Archive for rookie cards

The unexpected: Tatis Jr. auto pulled from NBCD Week 2 packs

Posted in Collecting With Kids, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on August 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

If you follow me on Twitter then you’ve probably already seen a tweet about this. But seeing as how this blog is sort of doubles as my collecting diary, I shall document it here as well.

This weekend marked the second half of The National Baseball Card Day promotion from Topps, and as such card shops across the country were giving out packs (if there were any left over) and a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. promo card to customers who made purchases.

I had the kids last weekend, and because of my work schedule and the co-parenting schedule I have with my ex, my kids were with their mother this weekend.

I was able to take the kids to South Bay Sports Cards (Sunnyvale, Calif) on Aug. 10 for the first day of the promotion, which I wrote about last week. And this week I asked her to take the kids, which she agreed to do — hey we’re on good terms, and she knows my kids are into collecting.

The kids made their purchase and got some free Topps NBCD packs and the Vlad Card given away this week. The shop gave the kids two packs each, and unbeknownst to me, they also gave them packs to give to me as well.

I got the kiddos back from their mom on Sunday evening and after getting them, my son told me they had two unopened NBCD packs for me, which damn near brought a tear to my eye. I was totally surprised.

He showed me what he and his sister got in their packs — including a Clayton Kershaw I still don’t have — and then I opened mine, hoping to nail the aforementioned Kershaw card for my collection.

Well, no Kershaw for me, but something crazy happened — I hit an auto of one of the top rookies this year, Fernando Tatis Jr.!

Absolute insanity.

This is the second time in four years that my family has pulled an autograph from NBCD packs, and as you probably know, that’s not a simple task. In 2016 my daughter hit a Greg Bird while wearing her fancy dress, a moment that aided in my family being in an advertorial from Blowout Cards discussing the excitement about National Baseball Card Day.

While I was excited and surprised to have pulled an auto from the packs, I wish my son was the one who pulled the card seeing as how he has taken a liking to this hobby. But he was excited for me, for us, nonetheless. Rest assured that the Tatis Card, serial numbered 110/150 is off the market — the card goes into the Forever Collection, which consists of rare/good cards pulled by my kids or by me while creating hobby memories with them, and other things I’ve pulled and decided to never part with.

Thrift Treasures 118: Hobby time capsule for $9.99

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Few things bring me as much joy as finding discarded hobby gems at the thrift store for less than the price of a handful of modern packs.

It’s easy to get sucked into paying $3, $4, or $5 for a pack of cards at retail hoping to pull something that makes you feel like a hobby winner. And we all know that the agony of defeat happens much more than any sort of victory. So when we can find items that make us smile — even if some portion of the hobby doesn’t get it — it’s really a priceless experience.

Such was the case Wednesday when I stopped at a local Goodwill before dropping off two packages at the post office. It’s been a while since I’d found cards at thrift stores, so imagine the joy I felt when I found a two-row shoebox that showed some promise … and for only $9.99.

True, 75% of this box had what was obviously 1989 Donruss. But that stack of cards in Card Savers II held so much promise. I wasn’t expecting the world, but cards stored in semi-rigids can be gold hiding in plain sight.

I looked all around the store hoping to find more boxes but there were none. The box was priced some five days earlier so odds are someone beat me to the punch for others.

Nonetheless, this box was mine and as it turned out, the box wound up being a hobby time capsule for one of the most exciting times in our hobby, 1990-1992.

The mention of those years will turn people away, thinking it’s just junk wax era. Hell, after I posted a picture of the wrapped box, one Twitter follower said he wouldn’t even risk the purchase unless there were relics inside.

Insert facepalm emoji here …

I digress. I ripped open the cellophane, grabbed a handful of Card Savers IIs and almost immediately found an absolute masterpiece of our hobby, the 1991 Elite Series Jose Canseco, serial numbered to just 10,000 copies.

The Canseco isn’t rare by today’s standards. But in 1991 trying to pull any Elite Series insert was literally like trying to find a needle in a haystack — they were legitimately like 1:10 cases. In their hay day the cards were selling for several hundred dollars; today the Canseco is still a $30-$50 card on occasion, and even more of graded well.

The Canseco would prove to be the pinnacle of this box in terms of current monetary re-sell value, but there was so much good stuff in here.

This image here is basically a summary of collecting from 1990-1992:

You’ve got the Canseco Elite, the awesome and tough-pulls in the Pinnacle “Team Pinnacle”, the 1990 Upper Deck Ben McDonald error card, the 1991 Upper Deck “Baseball Heroes” Nolan Ryan Header Card, the 1990 Score Bo Jackson baseball/football card and the 1990 Score Rookie/Traded Eric Lindros.

