Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nothing like the comfort of Soup

I heard the news late last night and finally found some time to post today. I grew up idolizing humor that was irreverent and people who weren't afraid to fly in the face of conformity. When you sprinkle that with the innocent intention of shining the light back in the face of people who take themselves too seriously, just to show them that life is about laughing and having fun. You get a glimpse into my philosophy of life.

I was a little guy when Soupy was at his peak but I still remember "discovering" him and another of my "heroes", if you will, around the same time. Here they are together in one of my favorite YouTube clips.

Thank-you Milty.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coming Soon..............

A box break "canuck" style.

Hey, Upper Deck!!! THIS is O-Pee-Chee, ALRIGHT!!??!!

LE VRAI!! Indeed!!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Impulse Buy #6

Recently I have been enjoying some success at the hands of my other favorite pastime, sports wagering. Normally I am pretty good at limiting myself to what I buy when it comes to cards. I tend to hover around the flagship releases and try to stay away from the more "hit oriented" releases. While I was in the local hobby store to pick up my Topps U&H order I decided to splurge and grab a couple packs of 'SP Authentic'.

I have read some glowing reviews of the product and decided there would be little harm in seeing what it was all about up close and personal. I have mentioned on here before that I am not one to purchase a product solely to chase hits and it would seem on the surface that this product is designed for that purpose. When only 40% of the base set is un-gimmicked and the rest are SP'd or serial #'d then in my mind you are not catering to the set collector. The lure of pulling an autographed buy-back of Derek Jeter's 1993 SP rookie card is great but once again, not for a set collector.

So, what did the two packs I bought produce? Here's a look.

The base cards are nicely designed and thankfully feature the player most prominently. For me, in a higher priced product you want something different in design, something a bit more artistic. The card stock is nice and sturdy too, once again it is something I would expect at this level.

Pack one delivered base cards of Dustin Pedroia, Joey Votto, Yadier Molina and Andy Pettite.

Pack two had the base cards of Derek Lowe, Ichiro and Carlos Zambrano (yay Cubs!!).

Now for the EPIC FAIL part of this release. Upper Deck, I understand the monumental task of releasing a self-congratulatory 2500 card set celebrating your existence for 20 years. Everybody loves a birthday. However, when you take away from me a card I WANT to buy and replace it with a card I could not care less about if I tried, and to add insult to injury put it inside a pack where the price-per-card is over a dollar, you tend to PISS ME OFF!!! Nothing does wonders for a companies image more than making your consumers feel like you are insulting them. I don't care that I got a card of The Golden Bear, because I also got a card of some jag-off.

Lastly I get to the "hits" of the packs. The first card is an excellent design and depending on the checklist could be a nice little set to put together. I got a 'Platinum Power' die-cut insert of Josh Beckett. The name is a bit hard to read on the top banner but other than that it is a nice looking card. Secondly, I pulled one of the cards that I have still to form a solid opinion on. I am still on the fence over these manufactured patch cards. The fact that they are autographed is a definite plus but the awkwardness of the card and the small signing make for a pretty dull and potentially crappy looking autograph. I guess the low serial number (#/30) should make it more appealing but I am not sure it does, at least to me. I pulled an autographed manufactured patch of Jon Lester numbered 4/30.

Ultimately, SP Authentic is not a set I would recommend for the set collector. It works well for the player collector or the hit-chaser but other than that it is not what I would term a great set. As for the ridiculous 20th Anniversary annoyances, Upper Deck has unleashed a gigantic fail upon collectors , and reinforcing that fail with every release makes me wonder what kind of impact it will have next year when Upper Deck struggles to claim their share of the market.

To end on an up note while I was opening these packs at the hobby store a guy beside me pulled an auto'd rookie patch that I was interested in and managed to get it from him for a few bucks. One less Ricky Romero card for me to find now. However, correct me if I am wrong but does each rookie patch card have 11 variations spelling out 'SP Authentic'? If so I have a little bit of searching to do. Yikes!!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

In Search of.....T.W. [Jumbo Edition]

A few days ago during one of the first NHL games I have found the time to watch this season I ripped through the Jumbo box of 1992 Upper Deck Baseball I had purchased in hopes of finding one of the autographed Ted Williams cards still up for grabs. Back in the day this box would have probably sold for around $50 so getting it for roughly $10 was okay in my books considering the potential. What I have decided to do with the singles is package them off by team and give them away to loving, deserving homes. Some teams have already been claimed but there are still others up for grabs. You can check the availability in the post below this one.

