Friday, February 26, 2021


 My All-Time Teams collection got a little upgrade. Or should I say U-P-G-R-A-Y-E-D-D

I filled a couple holes in the binder at BaseballCardStore:

Diamondbacks are done 😎 I have this card in my 2019 Topps set and I'm still looking for a Topps Attax single. But this was too common (and cheap) to pass up as a placeholder.

I tricked myself into thinking I had an Alan Ashby Astros card. It was only when I put my All-Time Teams collection in binders and checked them against my rosters that I realized the Ashby in question was a Blue Jay. Solved that problem by picking up this color-matching 1988 Donruss Baseball's Best single. These are so much nicer than that year's base set.

All of my Mike Timlin cards are from his years with the Red Sox (or they're in complete sets.) I've been trying to pick up a non-Sox card for the Barnstormers page and settled on this 1992 O-Pee-Chee single. It's a little bit off-center, and I know I can find a nicer one, but this will do for now. Lefty O'Doul is another Barnstormer that somehow eluded me. Trading Card Database states that O'Doul was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002 but Ozzie Smith was the only inductee that year.

Since I've started to hit a wall with certain players - and managers - I decided to look for upgrades to the existing cards in my binder. The new cards from BBCS are on the left. I'd be interested to know if any of you prefer the "original" cards on the right.

The 1994 Fleer Hoiles card has a scratch across the front so that one had to be discarded regardless. Newhouser was elected to the Hall of Fame the year this Conlon card was released. I know I can find a better Greenberg but I like the Great Story on the back.

The Bagwell Homerun Heroes insert was an unexpected upgrade; it was in one of the mystery packs I bought from BaseballCardStore. The Scott checklist is more colorful but he had such a dominant season in '86 that I wanted something from that season. Plus his name is on the front of this one.

I effed up here and put the new cards on the right. Someday I'll find a more interesting Frank White card than these overproduction-era singles. There are so many options to upgrade my 1990 Fleer card that I picked two - and I still think I can do better. Both the Weavers (Prizm and '87 mini) were pulled from the mystery packs. I might use one of these for that reason alone.

I bought a bunch of 1990 Leaf singles on the site, mostly just to have them in my collection. I'm not even sure I'll put the Saberhagen in the binder; the '91 Score Sabes is one of my favorites from that set. Betances is one of four roster moves I made this off-season; I upgraded right away with a 2014 Topps Update issue. Scott Kazmir is back, you guys! Lefties never die. I'm a sucker for 2006 Ovation singles.

Much like Mike Timlin, all of my Jeff Russell cards were Red Sox issues - except this plain 1990 Fleer single. I did the best I could but Russell's mainstream issues are pretty bland. However his Mother's Cookies cards are very, very cool (or hot, in this case). I actually prefer the 1988 Topps Stieb and there aren't many singles from '88 Topps in my binder, but it's nice to have the '90 Leaf anyway.

Some upgrades for my recently-completed Marlins team set. I never liked the Topps Stars set so any (other) Alfonseca would have been welcome. I probably didn't need another Nen but 1994 Leaf brings a little more color to the binder than the Upper Deck card. The UD Encore Wilson single was included in one of the mystery packs...


..same for this Bill Terry Panini Classics insert. The Jeffress and Abreu cards were hand-picked upgrades. 

I'll show off some NHL All-Time Teams purchases in my next post. Not going to do a binder for those.. yet. 😏

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 25, 2021


Panini Prizm singles are one of my go-to searches on BaseballCardStore. I used to hoard as many as I could find in card show dime boxes but the last time I attended the Milford show they had been mostly picked clean. The online dime box still has plenty of Prizm, though the big names get scooped up fast. 


This Devan Dubnyk from 2013-14 is one of about a dozen Prizm cards I picked up in my latest order. 

I actually had a dream the other night that Dubnyk was drafted by the Seattle Kraken. Well, I have to assume it was Seattle - there were no logos or anything. It was just a tall man in a suit jacket and tan pants (he looked too young to be Ron Francis) standing behind a card table in a banquet room. There was a large notebook on the table, about the size of a guestbook. The nameless GM paced a bit behind the table saying "Now all we need is a goalie." (*btw, expansion teams always pick goalies first - not last.) 

