Friday, November 4, 2022

Ramsey, NJ

According to my account history, I've placed 137 orders going back to 2011.  A recent one I placed in an effort to fill out some final holes in the 2013 Topps set resulted in a first for me.  The seller, unknown to me at the time, was regular contributor to the blog "Max" from New Jersey.  I don't have an exact count as to how many times Max has sent me cards, but I know he's been sending them since 2011, making him one of the oldest contributors of cards.  He recognized my name and address on the Sportlots order and threw in these four Wallach cards.  As such, I'm counting this as a mailing.

Check out Max's blog "The Starting Nine," it's from way back in the old school before we all moved most our activity over to Twitter.  Can't hurt, because we may all be retreating back to the blog comment sections down the road.

Thanks for the cards Max!

Updated Totals:

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Sportlots pickups


I've been very active on Sportlots of late.  It's a result of trying to fill in the few remaining gaps I still have in the Topps sets from 2008-2022.  It's been a successful effort, and I'm currently one 2014 #424 Jose Ramirez away from completing that run.  Sportlots can be a very cost effective way of purchasing cards for set builds, but you have to navigate the shipping rates.  A habit I developed years ago, is when I purchase a cards from a seller, I try to max out the number they ship at the same price.  So if they charge $1.75 for 5-10 cards and I'm buying 5 cards from 2013 Topps, I go and add 5 more Wallach cards (assuming they have some to add) to max out the shipping.  The above 227 Wallach cards are the result of the last two months of doing this.  Granted, about 75% of them came from one seller who had very reasonable rate up to 300 cards and I was buying a lot of set build needs from.  

Regardless of how I acquire these cards, they all count and go towards the total tally.

Updated Totals:

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Anchorage, Alaska

These 26 cards were sent by Mark of Anchorage, Alaska.  This is the first time Mark has sent cards.  In fact this is the first time anyone has ever sent cards from The State of Alaska.  With this mailing, Alaska becomes the 45th State from which I have received cards.  The only remaining States I haven't received cards from are Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, and Mississippi.  I guess there just aren't many card collector's in those States.

Thanks for the cards Mark!

Updated Totals:

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Ottawa, Ontario

The above assortment of 9 Wallach cards was sent by Angus of Ottawa, Ontario.  This is the second time this year and at least the fifth time total that Angus has sent cards.  His Canadian offerings often include O-Pee-Chee cards, and this envelope was no exception with an '82 and '83 O-Pee-Chee inside.  Also in the mix was a 1991 Post cereal Wallach, still sealed inside it's original wrapper fresh (or perhaps not so fresh after 3 decades) from the cereal box.  The rarest item included was a 1993 Donruss McDonald's Expos.  It's only my eleventh copy of this card and first one I've added since 2018.

Thanks for the cards Angus!

Updated Totals:

Monday, October 17, 2022

Vacaville, CA

These two "cards," or "coins" were sent by Mike of Vacaville, California.  This is the first time I've been sent cards from Vacaville, which sits about half way between Sacramento and San Francisco for you geography fans.  I haven't amassed a whole lot of these coins over the years, though I do like them.  They just present me with storage issues.

Thanks for the "cards" Mike!

Updated Totals:

1990 Topps Coins x2: 13

Monday, October 10, 2022

Sunday Edition

Vintage Pickups

The last few weeks I've been pretty consistent in bidding on cards from a seller on eBay whose low grade auctions end on Fridays (and occasionally I'll take a crack at cards that end earlier in the week and are in better shape).  This past Friday (cards not shown here as they haven't shipped yet) I had bids on over a 1,000 listings.  I won 16 of them.  I've developed a strategy that involves carpet bombing with very low bids and picking up whatever falls through the cracks.  

The cluster of 1954 Topps above are a few that fell through the cracks.  I'm currently two cards away from finishing the 1953 set, but that effort has come to a standstill due to my unwillingness to pay a grand plus for the Willie Mays (at some point I'll go ahead and indulge on a low grade copy at the right price, but that point isn't anytime soon), and my unwillingness to pay $50+ for a Harvey Haddix.  I am completely befuddled as to why Haddix demands the premiums he does compared to every other similarly printed high series card, but for some reason he does.  My point is, I don't really know what I'm doing next.  I'm about to finish off a run of Topps sets from 1970-1992 and am not really interested in filling in the gap from 1993-2007, or going back from 1970.  So for now, I'm amassing as many 1954, '55, and '56 as cheaply as I can.

