Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cooperstown Cardboard: My Baseball Hall Of Famer base card collection

As promised here's a look at all of the base cards of Hall Of Fame Baseball players in my star player box. I already used The Script/will.i.am track "Hall Of Fame" in a previous post, so here's some classic Bowie instead:

Or how about some Fall Out Boy? If you follow my personal blog you know I'm a huge FOB fan.

Now let's get to the cards.... I sorted through every baseball card and divided them into three piles: Hall Of Famers, Retired Greats, and Current Stars. I scanned a few of my favorites, starting with the very first card in the box - this 1980 Topps Phil Niekro:

Some assorted early 80's stars, including second year cards of Ripken and Gwynn.

I found these next two cards on COMC, they're from a 1983 Homeplate set called "The Al Kaline Story"

Some cards from 1986, the first year I started collecting. I don't remember where I got the Leaf Molitor - grab bag, maybe?

Rod Carew's 'sunset' card. I must have had a dozen of these as a kid.

I've contemplated starting the 1990 Leaf set; I already have graded RC's of Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa, and Larry Walker - but only a few base cards besides the Ripken and Brett. One day, perhaps.

My brother-in-law asked me to sell his 1991 Conlon Collection set on eBay. Instead I gave him $10 and sold the singles on COMC - but I kept a couple for myself.

I'll spare you the early 90's junk wax you've probably seen in your sleep - and skip ahead to this electric Eddie Murray card:

 I have a Ted Williams card!!! ... of Walter Johnson (or: I have a Walter Johnson card!!!)

Why yes, I have a few Ken Griffey Jr. cards. Not as many as Corky at Pack War... but a few.

 I wish Topps would scrap those High Tek cards and revisit the HD set.

Here's a black and white Babe from Black Diamond:

 And a purple and white Randy Johnson from SP Authentic:

 This is one of my favorites in the stack. Ya gotta love that view of Camden Yards.

 A few HOFers from 2002 Topps Pristine, one of my favorite sets ever:

And a few of my Fleer Greats. I don't love the fact that George Kell gets star treatment in the box while my Roger Maris card sits among the commons... but rules are rules.

There's no disputing The Mick's place in my star box:

 Or Stan The Man:

Or Mr. Cub:

 This Honus Wagner kind of looks like a parallel, but it's a base card... I think.

We'll end this scan-fest with some of my newest additions: 2016 Topps Archives and Bunt:

Here's a complete list of every HOF player in the box, and how many cards I have of that player. I might use this as a checklist at some point, if I ever fully commit to collecting one card of all 217 Major League players in the Hall. (please note: this list does not include inserts, parallels, rookie cards, memorabilia, autographs, graded singles, Red Sox cards, or Robin Yount - another PC collection. I really need to expand my wantlist/current projects page.)

Hank Aaron (5)
Roberto Alomar (9)
Luis Aparicio (1)
Luke Appling (1)
Ernie Banks (3)
Johnny Bench (3)

Craig Biggio (9)
Bert Blyleven (1)

Wade Boggs (6)
George Brett (32)
Lou Brock (1)

Jim Bunning (1)
Rod Carew (2)
Steve Carlton (4)

Gary Carter (4)
Roberto Clemente (1)

Andre Dawson (8)
Dennis Eckersley (8)
ob Feller (3)
Rollie Fingers (1)
Carlton Fisk (7)
Whitey Ford (1)

Lou Gehrig (2)
Bob Gibson (2)
Tom Glavine (9)
Rich Gossage (2)
Ken Griffey, Jr. (42)

Tony Gwynn (15)
Rickey Henderson (6)
Rogers Hornsby (1)
Carl Hubbell (1)
Reggie Jackson (1)
Randy Johnson (21)
Walter Johnson (1)
Al Kaline (4)

George Kell (2)
Harmon Killebrew (1)

Barry Larkin (6)
Tony Lazzeri (1)
Greg Maddux (8)
Mickey Mantle (3)

Juan Marichal (1)
Pedro Martinez (22)  

Eddie Mathews (1)
Willie Mays (4)
Bill Mazeroski (1)
Willie McCovey (2)

