30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, February 29, 2020

They're for a Good Cause

After months of being out of control, the Australian wildfires were finally contained with the help of heavy rainfalls.  Unfortunately, the devastation these fires left behind will have a permanent impact on the country and their ecosystem.

At least twenty-eight people lost their lives and thousands of people have lost their homes due to these recent wildfires.  And if that weren't terrible enough, the number of animals that have possibly been affectedone billion.  It's hard to even wrap my head around that number.

Back in January, Ryan (SumoMenkoMan) texted me about Topps producing a set where all of the proceeds would be donated to help relief efforts.  I immediately went over to Topps.com and purchased a set for $19.99.

I received the twenty card set a few weeks ago and noticed that the set is split into two halveslocal wildlife and famous landmarks.

I was very impressed by the photography, but don't take my word for it.  See for yourself:

#1 Red Kangaroo
#2 Koalas
#3 Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo
#4 Platypus

#5 Tasmanian Devil
#6 Flying Fox
#7 Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby
#8 Dingo

#9 Long-Footed Potoroo
#10 Regent Honeyeater
#11 Kangaroo Island
#12 Great Barrier Reef

#13 Uluru
#14 Twelve Apostles
#15 Three Sisters
#16 Dunns Swamp

#17 Shark Bay
#18 Mount Kosciuszko
#19 Great Victoria Desert
#20 Mutawintji National Park

Here's a closer look at two of my favorite singles from the set:

Each card was printed on Heritage-style card stock and features a writeup on the back with a description of the animal or landmark.  It's simple, but in a good way.

I don't usually buy into Topps and their online exclusive products... but I'm glad I bought this set.  The only drawback is that every time I look at it, I'll be reminded of the devastating wildfires and all of the destruction it did.

One day, I'd love to visit Australia and see all of these places and wildlife in person.  I know a few people who have been there and they all said it was beautiful.

What about you?

Have you ever been to Australia?  Any favorite Australian landmarks or animals?

Well... I hope you enjoyed this Set Showcase.  I probably have over one hundred small sets sitting in boxes.  Maybe I'll pull a few out and start featuring them on this blog.  Let me know if you'd be interested in reading these kinds of posts.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Taking A Break

It's officially allergy season here in my neck of the woods... and that means scratchy throats, itchy eyes, constant sneezing, and a constant dull headache due to sinus congestion.  I've lived with allergies my entire life and can handle almost everything on this list.  But the one thing that's been kicking my butt is the dull headache, which has been affecting my sleep schedule.

The last week or so, I've been waking up a lot in the middle of the night... and having difficulty falling back asleep.  As a result, I've been coming home and taking naps during time usually reserved for writing.

I have several half written posts waiting to be finished, but I haven't been in the mood to write the past four days.  On the other hand, I don't want this blog to go silent for too long.

So today's post covers a three pack break I ripped last night before crawling into bed.  All three packs were part of a prize package I won from Stadium Fantasium back in January.

2019 Topps 1984 Box Topper #84BT-36

The first pack I opened was a 2019 Topps box topper pack that revealed the Goldschmidt you see above.

I like Goldy... but I'll probably pass this card along to Brady over at St. Louis Cardinals' Cardboard the next time I run into him at the card show we both attend.

The next pack was 2019 Finest baseball.  I was pretty excited about the opportunity to pull a new Fernando Tatis Jr. rookie card for my collection.  Let's see if I did:

The first two cards in the pack were the Chapman and Trout.  Neither are Tatis... but at least one of the guys is a player I collect and the other is the best player in baseball.  The other two cards were the last two cards in the pack.

And sandwiched in between was this card:

2019 Finest Autographs #FA-JB

Again.  Not Tatis.  Not even close... but I'm not going to complain about pulling an autograph from a pack.

The last pack I ripped last night was a 1989 Pacific Baseball Legends (2nd Series).  This product features a bunch of fan favorites and hall of famers who played before I started watching baseball, so I was pretty excited to win this pack in the contest.

Here's what I pulled:

I can't remember the last time I pulled an Earl Weaver out of a pack of cardsMaybe 1986 Topps He definitely looked much older than on this card. I also enjoyed the (possibly posed) action shots of Score, Pierce, and Ennis.  But the highlight was this Vida:

1989 Pacific Baseball Legends 

Vida last pitched for the A's when I was barely three years old, so I don't have any memories of his days in Oakland.  But you didn't have to watch him to know that he's a Bay Area legend and I'm always happy to add a new single of his to my collection.

