Tuesday, August 29, 2017

50/50 Trading - Runnin With the Devils

I have to say I'm surprised at the amount of interest my 50/50 trading offer has received (600+ views?!?). Over the weekend I emptied out my August budget on shipping supplies - and a Blowout Cards order for card storage supplies that may or may not include the Great Trader Prize. Then I got four more requests for trades.

So here's the deal: anyone who requests a 50/50 trade before September 1st is eligible for the Great Trader Prize. I'll try to ship out the second wave of trades this weekend.. and then I need to give my budget a break!

While waiting for my Blowout Cards order I received trade package #2 - from Paul of the blog Card Boarded. Paul claimed a hockey mystery lot - and sent me a huge stack of Devils in return. 

There were 26 Martin Brodeur cards, including these:

Paul sent some cards of other Devils greats, including Scott Stevens:
(Scratch that - there were 26 and a half Brodeur cards)

"A-line" mates Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias:
My wife would leave me for Arnott in a heartbeat. Which is fair; I'd leave her for Taryn Southern :P

Some Hall of Famers, some notorious names in Devils history...and Andy Greene:

If Paul had only sent these, I would be very happy with this 50/50 swap. But just like Giancarlo Stanton, these traders aren't stopping at 50....

Have I mentioned I hoard Peter Worrell cards? Paul sent a page full of Petes my way:

Alexander the Great makes an appearance:

The Arron Asham relic is an Islanders swatch.

In all, there were 71 cards in this package. It's hard to pick my favorites but these two stand out:

Another award for Marty Brodeur...I wonder where he'll put them all?

Thanks for the cards, Paul! That was one hell of a haul :D


Monday, August 28, 2017

A pretty little PWE from the custom card king

A couple weeks ago, I reached out to Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown about an A&G card he offered up for trade. We worked out a deal and he included some extras in a PWE:

Four Xanders, a pair of Betts, and the aforementioned Dustin Pedroia Ginter card. 

But this envelope wasn't all Red Sox:


Hello ladies! Gavin sent some gorgeous girls my way, including a custom "Pretty Girls" mini of Taylor Swift. Very nice! One day I'll get Gavin to cook me up a couple more customs like these...

The Ted Williams Navy mini is also very cool, and the Eric Hosmer Heritage was a need. According to his Player's Weekend jersey, Hosmer's nickname is "Papo", so a 'Pop Out' seems appropriate.

Thanks for the trade Gavin!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

50/50 swap - Brian delivers in the leadoff spot

I've had kind of a rough day today. Nothing went right for me. Not gonna bore you all with the details. But when I got home and I saw a bubble mailer sticking out of my mailbox I had a feeling my luck was going to change. Who's getting this 50/50 swap started? I wondered as I approached the mailbox. Why it's Brian of the blog Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary

Brian claimed my stack of 50 Minnesota Twins, and I hope I sent him some decent ones because this was one heck of a return package!

I honestly did not know what to expect in return for these 50 card lots of mostly base cards with a few inserts/parallels/RCs tossed in. And I made it clear that all I was asking for in return was 50 cards. Any 50 cards. Surprise me. Offload your dupes, your junk, your least favorite teams/players. 

Or you could hit me with one of these:

Mmm...Fenway Franks! I think Brian busted open a set for that Scott Cooper.

I'm too broke to buy my own Stadium Club cards, so this is a huge help. Now I just need to get my hands on the Tim Raines and Billy Hamilton cards!

My first Steven Wright card. I'm so excited. (btw: the comedian Steven Wright is a Red Sox fan.)

Vintage Yaz and modern Yaz in a vintage design.

That's Mo Vaughn next to Big Papi's "God Doubles" card. Did Brian send this Brian Johnson because he saw my Brian Johnson blog post?

Some Packers arrived from Viking country. I've got about 2,000 Packers cards - nearly all of them from the 1990's - but I have never even seen these Playoff SB XXXI cards before.

Well, that's 51 cards. All from teams I collect. Can't ask for anything more than that.

What's that? There's more?

Yep. Brian sent 57 cards - including 3 more Packers I didn't scan...and these guys:

Boom! A Dustin Pedroia relic, a low-numbered Teddy ballgame, and a notable Marty Brodeur limited to 100 copies. These three alone were more than fair considering what I sent. Thank you very much Brian, that was a pleasant surprise! 

