Archive for sports

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.

That moment when you buy a blaster … and instantly feel shame

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Commentary with tags , , , , , on February 1, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I made a Target run this morning for a few grocery items and while there I found a blaster of 2019 Topps. I’ve already bought a hobby box and a few extra packs on the side. But the newness of the product has triggered my addictive state so I “had” to buy the blaster.

As soon as I cracked the seal on the blaster I instantly felt shame. I knew I should not have made the purchase.

It wasn’t a bad blaster. I Got a Max Scherzer patch relic (1/blaster) Shohei 150th parallel (1:8 packs retail) and the allotted inserts.

The cards bring me shorterm pleasure, but the shame in knowing that I didn’t “need” these cards is tough to deal with sometimes.

The one saving grace mentally is that the blaster did have 17 of the 19 cards I needed for the set. So I suppose I could “justify” the purchase, but that is a slippery slope.

The struggle is real. Gotta do better tomorrow. I’ve got to stay the hell away from retail.

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.

 

 

2019 Topps Kershaw could be a problem based on mock up

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Misc. with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Yesterday I wrote about how I’m going to be put to the test this week with the release of 2019 Topps and how it’ll likely break my month-long streak of not buying/opening packs.

That of course led me to look really for the first time at some of the mockups that were released of certain players – I had resisted for the most part as I did not want to trigger my desires for new cards.

Given that Clayton Kershaw is really the only active player I truly collect, I went and looked at the early released version of his card. And something immediately struck me: Is Kershaw’s zipper down in this image?

I hope that Topps picked up on this and figured out a way to either fix it in Photoshop or choose another image.

I was discussing this with a friend yesterday and it was determined that the image used in the mock up comes from his Opening Day 2018 start against the San Francisco Giants.

I like Kershaw, but I really don’t want to be distracted with his first 2019 card featuring him with a wardrobe malfunction.

Month of pack cleansing about to face test with 2019 Topps

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , , on January 27, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A lot of people joke they are addicted to sports cards. It’s usually said in a light-hearted manner to really describe their insatiable thirst for cards – their desire to acquire; the urge to constantly move items around to see new things in their collection.

And then there are those who truly have an addiction. Those who can’t go a day without buying something – a pack, a blaster, a spot in a break.

I’m probably somewhere in the middle of the two types described above, although I recognize I do have an addictive personality. And that is why I like to use the month of January as a respite from packs.

It’s a bit easier for me than others as I pretty much collect only baseball.  And for the most part there haven’t been any baseball releases since mid-December. And truthfully, I am not the target audience of those late-year releases – I stopped prospecting years ago, and I really don’t purchase the higher end stuff until the single hit the secondary market.

But right about this time every year – in late January – the hobby discussion begins to turn toward the release of the new Topps flagship set. The 2019 Topps cards are scheduled to be released this upcoming week, but we have already started to see some leak out.

The anticipation for these cards has caused some – including me – to check their retailers to see if the cards had hit retail shelves in their area early. It has happened before.

What’s interesting is that we all know that these cards are not rare. Hell, if you look hard enough you can still find some Series 1 from 2018 sitting at some retailers.  But it’s this urge for the newest items that some – including me – can’t resist at times. We want to be the first to have it in hand. The first to say we found it. We want that attention, that satisfaction that in 2019 – or whatever year – you were the first or among the first folks – to own cards from that year.

More than ever I find myself fighting myself on this notion. As documented here, there have been many changes in my life over the last few years and this has no doubt had an impact on the way I collect for economic reasons – single-income households are tough to maintain. And because I have been in this game for three-plus decades, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks – or in other word, fight those urges to go out and buy a bunch of the new stuff, when really just a few packs – or no packs at all – will suffice. I mean, when it really comes down to it, I really only collect Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw. That’s not to say that other cards can’t have a place in my collection, but it should serve as a reminder that I do no need to clear out a retailer of a product simply because it’s new – and I’d guess I am not the only person in such a position.

The age of social media has made this tough as we are constantly exposed to the new stuff, and are usually hit with images of the good pulls because it is our nature in present times to share everything almost immediately.  And when we see those pulls, we think we could do the same by purchasing a pack, a box, a spot in a break, etc.

When 2019 Topps hits shelves this week and the images start flowing for real on my Twitter feed, I know exactly how I’m going to feel. I’m going to be excited. I’m going to be filled with the thrill of endless possibilities. But it’s important that I temper those urges to buy more than I “need.” What I should do is stay the hell away from retail shelves – those are my weakness — and just buy one hobby box to open it with my son so that we can build a set and experience the newness together.

 

 

 

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.

Twitter sale is reminder that “value” of cards varies from person to person

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For about a year I’ve had six 500-count boxes sitting on my card desk. The boxes contained partial baseball and football Topps sets from 1980-1985.

They were partial/starter sets I acquired with the intent to either 1) complete the sets, or 2) sell them to someone who needed them.

Well, they sat … and sat … and sat.

The mere sight of them often sent me into a tailspin as I could not muster the idea of spending an hour to determine what was there so I could post it on eBay with hopes that someone would take them off my hands. The resell value wasn’t nearly as good as I had hoped.

And then yesterday, after dropping off my kids at school, something clicked. Just get them out of the house, and reduce that stress.

So I spent 30 minutes counting the cards that we’re within and then offered the lots for sale on Twitter, which is sometimes hit and miss for sales on items that are not presently hot in our hobby.

For about 10 minutes the post sat. Then a follower of mine hit the DM and said he was interested.

This sale was confirmed and I was happy to hear the cards were going to a good home. What’s even better is the buyer advised they would essentially replace cards he lost in a flood some 30-plus years ago.

The economic value of the starter sets isn’t high — and the buyer understood that. The lots were void of the big star rookies and even the stars. But this also reset the notion of “value” for me a bit.

I had approached this the wrong way. I was looking at “value” based on what I saw on eBay, and the lack of “big payday” actually was hindering my process. Hell, at one point I was even regretting the purchase I made when I acquired these … because in some ways I had placed no value in the cards themselves because they no longer fit my collecting style.

But this transaction is a win-win for Scott (the buyer) and myself. Not only did I get the items out of my house and into a collector’s hands, but it was humbling and served a reminder that the value of our cards — while often tied to money — is often a personal experience.

One could look at these boxes as stacks of commons and donate them or toss them in the trash. Another could look at these partial sets and see potential, but then sit on then for years and gain stress from not moving them. And yet another person could look at the lot and see items representing a piece of their childhood.

The sale didn’t make me rich or even net me a profit; but it made me feel like I had made a giant sale as I had lightened my load and recouped a portion of what I spent on these cards and others.