1955 Topps tend to fall through the cracks with more regularity than 1954 Topps when I bid, and I bid a lower price point on these than I do the 54's.  This set seems to be the forgotten one among the '52-56 oversized Topps run.  I've come to kind of like it as I've amassed more and more of them, and they look nice in the binder pages.  I've also picked up a healthy stack of 1956 the last few months, but somehow seemed to have omitted taking their pictures yesterday before sleeving them.  While I'm not building that set, I'm starting to actually complete some 8 card pages in the binder, which is an early symptom of deciding to build a set.

In addition to taking a carpet bombing approach of low bidding on 1954-56 cards, I also do something similar with stars and subset cards from later sets.  My price point is case by case, but I rarely go above what I was paying for beers at Dodger Stadium last weekend.  That Koufax is now the oldest Koufax in my collection, and one of my favorite cards I've added this year, if not favorite.

1961 is a set I could see myself trying to complete one day.  Not today, or tomorrow, but I really like it.  I've discovered a handful of Hall of Famers from the 50/60's that tend to sell for what I deem to be low prices (at least lower than I think they should).  Luis Aparicio, Robin Roberts, and Nellie Fox often go for the price of more or less commons, and Don Drysdale and Whitey Ford typically demand far less than I feel that they should.  As such, I'm slowly building a nice little collection of those guys.  Ashburn and Killebrew on the other hand tend to demand more than I feel like they should, especially any Ashburn as a Phillie.

A quartet of 1966 Topps that didn't break the bank.  Ford and Drysdale again coming in at modest numbers.

As kid who started collecting cards in the early/mid 1980's Pete Rose will always be a cardboard heavy weight in my head.  His run on Ty Cobb's record is forever seared in my mind, along with his 1963 rookie card's status as the ultimate baseball card to own.  That '65 is his first card not as a quad/rookie or with a rookie trophy.  It's his first "regular" Topps card, not that anyone considers that to be a thing besides me.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Goodyear, Arizona (x2)

These 18 cards arrived in two separate envelopes on the same day, both from Daniel of Goodyear, Arizona.  Counting this as two mailings, by my count this is the sixth time Daniel has sent me cards going way back to 2015.  He actually sent these back in early August, I've just been slow in posting them.  This is a pretty nice mix of early Wallach's (my favorite period of Wallach cards) and a couple random later ones.  Daniel runs the "It's Like Having My Own Card Shop" blog, which you should click over to and take a look at.  While you're at it, give Daniel a follow on Twitter @DanielW39972930

Thanks for the cards Daniel!

Updated Totals: 

Friday, October 7, 2022

Houston, Texas

 These three cards were sent by Marc (the guy on the 4th 1909 T206 style 1887 Allen & Ginters N28 card) of Houston, Texas.  Marc has been sending me cards going back to at least 2018.  This group included an '84 OPC.  The 1980's OPC's will never stop being fascinating to me as I never actually had one at the time, despite desperately wanting one.

Thanks for the cards Marc!

Updated Totals:

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Suffolk, VA

These 108 cards were sent by Russell of Suffolk, Virginia.  It's not the first time I've been sent cards from Virginia, but it's the first time I've been sent cards from Virginia from someplace other than the D.C. Metro area (much of which lies in Virginia).  Growing up, I had Grandparents who lived south of Richmond and my family would drive down from New York at least once a year, so it's a State I feel I have some connection with.  Even if my Grandparents were just retirees from the north and not Virginia natives.  I bring this up, because the good folks in New Kent County always made it pretty clear that D.C. wasn't really "Virginia."  So in any event, I hope the entire State now considers itself included on my map of where cards have been sent from.

Thanks for the cards Russell!

