Archive for parenthood

“Oh yeah! I got a 1-of-1!” –

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Commentary, Kid Collectors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Topps Chrome Update Mega Boxes are all the rage right now. And on Thursday night during a stop at Target to get groceries I lucked into a group of four boxes that were tucked behind some blasters.

This is my third time seeing them “in the wild” since their release. And even though I told myself I was done with them after buying a few last week, the fact that they were 10% off This week made me grab the remaining four.

I opened two in car — pulled a Vlad Jr. rookie and a green Refractor Hunter Pence /99 — and decided to keep the other two sealed until I picked up my kids. I figured I’d let me son pick one and open it if he decided to buy one with his birthday money.

I presented the option to him and of course he opted in at the $18 price tag. He looked at the two sealed boxes I had on the kitchen table and held one in his hand, looking at the odds. And then at the last second he switched the boxes with me … which I didn’t mind. This was about HIM, not me.

He used my keys to pierce the cellophane wrapper and then unboxed the seven packs. He grabbed the first one and ripped the back. It was at that moment — at about 8:50 pm Pacific on 11/5/19 — he had a monumental experience.

“Oh yeah! I got a 1-of-1!” he exclaimed as he pulled off the wrapper.

I was shocked. I stood up to get a better look — it was a yellow printing plate for Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu’s All Star Game card, #70 in the set. My son puts his cards in binders, sorted by team. Because that’s what you do when you’re new to the hobby — he’s only been actively involved for about a year.

“That’ll go in a holder,” he said as he looked at the metal card.

The moment got be excited, and damn near made my cry. Parenthood will do that.

We high-fived. We hugged. We talked about how hard it is to get one.

And not once — not even to this moment — did we talk about value, worth, resell price, etc.

I was 18 when I pulled my first 1-of-1. It, too, was a printing plate. It was a plate for a 1998 Topps Gallery Nomar Garciaparra that literally fell out of a pack I opened at the register at R&K Comics in Sunnyvale, Calif. I was in college at the time and sold it a few weeks later when I realized the card could net me enough to pay for a semester of books.

The market has certainly shifted over the last two decades — printing plates aren’t nearly as desirable, and more people than before argue against their 1-of-1 status since there are typically four plates for each card, even though they are in different colors thereby making them unique as the card states in the rear.

But the experience is what makes this a huge deal, and it’s these father-son moments of bonding that keep me excited about this hobby.

On a side note, I came home last week with a Mega Box of the same product for him. He opened it and also hit an autograph of Yankees pitcher Chance Adams. He was excited do that pull, but nowhere near as excited as he was in this night with his first 1-of-1.

Rhys Hoskins should be the guy whom my son and I collect

Posted in Collecting Hoskins with tags , , , , , , , on March 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

How one goes about choosing their favorite player, or at least the ones they decide to collect, is completely arbitrary. Some choose a top draft pick and go to town on that guy for however long it seems sustainable. Others choose a player from their favorite team and remain loyal to them until there is reason not to be.

In some ways I have done both in my collecting career. I chose Roger Clemens as my guy in the late 1980s because he was the face of my favorite team. And I lucked my way into Clayton Kershaw after I fell in love with a YouTube video of his knee-buckling curve ball and then pulled his 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Refractors Autograph from a blaster at WalMart.

But it looks like there is a new player whom I should be courting in this hobby, and one whom my son and I should be together building a personal collection of — that player is Rhys Hoskins.

I’d been thinking for a while that he and I should be finding a guy whom we should collect together. He likes Steph Curry, but I didn’t own much basketball before my son really expressed an interest. And while I’ve been pounding the drum of how great Mike Trout is … we’re a tad late to that game. (Side note: I did sell his 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto BGS 9 about 18 months ago when I really needed money, but that’s topic for another post.)

As it turns out, I think we stumbled upon our player rather organically last year without us really noticing. Here’s the story:

In July 2018, Topps released “Big League.” I loved the product and the hype that came with it after I saw people buying and ripping. One day after it hit retail shelves my kids and I went to Walmart and they have two packs of Big League. I tossed them in the cart and later opened then in the car. To my surprise, the packs were great. I pulled a Jose Altuve auto from the first pack, and the second pack had something shiny in the middle. It was a silver holofoil parallel of Rhys Hoskins, serial numbered 076/100. I showed it to my kids and both smiled to appease me and went back to their video games.

About a month later when 2018 Topps Stadium Club hit shelves I told my kids how much I loved TSC because of the photos. They have come to know me as not only a card collector, but also an amateur photographer, especially as it pertains to sunsets and baseball. So it was rather normal for them to understand my attraction to TSC as it is largely built around great photography. I bought a hobby box of TSC and allowed by kids to partake in the break, knowing that they’d be looking at the photos but also looking forward to the two autographs per box. My daughter ripped her six packs and pulled a Garrett Cooper auto; I opened my six packs and didn’t get any ink; and then my son got about half way through his packs when he nailed a Rhys Hoskins auto.

