A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The RETURN of the Budget eBay Collector for March

Everyone seemed to enjoy The Budget eBay Collector in my first month here and the results column from January is still my most commented post.  I consider myself a pioneer of sorts because I even had another blogger try the challenge.  Even though Scott was unsuccessful, it sounds like he had fun doing it.  I had a blast doing it and I figured I would revive the original for March.  I was debating whether I should stick with the original rules or augment them for a little less repetitiveness.  I decided to stick with most of the original rules, while changing it up a bit to make it a little more challenging.

*QUICK SIDEBAR* The $5 budget applies to eBay purchases only.  I will still be buying blasters for Sunday and the occasional unopened box or five from online shops and of course my shipping budget for trades.  Yeah it's technically breaking your budget, but I will not purchase singles or lots from anywhere until this experiment is complete.

Here are the original rules of the game from my January post.

1. The $5.00 budget WILL factor include shipping costs meaning no cheap buying of the 1 cent card with $42 shipping here.

2. I will allow myself single card purchases only.  No big lots, they would make the next rule too easy.

3. The goal of this experiment will be to acquire 10 cards that will either fit into my collections or be decent buys (read: trade bait) in general.

4. At least 2 of those must be numbered, parallel, auto, or relic cards.

5. 15 non consecutive minute time limit per day (I'm using an old stopwatch...remember kids no cheating)...this limit is in place for three reasons.  First, to make it a little challenging to select some quality cards.  Second, I don't have the time nor the desire to look more than that.  Lastly, I know myself and if I looked longer I would break my budget VERY quickly.

6. No cards from a major overproduction era set.  Quick sidebar, I hate the term "junk wax" on this blog you will see the replacement term "overproduction era." I started collecting in this time period and to me no matter how many cards were produced, I still think they are great (but don't send me all your quadruples please!).

Rules 1, 3, 5, and 6 will remain the same.  Rules 2 & 4 will be augmented slightly. And a rule #7 that I used for the original, but didn't post.

The NEW rules

2. I will allow myself to purchases lots, however each lot will only count as one card toward the goal of 10.

4. EVERY card must be an auto / relic / parallel / serial numbered.  Exceptions to this rule will be vintage cards (my definiton of vintage is cards produced the year before I was born...in my case 1975 Topps is the latest I can buy) and of course any cards for my personal collections (Rockies, Mashburns, or 76-78 Topps Rookie Cup Cards I don't have).

7. All cards must be IN HAND by the end of March to count toward the goal.

Some people may ask 'Why on Earth would you make this challenge more difficult?'  To them I say, why the hell not?  If I fail, I'm not fired from the blog community or anything and there's no point in doing this if it's going to be a cake walk either.

So what do you guys think of the rule changes?  Am I crazy?  I'll answer that yes I am.  Do you think I have a chance at success?  Have you ever been probed by alien creatures?  (just seeing if you are still reading)

Keep tuned for updates and I hope this version is as enjoyable as the original.

Rockie Trading Post #16 - Special Returning Guest Michael S. from Earth

Welcome back to The Rockie Trading Post.  Tonight's special guest is a return trip from "phantom reader" Michael S.  In case you missed our first trade, here it is.  In addition to collecting the dreaded Dodgers, Michael also collects Ryan Braun, Ichiro, Kurt Suzuki, and Ian Kinsler.  Trade with him at michaelspiegel83(at)yahoo(dot)com.  This time around I sent him a 2006 Topps Gold Ichiro, the infamous Angel Berroa bat card, along with a small stack of others that I can't really remember.  Here are the highlights of my newest Rockies.

Let's start off with a couple of great middle infield shots.  The 1995 SP Championship Series Vinny Castilla is one of rare cards picturing both a Rockie and an Oakland Athletic (probably Henry Mercedes from 1993).  One of my new favorite cards is this 1995 Upper Deck Walt Weiss that features him flying in from the Fortress of Solitude to save Lois Lane from the evil Canadian Army known as Les Expos (ed. note: Weiss probably just mid-dive and the writer loves Canada).

