No need to check your calendar, I know today is not Monday. I was planning on posting this yesterday, but the Donruss checklist was released and I wanted to write about the fresh new thing. The fresh, new thing is pretty much what this hobby has evolved (or devolved) into, isn't it? The hot rookies are great today and forgotten tomorrow. The newest set release is extremely popular until the next week's set comes out that is. Like it or not, that is just the state of the hobby for most people. Luckily for me, the blogger community not so much in that vein. I am a bit of a man without a country, because part of me is thrilled to be in the more laid back side of the hobby, but another part of me is still entrenched in the "let's make some money" part of the hobby. The big difference with me is that I didn't start selling cards to make money, I started selling cards I didn't want in order to get money to buy card I did want. In effect I was trading with a middleman. So I do have a little of the downside of both worlds, but I also believe I have the best of both worlds as well. With that little nugget of my life out of the way, let's look at some cards for me that might not qualify as the newest thing.
Here we have a group of cards that arrived from a trio of Sportlots sellers. I ordered from each of them because they had one cheap 86 insert that I was missing and I ended up ordering what I consider a small order from each. The way Sportlots is set up, there are different ranges where shipping remains a fixed cost. There is the single card, the 2-4 range (small), the 5-10 range (medium), 11-16 (large), and 17-25 (X-large duh). With a lot of sellers, there is a bump in shipping costs once you go from the small to the medium presumably because they want to use bubble mailers to mitigate damage and have tracking. Me, I am a gambler. Most of the time, I like getting the small lots shipped directly instead of doing the box shipments, which I save for single cards or larger orders. I have to say that I am having far more difficulty tracking down Series 1 parallels for a price I am willing to pay than other years. The Gray is only my 3rd of 9 rainbow foils and I have only one other parallel (a royal blue). It's either hoarding, overpricing, or overproducing or more likely a combination of the three.
Up next is an eBay gamble lot. This one is a lot of 2020 Topps Fire colored parallels and insert parallels. Topps Fire is usually a set that I don't see a lot of since it is a Target exclusive and the nearest Target to me is about 50-60 miles away. Needless to say, I rarely go to Target. In fact I don't believe I ever opened a single pack of Fire ever. But that's okay because I still usually end up with my Rockies through the usual outlets. This particular lot ended up being nice for me. I scored three different needed parallels including the serial numbered green Kyle Freeland and the two different unnumbered parallel from Arms Ablaze, which showcases infielders with strong arms, a good idea. It's always weird to get parallels before you get the base version of a card, but that is the case for both inserts.
The next eBay gamble lot is another of my Colorado Rockies lots. These can be both really good and really frustrating. This particular lot had 20 cards, but the only ones I needed were the two teal wave Charlie Blackmon parallels from 2020 Panini Prizm. The card on the right is his base which fell in the much easier to obtain first 100 numbers of Prizm. In case you didn't know, both Panini Prizm and Panini Select employ the three tiered base set where cards 1-100 are easy to get, 101-200 are slightly more difficult, and 201-300 are very hard to get (especially Select). Personally I hate this practice especially when there are two practically identical sets doing the same thing. Prizm and Select not only had the exact same 8 card team checklist for the Rockies in 2020, but every card was in the same tier in both sets. Quick someone get me the Department of Redundancy Dept.
The final eBay gamble lot of the week worked out really well for me, but not necessarily in the way you might think. This lot was what I thought was a 25 card lot mix of rainbow foil and gold foil parallels. I popped at $15 and change shipped and thought I really hoped to hit several Rockies to be worth the price. I did end up hitting the Daza and Dahl shown above, which was great, since I mentioned above how difficult it has been finding Rockie parallels this year. What was even better is that the lot that I purchased was not for a mix of 25 rainbow and gold foils, it was for 25 of EACH of them. This made the price per card much more palatable for me at around a quarter per card.
