Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Magic Of The 2017 Baseball Card Season

Was it just me or was collecting baseball cards in 2017 insane?

I can't remember a time in my life when I walked into my card section at Walmart just to take a peek at what was available for baseball cards and all I saw was this...

Hear the crickets?
It was great for the hobby, just not for me and other collectors who sought product out to open if we didn't time it right.

Most of the time it wasn't just the availability of product either, it was the cost. A lot of people would go to retail outlets and buy them out just to sell them for twice online knowing they could get it. The dangers of supply and demand. Even hobby products were driven up in price because of how hot the 2017 season was.

Why was it so hot? Well it was driven by a rookie named Aaron Judge who nobody expected to be as good as he was. With every home run he hit, another retail product left the shelves after release and another hobby product went up in price.

Not since the Furby/Beanie Baby run of the 90's or the Cabbage Patch doll run of the 80's have I seen such craze.
I still have some of my Beanie Babies that are only now worth the value I put on them
This isn't an original from the 80's, but a mid-90's mini toy doll that my wife still had
As the year went on Judge wasn't the only one driving products. There were other great rookies as well.

There was another guy named Cody Bellinger. The only problem with him, collectors had to wait on finding his cards as he didn't have any "true" rookie cards on the market until Walmart Exclusive Bowman Platinum was released. If you wanna talk about a fast sell out of a product, not sure I have ever seen one leave as fast as that one. I never even saw a wrapper.

Though Judge and Bellinger were the most sought after, that didn't mean they were alone in carrying the 2017 products. Not with names like Bregman (Astros), Moncada (White Sox), Bell (Pirates) and Benintendi (Red Sox) also played really well under the radar. You then throw in Rhys Hoskins who had a late season surge for the Phillies and was found in some late Bowman products and you have plenty of reasons for the chase.

What also continued to carry the 2017 MLB products was the home run chase between the Judge and Bellinger for the rookie record and the fact that the teams they played on could make a deep playoff run. Aaron Judge ended up winning the home run chase and set a rookie record of 52 home runs vs Bellinger's 39. However, Bellinger's Dodgers advanced to the World Series while the Yankees and Judge fell one short. 

It was a rookie season for the ages for those two and one for the ages for the baseball card market and most likely a record one for sales.

I even found myself falling into in the hype chasing down as many Aaron Judge cards I could trade for and finding myself watching/following baseball again and not just collecting it like I had been. The old days of baseball when I watching Ken Griffey Jr play and watching the Yanks had returned for me! All because of one season.

I know I wasn't alone in this either. I watched many collectors return last year to collecting baseball cards and newer ones at that including my father who had been only collecting vintage. He was drawn into the Bellinger and Judge hype as well and started his own chase for their cards. We even did a few trades to help each other out.

With 2018 Topps Series one just a few weeks away from release, I wonder if 2018 will have the same impact as 2017 or if we will ever see a baseball card season like that one ever again. All I know is, I won't be taking any chances this year and will be chasing any rookie I can get my hands onto. You just never know who could be the next super star in 2018.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Bidding For Fun

For Christmas I was surprised with an eBay gift card. I hadn't expected anything because the family had done away with getting adults gifts, but I ended up a recipient anyways. Pretty cool.

The only problem was, how would I spend it?

I could just buy one card for my Ghostbusters autograph card for my PC. But, I would hate to spend it all in one sitting and for one item. I could have put it towards a Psych autograph I needed as well, but once again I was left in the same scenario. It's not like I have all the money in the world so I can just go and grab what I want when I want, the only funds I have usually have are from gift cards. So I had to make this last and enjoyable. The more mail days the better.

So instead of doing a single card purchase, I spread it around to multiple PC's. Some cards you will see another day, while today's you will see the end of how I spent my gift card. Why did I post these in backwards order, I don't really know. I just did.

I am not usually one to just bid on something just because, but for some reason or another, two cards caught my eye that I "just for fun" put in the starting bid just to get things going. I wasn't planning on bidding anymore, just wanted to see if I could land something for cheap.

Which for some reason, I remained the only bidder for each and landed both cards cheaply.

Up first is this 2017 Panini Father's Day Odell Beckham Jr game used Pylon for $1.99. I like the oddballs for my PC and the design of this card is done well to. It's also a game the Giants won :) I did have my eye on a 2012 Panini Super Bowl Pylon Autograph of Hakeem Nicks but I didn't want to spend $14.99 BIN at the time. Hopefully that will still be listed for me for another time.