I'm shipping out one last batch of 50/50 lots this weekend - so if anyone reading this is interested, claim one now. This is the last time I'll mention it, but I'm open to trading with anyone at any time. 

Also, I've got a couple great gift ideas for the most generous trader in the 50/50 swap. Once all the trades are in I'll announce a winner. Brian has set the bar high - can anyone clear it? 


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Obscure and Unintentional PC: Trevor Williams

All my 50/50 trade packages (and a PWE to Gavin) have been mailed out. If you'd like a tracking number, e-mail me. If anyone is still interested in a 50/50 swap, I have two more bubble mailers left. They're large mailers so I could probably send two lots in one. Just sayin'.

~~~~    ~~~~    ~~~~    ~~~~

If any of you have perused my wantlist you may have noticed two lesser-known players I collect: Peter Worrell (I swear I'll discuss him one day) and Trevor Williams. Worrell played for a local AHL team, and I've hoarded his cards since I was a teenager. My Williams collection started sorta by accident...

The first year I began shopping on COMC was 2014 (I discovered the site while searching for rare Peter Worrell cards.) Back then they did a Spring Cleaning promotion, a Black Friday promotion and a Boxing Day promotion. It was during that week(end?) that I spotted this low-numbered purple prospect card:

Trevor Williams 2013 Bowman Draft Purple Ice #d/10 ($9.85)

At the time I was picking up cheap prospect cards (I bought an Aaron Judge mini for $0.63. Wish I kept it.) Some quick research on Williams gave me the impression that he was a prospect with some upside, possibly a future #2 or #3 starter. Before the promotion ended I found another cool card:

Trevor Williams 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Orange Refractor #d/25 ($9.25)

I'm a sucker for color-matching refractors, and if I had found this one first I probably would not have purchased the purple parallel. But, because I was already invested in this mid-tier Marlins prospect I decided to see what else was out there. 

COMC had dozens of Williams autographed cards listed dirt cheap. Base autos were $1-2, and refractor autos were under $3....

...and base prospect cards were $0.35 or less. Refractors were about $0.50.

By the time my order arrived I had 25 Trevor Williams cards (I've sold a few since.) I hadn't even realized it, but I was "prospecting" the 5th-ranked prospect in the Marlins organization. Williams was not a Top-100 blue chipper so I knew he had a low ceiling - but he had good control, and the Fish didn't have a whole lot of starters behind Jose Fernandez.

After the 2015 season, Williams was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates - for a "special assistant". I had checked MILB.com periodically to see how Williams was doing in the minors, and even though he wasn't going deep into ballgames he seemed to be progressing well enough to reach the show. 

The Bucs gave Williams a cup of coffee in September and he struggled as a rookie reliever. I did not expect him to be in the Pirates' plans for 2017, and I wondered what to do with all those Trevor Williams prospect cards. But Trevor did make the Bucs' rotation out of spring training, and has stayed there ever since. He's been... serviceable. Not spectacular, but not awful, either.

I had sort of forgotten about him for the first half of the season, and it seemed like every highlight I saw of his starts were highlights for the opposing lineup. But the more I read about this kid, the more I liked him and rooted for him. Here's a heart-warming story about his first MLB win (in 2016) and here's a story about his experience in the Little League classic. That last one inspired me to write this blog post; who knew Pittsburgh's fifth starter was a "Twitter icon?"? 

So yeah, I guess I've become a fan and collector of T-Will...even though I haven't bought any of his cards in at least two years. That might be because he hasn't had any new cards since his trade to the 'Burgh. 

For someone who grew up with 792-card sets and (at least) three different brands, it strikes me as odd that many of today's major leaguers have more cards before they make the majors than after. Trevor Williams isn't a big name, but he is a big-leaguer. Hopefully Topps will include him in Heritage high numbers or some other late-season release so I can add something new to my initially unintentional but now intentional PC.

Are there any major league players you follow who have yet to be included in cardboard?


