Friday, February 29, 2008

Double Box Break Update

With the 2 boxes combined, I have 239/500 (47.8%) of the base cards which doesn't include the black backs.  The boxes when combined had 72 doubles.  That's exactly half the cards in the box.  In a 500 card set, I'd expect less doubles even with short prints.  Like I said, this set is going to be a beast.

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

Two boxes of 2008 Heritage are better than one! Here's a double box break:

Box 1:
I opened up the box to find a 3 panel strip and a buy back. Here's my buy back:
Joe played in the Major Leagues for 13 seasons (1948-1962) with his best season being in 1951 when he had 304 at-bats, hit .260 with 8 home runs and 37 RBI. Not the best card, but I love having old cards, no matter how good the player. 

Now the 3 card strip:OH...MY...GOSH! I about crapped myself when I pulled this out. This is like the best box topper EVER. Tex, Smoltz, The Jones Boys....this has it all. Dayf, eat your heart out.

Now, the box stats:
Base Set: 154/500 (30.8%)
Doubles: 0
Black Backs: 24
Chrome Parallel: 3 (Matt Cain 1141/1959, Vernon Wells 1159/1959, Miguel Cabrera 1176/1959)
Refractor Parallel: 1 (Felix Hernandez 85/559)
News Flashbacks: 2 (Clutter Family, Fidel Castro)
Baseball Flashbacks: 1 (Orlando Cepeda)
Then and Now: 2 (Eddie Matthews and A-Rod, Johnny Podres and Eric Bedard)
Clubhouse Collection Relics: 2 (David Ortiz, Eric Chavez)
I really don't know if I could have asked more of this box. If they would have thrown me an auto and a relic instead of 2 relics, it might have made it better, but I'm not really sure. But this was a great box. OK on to Box 2

No buy back in this one, but here is my 3 card strip from the 2nd box:

Goodness, that's a strip of straight suck. And a Matt Capps pink card. Ugh. Ok, box stats:

Base Set: 157/500 (31.4%)
Black Backs: 24
Chrome Parallel: 3 (Ben Sheets 1150/1959, Jose Valverde 1160/1959, Francisco Rodriguez 1456/1959)
Refractor Parallel: 1 (James Shields 76/559)
News Flashbacks: 2 (Luna 2, Dalai Lama)
Baseball Flashbacks: 2 (Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks)
Then & Now: 1 (Orlando Cepeda and Magglio Ordonez)
New Age Performers: 1 (Brandon Webb)
Real One Autographs: 1 (Bob Blaylock)

The second box was nowhere as good as the first, however I did get an autograph which is an on-card signature. Bob only appeared in 17 Major League games in his career with 3 of those coming in 1959. He pitched 9 innings, gave up 8 hits, struck out 3 and had an ERA of 4.00. Once again, not a great player, but I'm very glad to have his signature.

This set is going to be a complete beast to put together especially if you're trying to do the master set (which I am). It'll take a minimum of 4 boxes to get the complete set and with the short prints and all, it'll take more than 4. Since there isn't a clear short print checklist out yet and only postulations (actually, has a listing, but I'm too lazy to go through everything again), I held off on listing how many of those I got, but they're 1:3 packs so I should have gotten 8 or so in each box. I'm going to put all these cards in pages and I'll update everyone on what the combined total of the completed set is once I've finished.  And just so everyone knows, this is a really hot product right now.  My dealer told me that wholesale prices on boxes have gone up $17 since Wednesday.  Get 'em quick!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"But there's just more of me to love!"

Andruw Jones showed up to  Dodgers' camp at 240 pounds. Did anyone tell him this was spring training camp and not fat camp? He says he's going to lose it as the season progresses.  Somehow, I highly doubt that.  Let's play Jeopardy!  The answer is: This is the worst way you can spend $36.2 million over 2 years.  

Sunday, February 24, 2008

COTW for 2/24/08: Chipper Jones 2007 Bowman Chrome XFractor 209/250

This is the first XFractor I have ever owned.  I found it on eBay last week for $1.04.  That's right: $1.04.  I couldn't pass that up.  I mean, a shiny reflective card of the best switch hitter in the history of baseball (yes, that's right...EVER.  There'll be a post backing this up soon, hopefully.)  So just look at the squares and ooh and ahh.

Spring Training: The Follow-Up

I know you want more pics, so I'll just let you see all of them in their large glory.  Go here to my Flickr account and you'll be able to see all of the ones that I took.  