My next card really shocked me. I remember opening packs of 1997 Upper Deck Legends and chasing the autographs. I believe they fell 1:7 packs but I could be wrong. The packs were not cheap but the cards were extremely valuable which still stands true today. The base set was full of Hall Of Famers and each card featured had a unqiue photo of the player. 
I think back then the best autograph we pulled was Eric Dickerson which my father sadly sold off. I kept the Babe Parilli however.

So when I stumbled upon this YA Tittle with a starting bid of $9.99, I put a bid in. Never expected in a million years to land it for that with most listings for this card on eBay at $35.  I wanted this card because it's a 90's gem and it's a NY Giant so it's a win-win if I landed it. If not, that was okay to.

To my surprise....there were no other bidders. Wowzers. I was shocked. Such a beautiful card of a legend.

Interesting how an Upper Deck representative wasn't there for the signing but that the cards came directly from YA. But, if you look at all of these, they are all signed the same.

Landing this beauty ranks up there with the 1996 Upper Deck Game Jersey card I landed. This is a much better player however.
So after landing these two, I had roughly $6.50 left and figured at this point I might as well just finish spending it. So I searched around landing this Rodney Hampton Sportflix Artist Proof card I needed for $1.50.

Next I found this really cool Ron Dayne jersey card, my first of his, for $2.50

and my final $2.50 I put in a Make an Offer on a card and the seller accepted. However, I haven't received the card yet up to this posting. It's a bit odd and I hope it arrives. When it does, I will put it in the post with the rest of my pickups with the eBay gift card.

I felt pretty good about my spending. I landed five nice cards instead of one. Two of which I shouldn't have landed for the price but I will take it. I look forward to my next eBay gift card.

Have you guys ever landed a card you didn't expect to win just by "bidding for fun"? Let me know in comments!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thank You Brett Favre

Growing up in the 90's I witnessed some incredible quarterbacks play in the NFL. Sadly none of them played for the Giants. I feel sorry for those who missed out on guys like Dan Marino, Steve Young, Warren Moon, Randall Cunnigham, Mark Brunell, Troy Aikman, and the guy we are talking about today, Brett Favre.

90's football basically was about three teams. The 49ers, the Cowboys and the Packers. Those three teams always battled for position in the Super Bowl and always destroyed my Giants when they played them. Out of those three teams I always wanted to see the Packers win the most as I didn't like some of the 49er players and the Cowboys were a division rival.

There was also 90's football being played in my backyard and I only ever played two positions, WR and QB. Most of the time I was WR because of my height and hands but sometimes they would use me for QB. When I got the call, I didn't want to mess up. So what did I do not to mess up? I modeled myself after an NFL QB. No not a Giants QB like Danny Kanell or Dave Brown, I did say not mess up remember, I would be the gunslinger Brett Favre.

I would throw the ball as fast as I could to open guys avoiding interceptions that way. I saw some interviews on Brett's WR's and how they said he made their hands hurt because of the velocity he put on the ball. Now my ball wasn't ever that fast, I was only 12 or 13, but it went pretty fast for someone my age and it worked.

Ever since the 90's, I have been a quiet Favre collector putting together a decent sized collection of his cards. He is the one Packer I try not to let go of. Just ask @90sNicheFootball blog how many he has tried to pry away. I don't know why, I just can't let him go.

Other than my in general liking of the guy, it may also be because in 2001 when he "allowed" my guy Michael Strahan to sack him breaking the all time season record with 22.5 sacks. It was an obvious fall to the ground whether they admit to it or not. Or it could be from 2007 when he threw an interception in overtime to Corey Webster leading to a Giants game winning FG and a trip to Super Bowl 42 that they won over the undefeated Patriots. Whatever it is, I like to keep what I have.

At some point Brett will be apart of my Player Profile segment.

But no matter how hard I have tried, I haven't ever landed an autograph card of the guy. I currently have him on my want list and it seems my odds of ever landing an autograph card of his is going down. Prices are too high and I haven't found anyone yet willing to let one go.

However, my odds of landing Brett's autograph in general went way up when I won a recent contest from @eKeeshOnline.


The picture is of Lambeau Field with Brett's golden signature at the top. It's a beautiful piece to say the least.