So, how did the jumbo box break out, you ask? Had this been 1992 instead of 2009 I am quite sure I would have been elated to break this particular box. Firstly, trying to build a 700-card set was what the hobby was all about back then. Chasing patches, short-prints, variants, printing plates or whatever else it is people today desire would have been insulting to most collectors. It is amazing to me how the hobby has changed since I first started, but, for the most part change is good.

I won't keep the suspense building to whether or not I pulled what I was looking for. I will tell you that I had a brief shot of excitement when I first started to unveil this card but, alas, it is missing one key ingredient ;


Two other Ted Willams cards accompanied this one out of the box. One is a holographic version of the above card and the other was one of the 'Baseball Heroes' insert cards marking Ted's inclusion in the 500 Home-run Club.

One of the cool things about revisiting some of the older sets is learning or sometime re-learning something about the set. I had forgotten that these early artist cards were drawn by Vernon Wells Sr. and being a Jays fan it was extra special to appreciate these cards again. These are truly some of the nicest artist cards I have ever seen. Here are the others from the box.

One of the things Upper Deck had on their side in the early years was that they brought a new life to the photographs used on the cards and they also used photos on both sides of the cards. Two cards I pulled in particular used a triple-exposure effect rather nicely. Card #333 belongs to Jose Canseco and card #424 belongs to Ken Griffey Jr.

Speaking of Junior, when you are the spokesman for the Upper Deck company you tend to pull a little weight when it comes to decision making. One of the clearest examples of this is this card ;

Including this issue, Craig Griffey had 5 different cards issued throughout his minor league career. One of them I am actually looking for is from the 1995 UD Minors set, it is a part of another collection of mine. In looking up the ultra-lesser-known Griffey I came across this article from 'The Priceless Pursuit'.

For those of you who have already claimed teams I thought I would let you know who had the most cards and who had the least cards from this box. The highest number of cards goes to the Seattle Mariners with 26 and the lowest number was a three-way tie between Detroit, Toronto and the New York Mets with 12 cards each.

I had mentioned earlier that had this been 1992 I would have been pleased with this box break. One of the reasons was that I pulled one of the better rookies in multiple which I am sure will make 'All Tribe Baseball' happy.


Going through the players who were around in 1992 was a nice trip as well. The best reminder was just how special it was to watch the Milwaukee Brewers back then. Yes, the Milwaukee Brewers were special at one point. Not only were they in the American League but they had this future HOF duo suiting up every day. Sure, Jeter and ARod are a dynamic duo but I would take these two over them any day, any decade, anytime. What a treat indeed ;

What would a baseball card retrospective post from 1992 be without Mr.Home-Run King? Sorry, I don't mean the "true" king Henry Aaron, I mean Barry. The stats on this card list Barry as being 6'1" and 190lbs, pretty decent for a major leaguer. He's smiling and happy, almost looking like he is enjoying himself. The back of this card is what is "rare", it shows that Barry once did have a sense of humor, or, at least didn't take himself so seriously.

Lastly I am going to finish with a few cards that caught my eye as I went through the packs. Some of the more interesting photos as well as some seriously dated images as well.

Here's Otis Nixon in a pose that, back in 1992, proved to be quite prophetic on the part of Upper Deck. The last at-bat of 1992 ended with Nixon like this and Mike Timlin flipping the ball to Joe Carter!!

Another Brave from that year I just had to post was Lonnie Smith. Never has there been a better representation of the hi-top haircut. Awesome-90s-ness!!!

I have no idea what Greg Gagne is trying to do here but this may be one of the most disturbing cards I have ever laid eyes on. The only thing that would save this card is if he jumped 10 feet in the air to snag a line drive. Still, there must have been a better file photo of GG.

Ramon Martinez does perhaps the best impression of Reed Richards that has ever been captured on cardboard.

Finally, what is the one recipe that could make a baseball card legendary. How about an All-Star player, A legendary figure from the world of sports, a lawn chair and a water bottle. Well, if that is what it takes then Upper Deck delivered back in 1992. I don't think we will see Prince posing like his Pa, ever!