Thursday, August 17, 2017

JBF BFG prize & my COMC find of the month

Just a note: I'm going to keep pimping the 50/50 Trading Post until the end of August. There are still some great team lots available - Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Pirates, and all of the mystery lots. The first batch is being shipped out tomorrow, so claim one today!

Also, I'm awarding a special prize to the trader who sends the best return lot - as a nod to the always generous Wes (aka JayBarkerFan) who flagged me down on my other blog and offered to send me something. I had completely forgotten about his Big Fun Game.

Wes sent some Sox:

I saw a lot of oddball-ish stuff in the late 1980's but I dont remember those yellow-bordered Super Star cards. The Jim Rice '77 is a cloth sticker from 2012.

Moo-kie! I dig that pale blue background on the Bowman Platinum card. The "What A Day" inserts are neat; I just reached out to another blogger about the Dustin Pedroia... cant remember who it was though!

These appeared to be extra goodies Wes included with my BFG prize..

..a second year Reggie Jackson card:

That explains why I forgot all about the Big Fun Game - my Pop passed away on 6/17. 

Wes, thank you for your generosity! If I had any Josh Willingham hits for you I'd send 'em your way. Perhaps I'll go hunting for some on COMC....

I'm thinking of starting a new monthly feature on my blog called 'COMC find of the month', or something similar. August isn't over yet, but I think I've already got one...

Last week I racked up a bunch of COMC challenge credit and decided to take a couple days off for my birthday - because sometimes I feel guilty about ignoring the family for three hours so I can make $3. I bought a bunch of 30 cent cards from 2016-17 OPC Platinum (thanks, ePack!) and decided to focus on bigger fish when I resumed COMC "work" this week. But every time I tried to get in, the challenge page was closed. 

I had hoped to save up enough credit to purchase something I very rarely consider - a non-sports, non-GPK card. One seller posted a 75% off sale and had some Castle cards that caught my eye:

I love gingers. And if you've ever seen Castle you probably thought Richard's daughter Alexis was either adorable or annoying. I happen to think that Molly Quinn is a cutie.

These relics were $6.50 and $9.25, respectively. But I was unable to earn enough COMC credit to buy either one - and they both sold sometime on Tuesday. Can't say I was surprised; there's only one other wardrobe relic left on the site. Non-sports stuff goes fast I guess.

So If I was unable to snatch up a piece of Molly Quinn's clothing then what was my big "COMC catch"? 

Late Tuesday night, just as I was about to turn off my computer and go to sleep, I saw a low-numbered parallel pop up on the hockey page.

The seller wanted $1.24 ..and I only had a dollar. Noooo! This was shaping up to be a crappy COMC day. I really did not want to lose out on this card, but COMC challenges were closed and it was late. As a shot-in-the-dark I tried to make a best offer of $1.00. The seller didn't auto accept or auto reject, so I had to wait for their response.

The only way I could make another quarter was to sell one of my cheap cards at a loss and hope this low-numbered parallel wouldn't be gone by the time it sold. I put an Alex Ovechkin insert out there at $0.26 and hoped for the best.

But before my Ovie was practially given away.. the seller accepted my offer! I immediately pulled back the Ovechkin card and pumped my fist at managing to keep both this card...

 Alex Ovechkin 2016-17 Upper Deck Don't Feed The Goalie ($0.28)

..and this card:

Kyle Baun 2015-16 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Retro Red Rainbow #d/15 ($1.00)

That's right, this red rainbow Blackhawk is numbered to just 15, and it only cost a buck! I'd say that makes up for missing out on Molly, wouldn't you?

I've found a lot of great cards for my OPC Platinum Retro Franken-set on COMC, but this might be the best get yet. I never would have expected to add a Red Rainbow parallel; the cheapest one on the site is Steve Mason at $11.50.

Many thanks to that seller, for accepting my Hail Mary offer, and thanks again to Wes for the Reggie and the Red Sox!


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Target story, and a Penguin repack

Earlier today I went to Target to pick up a card for my nephew, and some bubble mailers to ship out the first wave of 50/50 trades. (If you missed that post and you'd like to claim a team/random lot, click here. Plenty of great lots still available!)