He is another of the 1995 Upper Deck Rockies capturing a moment of impact for underrated 4th outfielder Mike Kingery who had a respectable 10 year career as mostly a reserve.  (ed. note: once again the writer does not care about WAR or what it means; he watches baseball, he doesn't just analyze the numbers)  I liked Kingery even before there was a Rockies team.  His 1987 Topps rookie is one of my favorites from that set.  Travis Buckley is one of the many Rockies from the 1993 Topps set that never made it out of the minors.

A 2006 Topps Turkey Red Matt Holliday is up next.  I preferred the Turkey Reds as a standalone set rather than an insert in the flagship set.  Or at the very least they should have made the inserts first, then standalone sets rather than the way Topps handled the sets.  A 2009 Upper Deck Dexter Fowler rookie is up next.  A little far down the list for one of my favorite's rookie cards, but Fowler currently has more rookie cards than non-rookie cards (or so it seems).  Nevertheless, I always appreciate a Fowler I don't have.

Getting the 2009 Topps Heritage Jeff Francis from Michael leaves me 3 away (Hawpe, Smith, Tulo SP) from the team set for the low series.  Not bad considering I never bought one pack of 09 Heritage.  I just didn't like the design of 1960 Topps, but I understand how it appeals to some.  This 2010 Topps 206 Melvin Mora mini is my first of him as a Rockie.  Within a week or so, I will be posting an update on my 2011 goal of collecting one Rockie card of every Rockie that ever played a game for the team.

The 2010 Bowman Draft Picks is 2010 3rd round pick shortstop Josh Rutledge.  He made his debut for the short season Tri City Dust Devils and hit .128 in 11 games.  It's just a small sample, so I am not reading too much into that, but it is a little concerning for a major college (Alabama) player to hit that low in short season A ball.  Our Todd Helton card of the day is this 2005 Topps commemorating his winning the 2004 Gold Glove at first base.  With Helton's offensive exploits at the forefront, it is sometimes easy to forget what a great defensive first baseman he is.

Rounding out our latest trade is this 2010 Topps Chrome Carlos Gonzalez.  My newest not yet thought of million dollar idea/concept is a way to get the 2010 Topps Chrome to lose the damn warp.  Wouldn't you buy that?  The last card I am showing is a 2009 Topps 206 Garrett Atkins that Topps couldn't seem to decide if it is a horizontal or a vertical card, so they settled on both.  It just looks odd.

Thanks again Michael for the trade and I am sure we will be doing it again.  Once again email Michael at michaelspiegel83(at)yahoo(dot)com for a trade with him or talk him into starting a card blog of his own like I am trying to.  Well that just about wraps up this episode of The Rockie Trading Post.  Tune in next time for Bookmarks from an Indians fan, it will make sense later.  Until then, we are officially signed off.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quick Contest Plug for some cool basketball loot

Charles over at Hoopography is at it again.  This time he is giving away the contents of a box of 2011 Panini Contenders (- Lakers and Blazers cards).  I really love the look of the Rookie Ticket cards even with the small photos.  Check out his contest by clicking right here.

Sunday's Afternoon Blaster - 2009 Upper Deck Icons Baseball

Welcome back to the Sunday Afternoon Blaster.  Today's edition is the final blaster of 2009 Upper Deck Icons at my local Wal Mart.  I broke one earlier that was actualy the inspiration for this feature.  It is my 3rd different Upper Deck discount blaster in a row, but it wasn't scheduled to be.  I wrote in a post on Friday that I intended this slot to be filled by my first (and only) 2011 Topps blaster.  After I ripped all the packs and had the post completely written up (minus the pictures), either Blogger or myself (accidentally) decided that the entire body of text needed to be gone.  By that time, there was no saving it so I bought another and decided that would be last time that I tried to do SAB in advance.

So today's blaster was purchased on 02/27/11 at 12:22 PM ET (in case you are scoring at home).