And also came with Authenticity and a

picture of Brett signing the piece.

Simply mind blowing. @eKeeshOnline has thrown some amazing giveaways but this one has to be the tops so far and I have thanked them immensely. This was even cooler than the Aaron Judge Inception auto jersey card I tried to win. Brett is a legend as opposed to Judge who could be a one-and-done. I am telling you this because you really need to give them a follow. They also have very interesting hobby topics to discuss as well.

I still kept a Favre autograph card on my wantlist for someday, in the meantime, I am very happy with this piece. At least I will always have his autograph and that's not something I thought I would ever say.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Player Profile #1:Gary Sheffield

Player Profile is a series that breaks down players I have pulled from my collection and designated as a player collection. These are mostly stars from the past and present and only include base cards and inserts. Hits and rookie cards are not counted. Some players I pulled because I was a fan of their game, others are obvious because of their play. Some players I actually look for cards of in packs while others get just placed in these boxes. This series will break down how many cards I have of the player, what my Top 5 favorite cards are of the player and why I pulled the player for a player collection.

This series will also cover all four sports I collect. 

Player By The Numbers For Gary Sheffield: 64 Total Different Cards. This number does not include NY Yankee cards of him as they are in my Yankees binder and not included in his player collection. My Yankee card numbers will be updated on here at a later time.

Gary Sheffield was an outstanding power hitter and all around outfielder from 1988 til 2009. He seemed to always be very "vocal" on the teams he played for which may explain why he played for so many. Eight to be exact. Most of which he was traded away.

I had a lot of admiration for him up until I found out he was apart of the PED team and was listed in the Mitchell Report. Once a player makes that list, I no longer care about adding more cards of them. If I happen to, I do and place them in their rightful spot. But, those are players I don't chase.

Anyways, I still have my Top 5 favorite cards of him despite my feelings so let's take a look.

#5 Gotta love the photographs that were featured on Stadium Club. Especially in the early 90's like this one. Gary seems to be eyeing what the pitcher is doing before getting ready for his turn.

#4 has Gary diving to catch a ball. Only Upper Deck could capture such a photograph that you can truly appreciate.

#3 is the batting stance. Another great photo captured by Upper Deck even in a low end brand like Collectors Choice.

#2 is just so, so shiny that I had to include it. Everyone knows my love of shiny cards.

#1 had to be an Upper Deck card just like four out of five were. Look at this photography. I was always a fan of the 1995 Upper Deck Sp set and it seems to be underrated in my opinion. The whole set included photographic moments like this and the design is sharp as well. We don't many of these simple but elegant sets anymore.
As I stated above, this is not all of my Sheffield cards as I need to dig out my Yankee ones and update the numbers on here with those. 

In closing, despite the allegations, Gary is apart of the 500 Home Run club which he accomplished in his final year with the Mets. I guess I can partially appreciate that despite my feeling it should be called *500 Home runs instead.

What's Gary been up to since he left baseball? Well he is currently working as a sports agent.

Which Gary Sheffield card above to you like the most and which card do you own is your favorite of his? Let me know in comments!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

From The 90's Til Today

My December in 2017 was pretty epic when it came to pulling off trades and adding to my Giants collection. Not to mention the mind blowing consecutive days of finding cardboard in my mail box. I can't remember a month or year when that has happened. Most of it was planned by me as I wasn't expecting anything for Christmas and wanted to fill in the gap and some wasn't. Either way it was a really exciting month.

January 2018 started out a little show but recently has started to pick up. It's momentum I hope that will continue for the rest of the year.

Last week I pulled in two pretty nice mail days in from trades. My first one is from @NYCollects on Twitter. He and I pulled off a trade back in December but neither of us got around to mailing til January.

I had hoped to grab all of the NY Giants cards he had available, but didn't have enough stuff he was interested in so had to narrow my pick to three cards. But, they were really solid ones.

First card was this 2014 Topps Strata Odell Beckham Jr patch card /25. Great design and nice two-color patch.

Next add was this Sterling Shepard 2016 Prestige rookie autograph add. I think him and Odell will make quite the combo in 2018. Sterling showed some potential in 2017 putting up some decent numbers in a flat offense.

