Monday, September 15, 2014

I Love the 80's #12: Kenner Cards

Kenner Starting Lineups figures are pretty cool.  But Kenner Starting Lineup cards are even cooler.  I know that there are a handful of my cardboard collecting brethren out there who enjoy their fair share of oddballs.

Okay.  So maybe they're not as cool looking as Kellogg's 3D cards.  And sure they don't have the vintage smell of Hostess panels from the 70's.  But c'mon.  These guys are like the Babe Ruth and Ted Williams of oddball sets... they're in a league of their own.

But that doesn't mean there aren't other high quality oddball sets out there for collectors to pursue.  One of my favorites is the 1988 Kenner SLU cards:

It features a simple, good looking design that includes the player's name, player's jersey number, and team logo on the front.  I'm a huge fan of the bright red border that wraps around three-fourths of the card.  I just wish they would have added the player's position somewhere on the front.

The backs feature your standard player information, career statistics, and a facsimile of the player's autograph.  And thankfully it also includes the player's fielding position.

Unfortunately these cards are highly condition sensitive.  These cards were distributed in carded bubble packages, which contained one figure and one card which were distributed in toy sections all around the country.

I've opened up my fair share of these figures and most of the time the cards weren't in mint condition.  They're prone to chipping and can sometimes come out with dinged edges and corners.

But if you're able to overlook condition, you can find most of these cards for $2 or less.  COMC has a handful of these for under a buck.  I've never seen them myself... but I've even heard of people find these in quarter bins and dime boxes.

Back in 1988, some of the smaller name players in the set were distributed regionally.  This made it sorta difficult for people on the West Coast to grab an Ellis Burks.  On the flip side... an Oakland A's fan living in New York might have a hard time finding a Carney Lansford figure.

But thanks to the internet, finding singles for this set are easier than ever.  As of right now, I currently have twelve of the one hundred twenty-four cards in the set.  I sort of feel this is going to be a lifelong project, but it should be a lot of fun to build.

So what do you think?

Sensational?  So-so?  Or shameful?

Anyone else out there collect these?  Or better yet... have some of these available for trade?

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Domo Arigato: Section 36

I've read that Section 36 houses the best seats in Fenway.  Where did I get my information?  Click here.  And since I've never been there myself, I'm going to take his word for it.  Why would I trust a person I've never met who lives 2,500 miles away?

Because 755 days ago, Section 36 left this comment on one of my blog posts:

I had recently won a contest over at 30 Year Old Cardboard.  The prize was four John Smoltz rookie cards and I mentioned that I wanted to track down the three remaining cards.  Section 36 mentioned that he had one for me.

Over the two years, I eventually picked up the 1989 Upper Deck John Smoltz and to be honest I had totally forgot about my goal to pick up the remaining two.

Until this past week... when Section 36 sent me this:

Isn't it a beaut?  1989 Score baseball won't be winning any awards for best card designs in the near future, but out of all of Smoltz's rookie card photos... I like this one the best.  I'm a fan of action shots... especially well centered, action shots.  Be that as it may... everyone has their own personal preferences, so you can judge for yourself.  Here's a peek at six of his seven rookie cards:

The Upper Deck card gives the Score a run for his money, but in the end I like Score's photo better.  Now that it's fresh in my memory, I'll make sure to quickly secure his Bowman rookie the next time I see one floating around a quarter bin.

That's not the only thing he sent me.  He also targeted a bunch of my PC's and sent me three team bags full of cards.

Let's start of with three of my player PC's:

I've totally been looking for that 2009 Topps Heritage card of Frank Thomas, which utilizes the 1960 Topps baseball card design.  There's something cool about seeing The Big Hurt wearing an A's cap.

Speaking of A's... he threw in this jersey card of Terrence Long:

After all of these years, I'm still in love with memorabilia cards.  That's especially true when they look like this card.  By the way... what ever happened to Mr. Long?

Moving right along... he also hooked me up with a nice stack of Tony Gwynn cards:

Huge fan of Gwynn, the 1972 Topps baseball card design, and of course minis.   In short... I'll never grow tired of seeing Tony Gwynn on a 1972 Topps mini.

There were also a pair of Ohka's...

Which could be for my Montreal Expos PC... but was more likely intended for my Japanese PC.

And finally he threw in some Brett Favres, Michael Jordans, and Kobe Bryants:

Thanks a lot Section 36!

Give me a week (or two... or three) and I'll ship out some Red Sox cards for your collection.  Hopefully one day I'll live out my dream and actually attend a game at Fenway.  If and when I actually go... I'll look for some tickets in your section.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blessing in Disguise

Yesterday I went to the sports card wholesalers intending to spend less than $20 on a variety of top loaders, some monster pads, and a few baseball holders... but ended up spending a lot more than that.

Usually when I go there... it's strictly for supplies.  However... this school year has been a little rough and by the end of the week I figured I'd buy myself a little treat with some of the birthday cash I had burning a hole in my wallet.

I ended up grabbing a pair of 2014 baseball boxes:

2014 Finest Baseball $89
2014 Chrome Baseball $58

As you can see... my wholesaler's prices are roughly the same as the major online dealers... although DA Cardworld and Steel City Collectibles are selling Finest in the $86 range this weekend.  Oh well... win some, lose some.

