30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Eye Opening Experience

People handle stress differently.  Some people exercise.  Others eat ice cream.  Me?  I buy sports cards.

Back at the start of summer, I went on a three week shopping spree to help cope with end of the school year duties and my best friend moving to Oregon.  

Now I'm not talking about the kind of shopping spree that has left me with a huge stack of credit card bills.  I already experienced that back in the 90's and trust me... the only debt I want is my monthly mortgage.

It was however a very eye opening experience, because I started to reflect on my current hobby expenses, the direction I want to go with my collection, and most importantly... my future finances.

My number one priority is to save up and purchase an investment property within the next few years.  That means huge budget cutbacks in regards to card collecting are effective immediately.  

I've already cut back my hobby spending since I returned from Portland and Las Vegas.  Although two weeks ago... I couldn't pass up this Rickey Henderson card:

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-RH

Sadly... I probably won't be adding any new Rickey Henderson autographs to my collection in the near future.  But that's okay.  We all have to have our priorities in life.

This doesn't mean I'm going to pack up and leave the hobby.  I'm still going to collect.  It just means changes are in store and I'm going to be more conscientious about making purchases.

I kicked things off by deleting more than 70% of my saved eBay searches.  The less auctions I bid on... the less money I spend.  I have also decided to reduce my monthly card budget to $50.  This should prove quite challenging... however it's a necessity.

The good news is that I've been actively adding to my collection non-stop for the past nine years.  It's time to sift through my non-PC stuff and decide on what I want to keep and what I can sell to help supplement this budget.

I also decided months ago to focus on quality over quantity... so I think I'll try to target one or two nice cards each month, instead of fifty $1 cards.

As for the blog... my finances shouldn't really affect things.  Like I said... I've been collecting non-stop for nearly ten years, so I should have enough cards laying around to keep myself and you guys interested.  

Well that's it for now.  Let the changes begin...

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Win Some. Lose More.

Back in early August, I was visiting my parents in Vegas.  One afternoon, my parents decided to take a nap, so I killed some time sifting through and organizing my graded cards.

Most of the stuff are cards you've seen before and/or stuff that's not really worth mentioning.  However one card really stood out to me when I came across it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a 1997 Bowman Chrome PSA 10 Adrian Beltre sitting in the box.

I have no idea that I owned this card... let alone how I acquired it.

Luckily... you can download or look up your COMC purchase history.  And after about ten minutes of clicking through pages, I found this:

Back in the summer of 2011... I purchased this card for $5.38.

I never really understood why people sell graded cards for less than the grading fees themselves.  But whatever... I'll take it.

Some of you already know that this card has really started to rise in popularity as of late.  Raw copies have been selling for $10 to $30 on eBay, while PSA 10 versions sell for $150 to $200.

It's truly amazing what 3,000 hits, a comment about an umpire, and the relocation of an on-deck circle can do for your card values.

Unfortunately... for every Beltre hidden treasure story... I have fifty stories about guys like Mike Greenwell:

1987 Topps #259

The 21st challenge in Tony's 30 Day Baseball Card Challenge asks us to share a card of a rookie you thought you were "investing" in.  Mike Greenwell's 1987 Topps card was one of the first cards that came to mind.

Back in the late 80's, he was a rising star who earned two trips to the MLB All-Star Game in his first three full seasons as an MLBer.  In 1988, he was the runner up in AL MVP voting to Jose Canseco.

While he was blossoming into a huge star, I was blossoming into a full time collector who was investing almost everything I had into this hobby.  The good news is I was only in high school, so that wasn't much.

The bad news is... all of the Greenwell rookie cards I invested in back in the day are literally dime box fodder.

Maybe one day I'll sell the Beltre to help balance out the losses I suffered from my Greenwell investment.  Unfortunately I don't have a bunch of other hidden treasures to help cover the hundreds... possibly thousands of rookie card investments I made over the years.

Thankfully... I learned a long time ago to collect for personal enjoyment and leave the investing game to others.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday Night Five: Back to School Survey

I have officially survived the first week of school and I've got to admit... it feels great.  This looks like one of the most energetic and compassionate group of students I've had in years.

Obviously judging them after three days is ridiculous.  It's like predicting whether or not a guy will be getting an invitation to Cooperstown after three solid MLB seasons.  But I'll obviously take three awesome days over three stressful days.

Anyways... I'm sure there are some of you who remember the whole "getting to know you" activities that take place at the start of the year.  My class is no different.  Among the activities, there are a few questions embedded to help me figure out what sports they enjoy watching and what teams they support.  Tonight I figured I share some of the data I collected this week:

#1:  Oakland A's

I have Oakland A's stuff all over my walls, so my fandom is pretty obvious.  There wasn't a single student who mentioned my favorite baseball team all week.  In fact, I didn't see a single A's shirt, jersey, backpack, hat, or pencil enter my classroom all week.

#2:  Stephen Curry

On the other hand, there wasn't a single period where multiple students didn't mention Steph Curry.  He's this generation's Babe Ruth.  Well... at least where I teach.

Side note.  There are more Golden State Warriors fans sitting in my classroom than fans of all of the other professional franchises combined.