Final card was this 1999 Stadium Club Chrome refractor of Dan Marino for my 90's PC. Great looking card and wished I could have captured the shine a little better on here.
A big thanks goes out to @NYCollects for the trade!
My next mail day was a bit of a surprise as I was working a deal out but never fully succeeded yet. However, @SportsCardMania mailed me my stuff ahead of time and the ball is officially in my court to give back. Which hopefully I will be able to in the next couple of weeks.

Anyways, let's take a look at my scores.

Parallel from 2017 Panini of Brandon Marshall. I am hoping he actually doesn't return next year. He made no impact on this offense when he was playing before he got hurt. Seems like a waste of cap space to me that could be used for oline help.

Two Giants "stars" of the 90's. The Hilliard I didn't have from Crown Royale and the Hampton I have, but it's my favorite designed card of his. Actually that design is easily my Top 3 favorite card design of all time.

Ron Dayne who was supposed to be the next Giants great, but was actually not so great except for maybe one season. Mark Brunell was one of my favorite QB's of the 90's I loved to watch. The way he used his feet and how smooth his throwing style was for a lefty was so much fun. He also led a Jags team pretty far as well almost reaching a Super Bowl with them.

Some Optic parallels. Cruuuuuuuuuz I wished could have stayed with the Giants, but I understand why they had to let him go with all of his injury history. The guy could ball though in his prime. Someone who may never see their prime on this team is Paul Perkins who never panned out like I thought he would.  It appears Darkwa and Gallman are the go-to right now unless the Giants decide to use their pick on Barkley. However this Perkins is some help towards my potential rainbow chase.

Love, love, loved these. Paydirt inserts that fell 1:4 packs back in 1995 Skybox Premium. Great overall product. This is a set I am working on.

Well, I spoke how I felt about Brunell earlier, it was only an obvious thing that I needed to add his rookie to my PC and here it is,

And finally, I was surprised when I saw that Shane had a new Hampton I needed. I have the members only parallel of this card but not the base version. Well, that is no longer the case as this one is now in my possession.
A thanks is due to @SportsCardMania for the mail day. Hopefully I can find something you don't have and make a return mail day soon. 

This mail day provided a lot of new cool adds from my collecting beginnings, Brunell in 1993 til some newer stuff of today, the Marshall. I think mail days like this are fun as you can compare stuff from today til back then. I am however very bias on that subject, I will always go 90's first. That's a topic for another day and another post however.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Mail Day List

Am I alone as a person who makes lists for everything?

There are lists for daily things like groceries and necessities (non food items).

Then there are those holiday lists like Christmas lists and birthday lists.

 Let's not forget the lists that your wife may make for you to. I get those as well.

But, in my world there are also sport card lists.

It all started when I was a young lad, not that I am old now, and I used to list every card I had by team in one of these notebooks. Sometimes I would also put the book value for each one as well. It was time consuming but I had nothing better to do when I was a kid unlike kids today. I didn't have the video games and the electronics. I had good ole paper and a pen. Oh the good days of the 90's. I miss those days.

Flash forward to now and I no longer keep my cards written down like this anymore. It would be way too hard to keep up with like my sorting. As it is already, I can barely keep up with my checklists of wants and needs.

But, that doesn't mean I stopped making lists with pen and paper. Yes, I still play it old school and don't type up my lists.

Now on my desk I keep a list of more important things like addresses, things my trader buddies collect, list of things I need to sort, list of things to take pictures of, list of things to blog about, list of cards that need to be added to my PC numbers, so on and so forth like that. Simple lists but still lists.

Then there's a list I keep on my fridge of expected mail days. This is my favorite list.
As I receive the mail days they all get crossed off. As I get more, I add more. But, if the paper gets too full, I transfer them to the next sheet.

Why do I do this? Well, first of all, it's fun to see all of the incoming mail. Two, I may not always remember what trade I made or contest I had won for something incoming. Three, it helps me remember who I may need to mail something to and who needs to be transferred to the mailing list on my desk.

I know I must not be alone in this or in list making for the hobby. Please don't let me be and comment below with what kind of lists you make.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Friendships In The Hobby

Having friendships in the hobby is one of the most vital parts. Friends near or far give you someone to discuss your hobby with, someone to trade with, someone to help you out when you need that set number or a card to fill in some kind of gap, someone who will give you that yes or no buying opinion on an item and someone just to talk to when you need an ear.