Card coloration is it's availability

white = I'm keeping it
green = available for trade
red = already claimed/traded

Today's blaster is 2009 Upper Deck Icons Baseball.  10 five card packs (1 guaranteed jersey card)

On with the show.

pack one
99 Vernon Wells - Blue Jays
9 B.J. Upton - Rays
43 Hanley Ramirez - Marlins
16 Carlos Quentin - White Sox
79 Michael Young - Rangers

pack two
69 Kerry Wood - Indians
45 Freddy Sanchez - Pirates
UD 20th Retro 1600 Hillary Clinton - Politics
52 Jay Bruce - Reds
25 Cliff Lee - Indians

pack three
18 CC Sabathia - Yankees
81 Nate McLouth - Pirates
80 Miguel Cabrera - Tigers Retail Red parallel
88 Russell Martin - Dodgers
61 Jon Lester - Red Sox

pack four (HIT and a HALF)
54 Jimmy Rollins - Phillies
LI-RJ Reggie Jackson Legendary Icons - Yankees jersey (it'll take a lot for me to part with this one)
                                   BABenny (now known as The Godfather) made me an offer I couldn't refuse
97 Tim Lincecum - Giants

pack five (another much smaller hit)
27 Curtis Granderson - Tigers
90 Ryan Dempster - Cubs
FF-FC Fausto Carmona Future Foundations - Indians 326/999
7 Alfonso Soriano - Cubs
92 Ryan Ludwck - Cardinals

pack six
63 Jose Reyes - Mets
1 A.J. Burnett - Yankees
UD 20th Retro 1605 Patrick Roy - Colorado Avalanche
65 Josh Hamilton - Rangers
38 Evan Longoria - Rays

pack seven
64 Josh Beckett - Red Sox
37 Ervin Santana - Angels
10 Brandon Webb - Diamondbacks
74 Manny Ramirez - Dodgers
47 Jason Varitek - Red Sox

pack eight
12 Brian McCann - Braves
73 Magglio Ordonez - Tigers
46 Ichiro - Mariners
20 Chase Utley - Phillies
83 Prince Fielder - Brewers

pack nine
71 Kosuke Fukudome - Cubs
59 Johan Santana - Mets
4 Akinori Iwamura - Rays
56 Joba Chamberlain - Yankees
15 Carlos Lee - Astros

pack ten
19 Chad Billingsley - Dodgers
82 Nick Markakis - Orioles
UD 20th Retro 1610 Teddy Roosevelt - Medal of Honor
78 Matt Kemp - Dodgers
51 Javier Vazquez - Braves

Design:  A-
I love the design.  It is very simple, but the colors pop so much.  The backs of the cards are very bare, without a picture and a max of 5 years of stats.  But the front makes up for it.

Inserts / Hits: A-
I got my guaranteed jersey and it was Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.  The only things that kept this from being an A+ was it was a solid white jersey (If I have to get a Yankee jersey I want the pinstripe) and he is shown on the Yanks (Sorry Yankee fans but he is an Athletic in my mind).  The Carmona isn't horrible by any means but pales in comparison and will probably be harder to trade.
The Retail Red parallels (foilboard with red as the only color for the border) are not really that great to me although I did get a better player this time.

Value: A-
$11.98 + tax for any blaster isn't bad, but when you consider I am collecting the set and I got the Reggie it was fantastic.  I consider this to be the most successful Sunday Afternoon Blaster so far.

Rox in the Box: 0
One of the few downsides of this blaster was the lack of Rockies.  Yes I know I got Patrick Roy of the Avalanche (the rare hockey player I have ever heard of), but that doesn't count.  There are only 2 Rockies in the base set and there are only a small handful of the numbered inserts, so I wasn't really expecting any here.

Will I Collect This Set: A+
Well I already was collecting it, so yes I will.  I didn't get as many needed base cards as I was hoping 17 needed 25 dupes.  I was hoping for at least a 50-50 split.  But that gives me some more trade bait in hopes of completing this set.