Updated Totals:

Friday, September 23, 2022

Kodak, Tennessee

This pair of cards was sent by "Byrd" of Kodak, Tennessee, and presumably "Rocky Top Cards."  I believe this is a link to the RTC eBay store if you want to check it out.  If there is better link to use for another website, or this is the wrong eBay store, just let me know and I'll adjust it.  The '94 Fleer Extra bases is a card I don't see very often.  It's just my 4th copy of it, and first one I've added since 2017.  I don't know that they're all that difficult to find online, they're just a strange size and lack the eye appeal of say the 1986 Donruss All-Stars.

Thanks for the cards RTC!

Updated Totals:

1992 Pinnacle: 140

1994 Fleer Extra Bases: 4

Monday, September 19, 2022

Ramsey, NJ

These 33 cards were sent by the Greenberg's of Ramsey, NJ.  I've been sitting on these since late July, so I apologize to the Greenbergs.  I had a busy (but fun) summer and this blog had to take a backseat for awhile.  I've also received cards from "The Starting Nine" card blog in Ramsey, NJ, in the past, but I can't tell if the Greenbergs and JacobMrley are one and the same.  For now I am assuming they are.  

Regardless, thanks for the cards!

Updated Totals:

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Salem, Oregon

This package was actually sent to me way back in July, I've just been slow to keep up with stuff this summer.  Thankfully the tracking number on the package still worked, and I was able to determine that it was sent from Salem, Oregon, because the sender put my address as the return address.  That's one way to hedge against the potential of insufficient postage.  The cards were sent from Sean in Salem.  

Included with the 118 cards (116 of which are 1991 UD) were two autographed Expos Postcards.  The Expos Postcards are a pretty big hole in my Wallach collection.  The Canadian version of the 1984 Postcard is the only one I previously owned a copy of.  The two sent here are the 1986 (on the right above) and what is either the 1981 or 1983.  The photo is clearly from 1981, but there appears to be a possibility that the Expos reused the photo again in 1983.  I couldn't really find a lot out about these sets and there wasn't anything of help currently listed on eBay.  In any event, I'm happy to add them to the collection.

Thanks for the cards Sean!

Updated Totals:

1986 Topps x2: 480

1991 Upper Deck x116: 493

Monday, September 5, 2022

Sunday Edition - 2022 Topps Factory Set

2022 Topps Factory Set Review

Despite having yet to see a single pack of Topps series two in the wild, I stumbled upon the 2022 Topps Factory set in my local Target last week.  It was a pleasant surprise as I figured I'd have to end up ordering one from the Target website, or worse yet, over paying on the secondary market for one.  Instead, I found myself sorting out the cards by number and paging them all up in a binder last Sunday evening.

This marks the third year in a row and the fourth time in six years I've gone the factory set route.  I think this trend will continue.  It's just too hard to find packs of cards in stores, and the rare occassion I do, it's just extremely costs prohibative to try to build the set by hand.  The packs have gotten way to expensive, they're over stuffed with inserts, and I end up pulling too many duplicates.  And now, unfortunately, the insert fad/trend/gimmick has found it's way into the factory set as well.

These cards were stuffed in with the set.  The sealed bag are five "rookie photo variations," or something stupid like that.  Just pick a photo and go with it Topps.  The oil slick plastic one is a "Topps Chrome."  I don't consider "Chrome" to be a baseball card.  It's too thick, too plastic like, and you can literally see the indentation in the material around the player.  It's more like a little plaque or something.  On top of that the prism effect completely detracts from the photography.  All in all, it's crap.  Which is another way of saying I'll be putting these on eBay to see how much money someone is willing to waste on it.  I do after all have vintage set builds to finance.

Topps wasn't done with the factory set gimmicks yet.  I was more than a little confused when I began sifting through and sorting the final stack of cards I had in the 600's.  There were two copies each of card numbers 558, 559, and 600.  It took me longer than it should have, but I figured out three of them were player variations.  I don't think Topps appreciates just how annoying this is to a large demographic of their collectors who have been building their sets for the last three or four decades.  Either put a guy in the set or don't.  This appears to be nothing more than a money grab to go after the people who already over paid building a set through purchasing packs.  I remember when Topps started doing this with retired players.  I sort of liked that.  It was fun to see Willie McCovey on a modern design and I felt sense that the set was incomplete without them.  These are current players though.  I don't want to have to debate whether the set is "complete" without them.  For record, it absolutely would be.

