy 10 new HOF rookie/tobacco era cards

In 2018, I shall regain the focus of my collection and return to the icons of the sport, the icons of cardboard. Too much time has been spent in recent years chasing hot players who ultimately wouldn’t be able to sniff the cleats of the guys whose cards I REALLY enjoy. And so this year I will find 10 new Hall of Fame members whose rookie card or tobacco-era cards I do not own because these are the cards I love. These are the cards I will pass onto my children. These are the icons; they are the namesake of this blog.

GOAL #4: Get raw HOF rookie cards/tobacco-era cards slabbed

At this time I have roughly a dozen tobacco-era cards of HOFers that are not encased in Beckett Vintage Grading slabs and the lack of continuity in my collection is bugging me. These include Chief Bender, Adie Joss, Mordecai Brown, Miller Huggins, Hughie Jennings, and so forth. The fact that they’re just resting in my collection outside of a uniform slab is driving me insane. And so, when the time and money is right, I shall do what I do and send them to BGS for encapsulation. And when they’re slabbed, they can be properly displayed with the rest of their HOF brethren.

GOAL #5 Have Fun

So much has happened in my life over the last few years that I’ve lost sight of the joy that this hobby has brought me over the last three decades.  I enjoy collecting – it’s fun. I enjoy chasing cards that I never dreamed of owning. I enjoy obtaining a card that my grandfathers or great-grandfathers would have owned if they loved baseball. I enjoy sharing hobby experiences with my children. And so I shall do only the things in this hobby that make me happy and that are fun.

Ben,

Cardboard Icons

Collector of Hall of Fame tobacco era and Rookie cards

Collector of Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw.

You can reach me on Twitter and Instagram @cardboardicons. You can also e-mail at cardboardicons@yahoo.com

Another year gone: Cardboard Icons is now 9

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , on July 7, 2017 by Cardboard Icons

IconsThe times have certainly changed in the hobby and they’re always changing in my world. In fact, the anniversary of this blog came and went earlier this week and I didn’t recognize it publicly. In case you glossed over the headline, Cardboard Icons is now 9 years old.

My views on the sports collectibles world have varied quite a bit in recent years. I’ve become bitter at times with the industry; yet still love the hobby. I can’t stand the buying methods of the modern collector; yet still partake in the same activity from time to time. In short — I need to hit the reset button before I feel I can offer something of value to the readers who still check in every now and again.

The one aspect of blogging or providing commentary is this incessant need to give an opinion on everything. And it needs to be immediate. And in some cases it needs to be an extreme opinion otherwise you get lost in the shuffle.  You know exactly what I’m talking about.

Anyhow, the memories that this blog have afforded me over the years are not all negative, and I try to remind myself of the positives that I have gained from starting this little blog on July 3, 2008. I’ve met some great people, made some fantastic trades, documented some big additions to my collection, and have enjoyed some incredible experiences, such as the one shown in the photo above.

Of all things that the Cardboard Icons site and persona have afforded me, the events that led to me meeting the late Earl Weaver to briefly reunite him and his game-used jersey are among my finest hobby recollections.  You can read all about it here.

I’ll wrap this piece up with a familiar message: I’m still around. I still have opinions. I still collect. But life has changed and I no longer have the time to devote to blogging as frequently as I want. So … I’ll do it when I can.

Thanks for reading.

Ben Aguirre.

-Cardboard Icons.

You can always reach me immediately via Twitter (@cardboardicons) and on Instagram.

Target run reminds me WHY I collect

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on September 2, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

IMG_1614

I made a brief Target run late last night to grab some necessities and made the obligatory stop in the card aisle. There wasn’t anything “new” to buy, but there was a Fairfield repack 20-pack box that intrigued me. There were a handful of 2014 Prizm Draft Picks packs inside, some 2015 Topps Series 2 packs (Think Kris Bryant rookies) and what was clearly two 1991 Stadium Club packs, along with other stuff.

I’ve opened my fair share of 1991 Stadium Club, but I was still feeling nostalgic about cards at the time. You see this week I think I finally got my son into the hobby; earlier in the day we went to the card shop and he had a blast. (*Side note: A big thank you to Kevin at Stevens Creek Sports Cards for the stack of free commons you gave to my son. He loved them.) I digress.

The Prizm packs, the jumbo 2015 Heritage and Topps Series 2 packs seemed to make the box worth the price, but the two 25-year-old packs really set the hook in me.

For the uninitiated, 1991 Stadium Club was quite possibly one of the finest card sets released in it’s time. Sure, we remember 1989 Upper Deck for the premium Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.  And we recall 1990 Leaf for having another iconic rookie card in Frank Thomas, as well as dozens of other rookie cards of stars from the time. But 1991 Stadium Club was THE premium baseball card. Every card featured full-bleed photographs, gold foil and high gloss that got you high (read:not really, but if you opened this stuff as a kid, the scent is one you’ll never forget. Packs were several dollars each upon release and star cards — not rookies — were in high demand. Griffey and Thomas were each well over $20 for a while.

