Archive for Roger Clemens

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.

**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.**

Some will win, but many more will lose

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , on February 2, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Yesterday I wrote about my latest 2019 Topps purchase which consisted of a retail blaster that set me back $19.99. While the contents weren’t bad, the shame I felt gave me such a feeling of guilt that I managed to channel those emotions into something positive: I rearranged my home, in particular my office/card area. While the space is “still under construction,” it’s shaping up to me a much more sufficient and welcoming area. I’ll show off pictures later.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is two fold. The first is to show off a new Roger Clemens cards that arrived yesterday, and secondly discuss the nature of the Clemens card itself and relate it to those feelings I had yesterday.

In the mail yesterday was a 2018 Topps Dynasty Roger Clemens signed patch card serial numbered 1/5. I have a thing for Clemens patch cards, especially those featuring Boston Red Sox colors. The newer Clemens goes well with the 2017 version I purchased last year, which is serial numbered to 10 copies. And those two pair nicely with my 2016 Dynasty Clemens which features a gorgeous swatch from the Astros team name and is numbered also /10.

And now here comes the serious business …

While I sometimes scold myself for buying retail Blasters, I thank my God that I am not buying higher-end products at the same clip, or even at all. Take this Dynasty product for example. These Dynasty products are priced at $389.99 on Blowout Cards — or $374.99 with the current sale — for one card … ONE. And with few exceptions, namely Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and a hand full of other guys, these products are grossly misrepresented by players whose secondary market value are often less than a quarter of the purchase price. And yes, Roger Clemens is one of those guys. I feel fortunate that my favorite player doesn’t have a major following any more … otherwise I would not have been able to acquire these three Dynasty cards over the years for a collective price that is still less than the cost of a single Dynasty pack.

I know that these so-called “one-hitter quitter” packs really cater to the Breaking culture, and in some ways a lot of us player collectors benefit when they look to sell off their unwanted hits to cut their losses. But looking at things from a bigger picture perspective, these one-hit/one-card products are damaging to collectors and their pocket books if they are buying them as unsealed products — and I know there some who actually do. Thankfully, I’m not one of them.

Oddball items can be fun; glove tags are a favorite

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I love baseball gloves.  I remember when I was in Little League and sometime in February we would start looking for a new glove for the season. I went to the store – usually Big 5 Sporting Goods – and marvel at the wall of leather.  There were gloves for people of all ages, price ranges, qualities, etc.

I always wanted a player model with a MLBer’s name or signature stamped in the palm. My two friends – who were brothers – had matching Rawlings Frank White gloves and I thought they were the coolest thing.  Sadly, these player issues were never in the price range my family could afford. We usually ended up with some off brand like Regent. But hey, it did the job.

But even though the player models were never really in the cards for me, this didn’t dissuade me from dreaming, from grabbing the models off the rack and putting them on my hand.  There were two gloves I always wanted: a Rawlings Mark McGwire first baseman’s glove, and a Wilson Roger Clemens model.  The McGwire was cool because I thought first basemen gloves were so detailed; and of course McGwire’s signature looked amazing.  The Clemens was a little more subtle, but it was Clemens and it also had a version of his signature stamped on the glove.

What made these player models even neater were the tags that came on them.  Being a card collector, anything that slightly resembled a trading card was instantly appealing to me. Like the gloves, I had not acquired one of the tags that came with it – at least not until earlier this month.

I was doing a search on eBay for Roger Clemens items and an oddball lot popped up and one item within the lot caught my eye.  It was a mint hang tag for Clemens model Zett brand glove, which I believe he wore circa 1993/1994. Being the Clemens mark that I am, I knew that he wore Wilson and Cooper brands at various times early in his career. And there was like one season where that off “Zett” brand was visible on his wrist. Sure, this tag was no the one I recall seeing in the store when I was looking player model gloves, but the notion of owning it and running through this series of memories was too strong for me to pass.  I mashed the Buy It Now button and the package of the odd ball items arrived over the weekend.

I wasn’t quite sure when I was going to write about this – or if I ever would – but recently one folks I interact with on Twitter (@ShaneKatz73) has been showing off some odd ball items in his collection, so this seemed like a fun thing to piggy back on.

I’m sure at some point I will go out of my way to own a Clemens glove, even if just the store model.  But this bright yellow Zett hang tag will suffice for now.

 

 

Everyone remember’s their first …

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

If you started collecting cards before the late 1990s, there is a good chance you remember the first autograph or relic card you obtained featuring a player you really liked.

Certified autographs started hitting the hobby in the early 1990s and really became more prevalent in the middle of the decade with a slew of Donruss releases featuring not only the major stars, but also a bunch of others. Of course these came on the heels of the Upper Deck releases featuring Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan and Ted Williams.

