30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Ranking Your Favorites

The new school year is just around the corner for me.  In six days, I'll have the opportunity to meet my next batch of students.  This year will be a little different, since I won't actually meet them in person... but hopefully I'll be able to establish some sort of bond with them.  My colleagues and I are entering uncharted waters and it's a little scary, but these are the cards we've been dealt and now it's time to see what we can do with them.

One thing won't change though.  I won't be naming favorites.  It's inevitable.  Every year I get asked by at least a handful of students, "who are your favorite students?".  My responses vary from "I don't have any" to "you'll never know", but I never respond with specific namesDo I have favorite students?  Sure.  But there's no point in hurting the kids' feelings by revealing who they are.

Athletes are totally different.  They don't know me and could care less about whether or not this card blogger likes them.  That's why I thought it'd be fun to sit down and rank my favorite athletes of all-time.

After creating a list of candidates, I quickly discovered that comparing Kobe Bryant to Ramon Laureano is a lot like comparing apples to oranges... which proved to be much more challenging than anticipated.  Ultimately I just went with my gut instinct.  You'll quickly see that nostalgia plays a huge part in my rankings.

I'm guessing that if I were to try this again in the future, things would look a little different depending on the season and my mood.  But for today, August 13th, 2020, here are my Top 10 Favorite Athletes of All-Time:

#10Steve Carlton

1981 Fleer #660

Carlton was one of the best left-handed pitchers of his generation.  As a fellow lefty, it was only natural for me to root for him as a kid.  By the way today is International Left Handers Day.  Thanks Ryan for reminding me of this special day.

#9 Byron Scott

1989-90 Fleer #78

Out of all of the Showtime Lakers, Byron was my favorite.  I loved the energy and passion he displayed on the court... and that jump shot of his was like poetry in motion.

#8Greg Maddux

1993 Upper Deck #535

Just like I've preferred contact hitters over home run hitters, I've always enjoyed watching guys like Maddux over guys like Randy Johnson or Nolan Ryan.

#7Patrick Marleau

2015-16 Upper Deck #155

I feel like Patty should be higher on this list, since he's my all-time favorite San Jose Shark.  But I struggled to justify ranking him higher than the six guys ahead of him.

#6Kobe Bryant

2007-08 Topps #24

He might have rubbed people the wrong way, but he was the epitome of hard work and passion.  Those are two traits I admire in my students and in professional athletes.

#5Brett Favre

2007 Topps #19

Favre has stressed me out more than any other player on this list... with his crazy passes.  And I thought I'd never forgive him when he signed with the Minnesota Vikings, but time heals all wounds.  These days I just focus on remembering all of those touchdown passes he threw to Mark Chmura, Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman, Donald Driver, and Sterling Sharpe.

#4Kurt Suzuki

2009 Topps #622

I had a hard time ranking Kurt, because I wasn't sure where he fit among all of the legends on this list.  At first I had him ranked behind Kobe, Favre, Marleau, and Maddux.  But then I remembered just how much I enjoy rooting for this guy... even when he's not on one of my favorite teams.  

#3Steve Largent

1981 Topps #271

Largent was my favorite football player growing up... and nothing has changed over the past four decades.

#2Rickey Henderson

1983 Kellogg's #8

Before Gwynn, there was Rickey.  He played a big role in me becoming a baseball fan.  Had he not been traded to the Yankees back in December of 1984... there's a chance he'd be sitting in the #1 spot.

#1Tony Gwynn

1985 Fleer #34

Yeah.  No surprises here.  If you need an explanation for why Gwynn is #1 on this list, then you probably don't read my blog on a regular basis.

It'll be fun to look back on this post in a year or two to see how much things change, but I doubt there will ever be a guy who will knock Mr. Padre out of the top spot.  Actually, I'd say that the Top 3 are pretty locked in... but #4 through #10 are less stable than the Beckett Hot/Cold lists of the 80's and 90's.

What about you?

What are your favorite athletes of all-time?

Leave your list down below.  I'd love to see it.

Happy Left Handers Day and sayonara!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Crazy Times

2020 has been one heck of a ride and it's not even close to being over.  There are still four and a half months left.  In just about every facet of my life things have either been crazy, unpredictable, or both.  I feel like I've aged five years over the past five months.