Overall: A
A guaranteed jersey in every box and a beautiful base set along with a very nice checklist makes this probably my favorite Upper Deck set in a while.  The only downfall is that this was the last one at Wally World.  Oh well, there is a good selection for next week there and it will be a set not featured here before.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trade Bait - 2011 Topps Inserts + a little bit of crying and complaining

Well I had prepared a post for the Sunday Afternoon Blaster of my very first 2011 Topps cards.  I had the post finished and saved to put up this Sunday, then I accidentally deleted the entire body of the work.

Since I had already collated the cards and put them away there was no saving the post.  Two good glasses of lemonade came out of this big bucket of lemons though.  First, it gives me an excuse to buy another blaster (not 2011 Topps, mine sucked) for this week.

Second, it gives me an extra post to make for the trade bait I got in the box.  Which is cool as well.  I am not collecting any of the inserts from this year's set with the exception of the Rockies, so everything I got in the blaster is up for grabs.

Here is what I have for trade from my National League East hot box

Gold Parallel
13 Billy Wagner - Braves 0680/2011 claimed by Colbey

Kimball Champions Minis - claimed by the Dimwit
20 Roy Halladay - Phillies
37 Stephen Strasburg - Nationals

Topps 60 - BABenny
26 Derek Jeter - Yankees
34 Mark Reynolds - Diamondbacks
40 Michael Young - Rangers

Diamond Parallels - Colbey
233 Ramon Hernandez - Reds
278 Marco Scutaro - Red Sox

Diamond Duos
HH Ryan Howard / Jason Heyward - Phillies / Braves
HM Tommy Hanson / Mike Minor - Braves / Braves
LZ Evan Longoria / Ryan Zimmerman - Rays / Nationals

History of Topps
4 - 1957 Topps sets the card size standard

Vintage Reproductions
5 Babe Ruth - Yankees 1921 National Caramel claimed by Jeremy

60 Years of Topps that Your Momma Threw Out regular back
1998 Bobby Abreu - Phillies      BABenny's
2002 Vladimir Guerrero - Expos

The Lost Cards regular back
6 1955 Whitey Ford - Yankees claimed by Jeremy

16 Nick Markakis - Orioles
18 Ryan Zimmerman - Nationals
19 Andrew McCutchen - Pirates
21 Starlin Castro - Cubs
22 Jason Heyward - Braves
25 Ryan Howard - Phillies
25 Ryan Howard - Phillies (not a typo I did get an insert dupe in my first blaster of the year)
29 Carlos Gonzalez - Rockies (already had it)
42 Kevin Youkilis - Red Sox
45 Hanley Ramirez - Marlins

Commemorative Patch
TLMP-DW David Wright - NY Giants claimed by Greg Z.

(wait what) yep it is a 1933 NY Giants patch for NY Met David Wright.  What's next a Seattle Pilots logo on an Ichiro card (what?) damn you corrective link.  So is this a Mets card or a Giants card or a manufactured POS?  Or all 3?

Base Card Dupe (yeah I got a dupe there too)
85 Jack Wilson

Claim away below or @ hiflew(at)yahoo(dot)com and don't worry if you don't think you have anything for me I will hold cards for people for a while.

The Cubicle of the Unique - Member #5 Danny Tartabull

It's time again for another inductee to The Cubicle of the Unique.  Once again here is the explanation of the Cube for you new viewers.  Before we get to the new member let's take a look at the accompanying image for our latest member Steve Bedrosian.

Steve Bedrosian was a tough call because he had no real memorable photos.  This was my choice by default as well, just for the feathery 80s hair.  Thanks to everyone for voting, remember this is a lot more fun for everyone with active participants.