But there was a time when as a teenager I would have given anything to own a certified autograph card of my favorite player, Roger Clemens.

In 1995, Upper Deck ran a promotion in which you could get an autograph of the Rocket by sending in 36 empty packs and they’d mail one back to you. I was 15 at the time and it took be a little while to accumulate the required number of packs. When I met the quota, I mailed the wrappers off in a PWE. I couldn’t wait to get my first Clemens autograph. As fate would have it, no such card would arrive for me. My envelope with all of the wrappers was returned and the outside of the envelope stamped with something along the lines of “Promotion Expired.” What I think really happened is they had run out of autographs.

And so for three more years I went without owning a Clemens auto. There were releases in 1996 and 1997 Donruss brands, but they were too expensive for me. But in 1998, I would get my very first.

At the time I was a member of the America Online message boards and at the time I was a heavy buyer of football products. Hell, I had just gotten my first job at Target and a lot of my income was being out toward cards of all brands. In a Donruss pack I received a redemption card for some NFL Europe guy. I mailed it off and several months passed and nothing came back — remember, we didn’t understand how long redemption cards would take at the time.

While checking the message boards one night I came upon a thread in which folks were complaining about redemption cards, and I got a message from a guy who supposedly worked for Donruss, Leaf, Playoff (DLP) at the time. The guy asked what sport, team or players I liked. Of course I shot for the moon and said “Roger Clemens.”

About a week passed and lo and behold in my mailbox I received a small padded envelope sent from some place in Texas. Inside was a 1998 Donruss Signature Millennium Marks SAMPLE card signed by The Rocket, who was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays at the time.

The mailday blew my mind and I decided that this Clemens autograph card would never leave my collection as I figured it must be way rarer than the regular Millennium Mark card, which was numbered to 1,000 copies.

Flashforward to today and it is still here in all it’s glory, only it is now one of about 50 Clemens signatures I own. Also among the signed cards is the traditional 1998 Donruss Millennium Mark card numbered 0398 on the back.

While the signature cards still mesmerize me, it should be noted that I also remember my first Clemens relic. The first piece of Clemens game-worn memorabilia came to me in 2000 via eBay. Relic cards were still relatively new at the time, and I had owned a few, but never had I owned one of anyone I actually cared about.

I recall paying about $45 for this 2000 Upper Deck Legends relic, and when it arrived it did not disappoint, save for it’s condition. I immediately removed the card from the case in which it was shipped and placed my finger on the swatch. I remember what a big deal that was for me given that I had been following Clemens since I was about 8 years old. And then I looked closer at the card and realized it was creased.

I wondered: Why would someone crease such a card. And then the notion of card thickness in relation to base cards and it dawned on me the seller had likely searched the packs in a box that contained this card,

Nonetheless, crease or not, the card was not going to leave my collection. And like the autographs, this is now one of several I own — I’m over 100 Clemens relics at the moment.

The love and hate of Topps Moments and Milestones for player collectors

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Over the last month or so I’ve spent a good amount of time locating all of my Roger Clemens cards, sorting them, cataloging them on Trading Card Database, and then placing them in my binders.

The process has been tedious but fun. When I started this process I had an estimated 1,400 unique Clemens cards, which feels like good amount, but by the time I had most of the base, parallels and insert cards entered into My Collection on the site, I was sitting just under 10% of his entire run, which is like an artificial threshold that I felt like I wanted surpass sooner rather than later.

While I paged through the site and tallied what I had it became inherently obvious that a good chunk of the Clemens cards cataloged on the site were from 2007 and 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones, and from 1999 and 2000 Topps Tek.

Topps Tek has a certain following — and sometimes those base cards especially the early ones — can be tough to locate and quite pricey when they are found. While I intend to obtain some or all of those at some point, the Topps Moments and Milestones cards I felt might be a good place to mark off a good chunk of my checklist for relatively cheap.

For the record, I hate this set. I hated it when it was released, I hated it when I used to run into them while checking bargain boxes, and I hated it when I started this cataloging process. The only love I have felt is when I acquired 75 of the damn cards recently and started checking them off my checklist. My completion percentage seemingly rose by more than half a percentage point.

The reason I disliked the Topps release so much was because I felt like the company took the idea it implemented in 1999 with the Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire Home Run Record Cards and bastardized that cool idea over the next few years with Barry Bonds HR cards in 2002, and then those Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez Home Run cards in subsequent years. And then in 2007 (and 2008) the company went all in on this idea of creating one card per any given stat hoping that player collectors would flock toward them.

I’ll merely speak for myself here, but I HATED the idea. So I stayed away. Hell, in the 12 years since the initial release I had managed to obtain just one card from the 2007 set — and it was a printing plate that I scored for under $20 like five years ago.