I thought it was an excellent pull and great addition to my collection. But I also made a mental note that the Hoskins was a card I would not sell or trade because it was a good rookie auto pulled by my son. So even though I paid for the cards and at the time he was not actually collecting, I sort of saw this Hoskins TSC as HIS card.

A few more months pass and I am in a phase in which I am buying into random number group breaks of Panini America Immaculate cases through breaker MojoBreak.com, which is headquartered not too far from where I live. The idea with this style break is you pay a set amount and are given a random number 1-99 (because nothing in Immaculate is numbered to more than 99) and whatever card comes out of the boxes with your assigned serial number is yours. During one session I paid like $15 for a random spot and lucked into the coveted Number One spot. So anything numbered 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, etc. was mine. It also meant that any 1/1 was also mine. Welp, guess whose name popped up again? That’s right, Rhys Hoskins.

Conrad at MojoBreak did his whole “One of One of One” chant and revealed this Immaculate RPA featuring Player-Used (so from a photo shoot) striped jersey with a patch and an on-card auto. I was ecstatic, but also a bit perplexed as this was yet another Hoskins hit rearing its head.

I’ve managed to cull the rest of the 2018 products I had sitting around and as it turns out, I have some 50 Hoskins rookie-year cards, which is a lot considering I don’t buy a bunch of everything.

And then the other day while digging through some old prospect boxes, look what else popped up: a 2014 Bowman Draft Paper Blue Hoskins First Bowman serial numbered 212/399.

If you don’t call that a sign, I don’t know what to make of this. So while I will not chase Hoskins with the fervor that I do Clemens and Kershaw, it’s definitely the guy whom I shall pitch to my son as the player whom we watch and collect together going forward.

Video Break: 2018-19 NBA Hoops Dollar Tree packs

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , on March 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

My son enjoyed the process of opening our 2018-19 Revolution box on video so he was game for another. Here is the second video my 8-year-old son and I did this week, this is the break of some 2018-19 NBA Hoops packs we found at Dollar Tree.

The Dollar Tree packs are completely void of inserts or hits, save for an exclusive yellow parallel card that is seeded one per pack. Each pack does contain a total of five cards, so this was a fun way for us to pull more cards for out Hoops set and chase a potential big fish in the Luka Doncic yellow parallel that has consistently sold on eBay for $75-$110.

You can view the video HERE.

Video Break of 2018-19 Panini Revolution Chinese New Year

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

My son and I swung by our local card shop this week and decided to break a box of the newly released 2018-19 Panini Revolution Chinese New Year. We bought the box and brought it home and tried our hand at a video box break. I’ve done them before — but this was really my son’s first foray into this.

A few notes:

-My son is 8, be nice.

-I sniffled a lot as I was just getting over a cold.

-Basketball is not MY passion so I likely butchered some names.

-We are not professionals and used only an iPhone, sorry if quality isn’t what you’re used to.

-Lastly … I can’t embed the video here, so you’ll have to click HERE to view it.

You know you’re raising a kid collector when …

Posted in Dad Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

True story, this morning I went to the laundry mat and while I was loading the washer I heard a familiar crinkling noise in the pocket of a pair of pants I was holding — but those pants were not mine, they were my son’s.

It was a great feeling to pull that wrapper from his pocket and set it on the washer. It meant that he didn’t immediately discard the wrapper and misplace the contents, or leave the cards in his pocket — which is something I did from time to time when I was his age. This wrapper also represented the fact that he thought enough of it to 1) not litter, 2) hold onto the wrapper until we got home, 3) meant he already placed the cards into his basketball binder — which I might add is like three times the size of his baseball binder.

The wrapper really put me in a head space in which I was thinking a lot about childhood, card collecting and … the laundry mat experience.

As a kid my mom would drag us from our apartment to the laundry mat to do loads upon loads of laundry. I was born in a big city and raised in a suburb, but my family never owned property. We’ve been renters our whole lives and when it came to laundry, it sometimes meant piling items into bags or baskets and loading them into the car, or even at times public transportation.

Whenever I went to the laundry mat, I had a Beckett Baseball Monthly with me, sometimes a small stack of cards in Card Savers which I kept in my pocket. And when I was tired of looking up the prices of vintage cards I could only dream of owning, I found myself hounding my mom for quarters with which I would either play Pac-Man or Galaga, or simply hold onto with hopes that the liquor store in the shopping center might have packs of cards for sale.

My kids don’t really enjoy the laundry mat the way I ever did, which is when I choose to go, I usually go when they are in school. There’s a very nostalgic feeling when I step into such places, but I did not think I’d find myself reminiscing this much today about my childhood, all stemming from a wrapper from a pack of 2018-19 Panini Contenders basketball.

How long have you been writing this?!

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

Funny story. Yesterday I wrote a blog post on my laptop while sitting at the kitchen table and my son saunters over after I am done and asks what I’ve been doing.

He recently showed interest in the hobby, so he notices when I am looking at cards, or reading about them. So he wanted to take a look at what I had just done. I let him sit in my chair and have a look. He starts paging down, looking occasionally at the words, but focusing mostly on the pictures of cards.

I explain that this is my blog/web site.