He scribbled in the book as he said "Dubnyk" and I groaned from the other side of the table "Oh, come on!" like I was upset we 'lost' Devan - though I can't be sure if I was a fellow GM or a fan. 

As Shoebox Shane mentioned on his blog, this was the only proper Prizm set issued for the NHL. O-Pee-Chee Platinum has filled the void, and I pick up singles of those whenever I can, too: 

The Baseball Card Store is based in Canada - and flippers often lay off of hockey cards - so their inventory is especially abundant. I only picked up a half-dozen this time because I've bought so many hockey singles in the past that my boxes are overflowing. No parallels here, though I can get those on COMC fairly cheaply - if I ever order from them again. 

I'm currently working on two Prizm set builds - 2014-15 basketball and 2015 football. I'm six cards away from finishing the NBA set - but three of those are high-end RCs including Joel Embiid. Not sure if I should keep trying to finish that set, the Embiid might out of my budget. 

The 2015 Prizm football set doesn't have any high-end RCs to worry about, but I've got less than a third of the set and BBCS doesn't have any (more) singles I need. That didn't stop me from picking up some Prizm football: 

No big names but some above-average players - and a Packer is always a nice find. Delanie Walker shares my birthday.

If you can't see the names they are: Jameis Winston, Gerald McCoy, Duke Johnson, Andy Dalton, Danny Woodhead, and Martellus Bennett.

I'll pick up Donruss Optic cards for a dime, too. (The last two 2017 Prizms are Jadeveon Clowney and Tom Savage.) Sometimes I'll pick up Optic baseball even though they're unlicensed but I don't usually seek out any Prizm baseball singles. 

That said, I have been hoarding 2018 Topps Chrome cards ever since I bought a megabox at Wal-Mart.

These seven singles bring my total to 65 out of the 200-card set. No big names here either but rookies are always good; they're tougher to trade for. I filled out this scan with a Kevin Russo X-fractor from one of the mystery repacks I purchased from BaseballCardStore. 


Are you working on any Chrome or Prizm set builds?

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Completely Arbitrary Repack

This past Saturday I received a surprise package from Brian, author of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.  Apparently I'd won a contest at the end of 2019 by correctly guessing Brian would choose 1974 Topps as his next setbuild. My prize for winning this completely arbitrary contest was a repack box with a 1974 Topps Cecil Cooper showing: 

If I ever went anywhere interesting this would make a great wallet card.

This custom-made repack was loaded with Red Sox - and there was more than one hit included:

The Bernie Carbo autograph (in the '74 Topps design) is my favorite here.

More shiny. The Aurora insert is really nice. I'm interested to see where JBJ will sign - and when.

Lots of guys who aren't Red Sox anymore. I think Benintendi will break out in Kansas City.

Some Packers oddballls and a Ted Williams stamp. It's not every day that I add a new Packer to my collection but this is definitely my first card of Emmitt's brother Emory Smith (he's not even listed on Pro Football Reference) The Ken Ellis is a Wonder Bread issue, and the David Whitehurst comes with a COA. As promised, the repack came with a sealed pack - BBM Diamond Heroes. I haven't opened it yet. 

Brian, thanks again for the surprise repack!


About ten days ago I placed an order on the Beckett Marketplace. I was on the hunt for some missing All-Time Teams players and found a seller who offered free shipping with just a $12 purchase. I filled my cart with 17 cards totaling $22.60 - a third of that ($7.50) was for a 1969 Topps Reggie Smith single listed as "Near Mint-Mint" - and placed my order. Usually I get an email within a day or two if any cards were out of stock - which was apparently an issue with other collectors who bought from Mac's Collectibles. 

I didn't get an email that anything was out of stock, and I didn't get an email that my order had shipped. A week after placing the order I emailed Mac's and asked them for an update. I got no response. Today the entire $22.60 was refunded without an explanation. Just an FYI for those of you who shop on the Marketplace - unless you're buying from Burbank or 7th Inning Stretch, proceed with caution. 