Paul Molitor (8)
Eddie Murray (11)
Stan Musial (4)
Phil Niekro (1)
Jim Palmer (3)
Gaylord Perry (1)
Mike Piazza (14)
Kirby Puckett (9)
Cal Ripken, Jr. (26)
Brooks Robinson (5)
Frank Robinson (2)
Jackie Robinson (4)
Babe Ruth (4)
Nolan Ryan (9)
Ryne Sandberg (6)
Ron Santo (1)
Mike Schmidt (10)
Red Schoendienst (1)
Tom Seaver (1)
Al Simmons (1)
Ozzie Smith (7)
John Smoltz (9)
Duke Snider (2)
Warren Spahn (1)
Bruce Sutter (2)
Frank Thomas (16)
Honus Wagner (2)
Dave Winfield (7)
Robin Yount (71 - PC player)

And I just realized something while doing this - I don't have any Hall of Fame managers in the star box. I have HOF head coaches in my football box though.

If you've read this far, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts:  Should I include managers in the box, or keep the "star player" box players only?

In my next post I'll look at the retired stars who are not in the Hall of Fame. Then maybe we'll decide the fate of my Roger Maris card.

What Hall of Fame players do you collect? And how do you store and/or separate your base cards?


Monday, November 28, 2016

Counting Stars (and a surprise mailday)

I had an idea for a series of posts that combine two of my favorite things: cataloging my cards, and discussing star players. But before I start, I have some mailday deliveries to discuss.

A.J. (of the blog The Lost Collector) sent me a dozen Red Sox in exchange for the half dozen Yankees I sent him:

Some nice Nomars and a few SP Prospects I've never seen before.

A Carl Pavano auto, an SI for Kids Ortiz, and a very cool Fisk, plus some 2016 Topps Updates. 

Very cool stuff. Thanks for the trade A.J.!

I also received another package today, a box from Billy Kingsley. I guess this means I'm his Secret Santa. Billy, if you're reading this... should I open the box, or wait until Christmas? 

Thanks in advance. I'm sure I'll be thrilled with my 'present'!

Now.. let's start counting stars.

Don't worry, the music selections will improve

My base card collection is sorted thusly: all PC teams go in shiny, clean binders. This includes Red Sox, Devils, Whalers, Packers, my 700+ card Brett Favre collection, and my wife's 250+ card Brendan Shanahan collection. (Some of my complete/near complete sets are also in binders.) 

All of my commons from 1970-now are in binders as well -- alphabetical by city (Anaheim, Arizona, Atlanta...) then chronological within each team. I try to leave a space or two per team for the inevitable junk wax repacks my in-laws will buy me for Christmas.

All of my base cards of Hall Of Fame players automatically go in my "star player" storage box.

yes, even Larry Murphy

But what about retired stars who are not Hall Of Famers (like Jeremy Roenick, for example). What do I do with them?

I have been sorting this way for about a dozen years, so if a player was a star/superstar during his career then I keep him in the star box regardless of HOF status. Many such players are simply ineligible for various reasons, or they are still on the HOF ballot.

There's some gray area there, which I will get to in my 'active player' post - as in, how do I determine who is a star player? I might need your help with that, if you'd like to share your thoughts.

I'm going to go through the box tonight - starting with baseball - listing each player and counting how many base cards I have of that player (super thick commons from sets like Triple Threads, Exquisite, and The Cup are not included. They take up too much space.)

In my next post I'll have a complete tally of all my Baseball Hall Of Famer base cards. It has been a backburner goal of mine to own one card of each HOF inductee (not counting executives or Negro Leaguers - unless there are affordable cards easily available.)

After that I'll make a similar list for retired players who are not in the Hall, and then the fun will really start when I attempt to tackle active players. I'm already having an internal debate about which current players are worthy of the box, and which players should be demoted to the binders - but I want to hear your thoughts! 

Hope to see you back here tomorrow. This should be fun.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

COMC Black Friday 2016 Part 2: Big Fish on Turkey Day

Before I finish my Turkey day story from the previous post I'm going to skip ahead to today. Please bear with me...