“How long have you been doing this?” he asks as he scans over the fourth page of posts, pointing out some cool images I have posted.

I reply: “Ten years … but I haven’t been writing much in recent years.”

Astonished, he says, “Ten years?!”

And it was at that moment that it really hit me that I have owned this domain and used it for longer than both he and his sister have been alive. I actually started this blog some two months after my ex-wife and I learned that we were having our first child. And next week, that oldest child turns 10.

People often call music the soundtrack to their lives. For me, baseball cards are essentially my timeline.

My kid has shown an interest in cards!

Posted in Dad Life with tags , , , , , , , on November 11, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

“Dad, it’s like real cardboard …”

For a parent card collector these words coming from the mouth of your offspring are priceless, especially when you’ve just introduced them to their first true vintage addition to their fledgling card collection.

I’ve been a baseball card guy for more than three decades, having begun my card adventure when I was just seven years old, shortly after moving to the suburbs from the Big City. And I now have two children, the oldest pushing 10 years, and the other having just turned 8.

I always envisioned that one day my card collecting habits would one day rub off on my children, and up to this point there has been very little interest. Kids these days don’t know what it’s like to not be able to get information or entertainment at the blink of an eye or the touch of a screen. Collectors from my generation and those before know the struggle all too well, having to buy and handle newsprint, and in some cases using baseball cards as our method of learning and remember statistics and even historic events.

I introduced my kids to cards many years ago. They’ve both opened packs; attended shows and shops with me, and often see me rummaging through my boxes and piles. But until recently, there had been very little real interest. I’ve given my kids packs, especially my son, who in many ways is my Mini Me. But he hasn’t truly enjoyed then; he’s busy, swiping and button mashing.

And then just a few days ago, without my prompting, he walked over to the bookshelf, took out his binder of cards – many of which are 2016 Topps Bunt, the last product that he and I really broke together, and he started flipping through his pages.

Like many starting to collect, my son had placed every card he owns into 9-pocket sheets and in a binder with no regard for organization. His baseball cards were next to his football ones, and even some random basketball and Olympics cards sprinkled in.

I watched him from a distance and then he comes over to me and says, “Dad, I’m going to sort these by sport.” The later he brings the binder to me and says, “Can you tell me if any of these are good.”

The question as to whether or not a card is good is very subjective. I know for a fact that none of his cards at the time carried any sort of premium, or really any desire outside of his own. But I am not in the business of crushing budding collector’s souls with a statement like that. And so we flipped through, page by page, and I called out every All Star, every Hall of Famer and every Red Sox, Athletics or Giants card we saw. I wanted him to appreciate what he has, not be so concerned with what the cards are worth.

My son continued to look at his cards for a bit; and I even gave him a larger Collector D-Ring binder, all while teaching him the importance of moving the entire stack of sheets to the flat side of the D-Ring before closing the cover.

My son and daughter went to stay with their mother for a few days and when they returned, I told my son that I had a new card for him, one that I had picked up from a Local Card Shop, one that I never owned as a kid collector. It was a 1995 Pinnacle Ken Griffey Jr., an iconic card showing The Kid being a kid, blowing a massive bubble with his gun. It was my generation’s version of the iconic 1976 Kurt Bevacqua card. I got the card for $1.

I presented the card to my kid and his response was “What the heck?! He and his sister giggled about the large bubble Ken blew in the image. I had succeeded; they cared about the card.

And so I began thinking about items I could gift to my son, cards that he could add to his collection, items that had some sort of meeting, and not just run-of-the-mill commons I had sitting around. I looked through stacks on my desk and found two cards that I thought would be nice additions. The first was a Lonzo Ball Hoops rookie card. Both of my kids know who Ball is because he made an appearance on Fuller House on Netflix, a show the kids watch and re-watch just like I used to watch re-runs of The Wonder Years. They laughed when I showed it to them.

The second card? The aforementioned vintage card, a 1972 Topps World Series Game 4 Highlights card of Roberto Clemente. But before I showed them the card, I told them the story of Clemente, about his baseball skill and his true heroism, his fatal humanitarian effort in Nicaragua.

The kids were astonished by the story. And then I presented the Clemente to my son so he could put it in his binder. The card isn’t worth a ton of money, but it was the kind of card that served as a teaching point, one that I hope he’ll remember forever.

I handed him the card in a penny sleeve and top loader, and he surveyed it and then removed it – By the way, I taught him how to smack the palms of his hands together to insert and remove cards from Top Loaders – so he could place it in his binder next to the aforementioned Griffey card. His words were priceless.

“Dad, it’s like real cardboard…”

I then told him that’s how baseball cards used to be. I pointed to the showcase on the wall and explained that that’s how cards used to made, and every single one of the cards in the case were made the same way, only they were now living inside a plastic Beckett Grading Services slab inside the showcase.

I don’t know if my son will end up loving cards in a week, in a year, in a decade, or if he cares that the cards I’ve accumulated will end up being the possessions of him and his sister at some point. But these last few weeks have been promising; perhaps one day he will understand completely my passion for this hobby, even if it drags me down at times.