One final complaint before I move on to the good stuff, because all in all, I do think 2022 is a very nice looking set and Topps deserves a lot of praise for once again delivering a product people want to collect and sleeve up in 9-pocket pages to save in perpetuity.  However, the card backs don't align.  I realize this isn't a new trend and goes back to the early days of Topps (I'm currently in an on-going debate as whether to line up the card fronts or backs with the '54 set I'm slowly building) but it's a tradition I'm okay leaving behind.  Bring back gum if you want to go retro, not misaligned card backs.

Due mostly to a lack of effort and a desire to get this post out quickly, I've decided to run down 22 cards from the 2022 set that I like.  I'm not saying they're definitively my 22 favorite cards, or suggesting these are in any order, it's just 22 cards I'm showing with varying degrees of comment.  Feel free to disagree, and I have no problem admitting that I probably over looked a few, but if nothing else this should give you a feel for the set.

22 Cards From 2022 Topps That I Like

#22 Shohei Ohtani (Batting) - Forgive me for being one of those baseball fans that doesn't think what Shohei is doing the most magical thing to ever happen.  It's cool, and he's great, but I'd be slightly more impressed if the Angels weren't thirty games out of first.  That said, I love the way Topps handled it.  One card with hitting stats to start the set with card #1...

#21 Shoehei Ohtani (pitching) - ...and one card with his pitching stats to end the set.  (This is the "real" 660, not Bob Witt's kid)

#20 Justin Upton - I feel like Topps went a bit heavy with throw back uniforms in this set, but when the uniform looks as nice as the old California Angels uniform, who am I to complain.  I also like that the Angels went with the true pullover and not the faux button down throwback.  

#19 Joe Ryan - (I may go a little heavy with throwback uniforms in my list as well) This is a rookie card young Mr. Ryan can be proud of.  Just a great looking baseball card.  Powder blues need to become the norm again.

#18 Fernando Tatis Jr. - I've tried to be a Tatis fan, but he's making it nearly impossible.  
That doesn't mean I need to turn a blind eye to a nice looking card.  Jose Canseco had a lot of great looking cards too.  Hopefully Feranando can get his act together and figure things out.  Strong 1973 vibes with this card and a lot of others in the set.

#17 Manny Machado - If there's been a winner in the Tatis drama, it's got to be Manny Machado.  Seems like a long time ago that he was getting dragged (rightfully) for not running out balls and other juvenille mistakes.  I typically don't like horizontal cards but this one (while no '71 Munson) is an exception to the rule.

#16 Mark Kolozsvary - While I feel like there are fewer cards of catchers in their gear, there were a few nice ones in the set.  I'm going with this one as my favorite.  This is another rookie card that I'm sure the player's friends and family will all be very pleased with.

#15 Hoy Park - Topps did a lot of favors for a lot of guys with great photos on their rookie cards this year.  Dwight Gooden's kids (or grandkids at this point) are probably looking at stack of '85 Topps and shaking their heads.

#14 Max Muncy - There were a good number of shots on cards of bats being tossed.  I don't remember when this trend started with Topps photographers, but I like it.  If we can't have photos of players loitering around the batting cage any more, at least we have these.

#12 "High Five Highway" - All this card needs is a white cloud around it and the team leaders on the back and it'd be right at home in '88 Topps.

#11 Gerrit Cole - This is just a great steak and potatoes example of a baseball card.  There are a ton of cards in the set of pitchers in their wind up like this and as a kid who suffered through the 80's when most pitcher cards were just rejected DMV drivers license photos, this is a nice development.

#10 Valdimir Guerrero Jr. - Not favorite to end up there, but this card is in the running to be the spine card in the set's binder.  