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Braves Spring Training Report

After leaving my house in Jacksonville at 6:30, I fought through Orlando morning traffic and made it inside the stadium around 9 AM. I had missed my early morning autograph opportunities but that's fine. The team seemed to not be out as early as they were last year. Everyone didn't come out until they were right about to start their stretches. You can't really tell a whole lot by just watching practice, but you can make some decent assumptions. Javy looks to be in great shape. He looks like he hasn't aged a day since he left. Glavine on the other hand, well, he's gotten grayer. As Tommy Two-Timer was walking from the batting cages to the field, autograph seekers yelled at him and he reponded that he was the first one up to throw BP and that since we were behind the field that "we should watch out for all the home runs". Well at least he knows he sucks in the first inning. I watched the catchers practice and Javy's defense has gotten much better. I'll be shocked if he doesn't make the team. He pretty much has to get hurt or just be horrible during the Spring games. Clint Sammons needs to put on some muscle as he was by far the smallest of the catchers. I then watched future stud Jordan Schafer take some BP. Let me tell you, this kid can rake. Jeff Bennett, Blaine Boyer and Matt DeSsalvo were throwing him BP and he was taking good cuts and driving the ball far. He is fairly skinny and needs to bulk up before he takes over center full time. I didn't get to see Kotsay so I don't know how he looked. Overall, I have a good feeling about this season. I was encouraged by what I saw and was glad I went. I do like to collect autographs, but I like balls much more than cards, so I try to take a few cards, but mostly balls. Last year I got Chipper and McCann on balls. I need Francoeur and Teixeira. They both signed a lot yesterday, but it was always somewhere where I wasn't or in the wrong place at the wrong time. They both blew off all of the auto seekers after practice waiting out by where the players have to exit saying they both had signed all day, which was true. Hopefully I can get them both at some point. However, this is what I did get:

Chuck James 2006 Bowman Heritage RC
I asked Chuck how he was doing and he said he'd been better because the night before, his car had gotten towed. From what I gathered, he either left his vehicle at the park or somewhere that had security. He asked the security people if it was ok to leave the vehicle there and they said it was. Well, it got towed and put on a trailer and he said he had to deal with that before practice, but that the arm is feeling better.

This would be my favorite item I got: Jordan Schafer signed ball
Jordan signed a ton of stuff and I was happy to get him right now. I think he'll be like Francoeur with his signing habits when he gets to the big league, which are good, but it's harder than some people.

Here are some pictures and I'll caption them when needed.

Apparently some local paper had Smoltz and Tom put on old Braves unis. The uniforms were too big for both of them and the hats were way too big. They must have spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get the hats to work to fit on their heads.

Frank Fultz, the Master of Stretching

Corky Miller's face in this one is glorious.

Everyone else was following Fultz's stretching orders. Then there's these guys.

Brent Lillibridge looks like he's 12. I think the Braves might be breaking child labor laws.

Well, that's all I've got from Spring Training. If you can get to a ballpark down here in Florida in the next few weeks, I would highly recommend it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Spring Training Tease

I'm fairly tired from my expidition to Disney today, but I'll give you a tease right now and a full report tomorrow. Click to get the full effect.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

COTW for 2/17/08: 1986 Fleer Limited Edition #39 Juan Samuel

I'm not even going to write anything, I'm just going to post a video.

Pack Break: 1990 Collegate Collection Michigan State University

I got this pack from ChemGod over at Bad Wax for the contest that he held that involved the new forums that he's got running over there. Let's see if this is bad wax or not.

#177 Mike Eddington - Mike broke Kirk Gibson's MSU HR record in 1984 by hitting 20 HRs. He played one year of minor league ball for Oakland and that was it for him

#176 Steve Garvey - Oh look! A player that I know! Garvey won the NL MVP in 1974 and was a good all around player spending all of his time in the big leagues in SoCal with the Dodgers and Padres.

#175 Brad Lamont, Jr. - When this card was made in 1990, Brad set the record for most appearances by an MSU pitcher with 29. I'm glad he played a lot in college, because he never played anywhere after that

#174 Dan Masteller - Do I see a collation trend here? Dan was chosen by Minnesota 293rd overall in the 1989 amateur draft. He made the majors in 1995 with the Twins and had 71 at bats and hit a mediocre .237. He went back to the minors in 1996 and was never heard from again.

#52 Don "Zippy" Thompson - A hockey player! Zippy scored 5 goals against Michigan on Feb. 21, 1970. I can't find any info if he played pro hockey or not.

#51 Frank E. Pellerin - An assistant coach for the Spartan baseball team from 1953-1985, Frank saw more than 1,300 games played.

#70 Cordell Ross - Led the Big Ten in batting average hitting a whopping .461. Cordell never made it past high A ball in the Tigers organization.

#69 John Chandik - Another hockey player. Was one of the top 15 scholor-atheletes at MSU in 1963. Now teaches at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin.

As interesting as these people are, this is bad wax. Thanks chemgod!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Contest Winners!!!