I hope you enjoyed this quick run through the year 1992 brought to you by Upper Deck. I will be busting the regular pack box tonight as I watch my winless Toronto Maple Leafs remain such at the hands of the New York Rangers. Perhaps Ted Williams will be making an appearance tonight.

Stay tuned.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Double Sandbergs from The 'bay

I have come to the understanding that it really is a wise thing to either ;

1 - Keep a running record of what I am looking for on eBay and focus a little better on one or two things.


2 - Resign myself to the fact that I am going to have to learn to love "doubles" again.

I received a couple of envelopes in the mailbox last Thursday and figured I would hold on to them and open them this Sunday with my coffee. When I dumped the contents onto the table my immediate reaction was, "Uh oh, I think I need to have a talk with myself." I had these, staring back at me, in all his mustached glory.

Two identical copies of Ryno's Goodwin relic. The only thing I can think plausible is that I found the one with the blue stripe in the middle of the swatch AFTER I bid on the one with the blue stripe peeking around the corner. Nevertheless, I have two copies and having two of anything is just greedy. If there are any Cubs fans or Ryno fans out there that would like to trade for any of the other Cubs relics or Blue Jays relics from Goodwin drop me a line and lets swap.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Melting Thumper Team Selection List

Here are a list of teams available and teams claimed for the 1992 Upper Deck giveaway I am hosting. Some teams I have assigned to people who I know collect certain teams. If they don't want them they will go back on the block ;

Atlanta Braves - captaincanuck
Baltimore Orioles - beardy
Boston Red Sox - AdamE
California Angels
Chicago Cubs - heythatsmine
Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians - alltribebaseball
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Dodgers
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
Montreal Expos
New York Mets - mcanncantriple
New York Yankees
Oakland A's - wickedortega
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres - spastikmoose
San Francisco Giants - brian
Seattle Mariners - spastikmoose
St. Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers - wickedortega
Toronto Blue Jays - duane

Freebie Card Giveaway & In Search Of.......A Pre-Thawing Ted Williams

Today I finally had a complete Saturday unto myself with no responsibilities or work that needed to be ignored. Thanksgiving dinner/house guest prep is not an issue this year (my wife is out of the country so no turkey this weekend) so I decided to visit a few card stores that are a bit of a drive from home.

I have always enjoyed the surplus of production of cards from the mid-to-late 80's right through to the mid-90's because, for me, it makes what I enjoy about this hobby easy. I have never been nor will I become one who uses the hobby to plan their retirement or hinge their financial future on prospecting rookies. I buy boxes to rip packs and build sets, that to me is a "hobby". The prospect of pulling some super-rare hit has its place and appeal but it seems to me that card manufacturers have intentionally steered the hobby towards these kinds of "consumers" and away from the hobbyists.

I was a collector when the initial wave of this philosophy hit the market. The Upper Deck Company became one of the first companies to purposefully seed their product with "chase cards" in order to promote the product. Let me qualify this by stating that there have indeed been insert cards prior to UD, I am not saying they invented them, I am saying they were the first to market their product around them. They reinvigorated a hobby that was booming but needing a shot of creativity.

Enter the 'Heroes Autographs' insert.

I will save the boring history lesson as I am slowly straying from my purpose here. One of the recent articles I read over at Wax Heaven, Mario shared a story about the shocking treatment that has apparently befallen Ted Willams. I read this and was blown away. This story had also reminded me that in 1992 Upper Deck had inserted a Ted Williams autograph card as part of their Heroes set. I had been a Topps collector back when I first collected cards and had ignored the Upper Deck brand. However, with the over-production being what it was and the current price point of the product today being very low I decided I would search out some boxes and see what I could find.

This brings me to today.

For $20.00 I was able to get a regular box and a box of jumbo packs of the 1992 Upper Deck baseball from one of the stores I stopped at and I decided that while I would enjoy ripping the packs and seeing what I get I am still fairly loyal to Topps and probably will not build the set. So, here is what I am proposing. I will bust this stuff and see if I am lucky enough to pull a Ted Williams autograph. What I will do with all the base cards is offer them up on a first-come-first-serve basis, sorted by teams. Essentially this will be a group break but it will not cost you, loyal reader, a dime. What it will cost you is some small token of voluntary appreciation in return.

