Wow. Pay homage to this at Coco Crisp’s Afro. Seriously, the A’s cards in 2014 Topps stand out for interesting photos.


Starling Marte

A long, long time ago, I said I’d post my Starling Marte PC when I got to 50 cards. Number 50 and 51 arrived in the mail today, so here they are, all 50, plus 1.

More are always welcome!






And we’re back.

2013 was a bad year. Which is now over. The end.

2014 is full of new adventures, including a new house, which now contains my whole collection of everything, but most significantly for this blog, my baseball cards. That collection grew today, for I have purchased my first jumbo box of Topps, ever! I loved it, I want another. As usual, all I went to the card shop for was boxes and toploaders.

First pack gave me the Verlander Class Ring card, which I am assuming counts as 1 of the 2 relic cards. The lone Starling Marte was the base card, so the chase begins for the 380 parallels and inserts and printing plates and et cetera. I also got a Justin Upton, which is just what I do. Mark DeRosa singlehandedly is going to undo years of coaching the boys to “keep their eye on the ball”, and at least not mix up sports as they tend to do. If my kid ever talks about tip-off of the baseball match before the touchdowns start, it’s Mark’s fault. He either confused them, or they’re so battered by missed catches they can’t concentrate. At least he isn’t smoking.

Some pics below, more posts to come. I promise. No more six month hiatuses. Hiatii. No more going silent for long time periods.

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Mail while we wait

A&G is delayed. Boo! But, now I get to pass time with the ever-growing PC and check out a few other things.

I know readers will be shocked, but I did in fact give in to Bowman Inception, and I was impressed! I only bought one box, and I liked it a lot. I really wanted a Puig redemption, but this wasn’t bad.

InceptionEvery one of these sold on eBay. The Machado was gone within a few hours, and I thought it was odd, but the Joseph relic/auto was the last to go. I kept thinking, “Am I really ‘stuck’ with a patch auto? I’ll take that!” I ended up almost breaking even on the price of the box, and a guy can’t complain about that. The cost was worth it, and I’ll be on this product big time next year.

Of course, most of the money acquired went right back to other eBay sellers, so here’s a gallery of my recent wins. I’ve still got some cool ones, serial numbered/autos/etc. somewhere in the care of the USPS. When I get to 50 Marte’s, I’ll post them all up to celebrate. I did finally get the dang Topps base card! Also not pictured, factory sets of Pacific’s Texas Express Nolan Ryan Series I and II. They were too inexpensive not to have, even though I had a good number of them from packs.

I get to start school in 2 weeks, and have Cub Scout camp with one of the boys next week, so unless I find something fun to post up, I’ll see you after Ginter!

Where I’ve Been, The Short Version

Due to life and work in general and some pretty devastating circumstances, I didn’t live in the same place as my collection for a while. That’s really all I have to say about that, but now I have it, I can put my hands on it, and I have a bunch of time to work on it. So, sorry to be one of those bloggers who went along pretty well for a few months and then disappeared.

Since my last post, a lot has happened! Bowman came out and I failed to resist, my Heritage project made some major moves (special thanks to my LCS‘s dime box!), and I picked up some additions for my Starling Marte collection. The scan here does no justice to the intensity of the Day Glow parallel. The orange border is outrageous. I can hear this card across the room.

2013 Topps Archives Day Glow #43 Starling Marte

2013 Topps Archives Day Glow #43 Starling Marte

I bought an (alleged) Green-Tint 2011 Heritage Minors card of his too, but when it got here, it looked exactly like the Blue-Tint one I already had. I can’t tell, and I’d post a scan, but now I can’t find the “Green” one. It is probably in the lad’s collection now, which is fine.

Meanwhile, my fantasy team is doing great, I finally watched and am now listening to the audio book, Moneyball, and I finished sorting through a 3,000 ct. box of 1990 Donruss. I also participated in one of‘s breaks for the first time, and did ok. I like case breaks, I got into a product I wouldn’t have otherwise, and feel like I did well for the money spent. Of course, getting a Marte out of it would have made me ecstatic, but hey, it was fun, and I wouldn’t have been able to part with a Marte and get any money back out of it at all.