Let's see what I ended up pulling.  I decided to bust the box of Chrome first since it was cheaper.  And overall I was pretty happy with the purchase.

Let's kick things off with a card I was hoping to pull:

My craving for Chrome began last Saturday when a vendor at De Anza had a gorgeous Tanaka refractor for sale. I figured it was a long shot to pull the parallel, so I'm completely happy with the base version.

Next up...

I'll probably be ostracized from the cardboard community for saying this.  But I actually love the colored refractors in Chrome.  Although I can't say the same for the atomic refractors.

Up next is one of my favorite cards in the box:

This card looks awesome!  And although I can't confirm it... I think the All-Time Rookies inserts are one per case.

Finally let's wrap this box up with the two guaranteed autographs:

Or in my case... an autograph and a redemption card.  No... I'm not complaining.  I completely realize that the Abreu is worth more than all of the other cards combined.  Overall I'd say my 2014 Chrome box break was pretty solid.

I probably should have stopped while I was ahead.  Of course... I didn't.  Here are the highlights from my 2014 Finest box:

This is easily my favorite card in the box.  Ironically... I wasn't a fan of this subset back in the 90's.  But for some reason, this card really stood out among the crowd.

I also pulled three numbered refractors:

A pair of beautiful autographed rookie cards:

And a Springer base rookie card:

I was a little disappointed that I didn't pull the Tanaka or Abreu rookie cards, but that's the risk you take when you bust wax.  Which leads me to the title of today's post.

This hobby box purchase was sort of a blessing in disguise, because it reminded me why I typically stay away from box breaks.  I completely understand the entertainment factor that plays into tearing into packs.  When I was a kid, there are only a handful of things that could compete with sitting on my porch busting packs with my buddies.

But right now... I'm at a point where I'm okay with busting two or three hobby boxes a year.  Don't get me wrong.  I have zero regrets.  It was an entertaining thirty-plus minutes.  The only thing I'd do differently is probably wait until Black Friday when these boxes will probably be a fraction of the price.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Love 'em or Leave 'em

Manufactured patches.  Some collectors love them.  Others hate them.  As for me... I'm somewhere in between.  But the tides might be starting to shift in their favor, because last year I discovered the 2013 Topps Manufactured Rookie Card Patches.

As soon as I saw this card...

It was love at first sight.  From there, I started tracking down Rickey, Reggie, and Ozzie.  Eventually I decided to build the entire twenty-five card Series One set.  Last weekend, the final puzzle piece arrived in the mail and after over a year, I can finally cross this set off of my list.

Here's a look at the set in its entirety:

#1 Willie Mays and #2 Ernie Banks

Anyone else surprised that Topps left The Commerce Comet and Hammerin' Hank off of the checklist?  I guess technically speaking the 1952 Topps Mantle isn't his rookie card.  Then again... neither is the Mays.

#3 Roberto Clemente and #4 Sandy Koufax

One day I'd love to add a Clemente rookie card to my collection, but I'm afraid this will probably have to make do.  The same could be said for Koufax.

#5 Bob Gibson and #6 Willie McCovey

Now we're starting to get into the realm of my cardboard budget.  I'm still amazed that a decently conditioned Willie McCovey rookie card routinely sells for under a hundred dollars.  And if condition isn't too important... Gibson rookies can be found in that price range too.

#7 Reggie Jackson, #8 Ryne Sandberg, and #9 George Brett

Up until this part of the set, the checklist appeared in chronological order... but Sandberg seems to be a little bit out of place.

#10 Eddie Murray, #11 Ozzie Smith, and #12 Rickey Henderson

Topps seems to have gotten back on track with two of my favorite rookie cards:  The Wizard of Oz and The Man of Steal.

#13 Jim Palmer, #14 Tony Gwynn, and #15 Wade Boggs

But then they had to screw up the order again.  I won't complain too much.  It was nice to see Topps include all three major rookie cards from my favorite set from the 80's.

#16 Don Mattingly, #17 Darryl Strawberry, and #18 Dwight Gooden

Ah... the group of Hall of Very Good Players.  Back in the 80's these cards were definitely on everyone's hot list.  These days... not so much.  Instead of them... I would have preferred rookie cards any of the following: Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt, Dave Winfield, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, or Ichiro Suzuki.  Heck I would have even been okay with Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, or Tom Seaver... even though they feature multiple players.

#19 Ken Griffey Jr. and #20 Chipper Jones

Two more solid players.  Future hall of famers.  And hobby favorites.  It's a shame the 1989 Topps Traded Griffey has to live in the shadow of his Upper Deck counterpart, because it's a beautiful card.

#21 Derek Jeter and #22 Albert Pujols

Two more future hall of famers.  It's hard to believe that this is Jeter's final season.  I can't stand the Yankees... but I'm going to miss Mr. Jeter.

#23 Mike Trout, #24 Bryce Harper, and #25 Yu Darvish

Last, but not least are the up and comers.  Believe it or not, the Trout and Harper were the two most expensive cards in the set.  I paid around $10 each for them.  The rest of the cards set me back anywhere from $2 to $6 each.

Overall... the set cost me about $100 to build.  I'd love to build the 2013 Topps Update Rookie Commemorative Patch Set.  If I can find a reasonably priced starter lot, maybe I will.  As for now... I'm just happy to finally wrap this set up.

So what do you think?

Are manufactured patches your cup of tea?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!