When I first discovered the internet part of the hobby in 2011 late 2012 I didn't have an hobby friends and it took a little while for me to find my place for those. It was like my wife and I's first puppies when they met. They didn't know each other but overtime grew a friendship like no other.
We took this cute picture of them in our nieces toy Lamborgini and it's one of my most treasured ones of them. They have long passed since.

I feel like I have met many great friends and collectors over the past seven years online but one that I have become really good friends with messaging on a daily basis since my internet beginning is Shane over at Project Pedro Blog. Despite our team differences, we are always up for a good sports debate, card talk or discussions in general.

We are also always on the lookout to help each others PC's out. This is especially true for Shane.

Towards the end of 2017 we once again pulled off one of our big trades. We pretty much save up a few months worth of items and then did a big bonanza. It's a lot of fun and we always do a fair trade and it's been this way since we became Twitter friends in 2012.

The first part of my mail day are oversized cards. Some of his least favorite types of cards and he knows I am willing to take them off his hands. These are from the National and each are numbered.

Here are a few more oversized cards including Shaq and Aaron

Another one this time with an iconic Finest design

Some box toppers from Heritage

and finally a really cool film swatch card of Shaq. I couldn't say no to a unique card.

Another thing I have learned about Shane in our friendship is he is not a non sports fan. Over the years he has been sorting and sending me all of his. This is a bunch of Allen And Ginter over an amount of years he found recently and sent. Some Sp's in here as well.

Also like I said earlier, he is always on the lookout for my PC. The biggest thing he has helped me with is narrowing down my Griffey needs. Every Wednesday he posts a Cheap Wax Wednesday break, these are box breaks of baseball and football under $50, and always pulls out the Griffeys for me when he pulls them. Pretty cool that I get first dibs.

I like the Lumber Company. Always been a fan of that insert in the 90's.

These Documentary base cards are annoying as anything. The same picture can be found on multiple different documented base cards. Really lame and lazy. That's not something I say too often with Upper Deck products.

There are so many Griffey gaps that even a checklist is a huge gain. I also really dig the Summit product. Not sure why it didn't continue past 1996.

The Fleer Gamers baseball design was one of my favorites of the early-mid 2000's. I also really liked Ovation.

Here's a really cool numbered insert he pulled from his 1996 Summit break called Ball Parks. There weren't many Ball Parks that Griffey couldn't sit on and hit a home run at. I am sure most pitchers see Griffey this size when they faced him at the plate.

This is a parallel from Topps Stars. Any numbered cards I can get knocked off is a big key.

Hologram and Griffey along with a cool Certificate Of Authenticity with his face on it, give me all day long!

Golden Jr! Shane found this at his LCS for me. Very cool!

Then came this oversized numbered Junior I hadn't ever seen before he snagged at a card show for me.

And then this set that included Griffey. I didn't reveal him yet as I plan on this set as a future box break where I will reveal more of the players within.

and to end it, he snagged this off of eBay for me. Great throwback design bat relic.

Now we can move onto some other odds and ends and these aren't even the end of the trade.

Eli refractor and a rookie I didn't have from Press Pass that's a National Trading Cards Day one.

Some odds and ends from the National.

A really cool promo card set from Collectors Edge still sealed.

A Skip Bayless autograph he pulled from Archives. Yes I know the guy is annoying and yes I know I am probably the only person who wants a card like this. But, I enjoy the oddballs.

And to finish up this part of the mail day, he grabbed two really rare Rodney Hampton cards for me.

First is my second plate of him.

Second is this Leaf Signature autograph (which is also oversized if you haven't seen them). It's not the normal version however. This one is the 1st Down Marker parallel that is really tough to find. Only the first 100 cards are stamped with this stamp and are signed in blue ink instead of black. I always loved how Rodney ignored signing the spot he was supposed to and signed his crotch.

And I will say that this wasn't the end of our trade. Being the great dude he is and knowing how bad my budget was, he also helped me grab some boxes when they went on sale for Black Friday and included those in as apart of our trade. It was the only stuff I got to open around Christmas so it meant a lot. I will be posting these breaks as the year goes on.

A big thanks goes out to Shane for the trade. If you guys haven't checked out his Cheap Wax Wednesday segment please do. He is also starting up some new series soon.

I am looking forward to our next big trade but am also looking forward to continuing on our great friendship for years to come.