Speaking of money, it is a bit stressful still looking at a huge box of 2012 stuff that needs to go live somewhere else, so I’ll be updating the FT/FS page this week. My inventory at SCF is getting up to date too, so hopefully I get to make lots of trips to the post office soon. None of it is huge, but I have to believe there’s a loving home for some of it.

My new sorting/organizing project is a mixed box of flea-market acquisitions, so I’ll be getting that sorted, scanned, and inventoried at SCF in my spare time this week, while ignoring upcoming lesson plans and whatever else life throws toward me. I still have hopes I’ll be ready to buy a case of A&G next month, but we’ll see. It might fit my wife’s “Ferrari theory”, in which, when I actually have the money to do something, I won’t be able to spend it on such nonsense. We’ll see, but at least keep an eye out for me in case breaks, that was a lot of fun.


Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Burgled Baseball Cards

After carrying it around for two weeks, and laying around my house with a stomach flu for 4 days, I finally pulled this out of my backpack tonight to watch with the boys!

Some of my favorite books from childhood, combined with an obsession that has lasted 30 years and counting, this is going to be the best thing ever! My sons know Encyclopedia Brown, I dressed up like him a few weeks ago for “Favorite Book Character Day” at school and they occasionally indulge me and let me read the books to them while they look at other books before bed. This is going to be great!

As the title screen peels, we see part of Encyclopedia’s desk, and on it is a Cubs hat. I am also currently wearing a Cubs hat exactly like the one on the television. Therefore, my middle son deduces that I am Encyclopedia Brown.

The show opens at the Idaville Baseball Card Bash, and we talk about how they’re at the card show like ours. There’s a silly, nerdy “Greatest Collector in the World” guy being obnoxious about breathing near his cards, so the setting is really like being there, even 30 years later. Of course, there is also Ms. Valentine, who is stupendously rich and wants to buy all the baseball cards, which is nothing like real life now (darn it all), but not too outrageous in 1989. No, she’s over the top. Too over the top. And keep in mind, I’ve spent the preceding hour watching Power Rangers Jungle Fury. It’s for another post, no, another blog altogether, but they have 8 Rangers on that show? Sheesh! For fans of 30-Year Old Cardboard, check out the Hawk poster behind Ms. Valentine!

photo photo(2)

Encyclopedia sees his bodyguard, good ol’ Sally Kimball, at a booth, and correctly guesses she is holding a ’59 Ernie Banks, his favorite card. Oldest son notes that I keep a ’59 Banks on my desk and nods knowingly at me and middle son. He too is convinced, I am Encyclopedia Brown.


Meanwhile, I note that Encyclopedia guesses the card correctly because, he says, that’s the year they used the TV frame. I say, “That’s ’55 Bowman, you fraud,” and start playing karate with youngest son. Maybe I am Encyclopedia Brown.

Anyway, I’ll wrap up my review so I don’t accidentally throw out any spoilers. Some hijinks follow and then the burglary, which my oldest son solves approximately 18 seconds after the crime, earning this an A+ for staying true to the spirit of the books. It was a good way to spend 20-something minutes with the lads without having to endure another episode of Ben 10 with them. I did get a kick out of the props – a lot of familiar posters and oddball common cards. Below are a few more relevant pictures of my TV screen.

photo(4) photo(3) photo(5) photo(6)


Back to health, so back to work tomorrow, and eventually back to actual baseball card collecting business! There is the unexpected Heritage set to finish before I initially resist and then cave in to Bowman in May! For the curious, you can get the video for a few bucks on Amazon or probably for free from the library like I did!

60% of 100% of about 50%

Just a short one to point you to another blog post about another blog post.

Dark Confessions of a Player Collector

Now, from the title I expected something about how he flew to St. Louis to collect pieces of sod from players’ yards or something, but that isn’t the case. It is a good read (pointing to another good read) on the challenges and frustrations, or great joys and accomplishments, in collecting a player’s cards.

I suppose I am settled with never being 100% done with a collection of a specific player, but since I am not really close to that, it is easy to say. I also refuse to go after unlicensed cards, I just don’t count a card if there isn’t a team logo on it, so by some standards I will double-never finish.