#9 Myles Straw - This is just a great photo, would have been right at home in the 1989 Upper Deck set.  I'm inclined to cut out a picture of a shark to glue onto the card and mail it off to Beckett, though I'm not sure if they're still running that feature.

#8 Matt Brash - As mentioned above, Topps did a lot of rookies a lot favors with the photo selections on their cards.  Matt Brash is not one of those rookies.  They did him dirty.  

#7 Aaron Judge - I'm not going to sit here and argue "61" is the home run record, it isn't.  I remember watching it be broken on live tv.  That said, it's still an undeniable bench mark, like hitting .400.  This is a cool card to be the one being pulled from packs during the summer Judge is making a run at 61.

#6 Joc Pederson - I've long been a big Joc Pederson fan.  This is very nice card of Joc and has a chance to end up as the one I use as the "spine card" in the binder.  My only reluctance is that he's playing for the Giants this year, so it feels odd to use a 2022 card of him as a Brave.

#5 Seth Beer - I'm not a "prospector" or amateur talent scout, but I do watch a ton of college baseball and go to a good number of Albuquerque Isotope games (became a Joc Pederson fan going to 'Topes games the summer he won the PCL Triple Crown).  So when I see familiar name show up in a set for the first time, I get a weird sort of satisfaction out of it.  A few years ago Seth Beer was a star on a good Clemson baseball team.  At the time I would have bet that his first card would have arrived with more a lot more fan fare, but I guess I would have been wrong.  

#4 Albert Pujols (back) - I love a card back of a long time veteran.  I can remember being fascinated by the backs of cards of guys like Tommy John, Ted Simmons, Rod Carew, and especially Pete Rose as a kid.  Topps takes a lot of criticism for a lot of things, but it deserves to be pointed out when they do something right.  Keeping full career stats on the backs of cards is one of those things they get right year after year.

#3 "Toronto Talent" - This card has huge 1987 and 1988 Topps team card vibes.  I miss the old subsets of the 1980's and like to see Topps bring them back in a meaningful way.  For now, this card will suffice.

#2 Ozzie Albies - This is the current clubhouse leader to be the card I use as the spine card.  I like the photo, feel like it compliments the design well, and it's a card of a team coming off of a World Series win.

#1 Brett Gardner - I'll be the first to admit this isn't the best looking card in this set. As I've mentioned, I'm not even particularly fond of the horizontal cards.  But this is what I (and others) call a "bookend card."  A final card for a guy that had a great major league career, even if it's not one anybody is ever going to confuse for a Hall of Fame Career.  Topps used to do these for the guys who appeared in their sets for a decade plus, and then stopped in the mid 90's.  Just in time to omit Tim Wallach from their 1996 and 1997 sets.  As a result, there is no Topps card that shows Tim Wallach's full career stats (Collector's Choice nicely did so with their 1997 Wallach).  Gardner has been one of, if not my favorite player, in the majors since the Yankees brought him up in 2008.  This card nicely immortalizes his time in the majors, and I'm glad Topps chose to include him in the set, even if it was done with the belief he may still be showing up in Yankee lineups this year.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Fargo, ND

These twenty cards were sent by Jack of Fargo, North Dakota.  Jack runs the "Wax Pack Wonders" card blog.  The twenty Wallach's sent by Jeff was a nice assortment with the highlight being an '88 Fleer box bottom that was cut very nicely and 1993 Pacific.  There was also a rarely seen 1993 Cardtoons "Tim Wallet."  I suspect that card is often over looked due to the names in the set not showing up in a lot of searches.

Thanks for the cards Jeff!

Updated Totals:

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Kansas City, MO

This pair of 1994 Flair Wallach's was sent by Evan of Kansas City, Missouri.  There was an Evan that sent cards to me back in 2016 from Kansas City, but with a different address.  So this is either the first or second time Evan has sent cards.  

"Avid" readers of this blog may have noticed it's been silent since mid-July.  I've had a busy summer and have accumulated a decent number of cards that I need to post.  So if you've sent cards, chances are I received them, I just haven't gotten around to posting them yet.

Thanks for the cards Evan.