Moving along to the newest inductee.  Last time I promised an outfielder to go in with pick #5 and this time I will deliver.  If he were here I'm sure he'd say 'That's correct, Johnny." (Bonus points if you get the reference)

Ladies and gentlemen, the fifth inductee to The Cubicle of the Unique

Danny Tartabull
(sound of one hand clapping)

Danny Tartabull had a 14 year major league career with 6 different teams.  He was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1980, but was selected in the short-live free agent compensation draft by the Mariners in 1983.  He was selected as a member of the 1986 Topps All Star Rookie team, while finishing 5th in the competitive AL Rookie of the Year race. After the 86 season he was traded to the Royals where he had arguably his greatest success.  He spent five years in KC finishing in the top 20 in MVP voting twice.  Following the 1991 season, the Yankees (who else?) made Tartabull the highest paid player at that point in a free agent signing.  He was pretty good in New York but at the trade deadline in 1995, the Yanks shipped him to Oakland for aging slugger Ruben Sierra in a perceived salary dump.  He spent his last full year with the White Sox in 1996 to moderate success.  His last year in Philadelphia lasted a total of 3 games following an ankle injury and he quietly retired.

Career Highlights
1986 Topps All Star Rookie Team
One of the few two-time Donruss Rated Rookies (1985,1986)
AL All Star starter in 1991 (his only All Star appearance)
Had 3 30 homer seasons and 5 100 RBI seasons
Appeared in two different episodes of Seinfeld as well as an episode of Married with Children

Career Lowlights
Appeared in 1406 career games with no postseason (tied for 83th most all time)

Votes for Mr. Tartabull's enshrinement plaque will be accepted for one week.  The poll is on the left below Peak Features in case you didn't see it.  As always, your votes are highly encouraged and appreciated.

New buys from Sandlot Cards

*QUICK NOTE* - I was not compensated for this post, these are my completely truthful feelings.

I was doing some random Googling a few weeks back and happened upon a new, to me, online card shop, Sandlot Cards.  It turns out that the shop is actually new for everyone.  It seems to be a smaller, but more user-friendly version of Sportslots.  It is still getting up and running, but has a nice inventory and the best possible feature for the team collector.  Every card has the team listed and you can search by team, how great is that?  Anyway I spotted a couple of cards I had to have on the site for a VERY reasonable price.  Let's show off the loot.

 This was one of the two that caught my eye.  A 2010 Topps Black Jhoulys Chacin #17/59.  A steal at $5, the cheapest on COMC was $15-ish.  Not the last we will see of Chacin here though.

 I also knocked out a few random cards in order to get a discounted purchase.  This 2011 Topps insert is sweet for two reasons.  First, they put both Rockies hitting stars on the same card.  Second, since they did that rather than pair them with others...I only have to get one of these awful inserts.

 I also picked up the last two cards I needed for my 1999 Topps Series 1 team set.  I actually had the Helton but I pulled it for my "I'm still putting it together" Rookie Cup collection.  The Castilla card is great, I might have to pull a Topps and Photoshop in Andres Galarraga, Larry Walker, and of course George Washington to have a Best 90s Rockies ever card.

 The 2007 Gold Todd Helton is my first 2007 that is not from U&H.  I think the 2007 set was very underrated, second best of the 2000s behind 2009.  The 2000 Topps Gold Label Class 1 of Helton was actually a very welcome surprise throw in for the purchase.

 I also had to add another Jamal Mashburn to my nearly 50% complete player collection.  This is a 2010-11 Panini Prestige card.  You know you are getting older when a player you remember well in college is now getting retired veteran cards. 

Saving the best for last.

The 2010 yellow printing plate of Jhoulys Chacin is my very first 1/1.  But not the last(stay tuned for my newest when it arrives).  I had never actually touched a printing plate until this one arrived.  I am not actively seeking or collecting plates, but when I spot a Rockies 1/1 for $10 I am not turning it down.