That being said, if you find yourself with some Starling Marte cards laying around, I’m interested.

2012 Bowman's Best Prospects Printing Plates Magenta #BBP23 Starling Marte 1/1

2012 Bowman’s Best Prospects Printing Plates Magenta #BBP23 Starling Marte 1/1

Oops. And oops.

Spring Break has been just fine, and today I found myself with a little extra time on my hands. Luckily, there was a card shop nearby!

After wandering around, picking some things up, putting them back down, chatting a bit, and repeating, I finally landed on a box of 2013 Opening Day. Debate came down to a box of the 9 card packs, or what was left of a box of 24 card packs, it had 20 left. At the last moment, the owner speaks up, says he has a box over here he has marked 20% off. I hand him the cash and walk out with it, and 3 more packs of Heritage.

Suddenly, it dawns on me, these are 2012 Opening Day packs. Arg! I’m cleaning up 2012! I’m supposed to be done!

I do have at least one complete base set, and I’ll be darn close to two. Plus, I have a good number of the inserts and a handful of blue parallels #’d to 2012.

I didn’t mean to buy cards, and I certainly didn’t mean to take on another 2012 set, but it was hours of cheap entertainment, and all around good fun. Plus I’ve got a decent local shop to deal with when I’m visiting the family, which is always good.


Good Decision!

I decided to go for 2013 Topps Heritage after all. It is a set for me, a set builder. Last year I didn’t like the look, but I’m ok with this year’s. While I type this, I’m looking at a handful of 2011 Heritage and they look ok, why was I cranky last year?

I did record the hobby box break, but given the “…A Real One Autograph or Relic Card in Every Box”, it wasn’t terribly exciting. If you want a break video, Crackin’ Wax busted a Gypsy Queen blaster last night, and I met this guy at the card shop yesterday.

I had already purchased 3 packs, bringing my total to 27 packs. Here is why I love the set, even to the point of probably waving off my attempt to get a hobby case of Allen & Ginter:

  • I have 7 duplicates from the set. 243 cards total, and only 7 were dupes. Last year I would open a box and have some cards 3 deep.
  • I have 215 of the 500 cards in the base set (counting SP’s). I feel like one more hobby box would get me close enough to trade for the rest of my needs if I’m not already.
  • If I do need another box, they are inexpensive. I won’t be paying an extra $30-$40 for 2 more hits that get traded or sold for $1-$2.
  • There is some variety, but nothing like a Gypsy Queen or even Topps Base set. I hate figuring out variations, and since I didn’t pull many parallels, I don’t feel compelled to chase them down.
  • The cards themselves. With a few exceptions, the photos are good and the back of the card instantly took me to 1985 (since I didn’t get to do 1964). I like the trivia questions on the back, and I’m a stats nerd, so thank you Topps for the “Complete Major (and Minor) League Batting/Pitching Record”.
2013 Topps Heritage #144 Darwin Barney (back)

2013 Topps Heritage #144 Darwin Barney (back)

Naturally, there were some disappointments. There are some photos that I thought might give me nightmares. I won’t pick on these guys too much, my face isn’t really made for pictures either, but I think Topps could have picked a little better. I keep thinking of how disappointed the mothers of these players would be, and not just because many of them play for the White Sox. That, and I worried I might not get to sleep like Duente Heath is, because Luis Ayala might get me. I hoped I wouldn’t have a dream that I was a baby and Gavin Floyd was trying to tickle me with a baseball too.

And my “hit” was more of a foul tip, I think. Maybe a bunt.

2013 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Relics #CCRJG Jaime Garcia

2013 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Relics #CCRJG Jaime Garcia

I didn’t pull much from the insert sets, which I am glad for, but I like some of the ones I got and will keep them. I got 1 Chrome Refractor, 1 Chrome, and 1 Color Swap Variation. The 1964 Original I got fits my PC nicely too, but not as nicely as the Ernie Banks book card would have.

2013 Topps Heritage 1964 Buybacks #359 Jim Schaffer

2013 Topps Heritage 1964 Buybacks #359 Jim Schaffer

2013 Topps Heritage News Flashbacks #NFTB The Beatles

2013 Topps Heritage News Flashbacks #NFTB The Beatles

It’s Practically Here!