Naturally, I decided to stop by the sports card aisle and see what was on the shelves. About a minute after I got there, two boys entered the aisle and started picking through the packs. I grabbed a repack box, squeezed past them, and finished my shopping. When I arrived at the checkout lines I spotted a woman who appeared to be finished - but she wasn't leaving. She was waiting (and shouting) for her boys to finish picking out baseball cards.

While I stood behind her, seeing my younger self in these boys, their mom instructed them to hurry up and pick five "packets" because "this gentleman" is waiting. But this gentleman indicated the repack box on the conveyor belt and told her "It's ok. I collect, too."  

When the boys returned to their very attractive mom, I laughed at what was in one boy's hand. A blaster box ..and some packs "I told you to get five. Did you get five? What is this? Football? I thought you were getting baseball. Okay, fine. But you're getting in line and buying that with your own money. No, don't hand her the money like that. Unfold it first. Lord, give me the strength...."

I hope they got better cards in their "packets" than I did in my repack. 

Target didn't have any $12 or $20 baseball repacks (there were lots of football and hockey though) so I had to settle for the $8 repack - 4 packs plus 50 loose cards:

Not gonna show you what I got in these cause some of the cards might end up in 50/50 trades. Also, there wasn't anything worth showing. Trust me.

Okay, here's a few scans:

Told you there wasn't anything great in these packs. The 50 loose cards were even worse:

Sooo much junk wax. Why do I buy these repacks anyway?

Because they're fun. It would be nice if there wasn't sooo much 1989 Topps and 1988 Donruss in there, but there were a few hidden gems:

The Penguin! I hear he's popular 'round the blogosphere. My father in law told me that when he was buying boxes of 1989 Topps with his youngest son (the one who bought me three cards for my Bday) the last card they needed was Bill Bene. For some reason, thy couldn't find that card anywhere - until they found a few in their LCS and bought 'em all. 

The Canseco is an O-Pee-Chee, and there were two others in the stack. I dont think I've ever seen 1992 OPC baseball before. The gold Glenallen Hill was the only insert in there, and the Barberie makes me wish I had stayed on mission and bought a box of 1993 Upper Deck for my birthday. Those cards are so cool, especially the Marlins and Rockies.

Speaking of birthday purchases, one of the things I bought was a set of 15 giant Garbage Pail Kids cards. I took out five I wanted to keep and I'm giving the other ten to my nephew. He's had a tough time lately, going through a divorce and fighting for custody of his infant daughter. Since we grew up on GPKs I thought that these might cheer him up, and remind him of his childhood:

Maybe that's why repacks are more appealing to me than a hanger pack of Allen & Ginter. Those old junk wax cards take me back to when I was a young lad, grabbing more packs than my mom agreed to, and handing over my scrunched-up bills to buy baseball cards.. or football cards.. or Garbage Pail Kids. Or all three :-)


Sunday, August 13, 2017

50/50 Trading Post

I have surplus duplicates of several different sets, which I had hoped to offload in trades.. but it's a longshot that anyone would need these cards as set fillers.

Then I had a thought... everyone enjoys a good blind trade, right? Well, what if I offered 50 card lots for you guys to claim - most of them divided by team, with a few set/random lots thrown together for funsies. I'll make sure to pack each lot with star base, and some inserts/parallels/rookie cards - perhaps even a relic if possible.

In return, all I ask is that you send me 50 cards. Of anything. You don't have to tell me what you're sending, and you don't have to hit any of my wantlists (though that would certainly be appreciated!) Just send me anything that doesn't fit your collection, and I'll do my best to send you something that does. 50 for 50. Does that sound like fun to anyone?

If you'd like a lot, leave a comment with the lot of your choice, and then drop me a quick e-mail (sutherlandct @ gmail .com) with your address. Here are the available lots:
  1. Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Atlanta Braves -- Brian (Captain Canuck)
  3. Baltimore Orioles
  4. Boston Red Sox  -- EP (Old Red Sox Cards)
  5. Chicago Cubs
  6. Chicago White Sox
  7. Cincinnati Reds
  8. Cleveland Indians -- TSHenson