#3:  Oakland Raiders

Growing up in the Bay Area, there's always been a strong rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers.  Unfortunately... there never seems to be a 50/50 split when it comes to their fandom.  Usually 55 to 70% of my students are 49er fans.  However this year I was shocked that only a handful of students mentioned the 49ers.  Most of my students who care about football are Raiders fans.  Although there were a handful of New England Patriots fans too.  I wonder why.

#4:  Dodgers vs. Giants

While there were no students who would openly admit to cheering for the A's, there were a few San Francisco Giants fans.  That's not very surprising.  The Giants have been very popular the past ten to fifteen years in regards to my students.  What did surprise me was the number of Los Angeles Dodgers fans walking through my door.  I didn't do an exact count... but I'd say there were at least one or two Giants or Dodgers fans in each class.  And not a single A's fan.  WTF?  Thank goodness I didn't see any New York Yankees fans either.

#5:  San Jose Sharks

I'll wrap things up with our hometown team... the beloved San Jose Sharks.  There were maybe ten to twelve students who mentioned the Sharks in their presentations.  However when I asked one kid who was wearing a Sharks hat, he couldn't tell me a single player's name.  It makes me wonder how many of them actually know the players on the team. 


I feel I should mention that there were a handful of students who rocked Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo jerseys.  Soccer is a very popular sport in our area.  Sadly... none of them show strong support for our local San Jose Earthquakes.

Well that wraps up my student support report for the 2017/2018 school year.  I'm hoping to return to my regular posting schedule this week.  One of them is a pretty big announcement in regards to collecting and the future.  I'm still putting the finishing touches on that post... so stay tuned.

By the way...

Anyone watching the fight tonight?  Who are you pulling for?

Although I enjoy watching MMA way more than boxing and I usually pull for the underdog... tonight I'll be rooting for Mayweather.  I'm not really a fan of either of these guys... but I'm pretty excited to watch it.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sports Card Trifecta #27: Jose Altuve

I learned a long time ago that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  But I'm human and that's pretty much what I did when I started collecting Jose Altuve a few years ago.  It's no secret that he's one of the shortest players in baseball and as a fellow vertically challenged human being... I was naturally drawn to his cards.

Things escalated after the 2015 season when he collected 200 hits for the second year in a row, won his 2nd stolen base title, and his first Gold Glove Award.  That's when I actively started targeting his cards on eBay.  Every year, Topps floods the hobby with his signature... which is good news to budget collectors.  You can pick up on-card signatures of him for $15 to $30 on a regular basis.

Autographed Card: 2016 Topps Five Star Autograph #FSA-JA

There are three different Altuve signatures in my collection that could be considered my favorite depending on my mood.  Today, I decided to go with this Five Star card, because it features a bold signature on a light background.

Memorabilia Card:  2016 Topps Tribute Stamp of Approval Relic #SOA-JA

While Altuve autographs tend to be reasonably priced, his memorabilia cards are not.  That's why I currently only have five memorabilia cards and one manufactured relic sitting in my collection.  I like that Topps added the MLB hologram to this card, so you can trace when and where Altuve wore this jersey.

Rookie Card: 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP137

Back in early July... right at the start of Altuve's insane month... I finally added his rookie card to my collection and wrapped up my 16th Baseball Card Trifecta.  I'm still looking to add his 2011 Topps Update rookie card to the collection.  However I decided to target this card first, because it's a year older and about 1/2 the price.

2017 has truly been a special year for Altuve.  I'd hate to jinx him... but he's currently on pace to have his 4th straight 200 hit season.  He also has a solid shot at this year's American League MVP Award.  And if the Astros (who have now won 4 of their last 5 games) can work out their issues... there's an outside chance they can walk away as the 2017 World Series Champions.

Honestly... it's a win/lose situation for me.  If he does accomplish these major feats... I'll be happy for him.  However I'm sure demand will raise his card values.  On the other hand, I'd be totally bummed if he didn't at least reach 200 hits.  And since there aren't any Athletics in the running for AL MVP and they're out of the playoff hunt... Altuve has my support.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Token of my Appreciation

I don't like the New York Yankees.  Never have and never will.  However as a baseball fan, I've always had a deep appreciation for their rich franchise history.  I've also grown to admire some of the players who spent their entire careers wearing Yankee Pinstripes.

One of those players is Whitey Ford, who pitched his entire sixteen season career with the Yankees and is the franchise's all-time leader in wins and shutouts.

He pitched in eleven different World Series and brought home six rings.  Had he not served in the U.S. Army in 1951 and 1952, he would have won two more.  His 10 World Series wins are an MLB record.

Two of those wins came in 1955 in the Subway Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.  In 2003, Topps produced this cool Whitey Ford relic card that honors that moment:

I've wanted one of these New York City subway token relic cards for years and have seen more than a handful slip through my fingers by last minute bids.  It was worth the wait though, because back in June I finally added one to my collection for a very reasonable price ($7.75 + $2.61 shipping).

Even though this has to be one of the most unique relic cards in my collection and it's a great addition to my Lefty PC... it still doesn't change the fact that I don't like the New York Yankees.  In fact... when neither of my teams have anything to play for (like this season)... I'd rather see the Yankees lose, than the A's or Padres win.

That's why I was so disappointed that the New York Mets were swept by the Yankees earlier in the week.  I'm hoping that Boston can return the favor this weekend and put a smile back on my face.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!