I got my second (and last) eBay payment this morning, and so I added another $25 to the COMC account, mostly because there were lots of low-end cards I was still watching, and because I was about 20 cards short of hitting the magic 100. For every 100 cards you have shipped in a month, COMC rewards you with a $5 cash back/shipping credit. In addition to that, every 20 cards purchased during the Black Friday sale earns a 'scratch-off' card, which may yield even more store credit (I won $10 last year.)

Before I tackled the low-end list I added something to my cart that had been on my watch list for well over a year. Whenever I buy a card I've been watching that long I say to myself/the card "Time to come home." And so it was...

 Dustin Pedroia 2012 Topps Five Star #d/80 ($9.25)

Technically this is a base card, and I loathe spending more than $5 on any base - no matter how shiny or low numbered. But I didn't want to let it sit there for another year. I had to bring it home.

After that, it was back to the bargain bin. Red Sox and Devils were well-represented:

 Grady Sizemore 2014 Topps Chrome Refractor ($0.32)

Grady was one of my favorite players when he starred for the Cleveland Indians about a decade ago. I was happy the Red Sox picked him up in 2014, though he was a shell of his former self and didn't stick with Boston for long.
Rick Porcello 2015 Topps Update Retail Throwback Variation ($0.52)
Dustin Pedroia 2014 Topps Opening Day Stars ($0.82)

Porcello is a Jersey guy and a newly-minted Cy Young award winner. I like Justin Verlander and I would have been fine if he won the award, but the backlash against Porcello/BBWAA voters was ridiculous. Everyone from angry Tigers fans to the sabermetric statheads to Kate Upton need to chill out over this (though Kate's tweet was hilarious!)

Red Sox team 2007 UD Masterpieces Windsor Green Frame ($0.45)

This was a bit of an impulse buy. I prefer team celebration cards that don't have Rudy Guiliani photo-shopped into them.  

It's still early in the 2016-17 hockey card season (Upper Deck still has yet to release last year's The Cup) so there's a very small selection of Devils rookies available - and no Taylor Hall cards yet. I was able to pick up a few cheapies, thanks to ePack:
Adam Henrique 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Retro ($0.33)
& 2015-16 Upper Deck Premier base #d/399 ($0.90)

 Pavel Zacha 2016-17 Upper Deck MVP Silver Script ($0.77)
Adam Henrique 2015-16 Upper Deck MVP Territories ($0.35)

"Rico" isn't a star, but he's a fan favorite in Jersey and his cards are dirt cheap on COMC. I'm not a fan of UD MVP (their green parallels are icky - and the site is flooded with them) but I had to get a Zacha rookie - and an Upper Deck YG hasn't hit the site yet. 

I bought a few random things for under a buck, mostly to get my card count up to 100. These two came with the Henrique OPC Platinum:

Sean Monahan 2015-16 SP Authentic 95-96 SP Retro design ($0.38)
Blake Bortles 2015 Topps Chrome Refractor ($0.42)

Upper Deck's retro designs are some of my favorite inserts, especially the 92-93 Fleer Ultra and 93-94 SP. My meager football collection is very low on Jacksonville Jaguars; the only Bortles I have is a college card from 2014 Upper Deck. I was hoping for a blue refractor (color matches are kind of a side PC of mine) but they were out of my price range.

One more vintage (well, two more...)

Gordon Jones 1959 Topps ($0.72)

This was my cheapest vintage purchase ever on COMC, and the third of three 1959 Topps cards in this batch. Perhaps I should scrap my '56 Topps project and start this instead. I can't possibly collect both sets.

And that was it for the $25, except...

Earlier in the week I was trying to decide between three different cards as my "plan B" after the Jack Eichel Young Guns RC and Ted Williams bat card sold. I had just under $90 to spend on Thanksgiving afternoon, but no "big piece" or "big fish" or whatever you prefer. 