So I got twice the cards I was expecting. The only downside is that there were no Rockies in the 25 hobby-exclusive gold foil cards. I did get a nice mix of veteran names and a good mix of teams, so it wasn't all just some unknown Rays rookie or A's reliever that I will be stuck with forever. So if you happen upon a Rockies parallel from 2021 Topps, hit me up because I now likely have at least one from your team to swap for it.
But wait, that's not all. In addition to the 25 card bonus that I received from a combination of not reading closely enough and the seller having a confusing title, the seller threw in seven cards from the 2021 Topps insert set Stars in Service. It showcase the various charities that baseball players and their wives have created. It's a fine humanitarian effort and I applaud each of the players for the work. That being said, it's not exactly what I am looking for in an insert set. Of the seven cards I got, only one showed a player in uniform (although Verlander was wearing a team hoodie on the field, so I'll give them two). The rest were a combination of guys in suits and the weird photo choice that makes it look like Yadier Molina is wiping his nose with the Puerto Rico flag. I'm sure that isn't the case, but someone actually approved that photo. Unbelievable.
I appreciate every package that comes my way, but let's be honest some are more appreciated than others. That is the case with this trade with fellow blog All Cardinals All the Time. A trade which began with Ray claiming a single 2020 Bowman Platinum Cardinals prospect on a Sunday PWE post turned into one of my favorite card packages of all time. And for sure one of my favorites that included only 10 cards. But what a 10 cards they were.
First up is a 2020 Stadium Club/Chrome Gold Refractor Sam Hilliard #'d to 50. 2020 Stadium Club/Chrome was one of those sets that were released too close together due to the pandemic. Although it is currently the last retail pack of cards that I have opened. Hilliard was the UTROY (ubiquitous team rookie of the year) for the Rockies in 2020 and hopefully he can get some solid outfield time now that David Dahl is gone and Ian Desmond has become a crusader for social justice. The Clint Barmes auto is from 2004 Donruss/Playoff Honors. I don't mind the silver sticker as much as most people, although I will readily admit that I am happy that the stickers used now are clear. I especially like the inscription, which if you can't see says "Indiana State." Until now, the only things I knew about Indiana State was that Larry Bird went there and they had cool nickname, the Sycamores. Now I have a third fun fact at my disposal.
But let's get back to the cards because this package deserves full attention. Ray explained to me through email that he used to be a big Clint Barmes collector because before Barmes went to Indiana State he had attended a junior college in Ray's hometown. He doesn't collect Barmes anymore, but still had a pretty healthy number of Barmes cards for me to choose from. The first card is the 2004 Donruss Press Proofs Gold #'d out of just 25. That card is great but would have been much better with the classic blue Rated Rookie logo. The middle card is a Spectrum parallel from 2004 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia #'d to 100. Not my favorite design ever, but that is another low serial number I can check off. The third card is a 2005 Studio Proofs Silver also #'d to 100. Studio has always been a hit or miss set for me. I either loved it or hated it. 2005 was one of the few that kind of fell in the middle. It has good points and bad points.
But the PIECE DE RESISTANCE is next.
Here we have a complete rainbow of Barmes' 2006 Topps/Turkey Red Autograph. Look at that. It is just a joy to behold. The gray is the base and is not numbered. The red is numbered to 475. The white is numbered to 200. The black is numbered to 99. The gold is numbered to 25. And now I have them all. I had not been able to track down any of these five for a reasonable price before, although I do have the red, white, and gold versions of the other Rockie in the set, Garrett Atkins. Now I am on a quest for the base and black Atkins autos so I can have a full team rainbow. How cool is that? I sent Ray a BIG package of Cardinals relics, inserts, and parallels for this lot and I still feel like I made out great. Thank you Ray for our first trade together, but you do realize that my expectations for the second trade package are now through the roof. 😁
As an aside, I absolutely love my new scanner. It does a great job scanning, but it did an even better job of picking up the "texture bumps" on those Turkey Red autos.
Thanx for reading.