My guy at the time was Roger Clemens, the flame-throwing perennial Cy Young award candidate. I couldn’t afford these packs when I was a kid, but I distinctly asking my dad for $5 and then riding three miles on my bike to the local card shop to buy one card — the Roger Clemens 1991 Stadium Club that had been sitting in the show case of Brian’s Books  in Santa Clara, Calif.

Flash forward to last night.  I worked late and then made said Target run.  When I got home I took the above photo, opened all of the packs save for two — the 1991 Stadium Club. Whatever lurked inside these packs was surely worth nothing more than a few pennies. But the nostalgia is everything and that can be priceless. I tore opened the first pack, flipped card by card and then it happened — the second last card:

IMG_1623

There is Clemens is all his glory. That pose. That glove. That spring training uniform. Just like I remember it. True, I could probably get a brick of 500 of this exact card for like $10 because no one cares about him or this card anymore, but none of those would be as valuable as just this one card, for at last I had pulled something I could only dream of as a kid.

Someone asked me recently: WHY do you collect baseball cards?

This is why.

It’s not really about the money. It’s not really an investment because cards rarely appreciate with time under normal circumstances.

It’s about the memories. It’s about how in an instant single worthless card can transport you back a quarter of a century to the moment when you asked a parent for money and trekked clear across town to buy a card of your childhood sports hero.

I have other reasons for collecting what I do. And sometimes I can’t fully explain it. But THIS is probably the strongest reason why.

Cardboard Icon: 1909-1911 T206 Polar Bear Back Walter Johnson

Posted in Cardboard Icon with tags , , , , on February 16, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

I like to show off my cards from time to time.  You know that.  I show them off because these are not cards you typically see on other blogs.

I show them off because I am proud to own them.  I show them off because I’m hoping to turn some of you onto some of the true Cardboard Icons. I show them off because these are the kind of cards that YOU could own. Yeah, you.

Today I present the newest Cardboard Icon:  The 1909-1911 T206 Polar Bear back Walter Johnson.

Johnson was part of the inaugural class of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.  He was inducted along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner. Yeah, he was pretty good.

Dubbed the “Big Train,” Johnson hurled his way into history by playing 21 seasons during which he won 417 games (including 110 complete game shutouts), struck out 3509 batters, and posted a career 2.17 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

This PSA T206 Johnson came to the Cardboard Icons collection in February 2012.  While the overall grade leaves much to be desired, the card presents nicely. Johnson T206 cards in this grade usually are offered for $250-$350, and they are usually of the more common “Piedmont” back.  This slightly tougher version went below that market.

Tip:  Remember, if you’re in the market for one of these century old cards, make sure they are already graded by PSA, BVG/BGS or SGC.  There are a lot of reprints on the market, many of which are falsely altered to look old.  Buying a card not graded by one of these three top grading companies could lead to an expensive mistake.

2010 Cardboard Icons Fantasy Baseball Teams

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on April 2, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Cardboard Icons is awesome.

 I know you’ve been sitting near your computer screens for the last week just waiting to see what I was able to do in my fantasy drafts last week. I felt it. The pressure was there. Hundreds of you guys were spamming my e-mail box and twitter feed just trying to figure out who went where. 

 
OK, enough with the B.S. I’ll make this post short and sweet because fantasy baseball teams are like opinions and a-holes, everyone has one and no on really gives a crap. But I’m going to show you mine anyway. My fantasy teams. Get your mind out of the gutter.
 
I play in two 10-team head-to-head 7×7 keeper leagues in which we are allowed to keep five players and one guy who qualifies as a rookie. Team A is a league I joined four years ago, I won the first two years I played, and then took third last year. Core Keepers are: Albert Pujols, David Wright, Andrew McCutchen, Jon Lester and Clayton Kershaw. Tommy Hanson was my rookie.
 
The draft went so-so. My first three picks were Chris Carpenter, Brian Mc Cann and Adam Lind — hard to screw that up. I then took Cole Hamels, and proceeded to have a mediocre draft from there. My team isn’t flashy, but it’ll be fine. Unless things fall apart, I should be in it at the end. Here’s a screen grab of what my roster looks like on Opening Day.
Team A
 
Team B is a part of my primary league, which comprises a group of guys I have been playing with since 2001. During this off-season my team underwent a major overhaul. I unloaded younger talent and draft picks for more proven guys because my teams tend to be solid all year and then fail in the playoffs. I’m hungry for a title, been without one since 2003 — the first year we converted to a keeper. Nonetheless, I headed into the draft with these keepers: Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, David Wright, Hanley Ramirez, and Clayton Kershaw. Rookie was Andrew McCutchen. Because of the quality I got in my trades, I entered the draft without my first two picks; my first selection was at 27th overall; then had two more in the next six picks. First three guys I acquired were: Ricky Nolasco, Ubaldo Jimenez and Brian Roberts. I think my draft went pretty damn well.
 
 Team B

 

 Quick reminder: I’ll be posting later today or early tomorrow the drawing for the 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle / Hank Aaron card. I hit my milestone mark Friday morning and there were about 30 entries into the contest. Good luck to all who entered.