The McDonald is actually a neat card I’d never owned. He was a top rookie that year and his basic UD rookie card had the “Rookie” logo. But in early batches of UD, there were a bunch of errors, including the McDonald rookie showing the Orioles logo. it’s still a $10-$20 card in today’s market.

Speaking of errors, there were also these other tough (for the time) 1990 UD screwups:

Jeff Innis and Scott Garrelts cards show wrong player photos on front; the Team checklist and Jamie Weston cards have him listed as Jamie instead of Mickey Weston, and the Nolan Ryan is the banner variation. Errors and variations were a big deal at the time … and some of the younger collectors don’t understand how difficult it was tracking them down at the time.

In addition to the errors and inserts, there were some big rookies in here too. And while it’s not 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. or 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas big, we’re talking some stuff that had considerable hobby weight at a time in the not so distant past … and they all look like they’ve been in these Card Savers for nearly three decades.

And there was a fair amount of hobby stars, including a very nice 1972 Topps Joe Morgan.

In terms of today’s hobby “worth” these cards wouldn’t fetch a ton at eBay or at any show. But for a guy who cut his teeth in this hobby during this era, to basically locate a rookie collectors collection from the era, and to nail down some highly desirable errors and tough insert pulls, especially the Canseco Elite Series, is absolutely priceless. I know I’ve said it before, but this was truly a time capsule, and frankly better than most massive collections that some people are still hoarding in their basements.

Oh, and the 1989 Donruss? As I suspected there was no Griffey. But the sight of these brought back the memory of a hot summer in which I walked 40 minutes to Thrifty’s to buy cello packs of the product.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $9.99

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

“I put them in my pocket …” (National Baseball Card Day 2019)

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , on August 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

National Baseball Card Day is One of the best days of year when it comes to our beloved hobby.

This year I gathered up my two kids and headed to the card shop. And moments later my sister showed up with her kids, including her son who has gotten into baseball cards thanks in part to my son and I.

We went to South Bay Sports Cards in Sunnyvale, Calif. and while there I ran into one of my Twitter followers who recognized me from pictures I had posted of my kids. (Nick, we should have taken a group photo.)

We made a few small purchases and the kids got a few free packs and the Special Bryce Harper Card.

The purchased packs yielded nothing of real interest. Chrome had a “short” printed Eloy Jimenez.

And so had hoped to personally pull my first Mike Oz Card from a Ginter pack, both of my packs turned out to be less than spectacular.

But, that’s not really what the day was about. It was about the cards that Topps and South Bay Sports Cards put into the hands of the kids

The highlights of my son’s packs included Ronald Acuna, Javier Baez and Justin Verlander.

And my daughter’s packs yielded two of MY PC guys in a single pack and Pete Alonso.

My packs were highlighted by Mike Trout and Matt Chapman, also guys whom I have put aside for my son.

The family posed for a photo in front of the store before we set off on our separate ways.

Then after the photo I asked my daughter where she put her cards since I did not see them in her hand.

Her answer: “I put them in my pocket…”

I shook my head, told her to show me and then took a photo before telling her to take them out. The cards are hers, and I LOVED that she put them in her pocket since most of us have done the same at some point during our collecting careers. But I advised her to take them out and put them in her binder later, which she agreed was a better course of action.

I may not be able to take the kids back next week for the Vlad Guerrero Jr special card, but I’ll find someone to take the kids for me. I love these promotions, it’s especially fun for the kids now that they also collect.

Poor packaging, fingernail marks and a Kershaw Gold Rookie Card highlight mailday

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Mail Day with tags , , , , , on May 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I received two packages yesterday, both of which contained Clayton a Kershaw cards.

The first package I shared on a twitter as the packaging alone is almost post worthy. I acquired a 2019 Topps Opening Day Dirt relic card that the seller decided to ship only in a team bag taped to a piece of cardboard, all inside a padded envelope. No Top Loader. I wouldn’t bother bringing up the packaging if the seller had used a piece of cardboard on both side of the card, however that was not the case. This seller merely left one side — the top side — exposed to the bubble wrap and whatever case into contact with it. Folks, don’t do this.

The card is Ok, I suppose. Although I now wonder if it was done on purpose as a cover-up, or to build in an excuse for the dog marks on the surface of the card — you can see there are fingernail marks, a true sign this card was pulled by a not-so-careful packsearcher.

***

The second package brought home a card I wasn’t sure I’d ever acquired. An inexperienced seller put up for auction a base 2008 Topps Update Kershaw Rookie Card along with a 2008 Topps Update Gold Border Kershaw Rookie serial numbered /2008. I managed to acquire the lot for the price of three blasters, which is a pretty decent deal considering the base Rookie often sells $40-$60 when Kershaw is healthy. True, the Gold has some issues on one corner — which is likely why some folks balked — but the two-Card lot made sense for me.