Then, as I sat in my in-laws' den, scrolling through "recently added" cards on my daughter's tablet...this appeared before my eyes:

David Ortiz 2016 Topps The Mint Franchise Autographs Purple #d/50 ($47.50)

If you read my earlier blog post about the David Ortiz patch/auto that got away, you know I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. I tossed it in the cart and bought it faster than you can say "Big Papi". I'm thankful for high-speed internet, good timing, and the seller who posted this gem.

That left me with a little over $40..not quite enough to afford my second and third choice cards. I tried making best offers, but no one would budge. This card was my number two pick:

Mookie Betts 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor #d/250

My $25 offer was rejected, and my $30 offer was countered with an offer of $33.25, a miserly $1.20 off the original (sale) price. I had to sleep on it - which was easy after the turkey dinner. Do I accept the counteroffer, take home the Mookie, and call it a day? Or do I pass (largely on principle) and settle for my #3 pick - or my #4 pick, this 1964 Topps Willie Mays:

I did not buy the Mays. Someone else got a steal at $28.28 (or less) because I swallowed hard and took the Betts. No regrets though.

My third choice was this 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee Jacques Plante:

I had purchased a Bobby Hull PSA 6 from this set earlier this year during COMC's spring cleaning sale, and this Plante would have made a nice bookend. Once I bought the Betts there was no room in the budget for this beauty. 

Until today.

I had about $10 left from the $25 I added to the site this morning, including $0.70 in COMC sales. This afternoon I had a thought: are there any ungraded OPC Plante cards available? 

Indeed there was, and I had just enough in the budget to buy one:

Jacques Plante 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee ($10.02)

This will be my first Plante card; all of his Canadiens cards are way out of my budget. And it capped off an exhausting but ultimately rewarding week of COMC shopping. I might have another purchase or two left in me, depending on how my sales go. But once I reached the 100 card goal I requested shipping on my order. ETA: December 19, which will be cutting it close for my Secret Santa and Wes to receive their cards. 

How was your Black Friday shopping experience? Did you purchase anything on COMC, or another sports card website? Let me know in the comments! 

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 25, 2016

COMC Black Friday 2016 Part 1: Small Potatoes, Giant Stressball

It's been an exhausting week, and I've still got a lot of sports card-related loose ends to tie up before Cyber Monday, but I thought I'd journal my COMC Black Friday experience while there's a break in the action. I mentioned in my last post that I was held up by some bad timing, and as a result I had no store credit in my account as of this past Monday morning. 

I had done my usual research, flipping through pages after pages of cards from dozens of sellers, building a watch list of about 50 cards that I hoped would be on sale when the "doors" opened at Monday at 3am EST...but no idea when the cash would come in.

In past years I always had one or two top priority cards that I focused on, usually priced at $40 or more pre-discount. This year I had focused on a Jack Eichel Upper Deck RC and a Ted Williams bat card. However, because I had yet to sell anything (either on COMC or eBay). I could do nothing but watch as those two cards were scooped up and sold.

Once I had some cash in my account, I realized that I had no real plan 'B'. There were cards that interested me, but nothing I had to have. With the $10 in my account set aside for the Secret Santa pool hosted by Matt (Bob Walk The Plank). I made a few purchases for the blogger I was assigned, and managed to pick up some goodies for Wes (aka Jaybarkerfan) as well.

My first purchase for myself was a four-pack of cards from one awesome seller, which cost less than $5 total:

 Brett Favre 2016 Panini Ceritfied Champions ($1.13)
Alex Ovechkin 15-16 Full Force Draft Board ($1.07)

 Dustin Pedroia 2014 Topps Mini Relics ($1.30)
Cory Schneider 2015-16 UD Black base #d/349 ($1.30)
A few hours later I grabbed another Pedroia jersey, for about the same price as all four cards above:

Dustin Pedroia 2016 Topps Triple Threads Unity Single Jumbo Relic #d/36 ($4.75)

As the cash started to trickle in I still had not found a "big piece" to focus on. There didn't seem to be any $40+ card that appealed to me, and I was starting to get anxious. Nearly all of the cards on my watch list were still available - but I wasn't super excited about any one of them. I scrolled through more pages and outlined a few plan "B" scenarios.