I had a very low turn out for the contest with only 2 entries.  So they both win!  See people, all you had to do was write me a short blurb and you'd get free cards.  Tisk, tisk.  Our first winner is Jeremiah from Topps Traders.  Here's what he wrote:

"My wife really doesn't understand why I collect baseball cards, but she is very supportive, financially and time-wise.  I like to buy a random box of 5 or 10 thousand random cards occasionally and she is great at organizing so without asking she always jumps in and starts sorting by brand then year.  I haven't got her to collate yet, but I think she will come around."

our other, and final, winner is Jeff from On Base Autos:

"Woke up this morning to make my wife breakfast for Valentines Day.  you see, we both teach but I am off today through Monday for winter break.  We don't normally give each other much more than a card.  So I was being really nice by cooking.  I am cooking away and both boys are up and I am trying to get the ready while cooking and they arn't cooperating.  I am not having a good morning.  Just when I am about to snap, my wive comes in and gives me my gift.  Thinking I was just getting a card I wasn't real excited until I looked.  She got me 10 packs of Topps 08 and 2 packs of UD 08.  She also got the boys 3 packs each of the Topps.  Needless to say, my morning got a whole lot better."

Guys thanks for your entries.  I'll be getting with you soon to get your addresses and everything to send you out your prizes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

St. Valentine's Day Massacre!!!!

Why this title? Because there's more wrappers in my living room floor than bodies left by Capone at the massacre. It's time for a Triple Box Break!!! 2 hobby boxes of Topps 2008 and one hobby box of the product-that-shall-not-be-named. To see the insert ratios for Topps, see Chris Harris' post at Stale Gum.

2008 Topps Box 1

Base Set:
298/330 (90.30%)
Doubles: 0

18 Gold Foil
4 Gold parallel (Y. Escobar, B. Geren, E. Bonifacio RC, O. Hudson)

4 Campaign 2008 (M. Huckabee, R. Giuliani, J. Edwards, H. Clinton)
6 Own The Game (D. Ortiz, C. Pena, B. Penny, L. Berkman, A-Rod, R. Howard)
2 Mickey Mantle Story (53, 54)
4 Mickey Mantle Home Run (502, 534, 535, 536)
6 Year In Review (A. Miller, R. Johnson, R. Furcal, F. Lewis, D. Young, J. Kent)
8 50th Anniversary Topps All-Star Rookie (R. Swoboda, A. Jones, A. Pujols, A. Dawson, C.C. Sabathia, D. Jeter, A. Soriano, D. Johnson)
6 Trading Card History (J. Upton, R. Clemens, M. Teixeira & J. Francoeur, T. Lincecum, H. Okajima, C. Maybin)
1 Stealth Insert (K. Uzuki)
1 All-Star Game Patch Relic Card (D. Wright #300/499)

That was a great box. The All-Star Game Patch Relics are awesome awesome cards, even though I did get a Met. Lots of inserts and parallels. Next box!

2008 The Product-that-shall-not-be-named

Base set:
300/400 (75%)
Doubles: 1
Triples: 0

8 O-Pee-Chee (H. Pence, D. Matsuzaka, D. Wright, E. Renteria, E. Bedard, G. Sheffield, D. Ortiz, D. Lee)
4 Yankee Stadium Legacy (2935 - M. Skowron, 2960 - Y. Berra, 3010 - Y. Berra, 2985 - T. Kubek)
2 Presidential Predictors (J. McCain/T. Williams, M. Romney/C. Fisk)
2 Game Used (A. Pettitte - 97 style, D. Jeter)
1 Signature Sensations (B. Harris)

Decent box, but I love the photography on the base cards. If there's one qualm I have with Topps, it's that their photos are always so blah and are often reused a ton. I also got a game-used piece of jersey from who might be the most honest cheater ever. Next box!

2008 Topps Box 2

Base Set:
299/330 (90.60%)
Doubles: 0

18 Gold Foil
4 Gold Parallel (O. Hernandez, R. Harden, C. Izturis, C. Cordero)

7 50th Anniversary Topps All-Star Rookie (J. Francoeur, S. Rolen, D. Willis, G. Sheffield, A. Kearns, J. Rollins, D. Gooden)
6 Year In Review (C. Young, T. Helton, A. Beltre, M. Reynolds, J. Accardo, C. Delgado)
6 Own The Game (V. Gurrero, C. Pena, J. Thome, R. Howard, M. Cabrera, C. Lee)
6 Trading Card History (D. Matsuzaka, C. Buchholz, M. Mantle, P. Fielder, J. Chamberlain, A-Rod)
4 Campaign 2008 (J. Biden, B. Richardson, M. Romney, F. Thompson)
1 Stealth Insert (K. Uzuki)
1 2007 Highlights Auto (S. Moore)

Another good box. I beat the odds and got an auto and really love the trading card history insert set. Overall, I think Topps is the better bust for sure than that other brand.

I'll be back later tonight with the contest winners. You've still got 25 minutes!

Happy Valentines Day!