And now that there's less than a week left to prepare for the upcoming school year and the journey into uncharted waters, my mind has been racing and it feels like an anxiety attack in the making.

feeling of being prepared is the best way for me to combat this issue, which is why I've been submerging myself in webinars and professional development.  But there's a fine line between preparation and burnout, which is where the hobby and sports come into play.  Both of these things help take my mind off of things.

Last night
in between phone calls with my father and friend, I went over to ESPN to check scores when I noticed that Fernando Tatis Jr. was their current cover story.  This didn't surprise me, since he's had a very solid start to the season as well as being on fire the past week or so.

2016 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP17

What did surprise me was the price of his 2016 Bowman Chrome Prospects rookie card.  Yup.  Before I skimmed the article, I checked to see what this card was selling for and was absolutely blown away.

A few weeks ago
, this card was in the $200 to $250 price range... which is crazy high considering I picked the graded copy above last July for $22.52.  Actually it was $59.99 + $3.95 shipping, but I applied an eBay Buck voucher and some remaining funds on an eBay gift card to lower my total cost.

last week, the card started selling for over $400 with some fetching as high as $500.  But the mind-blowing sales took place yesterday.  Prices soared to over $700 with two different auctions ending in four digit figures.  That's just crazy.

Will the card be able to hold this value?  Will it eventually tank?  Or will it continue to rise?  Well... that'll depend on Tatis and his career.  However it doesn't really matter, since I have zero intentions on selling this card.  But it was a nice distraction during this stressful time.  And ultimately, I'm glad I was able to pick up this card before it skyrocketed in price.

In fact with my recent budget cuts, it doesn't look like I'll be adding any new Tatis cards to the collection until this generation's Fernandomania comes to an end.  While we're waiting for that to happen here's the heart of my Tatis PC:

2016 Bowman Chrome Prospects Purple Refractor #BCP17 (#'d 42/250)

2019 Stadium Club #88
2019 Stadium Club Chrome Refractor #SCC-80

2019  Stadium Club Autograph #SCA-FTA

2019 Topps #410
2019 Topps Factory Set Variation #410

2019 Topps Chrome #203
2019 Topps Chrome Negative Refractor #203
2019 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractor #203

2019 Topps Holiday #HW126

2019 Topps Holiday Metallic Snowflake #HW126
2019 Topps Holiday Variation #HW126
2019 Topps Holiday Relic #WHR-FT

2019 Museum Collection Archival Autographs #AA-FT

2019 Topps Living Set #173
2019 Topps 52 #NNO
2019 Topps Total #3

2019 Bowman Platinum #23

2019 Allen and Ginter #183
2019 Topps Stickers #219

I also picked up a
signed bat for my collection about a month ago, but I'll write about that another day since this post is starting to drag on and on.

Side note... by the time this post has been published, I'll be out of my Google Classroom training and should be working on this 1978 Kenner Star Wars puzzle that has been sitting on my dining room table for a few weeks.  I got off to a quick start and managed to get the borders, the X-Wing, and the Tie Fighter finished within two to three hours.  However the remaining pieces are all black and it's been a struggle.  I've only worked on it a handful of times since and have added maybe ten pieces in ninety minutes.  Unfortunately it's time to try and get the ball rolling again, because this is my online classroom area and it has to be cleared by next week.

Ugh.  Looking at all of these black pieces that look exactly the same is driving me crazy.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Waiting Game

It's official.  I spent the final $4.99 sitting in my COMC account on a shipping request that is scheduled to take place on November 2nd of this year.  Is this the last time I buy something on their site?  Not sure.  But for now, I don't have any plans on adding additional credit.

I'm also waiting on a pair of Topps Project 2020 cards that I purchased last month.  Based on a comment I read over on this blog, it looks like I might be waiting awhile.

The question is... will I receive my COMC or Topps Project 2020 order first?  Last week, I would have assumed the latter, but with these COVID-19 delays... I'm not as confident.