I’m sure there are people who loved the product, or others who feel like I do. But this one was just not for me. That said, I am looking for more Clemens cards from this set. If anyone has them available, I am seeking the base /150 and looking to pay about a quarter per card on the ones. I’d also trade for them as long as you’re not expecting Mike Trout or any hot players in return. I hate that I am soliciting for the cards, but this is the life of a player collector. I mean I don’t HAVE to have them … but I kind of do, if you know what I mean.

Thrift Treasures 115: Something For Everyone

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Persistence.

That’s the one word I’ll use to describe what it takes sometimes to find so-called treasures in second-hand stores. From personal experience, I will tell you that the number of people buying and re-selling items these days has made it much more difficult to find items that appeal to me.

The days of finding boxes of trading cards in Goodwill Stores, or other thrift stores, are gone. Now they are much more difficult to locate. Heck, there is still a segment of the population that believes all cards are word a ton of money. But, every now and again there will be some goodies left behind, even if the thrift stores themselves are sometimes marking up the prices.

I have several thrift stores in my general region, and the closest one to my house is a Goodwill Store about a mile and a half down the road. In the mid 2000s I would go there daily and fish out old Nintendo-brand video games from the various consoles and flip them for card money. Hell, there is a good portion of my collection that was build on cash profits from those sales.

I digress, this specific Goodwill in the last five years has been really poor when it comes to video games and sports collectibles. They just simply do not show up on the shelves or in the show cases. I suspect they either 1) aren’t getting them as much as they used to. But also Goodwill does run auctions on their Web site, so I wonder if they are posting items there — I never look at auctions there, just not my deal.

But even though the pickings have been slim at this store in recent years, I still find myself going there on the off chance there might be something for me. As it turned out, Wednesday was that day.

I’ll preface the remainder of this post by saying that I definitely paid more for this random lot of items that I would have in the past, but there was enough randomness, and enough intrigue to make me whip out my wallet and throw down a $20. Hell, I haven’t bought a single pack of cards in over a month and this was my shot at finding something, either for my collection, or for others folks.

I asked the clerk to see the mound of three Ziplock freezer bags of cards they had piled in the corner of the standing showcase and could tell from one price tag the items had been there at least three days. The bags were taped shut so I could not open them, I merely had to do a visual inspection. I could see there were some sealed bags within, as well as a 100-count snap case full of what looked initially to potentially be Sports Illustrated For Kids cards, as well as enough oddball stuff to make me say “I’ll take them.”

Here’s what was within.

We’ll start with these Chipper Jones cards, which we all should know by now are not rookie cards, or even ones that garner much attention. But what really caught my eye on these are the two early-90s stackable snap cases. These were legit … at least I thought so. I loved them as a kid, and if memory serves me right they were like $1 each at the time, so they weren’t “cheap.” I’ll remove the Chippers and keep the cases as they remind me of the times when I viewed these the same way many view One-Touch magnetics these days.

From Chipper, we’ll go into the Refractors. It’s not often you find Refractors in thrift stores — unless you’ve had some spoiled collector or breaker just completely give up. Here there were four, three of which were serial numbered. The Mallex Smith Jefry Rodriguez are /499, that Luke Hochevar is /150. The Frank Thomas is from 1999 Finest and is the Refractor Left version. Not numbered, but still a fun find here.

The next grouping of cards made me smile. I mean, the 1990 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr feature’s The Kid’s infectious smile, as does the 1992 Upper Deck Frank Thomas. And that 1989 Upper Deck Triple Exposure Nolan Ryan was a hot card in 1989 — at least until the update set came out and his “With Football” Rangers card was released.

There is no shortage of early Derek Jeter cards, but it’s still shocking and fun when I come across these. This 1994 Classic “Cream of the Crop” isn’t worth a ton, but I was always fascinated by the inserts and bonus cards that Classic released so it’s a fun one to own. The 2003 Topps Joe Mauer-Justin Morneau is a classic and must-own for Twins fans. It’s super inexpensive, but features two MVP and fan favorites on the same card. An that 2014 Topps Chrome Xander Bogaerts is a rookie card — although I am miffed by the fact that the previous owner didn’t put it in a penny sleeve first. Cmon, man…

Let’s move to the sports oddball segment of this post. We open with two 1988 Fleer box set releases, a poorly diamond cut 1988 Topps Jose, and then two 1989 Topps releases, the Cap’n Crunch food issue, and the KMart Dream Team. I didn’t need these for my Clemens stash, but finding Clemens cards and essentially saving them from the dump always makes me smile.