It's Valentine's Day or as some prefer to celebrate Singles Awareness Day. But I've decided to run a little contest. E-mail me by 9 PM EST tonight (2/14/08) with a story involving collecting and your significant other or ex-significant other. It can be funny, sad, sweet or just down right strange or anything whatesoever. The 5 best will be posted later tonight and they will all get a surprise from me in the mail. One caveat, the surprise will be mailed in a regular white standard sized envelope if appropriate. So send away!

UPDATE:  I'm extending the deadline to midnight because that's when V-Day is over isn't it?  

Monday, February 11, 2008

COTW for 2/10/08: 2005 Sweet Spot Classic Dale Murphy Sweet Spot Signatures #MU

One of my collecting goals is to have autographs of all of the Braves legends. I've got my Aaron, Neikro, Pendelton, Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux, Chipper and still need a Spahn, Matthews and of course the ultimate would be if I could somehow get a Babe Ruth, even though he was with the Braves at the very end of his career. But up until last week, I didn't have a Dale Murphy. The greatest Braves player in the 80's, somehow Murphy had always eluded me. I came across this card on eBay and got it for around $10. Very cool card and a very cool auto. This is also my first Sweet Spot Signatures card and I find it to be even more impressive in person than just the picture. However, I don't know if I'll be buying an $125 tin of these any time soon when I can just get the autograph I want for 10% or less of the price. But then again, you never know.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

COTW for 2/3/08: Jarrod Saltalamacchia Custom Index Card

After I graduated college, I got an internship back home and lived with my parents for a year. In that time, because there wasn't a whole lot to do in town, I started collecting cards seriously again as well as sending stuff through the mail (TTM) for players to sign. When I didn't have a card of a new prospect or an older player, I would make a custom index card (CIC) and have them sign it and they turn out looking pretty good. So for spring training in 2006, I sent a CIC to Braves star prospect catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. This is what I got back.

Now there are probably several reasons why he did this. I know when people enter the leauge, they tell the new kids to not sign anything that is not MLBPA or MLB approved and I know that they tell them not to sign index cards because people can use their signature somehow and forge it and steal their idendtity or something along those lines. Now, while I was disappointed to not get this signed, I was actually quite happy with this return as I got a nice little handwritten note from Jarrod. So for me, this is as good as, or better, than an autograph. I did end up getting a few of his Upper Deck Star Rookie cards and he did sign them for me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chipper Jones: All-Star, MVP, AJC Blogger?

David O'Brien writes a great Braves blog for the AJC and I always enjoy reading his updates. He posted a blog about John Smoltz the other day and yesterday, Chipper Jones decided to get on the blog and post some comments. I really enjoyed this for a few reasons. #1 because he is talking just like a regular person and as someone who loves his team and loves that the fans love his team. #2 because the questions he answered were answered truthfully. He didn't play coy and beat around the bush or allude to things with cryptic sayings. To me, in the age where sports stars use a blog to push themselves or their agenda (I'm looking at you Curt Schilling and Gilbert Arenas), it was refreshing to see one who just wanted to shoot the bull with some fans and be excited with them about the upcoming season. And this is how he seems to be in real life as well. I finally got to meet the man at spring traning last year and he was chatty and funny and even talked about playing golf with Smoltz and Tiger and was ragging on Smoltz about his golf game. My favorite parts of Chipper's blogging are that he'll miss Shea Stadium because he owned the Mets there. Also the fact that he named one of kids Shea is hilarious. He said that resigning Tex right now looks 50/50 and that he's in a Braves uni for at least 2 more years, but he hopes to get an extension worked out before that happens. This just solidifies to me that he's one of my favorite players ever.

Tex's "O" face

It's better than the airbrushed mu-mu

More Political Cards?

Think you were getting free from what some are calling crap inserts with the candidate cards in 2008 Topps by buying 2008 Upper Deck? Not so fast my friend! Perusing eBay today I found many auctions for these. Of course Upper Deck's cards actually have a baseball theme and spoofs each politician with a famous baseball moment. This is what could be a partial checklist. The wild card features Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly doing their best Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura.

Rudy Giuliani & Jeffrey Maier , 1

John Edwards & Moonlight Graham , 2

John McCain & Ted Williams , 3

Barick Obama & Jermaine Dye , 4

Mitt Romney & Carlton Fisk , 5

Fred Thompson & Babe Ruth , 6

Al Gore & Chuck Knoblauch , 8

Wild Card , 9

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday!

Being a political science major, the only thing this time of year that gets me more excited than pitchers and catchers reporting is election results. Now I know this is fairly geeky, but I don't care. Anywho, eTopps today not only combined political candidates with cards, but they did so in the form of one of my favorite sets Allen & Ginter. Of course, I've placed an order for the whole set. Now later this week, I start my quest to collect the whole set of the 2008 Topps Presidential Candidate inserts.