I got a few other cards as well for less than $20 shipped.  I am definitely glad I found this upstart shop while I had basically the pick of the litter.  The man that runs it, Erik, also has a blog in which he describes the ups and downs of starting an online card shop as well as getting his son into the hobby.  Check it out here, and you will probably find as many good buys as I did.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RTP #15 - Special Guest Mark from Mark's Ephemera

Welcome back to The Rockie Trading Post.  Tonight's special guest is Mark from the self titled blog Mark's Ephemera.  Mark, if you haven't met him, collects Negro Leaguers and has a diverse player colection including Orel Hershiser, Bill Wade, Earl Wilson, and Carl Erskine.  I didn't ask, but I am curious as to why those four players (hometown maybe?).  I didn't have any of those players, but I did
send him a couple of Negro League inserts and a stack of Diamondbacks for his dad.  In return, he sent a couple of stacks of Rockies.  Here are some of the highlights.

First up is the first Rockie ever.  Ryan Turner never made the major leagues, but he will always be known as the first person to ever sign with the club.  I love how 1992 Upper Deck appears 3-D on scans, much better than in person.  Our Todd Helton card of the day is this thick 2001 Topps HD.  I like these cards, very nice stock and pretty good photography.

Next up is a really cool subset from 1997 Upper Deck which I had never seen before these two came to me.  The background of the card is colored like the flag of the player's home country.  Recently there have been a lot of these types of cards, but in 1997 they were ahead of the times.  There is a third Rockie, Larry Walker, in this set that I would love to get if anyone has one to spare.

Her we have a 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor of Garrett Atkins.  I liked Atkins while he was in Denver and he had a couple of good years, but the bottom fell out very quickly.  I like the 1996 Metal Universe Vinny Castilla.  It has the raised effect on the name like several sets from the mid 90s.  Since I missed that era, I still enjoy most of the mid 90s stuff that many people got sick of.

The first is a 2000 Pacific Aurora Mike Lansing.  Aside from the countless parallels in every set, I really do like most of the Pacific cards that I have seen.  This particular card is well designed, except the shades on the cap look, but that is more Lansing's fault.  Next is a 1995 Upper Deck Charlie Hayes with an excellent close up of his face mask.  I am not completely sure but if I remember correctly, Hayes was hit in the face with a pitch and wore the mask for a while afterward. 

Here are a couple of nice looking horizontal cards.  The Eric Young Upper Deck card shows Vinny Castilla just kind of hanging out in the background.  I honestly forgot he played shortstop in 1994, I always think of him as a third baseman.  The Stadium Club was part of a subset called Best Seat in the House.  From what I gather the picture was taken from that particular seat.  How they came to the realization that it was the best I don't know, but still not a bad idea.

My first baseball Collector's Choice silver signature parallel is this Vinny Castilla.  Vinny appears to be the star of this show today, I didn't realize until I began writing.  The 1997 Circa is possibly the ugliest set I have ever seen.  There are so many bad things about this set, starting with the extended quote?!! on the front of all 3 cards I received.  I can't wait until I knock out the team set for this disaster of a product. OK, I need happy thoughts time...kittens playing with a ball of yarn, ...there I'm better now.

Here we have both the front and back of a 1993 Ultra Bryn Smith.  I am showing this card for two reasons.  First, it is my first Bryn Smith as a Rockie cards and second is the beautiful back of this card.  The front isn't bad, but you have seen that pose 1000+ time on cards, but the back with the purple mountain's majesty is gorgeous.

Let's finish up with 4 more new players for my "One of Every Rockie" collection.  Echevarria had (relatively for his short career) a lot of cards as a Rockie, so I was surprised that this was my first.  Kevin Jarvis is kind of cool because I played against him in high school.  Well my team did as I sat on the bench, he was outstanding against us and I was glad to not get the pinch hit call that day.  Well since I was a "good field, no hit" middle infielder I rarely got that call anyway.

Thanks again Mark for the trade and if I happen upon any of your four players I will help you out.  Make sure you check out his blog here it's an interesting read.  Well that just about does it for this episode of The Rockie Trading Post, tune in next time for our very first returning guest with a new stack of Rockies.  Until then, we are officially signed off.