The season is about to start, and I am ready! If I were to sum up my day yesterday in just one word, it would be, “baseball”. The boys asked to play catch which turned into batting practice before we even got all the gloves out. We watched Ken Burns’ “Baseball” while we looked at the book. I signed up for 2 fantasy leagues, and one drafted last night. Then I watched “Silly Little Game”, the ESPN 30-for-30 show about the original Rotisserie League Baseball. Now this morning I am debating myself over At Bat 13 or full-blown MLB.TV subscriptions and weighing this against the case of Allen & Ginter I so deeply desire. MLB.TV has a bunch of free games today as a preview, by the way.

Rotisserie League Baseball Book

Rotisserie League Baseball Book

I might have been the only person, certainly the only 3rd or 4th grader at my school, to check the original Rotisserie League Baseball rule book out at my hometown library. I read it and read it and read it. I’d take it back, I’d check it out again. I was also a very privileged child, for I had subscriptions to The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated back then. One of my proofs that I have always been a nerd is that I preferred TSN for the stats. With this rule book, and the weekly stats feed delivered by the Postal Service, I was fully prepared to be a commissioner.

The problem was, nobody I knew was as fascinated as I was. I was in Little League, and those guys loved baseball as much as anyone else, I suppose, but this wasn’t their type of thing. And that was about the limit of my 10 year old social circle. Except for every nerdy young lad’s best friends, my family.

I don’t know why I was so attached to baseball, it certainly didn’t come from Mom or Dad. The only place I ever got to really watch a game was at my Grandma’s house, she never missed a Cubs game. Whatever the reason, I loved everything about baseball, and Rotisserie League seemed made for me.

Mom, Dad, and my brother each had a team, and I did too, of course. Dad worked all day (and often into the night), Mom was going back to school, and my brother was probably my greatest nemesis in the world, as any good little brother should be. Therefore, looking back 25 years and being truthful about it, I set myself up a league with 4 teams and I ran them all. The memory gets hazy here, but in this perilous situation, I think I remained trustworthy and didn’t trade amongst myself. I do remember asking Mom once for a player and explaining why it would be great for both of us, and she said something like, “Yeah, great.” In her defense, I am certain she was doing at least two other things during my pitch.

2012 Topps Allen And Ginter #254 Rickey Henderson

2012 Topps Allen And Ginter #254 Rickey Henderson

All I really remember about that was I had Rickey Henderson on my team, and possibly Wade Boggs, and I won the league. I did give weekly updates to the owners, I loved spending hours adding up all the stats and referring back to the rule book. I remember writing up the reports, there was a green highlighter I used for the column headings. I think my team was called the Gratnerds, and rather than the celebratory Yoo-Hoo shower, I think the season ended with the even more traditional self-congratulation and warm glow of victory. Naturally, I immediately began to think of next season, which did not come for another 15 years or so when I got to college and had the internet, at least while I was there. I was clearly, truly, a pioneer of the game. In addition to being perhaps the youngest commissioner in the 1980’s, I was probably among the first owners to drop out in May in the 1990’s.

Anyway, my current team is great, and the other one has their auction tonight. It is the traditional league, we are NL only. I’m really looking forward to this one, but there are only 3 teams at the moment. I didn’t start the league and don’t know who did, but come join! As I said, one league drafted last night, so allow me to present the 2013 Indianapolis Musicians! I’m pretty happy with this lineup, but it feels a little weak at 2B and SS, and I need another third baseman.

C – Jonathan Lucroy, AJ Ellis

1B – Anthony Rizzo, Adam Lind, Todd Helton

2B – Jose Altuve, Darwin Barney

SS – Jose Reyes, Jean Segura

3B – Miguel Cabrera

OF – Yoenis Cespedes, BJ Upton, Angel Pagan, Collin Cowgill, Starling Marte, Aaron Hicks, Jason Kubel

SP – Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke, Hiroki Kuroda, Jonathon Niese, Derek Holland, Tommy Milone

RP – Jonathan Papelbon, Addison Reed, Jason Grilli, Kyuji Fujikawa


Almost no progress was actually made yesterday on sorting my cards, so basically a typical day.

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