So I was thinking … A recommendation for Beckett Magazines

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on May 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of the newest Beckett Baseball. Don’t ask why. I just like to have a new copy in my hand every few months. I really only buy it once or twice a year.

Anyway, I was just flipping through the magazine as I normally would and it dawned on me that Beckett is missing an opportunity.

Hear me out.

A few years ago Beckett stopped publishing in its monthly magazine any set released before 1980. The move was done to keep a more modern presence and to reduce the size, and maybe the cost, of the monthly magazine. I get it.

So here’s my idea. Why don’t we trim out all this nonsense like the 3-inch listing of 1990 Fleer and just list key cards going all the way back to t206? I mean seriously. Not to pick on Ozzie Smith or Robin Yount, but we don’t need to know that those cards are listed at 15 to 40 cents in the book.

What’d be more valuable is seeing key rookie cards and even other major HOFers from vintage sets from t206 to 1980; and then list other key rookies and some inserts from 1980 to current. Don’t you all think it’s a bit asinine that a person returning to the hobby can’t buy a copy of the monthly magazine and see what year or how much a rookie card of Mantle, Mays or Aaron is, but can go find damn near every 1990 card of George Brett or Greg Maddux?

And this is not a forum for you to blast the magazine. I know — hell, we all know it’s not as valuable to the hobby as it used to be — rather this post is a suggestion to improve the product, and maybe help find a way for it to be useful in today’s market.

Sometimes I wish for simplicity

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When you look at your collection what is it that you see? What makes you proud? What still has you passionate about the hobby? Does the amount of cards or the complexity, or lack of focus, weigh you down?

These are the types of questions I often ask myself.

When I started collecting cards I collected because I enjoyed the idea of acquiring cards. Value wasn’t a big factor. Of course time has changed and I needed a focus, and as you know by now, value — or perceived value, or worth, or whatever you want to call it — most certainly does play a big factor in our hobby these days.

By the time I entered college I realized that I truly loved rookie cards because they were a player’s first card, often their most iconic card, and for better or worse the value of said first cards seemed to rise and fall with performance more than any other a player’s card. And so I determined that I was going to be a rookie card collector.

First it was a rookie card of every baseball player who had one. I actually pulled out a Beckett Almanac and started making a checklist of cards officially designated with the RC or XRC tag.

And then I narrowed it a bit to just Hall of Famer Rookie Cards, but I realized I was missing an entire generation of players who starred on baseball diamonds before Goudey cards were a thing. So I expanded to include t206 or any suitable tobacco or gum card released from HOFers playing days.

For the most part I had accomplished all I set out to do. I do not own a 52 Topps Eddie Matthews because they’ve never been affordable by comparison to what it cost me for other HOFers.

But I do own an authentic rookie or tobacco era cards of just about every other HOF player.

Ruth. Gehrig. Honus. Cobb. Big Train. Mantle. Mays. Aaron. They’re all there in my collection.

For all intents and purposes, my cardboard dreams have come true. I have accomplished what I set out to do — with or without the Eddie Mathews.

But sometimes I sit and wonder what my hobby experience would have been like had I not taken the plunge and sought out rookie cards.

Once I pulled the trigger on the 1951 Bowman Willie Mays in 2006, the seal was broken for me. I was no longer “just collecting cards” I was buying pieces of Americana; I was buying the most iconic baseball cards created. And because I had gone down that route, it seems as though I have spent the last 13 years chasing the fleeting feeling I got when my Mays arrived — and that is an impossible task. Because when the card of your desire arrives via whatever means, it usually creates a situation where you’re instantly looking for the next one that evokes the same emotion. It’s like a drug user constantly looking to match the euphoria they got on the previous hit.

Many people never collected the way I did when I actively chased the HOF rookies. In fact, most people are content with what makes/made them happy regardless of what it is. And in many ways I envy that; I have a great appreciation for those who find the same joy and express such passion in simplicity.

It’s nice to accomplish your goals, but inevitably there is a point where you begin to ask yourself: Now what?

The hunger, the passion that I once had for cards has waned a bit. And I have taken joy in reverting to player collecting. But it does at times feel like I poisoned my own hobby experience. I miss the ability to cherish my pulls, to enjoy cards for what they are and what they represent without constantly measuring them to the HOF collection. While I do not regret the path I have taken; I am not sure where I go from where. I’m not sure there is a suitable answer for the “what’s next” question.

31 of my favorite Clayton Kershaw cards for his 31st birthday

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , on March 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw turns 31 today. Here are 31 of my favorite cards from my collection to celebrate his birthday.