Well... that's a wrap.  Sorry about the unannounced break.  I hope to be back on schedule by this weekend.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Pleasantly Surprised

It's never easy going back to work after having a week off, but I've got to admit... I feel like I was able to accomplish so much.  I've already written about my trip to Vegas and finally getting all of those care packages shipped out.

But I also finally got around to watching The Battered Bastards of Baseball.  It's a documentary about the Portland Mavericks, which was an independent minor league team back in the 70's.  I'm a little strapped for time, so I'll forgo the plot summary, but if you're a fan of baseball then I'd highly recommend it.

While watching the movie, I was pleasantly surprised that one of the player's name was familiarJon Yoshiwara.

It took about a minute before it clicked.  Rod over at Padrographs had sent me his autograph last summer.

In 1977, the Mavericks' owner Bing Russell (Kurt Russell's father) made Yoshiwara the first Asian American general manager in professional baseball.  Back in September when I first received this card, I thought this custom card was pretty darn cool.

However after watching this movie, I realized that this card was way more cooler than I originally thought.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see this package in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago.  At the time... work was a little crazy, so I held off on opening it until I came back from my trip.

As you can see, it was from Chris over at Nachos Grande.  Here's a peek inside:

Right off the bat, I noticed an autograph of Henry Rodriguez:

2010 National Chicle Autograph #NCA-HR

I totally recognize this autograph and thought that I already had a copy.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't.  It always feels good to add a new autograph to my Oakland A's collection.

There were also a bunch of A's base cards, inserts, and parallels:

Here's a 9-pocket page of my favorites:

But one particular card stood out more than the others in Nacho Grande's care package:

If you're unable to tell from the photo, this is a die-cut card printed on wood that I originally thought was from the 1997 Stadium Club Firebrand insert set.

However after I scanned the back and looked at the tiny date on the bottom, I noticed that it was produced in 2014:

2014 Archives Firebrand #FBJC

I'm not shy about bagging on the cheap and cheesy inserts that Topps has been producing the past decade or so.  But after seeing this card, I've got to admit that I was pleasantly surprised.

Thank you Chris for this very generous care package.  And I know I already thanked Rod, but I feel like he deserves to be thanked again for the awesome Yoshiwara autograph.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Cleaning the Slate

It wasn't easy, nor was it a lot of fun... but I finally put the finishing touches on thirty-three care packages and shipped them out yesterday morning.

At one point, I had over thirty stacks of cards scattered across my office floor with these blue sticky notes attached to them.  I had this "by the numbers" blog post idea where I was going to calculate all of the cards in different categories, but that went out the window after sealing the first few envelopes without documenting what the contents were.

However, here are a few different numbers that are related to the care packages.  I've pair each number with a card I had sitting in a binder or a stack on my office desk.  None of these cards were part of the care packages shipped out.


1972 Topps #434 Johnny Bench

That's the number of days since I last shipped out a bunch of care packages.  Let's hope it doesn't take me another 14 months to take myself down to the post office.


1989 LJN Topps Baseball Talk #162 Lou Whitaker

Thirty padded envelopes and one PWE headed north of the border set me back $162.56Ten years ago, I would have been shocked by these shipping rates, but that's about what I expected to pay yesterdayKudos to guys like Rod, JohnnyDennis , and all the other bloggers who seem to ship out care packages on a regular basis.  Can't even begin to imagine how much you peeps spend each year at the post office.


1983 Donruss Action All-Stars #43 Carlton Fisk

This number represents the number of minutes I spent at the post office.  Only thirty seconds of that time was actually waiting in line.  The rest involved the gentleman scanning, printing, and inputing information.  If this was a restaurant, I would have hooked him up with a fat tip, because he was very patient and took the time to answer all of my shipping questions.


1980 Topps Super Gray Back #30 Gorman Thomas 

I couldn't believe it when I finally counted up all of the mailers and I saw thirty padded envelopes.  I think my previous record was seventeen back in 2015.