The good news is I never have to wait for blogger care packages, since they're exactly that... care packages.  They are not expected.  They're surprise packages that show up in your mailbox, because the sender is a caring, generous human being.

Last month, I showed off some UD Decade bat cards I received in my last COMC shipment and Julie over at A Cracked Bat offered to add one more to my collection:

2001 UD Decade 70's Game-Used Bat #B-MM

Mota once held the MLB record for pinch hits... a fact I probably learned from his 1980 Topps highlights cardForty years later, he's still #3 on the all-time list.  This card is the twenty-third addition to this set build.  Not sure I'll ever complete it, but I'm one card away from being halfway there.

In addition to the sweet Mota (which makes him appear to be staring into the sun), she also sent me some bonus cards:

Ramon Laureano is my favorite current Oakland Athletic and has looked pretty solid so far... although he'll probably be required to take a vacation after yesterday's events.

Julie also included one of those limited 2019 Topps Chrome Sapphire cards that collectors were chasing last yearWho doesn't appreciate a classic handlebar mustache?

According to the note she included in her care package, some of these were cards from her "pick pockets".  I'm not 100% sure which cards are which... but I feel like I claimed that Colt Brennan jersey card for my Hawaii PC.  Up until this past season, he held the NCAA single season record for passing touchdowns.

Thanks Julie for the very generous care package.  I love these "no strings attached" cards we exchange.  I know you stated a return package isn't necessary, but that's not how I roll.  It's going to happen at some point.  I'm just not sure if it'll happen before I receive my COMC and/or Topps Project 2020 shipments.

Okay... today's question involves the waiting game.

Who is currently waiting on shipments from COMC, Topps, or both?

And does anyone know if Topps has announced an updated ETA on these Project 2020 cardsFrom what I can see the latest cards that were shipped to customers are cards #99 and #100.  I wasn't able to find the dates when these two cards were available on the Topps website, but as of last Friday... they were selling cards #193 and #194.

I wonder if the shortage of supplies (plastic protective holders) have anything to do with these shipping delays.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

2019 Topps Stadium Club Autograph #SCA-MC

On a positive note, I purchased a redemption card for this Matt Chapman autograph on eBay back on July 10thReceived it a few days later.  Entered the code a few days after that... and received the card last week.  I was very pleased with the overall turnaround time, so kudos to Topps and their redemption department.  Wait.  Did I just type that?

Saturday, August 8, 2020

All About the Benjamins!

August 8th is National Dollar Day. Two hundred thirty-four years ago Congress established the U.S. monetary system. Figured I'd celebrate the day by showing off some collectibles sitting in my collection that are related to money in some cents. I mean sense.

Collectible #1: 2003 Topps Gallery Currency Collection #CC-WM


This is the
only card in the post that actually features U.S. currency. The 1958 Wheat Penny represents Willie's first year in San Francisco. According to Coin Trackers this penny's value ranges between to $5. Looks like I paid high book value, since I purchased this card back in March off of COMC for $5.

Collectible #22003 Topps Gallery Bucks #NNO


Here's another "money" Mays collectible.  These "bucks" were inserted into packs of Topps Gallery and could be used to purchase Topps artwork on eBay.  This was another COMC purchase.  Only this one was much more affordable (55¢) and took place back in 2018.

Collectible #32002 Topps Gallery Bucks #NNO


The year before, Topps used Nolan Ryan on their Gallery Bucks.  It carried the same value and worked the same way as the 2003 Willie Mays.  This card came in a binder I purchased for $5 at the Capitol Flea Market seven years ago.  Gotta say... I sure miss walking around the flea market and finding deals on baseball cards.

Collectible #41962 Topps #NNO

Feast your eyes on a vintage oddball issue that doesn't get enough publicity as it should.  I originally thought these were inserted in packs of baseball cards, but I have since learned they were distributed in packs that sold for back in the day.  If you're interested in learning more about these Sports Collectors Daily write a great article on these oddballs back in 2016.

This Whitey Ford was an eBay freebie that has a story attached.  Sadly I'm running awfully close to my deadline and want to publish this post on time.   But if you want to learn how I got this vintage oddball for free, click here.

Well that's it for today.  Happy National Dollar Day and sayonara!