Speaking of KMart … how about two of these 1982 Topps MVP sets. These sets were released through the retail giant in 1982 and commemorated 20 years of AL and NL MVPs but showing a reprint of their Topps card from the year of the award. The cards ARE NOT RARE … but what’s cool about this find is one of these sets has never been opened. Hell, the gum was still inside. And no, I will not eat the gum — honestly, one portion of it is seriously discolored. What’s really cool to me is the number of price tags on the front of these boxes. The sets appear to have been discounted no less than five times after the original $1.97 price tag.

As a collector in the Bay Area during the early 1990s there was no shortage of oddball or food issues showcasing someone on either the Oakland Athletics or the San Francisco Giants. It’s no secret that Mother’s Cookies releases are my favorite. But I was always intrigued by the Pepsi releases — I’m an equally astonished that many of them survived given their crappy card stock. But in this find, I located a complete 1991 Pepsi Rickey Henderson release. I remember these coming one card per 12-pack of cans … I forget how the whole sealed set was released.

On that note, the Post Cereal cards were always fun. I really enjoyed the relatively inexpensive hand-cut cards of the 1960s, and several years ago actually found an un-cut panel featuring Hank Aaron. But in this find there was a much more modern Post release, an entire 1994 set still in sealed box.

Continuing the trend of “oddball” releases, here is a stack of 60-plus San Francisco Giants “Donate Life Day 2014” Stadium Giveaway cards. This is a four-card set that appears to have been released in a perforated strip. The previous owner looks to have taken 16 strips and broken them down and placed them inside the snap case — the perforated edges are what made me think these were SI For Kids cards.

Let’s close out the baseball portion of this post with three vintage cards, which are always super cool to find in random collections like this. I always feel privileged to be the finder of true vintage baseball cards as I feel I have saved them from being completely destroyed. Here we have a 1957 Topps Dick Groat (little paper loss on back likely from being TAPED to the album or bedpost), a 1957 Topps Ed Bailey (I can see a ring of glue residue but all stats and verbiage is clear), and a 1969 Topps Jim Grant, which is notable because 1969 was the first year the Montreal Expos existed in Major League Baseball. Grant was a Dodger in 1968 and looks to have been a member of the Indians in the old image Topps used here. He was the 36th pick of the National League 1968 Expansion Draft.

Moving from baseball lets go to hoops … women’s hoops. Someone apparently was really into Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoops and more. One cool WNBA card in this lot was actually a 2000 Ultra WNBA Feel the Game Game-Worn shoe relic of Sacramento Monarchs player Kedra Holland-Corn. That swatch is legit –it’s black leather. In some ways the swatch alone reminds me of the 2001 Topps American Pie Elvis Presley relic card featuring a swatch of a leather jacket. I actually pulled one of those; good stuff — good money too.

Do you speak Klingon? I don’t. But here are three mid 1990s Star Trek inserts featuring the Klingon Disruptor Rifle, Klingon Tactical Display and Klingon Sash.

Do you read comics? I’ve got a slew of Wizard Comic Price Guide promo cards. I know these are not rare, but they do look awfully good.

In some circles, when it comes to Halloween some collectors package up some of their extra cards and give them to kids trick or treating instead of giving them candy. It appears that in 1991 that was already a thing. Here are 14 packs of Trading Card Treats. The packs appear to contain three Impel brand cards showcasing various comics and TV Shows such as Wolverine, Spider-Man, Widget, Inspector Gadget and Universal Monster. My favorites, though, are the two Nintendo themed packs with Super Mario Bros 3 artwork cards on the front.

Speaking of Mario … here is a Super Mario RPG Legend of the Seven Star perforated card from an issue of Nintendo Power. My son even walked by the table while I was writing this and stopped to ask what the card was. I haven;t told him yet, but this an d the other Super Mario items are for him — he’s a big Nintendo/Super Mario fan.

We’re getting close to the end … I promise.

When I was a kid, Garbage Pail Kids were my jam — hell, my mom started buying then when I was 5 years old, and it was this collection that actually introduced me to card collecting. Sadly there were no GPK here, but there were a slew of Wacky Packages both old and new. There were almost 30 original Wacky Packages from 1979 and 1980 in here, and twice as many modern ones, including a red, gold and holofoil parallels. Anyone collect these? I see the vintage ones do OK on COMC — which is where they’ll likely end up.

And we’ll close this edition of Thrift Treasures with two non-card items. The first is a ticket stub from the 2006 New Year’s Day game featuring the Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers. The the second is a commemorative Sept. 11, 2001 “We’ll Never Forget” stadium giveaway pin from the San Francisco Giants. The pin is still affixed to the original card, but does have some surface issues along the top border.

Total cost of these Treasures: $19.86

You can read more Thrift Treasures posts here