Guess I'll have to fill those All-Time Teams needs through TCDB trades...

Thanks for reading!


Monday, February 22, 2021

They're gonna eat the mystery pack! Even dad won't eat the mystery pack. These guys are cool!

My order from the Baseball Card Store arrived today - a day early I might add. Last time I ordered from there Stephen & co. included an extra mystery pack. This time I got a Martin Brodeur bonus:

This is what everyone's yard looks like right now. (Well, maybe not Fuji's) Oh, and this card is numbered to 999.

I did not pick out any basketball singles but I grabbed one mystery pack just for fun. Here's what a dollar gets you on

I have to assume that even the most overproduced MJ card would sell for a dollar by itself. Anything else in this pack would be a bonus.

Three Kings including a cool team card, a Nuggets logo card (love it), a parallel, and a Hall of Famer. I actually thought the Bill Walton was unlicensed at first because I didn't see any team name above his number. Then I saw the Laker and scratched my head for a second before noticing the 'blazers' wordmark along the side of Walton's jersey. Vertical lettering never made any sense to me.

One third of a card fell out of the repack, and it's a pretty good one. Walter Davis was once attached to this card with East All-Star(??) George Gervin, but it's almost as cool without the Iceman. The prize for me is the Isiah Thomas All-Star sticker, which is a nice upgrade from the one I got in a TCDB trade.

I'm probably going to get a half-dozen posts out of this order, but first I have to catch up on some other arrivals. If you haven't bought from BaseballCardStore I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading!

p.s. Did any of you follow Allie Brosh's blog Hyperbole and a Half? Or Brandon and Bryan at A Beer for The Shower? Those were among the first blogs I ever followed. Wonder what happened to them..



Saturday, February 20, 2021

Reader Ken Strikes Again

Two months ago friend of the blog Ken jumped into my NFL week swap meet, sending a box of over 400 football cards that pushed me past 10,000 total.

In my last post I stated a new goal to complete each Topps flagship baseball set from the 2010s and he chipped in again - this time sending two boxes of 2013 baseball cards that pushed me over 30,000 total for that sport!

Before Ken's box arrived I had 156 of the 660 cards in the base flagship set. There were 205 cards from 2013 Topps included in Ken's box. Will I get to 50% of the set?

Not quite but Ken doubled my total, which is awesome. But wait! There's more!

I wasn't planning on building the 2013 Topps Update set, as I only had 13 of the 330 cards. Until now. With Ken's contribution of 190 new cards I'm at 61.5% completion of the update set. Hmm..

But wait! There's more!

16 inserts were inserted, mostly Chasing History. Lots of big names here. But wait! There's more!

The second box contained 2013 Bowman cards - another nice surprise. Ken, thanks again for all the great cards!


Two packages arrived in today's mail - a stuffed bubble mailer from Brian (which I will get to later in the week) and a small trade from TCDB user clay. I offered up sixteen Steelers cards and got these in return:

Six cards from '16 Donruss football. I'm down to just 36 needs for this 400-card set but only five away from completing the non-rookie chunk of the set (the first 300 cards).

Some Stillers from the Stillers fan. I now have 93 of the 300 cards from 2015 Panini Prizm, with one more on the way in a separate TCDB trade. Speaking of Yinzers, do any of you watch U-Tree on YouTube?

Lots of good stuff here including Kelsey Cook, the last of the three A & G cards on my wantlist. Nolan Ryan completes my 2011 Topps Lineage set build! Jeter was a big name I needed for 2014 Topps. This Eric Dickerson sunset card could be used for a future post on The 1993 (not that anyone would notice)  The 2013 Prizm Clay - from clay - leaves me just two rookies short of completing the Packers team set. Finally a Marino Mosaic to go with the fat pack I bought earlier this winter. And while we're at it..

This misnumbered stadium card from 1993 Triple Play completes my Marlins All-Time Team. I've been working hard at completing this frankenset and there are lots of new additions on the way from baseballcardstore (which has shipped) and Beckett (which hasn't - and the seller's feedback has me worried.)  The All-Time Teams wantlist has been updated and you may have noticed a new name or two. I've found some "missing" players and I made some roster moves. Perhaps I'll discuss them if anyone is interested.