That's when I realized I was taking this far too seriously, and popped some vintage baseball in my cart to de-stress. I've had a good run of success finding high-quality vintage commons on COMC, and picked out a few that might be gradeable:
Tommy Byrne 1952 Bowman ($4.62)

This will be my first St. Louis Browns card. I had pulled a 1956 Topps Tommy Byrne out of the Diamond Dig contest in 2011.. .but I worried that they'd send me something like this, so I traded it for a Josh Hamilton Die-Cut. Whoops. :/

These were all under $2:
 Howie Pollet 1955 Topps ($1.95) & 1956 Topps ($1.78)

No, I'm not starting a Pollet PC.. these are just two of the nicer-looking cards I came across. The bottom card will be a nice addition to my 1956 set, along with a few others I previously purchased. Unfortunately I missed out on a Gene Conley  - it sold for $3.25 while I was asleep.

Rocky Nelson 1959 Topps ($1.13), Joe Pignatano 1959 Topps ($1.14)
Del Crandall 1958 Topps ($1.82)

I was never a fan of the '59 Topps set, until I saw some on COMC a couple years ago that were too clean and too cheap to pass up. Now I have over a dozen, all purchased from COMC and all in remarkably good shape. I hope that's true for these as well.

Throughout the week I struggled with an internal debate about the best way to spend my COMC cash: hold out for a high-end card, or continue making small purchases 2-5 cards at a time? Every time I told myself to wait for a big fish, smaller fish would splash onto my screen:

 This Luis Castillo 3-color patch was $1.75!

And this Nick Foles Jumbo Relic was $1.12!

Plucking all the low-hanging fruit was fun, but I still stressed over my lack of a key card. COMC offers free shipping on orders of 20 cards or more until this Monday, but with the heavy volume of orders they have to ship I had a self-imposed deadline of Friday night (as in, like...now) to complete my order. This was mostly due to the cards for Wes and Secret Santa; I want to be sure they get their stuff from me before Christmas.

Heading into Thanksgiving I had expected that I would add a graded card to my 1956 Topps set for about $30, or a vintage hockey HOFer for $25. Then a well-loved Willie Mays popped up at a deep discount and I was completely confused!

After our turkey dinner I checked new COMC sales hourly, and found one seller with some really nice stuff at 60% off. In one quick purchase I spent over $30 on six cards, then went back for more a minute later. Three cards are still in my port, one will be a gift, and the others are staying in my collection:

Tim Brown 2015 Panini Immaculate Collection Jersey #d/81 ($5.00)
Jackie Bradley, Jr. 2013 Bowman Chrome DPP Blue Refractor ($2.00)

The Tim Brown doesn't really fit a collection need, I'm barely collecting football at this point and almost exclusively Green Bay Packers. But sometimes you see a card that just looks too appealing to pass up. That's the case with this Brown relic. Panini Immaculate are some of the nicest cards I've ever seen; I really wish they made hockey and (licensed) baseball cards.

As for the JBJ blue, you know that's going in my Sox box - along with the Pedroia jerseys and some other new pickups:

David Ross 2014 Topps Update Red Hot Foil ($0.58)
Mookie Betts 2016 Bowman Platinum base ($0.51)

 Wade Boggs 2007 Sweet Spot Classic Jersey ($3.01)

This is one of my favorite sets for affordably-priced legends relics. I have a few in my collection already, and one more on my watch list.

All of these $5 and under purchases left me with less than $90 to spend. That may sound like a lot, but COMC is pretty much the only place I buy cards (except Target, and we'll get to that later). I dont have an LCS to shop at, I haven't been to a card show since before my girls were born, and I don't order hobby boxes anymore (though that will change next year). 

Black Friday is essential to my cardboard collection; it's basically my Christmas morning. Which is why I've been such a stressball all week, looking for the right combination of cards for myself and others.

Thankfully, I did find the "big fish" I had been hunting for all week. What card did I manage to gobble up on Turkey Day? I'll tell you all about it... in part two ;P