1970 Kellogg's #3 Cleon Jones

I only managed to put together three PWE's.  One was for a single card I had laying around for a retired blogger.  Another was a contest winner for a Mike Cramer minor league card.  And the last one was part of a trade that actually no longer needs to take place.


1968 Topps #2 AL Batting Leaders

The bulk of the care packages were sent to contiguous United States mailing addresses.  However two of them were sent to Canada.  I quickly discovered that I will no longer be shipping padded envelopes there.  However the PWE was surprisingly affordable ($1.20).


1959 Topps #1 Ford Frick

There was one lone package shipped out across the Pacific Ocean and it shouldn't be too surprising that it was the most expensive.  I forgot to ask the guy working, but I'm guessing PWE's are the way to go from this point moving forward if I send any more cards to Japan.  

So, who are this round's recipients of care packages?  Here's a list...

Woody @ CCW/SCF
Chris @ Nachos Grande
Julie @ A Cracked Bat
Chris @ The Collector
Ron @ Section 36

More than half of the packages were for people who sent me one or more care packages over the past 14 months.  A few were contest packages I owed.  And the rest were packages for bloggers who I had acquired cards for at one time or another.

If I somehow missed you and owe you care package, please comment down below and I'll try to fix the issue as soon as possible.  I know I still owe Brady and Mr. Haverkamp.  I'll be bringing them their cards the next time I see them at Serramonte.

By the way, is there a Rusty Greer super collector out there?  I also picked up a few Vida Blue and Mike Norris cards for someone, but can't remember who.  And who the heck collects the Portland Trail Blazers?  Please comment down below if you're the person who collects these players or team... or if you know who does.

As for moving forward, there are a few things I wanted to review in regards to care packages and this blog...

#1I don't trade.

I know that I've made a few small trades for specific cards over the past two months... and I'm even talking to Greg over at The Collective Mind about swapping some 2002 Donruss Estrellas singles... but in general I don't really have the time or desire to trade specific singles.  Plus my tradelists on my website are way, way, way outdated.

#2I'm cutting back.

Most of the cards that were shipped out this week came from COMC, card shows, or were part of large collections that I purchased over the years.  Plus there were a few singles I picked up specifically for people off of eBay.

Sadly... 2020 is the year that I'll be cutting back in hobby spending.  If I had to guess, I'd say my eBay purchases are down 80 to 90% since last year.  Plus I don't have any plans on adding any additional money to my COMC account.  And unless it's one of those "way too good of a deal to pass up" collections, I don't anticipate buying anymore of those anytime soon.

I also have zero plans to bust blasters anymore.  It's much more cost effective for me to purchase completed sets on eBay.

What does that mean?  It means that most of the cards I pick up for fellow bloggers will probably be purchased from dime boxes, quarter bins, and dollar deals I find at card shows and flea markets.  It also means that I don't anticipate having tons of goodies to ship out in the near future.

#3Shipping is outrageous.

I think I'm going to give PWE's more of a shotPadded envelopes are nice for higher valued cards, but if I want to send one or two cheap relics or autographs, then I'm probably just going to use a plain white envelope.

#4No strings attached.

If you are the recipient of an unsolicited care package, please do not feel the need to send anything back.  I'm at the stage of my life where if I find something for someone, I'll pick it up for them.  I'm not looking for anything in return.

#5Hold the commons.

The days of me shipping out common base cards are in the past.  There are plenty of ladies and gentleman out there who still ship them, so this probably won't affect anyone too much.  As for sending me yours, I won't stop you.  But at this point, you should know that I typically pull out the oddballs, inserts, and parallels which go into a binder... and throw most of the common A's (and other teams I collect) base cards into a giant box that haven't been sorted in quite some time.

One day, I plan to build a really cool Frankenset for my favorite teams, but that's probably 10 to 12 years from now.

I'll wrap up this post with one more number related to my recent mass mailing...


Card Guard #NNO Ken Griffey Jr. 

The most shocking and impressive number related to this mass mailing is zero.  That's how many angry messages or reminders I received from people I owed.  I totally appreciate all of your patience.  There's really no excuse for making some of you wait over a year.

The goal is to send PWE's more regularly... while reserving the padded envelope shipments to early August and the February break.

Hope this update was informative and useful.  And once again, I apologize for the delay on shipping out these packages.  By the way, if any of you want tracking numbers, just email me and I'll hook you up.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!