  9. Colorado Rockies -- Adam (Infield Fly Rule)
  10. Detroit Tigers -- Julie (A Cracked Bat)
  11. Houston Astros -- Julie and Will
  12. Kansas City Royals
  13. L.A./Anaheim Angels
  14. Los Angeles Dodgers -- Jim (Garvey Cey Russell Lopes)
  15. Miami/Florida Marlins
  16. Milwaukee Brewers
  17. Minnesota Twins -- Brian (Subjective & Arbitrary)
  18. New York Mets -- Brett Alan
  19. New York Yankees
  20. Oakland Athletics
  21. Philadelphia Phillies
  22. Pittsburgh Pirates
  23. St. Louis Cardinals
  24. San Diego Padres
  25. San Francisco Giants
  26. Seattle Mariners
  27. Tampa Bay Rays/Devil Rays
  28. Texas Rangers
  29. Toronto Blue Jays -- Mike Matson (Not Another BCB)
  30. 1993 Fleer Ultra Baseball (Series 1)
  31. 1994 Fleer Flair Baseball (Series 2)
  32. 1997 Topps Finest Baseball
  33. 2015 Topps Baseball (Series 1) -- Mike Matson (Not Another BCB)
  34. 2017 Topps Heritage Baseball
  35. *Baseball mystery lot #1*
  36. *Baseball mystery lot #2*
  37. 1992 Fleer Ultra Football
  38. *Football mystery lot* 
  39. 1989-90 NBA Hoops 
  40. *Basketball mystery lot* -- Douglas Corti
  41. 2013-14 Score Hockey 
  42. *Hockey mystery lot #1* -- Brad (Coast To Posts)
  43. *Hockey mystery lot #2* -- Paul (Card Boarded)

I'll keep this post up until the end of the month, and update as lots are claimed. 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

23 Years Ago...

1994 was a terrible year. Kurt Cobain committed suicide, O.J. Simpson rode his white Ford Bronco into infamy, and the threat of a players' strike cast a dark cloud over an otherwise exciting baseball season.  

I was nearing the end of my summer vacation between 7th and 8th grade, so I probably woke up at about 10am on the morning of August 12. Back then I was such a sports fanatic that my morning ritual involved watching SportsCenter and reading the sports page - often at the same time. 

When I came downstairs that morning my mom handed me breakfast and the newspaper. "Happy birthday." 

"Thanks, Mom." I knew what would be in the sports page before I even opened it. And I assumed it would be on the front page as well. "Is baseball on strike?"


I don't know what happened to me personally, or what gifts I received, but I will never forget my 14th birthday. (And neither will baseball fans in Montreal.)

Even though the 1994 baseball season was incomplete, there were still some great baseball cards released that year. One year after Upper Deck debuted SP and their condition-sensitive Foil rookies, the brand returned in '94 and featured the top rookie card of Seattle Mariners phenom Alex Rodriguez:

The possibility of pulling one of A-Rod's other rookie cards was one reason why I added a box of 1994 Flair Series 2 to my eBay bDay order. 

It's a good thing I managed to pull the Rodriguez rookie, because the collation of this box was turrible. 

Series 2 is a 200-card set. There were 24 packs in the box, and 10 cards per pack. I wasn't expecting to complete the set, but I did think it was possible.  

I'm missing 58 cards. Fifty-eight! I'm not even going to bother with the set now. 

There were obviously a lot of duplicates...and triplicates...and...

Say hello to four Jim Abbotts, four Mariano Duncans, and four Bernard Gilkeys.  


To put that in context, there were three Chicago Cubs in the entire box. And here they are:

At least I've got plenty of base to trade! 

One thing that appealed to me about this box was the inserts, specifically the Hot Gloves. There were three types in '94 Flair, with odds ranging from 1:7 packs to 1:21 packs - though Fleer did not specify which would be the tougher pull.

I pulled three Wave of The Future inserts:

No future stars there, though Jon Lieber did win 20 games once #winsstillmatter

If I remember correctly, William VanLandingham had the longest name in baseball history.. at least until Jarrod Saltalamacchia came along. 

And I pulled three Infield Power inserts:

It makes sense that they'd all be first basemen. Although...Ryne Sandberg? Cal Ripken?

Upon further research, Ryno had his worst season in '94, and retired (temporarily) before the strike. Ripken is in the set, along with two catchers - Mike Piazza and Darren Daulton (RIP, Dutch) and Matt Williams, who was on pace to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record on this day 23 years ago.

Finally, here are my Hot Glove inserts:

That's right... I didn't pull any Hot Gloves.

Just like the 1994 player's strike. (okay, maybe not that bad!)

What do you remember about the day that baseball's worst work stoppage began?