Updated Totals:

1994 Flair x2: 18

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sunday Edition

1953 Topps Set Build Progress

I picked up both of the above cards, Jim Gilliam and Johnny Podres, in the last month.  I've been slowly piecing the 1953 set together for about a decade now, with it being a real point of emphasis the last two or three years.  I figured that these two would both be in the final three cards I picked up (along with Willie Mays).  I was pleasantly surprised when I landed both of these recently for well under what I expected it would cost.  They've got some good wear and tear to them, which fine, they came in at about 25% of what I thought I may be on the hook for.  I'll trade condition issues for price issues any day.

I've also picked up these seven cards in the last month.  The result being I am now two cards away from completing the 1953 Topps set.  I still need to add #244 Willie Mays and #273 Harvey Haddix.  I knew the Willie would likely be the last card I needed, but I'd be lying if I said ever really gave the Haddix a second thought.  Lately that card has been demanding north of $50.  When I started building this set, $5 was my target price for high number commons.  Then I reluctantly moved it up to $10, and for the last year or so I've been trying to keep it under $20, which has really sucked a lot of the joy out of it.  I'm not sure what the deal is with the Haddix, but I'm going to patiently wait it out.  It's going to be awhile before I cough up the ransom the Willie is demanding too.  I went from hoping to getting one for under $100 ten years ago, to just hoping it drops down to below $500 again when this market inevitably crashes back to earth.  Thank god I picked up a chewed up copy of the Mantle when I did about nine years ago or I'd never complete this thing.

The 1953 set isn't very big at just 274 cards.  It's numbered to #280, but six cards were never printed.  Which left me with a delimma.  Do I leave blank spaces in the sleeves, just fill in the cards and skip the missing numbers, or come up with something else?  I came up with something else.

For decades people have speculated who the missing cards were.  Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Richie Ashburn, and Nellie Fox have long been popular theories.  About eight years ago the mystery was solved by Bob Lemke and Keith Olbermann by going through old internal Topps memos and vault.  The truth turned out to be far less exciting.  Art had actually been commissioned for five of the players and they were able to locate that as well.  "Bobw" took that info and made up some mock ups on his blog, and also came up with his own art for the Hoot Evers, by using the art from the '52 Hoot Evers Bowman, and photoshopping in a Redsox "B" in place of the Detroit "B" on the original Bowman.  He really did great work and hopefully doesn't mind me printing these off.  I only added "never printed" banners to them before printing them up.  The result is below:

I didn't notice until after printing them, but a few of the numbers were actually wrong.  I went ahead and fixed them with a sharpie, as I'm not much of a custom card creator and just getting these six out the way they are very much pushed my patience to the limit.  I also forgot to add a "never printed" banner to the Billy Cox card front, so that got sharpie treatment as well.  In the end, they're good enough though and had the desired effect in the 3-ring binder where I sleeve the set.

A final point to make with these 53's, is that people are putting WAY too much emphasis on the alleged SP/DP distribution within the high numbers.  The simple version is this, there are no double or short prints in the traditional sense.  While the final print run of 80 cards in the high series wasn't printed evenly, it wasn't 2 to 1 either.  It was likely more of a 2 to 3 ratio further watered down by a few of the SP's being used to fill in for the six cards that were pulled from production and never produced.  Which is all to say, people are grossly over paying/charging for percieved SP's that really aren't all that short-printed.  Harvey Haddix I'm looking at you.

This information is all thanks to George Vrecheck.  Vrecheck did an incredible amount of research for an article in Sports Cards Collector's Digest back in 2015, going so far as to study miscut cards to determine the actual layouts of all the uncut sheets, something that had previously been unknown.  If you're a vintage set builder, it's 19 pages of pure card nerd and math nerd bliss.  

As it stands for me, I'll keep Haddix and Mays saved in my eBay searches and hope for a miracle, but for now, I'm more or less done with this set.  Rather than tackling a new vintage set, I think I may try to build the first series, or 100 cards or so, in every set from 1955-69.  This is a much more economical option than trying to actually build all of those sets, and I like the idea of having a run of sets where at least the ten or so pages in the binders are filled out.  We'll see.