Thanks for reading!




Tuesday, February 9, 2021

What's Next?

I helped myself to some hockey cards as a reward for finishing the All-Time Teams series. These are the first cards I scanned with the scanner I got for Christmas:

I'd found a seller with two 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee cards I needed and a ton of older hockey cards in high grade. The only one that fit my collection was this Serge Savard single from 1970-71 OPC:

After some back-and-forth negotiating through eBay Best Offers I added this to my 1970s Canadiens collection for $34.20. More than I wanted to spend, but at least the shipping was free.

If this sounds like a lot to spend on such a card (especially in NM 7) it probably is. I'm still having trouble grappling with the sale prices of high-grade singles these days; I knew they'd appreciate in value but it's happened a decade ahead of schedule. For instance, here is the oldest Wayne Gretzky card I own:

This was scanned on my old machine. Can you see the difference?

I spotted this Gretzky at a card shop/batting cage nearby that I used to frequent before my girls were born. It was ungraded, in a top loader, displayed in a showcase with a handful of other hockey cards. I asked the shopkeep how much he wanted for the card and I think he said $20. I examined it in my hand, noted the tiny imperfection on the left edge.. and bought it anyway. Then I sent it to PSA in my next submission, where it returned a Mint 9 as you can see. For years I had a nice $30-50 card on my hands.

Look at what this single sells for now. Whoaaa baby!

Here are a couple cards from my first 4 Sharp Corners order in November 2013:


I was on a bit of a mission to collect great players' rookie cards in high grade - and 4 Sharp Corners had loads of 'em at the time. This Greg Maddux Fleer Glossy XRC cost $41.27 then. It sells for $200-300 today.

As for the Jagr.. I purchased that card mainly because he was playing for the Devils in 2013. It was a card that I'd seen quite a few times ungraded, despite it being less common than his Score or Upper Deck RCs. This one set me back $34.39. Fuji clued me in to what these sell for now. Good lord, that's just mind-boggling! 

I never bought these cards to flip for a profit - at least not this quickly - but I'm sitting on enough cards that are suddenly selling for triple digits (or more) that I am seriously considering a Shoebox Legends-style sell-off.

There are so many important things I could do with a sudden influx of cash - invest it, save it for home repairs, or a new house, or the girls' college fund. Or I could finish my 1956 Topps set and then sell that in a few years (or not.)  

One more on the way..

My latest purchases are not going to appreciate in value. The 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee set is a money pit, something I'm working on bit by bit just as a challenge. Savard and the Habs project are one of a handful of half-finished mini-sets I'm chipping at slowly, like the 1961 Golden Press set or 1964 Topps Giants. 

The hobby is getting harder to enjoy. Sports in general are harder to enjoy, and after last year I've learned to live without them. Too many ads in NHL games. Too many super-teams in the NBA. Too many rule changes in the MLB. And until Tom Brady retires or dies (whichever comes first) I won't be able to truly enjoy the NFL again. 

New cards don't excite me anymore. The prices have skyrocketed, the flippers hoard everything that was previously affordable, and the monopolies have produced more cards with far less effort and attention to detail. I don't see myself collecting future releases much, if at all. Instead, I'm going back.

Aside from the vintage/graded projects previously mentioned I plan to complete the run of 2010s Topps baseball sets. I've got a factory set of 2011, and hand-collated sets of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. That leaves 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014. None of these are particularly exciting- though I kinda like '13. But it gives me something to trade for since I've still got hundreds of 2017, 2018, and 2019 Topps dupes.


If anyone has piles of these cards taking up space let me know and I'll be happy to make a deal.

As for what's next here.. I'm not sure. I have an order on the way from that I'll discuss when it arrives - though that might not be until March considering the weather and the post office. I do have an idea for The 1993 though. It's not in my nature to fish for followers, but.. if I can get 25 readers over there, I will reward you with a list of my 93 favorite cards of 1993 - across all sports.

It won't be as insightful as Night Owl's Countdown of 1980s cards but I think it will be fun. Until then...

Thanks for reading!