A trade, simple as that.

What am I looking for?

I currently collect 2 teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago Cubs. I also collect certain players, Jackie Robinson, David Wright, Pete Rose, Ryne Sandberg, Marco Scutaro, Ricky Romero, Dion Phaneuf and Wayne Gretzky. I also, as some of you already know, collect a personal sub-set of any and all cards featuring players attempting to bunt. As I mentioned before I collected from the early-to-mid 80's to the mid 90's. I stopped collecting in 1996 and as such I have a gaping hole in the collections I mentioned above. Seeing as I picked up collecting, in earnest, again around the middle of 2008 I am hoping to fill the void.

I say this is "voluntary" because what team you choose is NOT contingent on some return deal. If you ask for a team you get it. In the early stages I hope to keep the requests to one or two teams per person and then if others are available they are more than available. So, let me know what you think and start requesting teams in the comments section. I will build a list when it becomes necessary of who is left and who is taken. Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your friends' enemies, tell your enemies' friends!!!!!

I have enjoyed giveaways from other sites so it is now LFB2B's turn to return the favor.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yep....still here....barely, but still........

In the last little while it has been increasingly harder to find the time to post something. I have been working on some posts regarding some super trades and some excellent donations from some generous fellow bloggers. I am also super-sickly-late in posting my appreciation and displaying the booty from my first monthly breaks from 'I Am Joe Collector'. I did however, want to take a break from the Yankees/Twinkies game to post something that has been gnawing at me.

Part of the stuff I received from Joe Collector was this cool card ;

What struck me about this card was the seemingly monolithic task a group of scientists have taken upon themselves. I have, and always will be, impressed with science and the minds associated with it. However, I am absolutely amazed at this latest task so I decided to see just how daunting it truly is.

The results are in.

25,000 Genes??? Unfathomable!!!

I racked my brain and can only come up with 15. See Scientists are amazing!!!

Gene Upshaw, Gene Kelly, Gene Roddenberry, Gene Rayburn, Gene Simmons, Gene Wilder, Gene Hackman, Gene Tierney, Gene Vincent, Gene Krupa, Gene Autry, Gene Pitney, Gene Okerlund, Gene Tenace......and OF COURSE the MOST FAMOUS GENE OF ALL!!!!!!!

Chuck Barris FTW!!!!


Friday, September 18, 2009

My 6 in 30

As was the norm in high school I am wayyyyyyyy behind on my homework. I finally found the time to get to a post I have been wanting to put up for a while. I have read many submissions to the challenge posted on 'Dinged Corners'. So I figured I would pull down the binder I keep of players attempting to bunt and see what happens.....

#1 - Dave Lopes looking awkward in the batting cage.

#2 - Johnny Damon in his K.C. days. I love this set and I'm sure this is not a familiar task for J.D.

#3 - Andy Benes looking incredibly determined to move that runner over. Look at his steel-jawed concentration.

#4 - Robin Yount showing us all that even All-Star HOfers bunt.

#5 - Brett Butler showing perfect form and just an awesome baseball card. Definitely one of my Top 10 of all time. This should be a logo for some sportswear company.

#6 - Curtis Granderson. This one I posted probably because I have been reading 'Grand Cards' lately and had it on my mind.

This was a fun little exercise and an excuse to thumb through some cards I haven't visited in some time. Thanks once again to 'Dinged Corners' for the impetus and if you don't have yours done yet, what are you waiting for???


UD Goodwin Packs - Brought to you by Codine & Amoxocillin

Greeting everyone, hope your afternoon is faring better than mine. Let me explain the title of this entry. Yesterday morning I started to develop a slight pain in one of my molars. Being the bull-headed mule that I am I ignored it and went about my day. By 4:30pm I was experiencing the third increasingly fierce wave of pain from said tooth.

The kind of pain that actually makes you sweat.

I left work around 5:30 and drove the 40 minutes home. I decided to stop by my dentist and see if anyone could tend to an "emergency" situation. Rightly so, the dentist had left for the day but I managed to snare an appointment the next morning. As the night went on the waves of pain grew more and more frequent and equally increasing in intensity.

Long story short I have an appointment for a week from Monday to have the tooth extracted. I get to live with an abscess for a week. The dentist was kind enough to prescribe a suitable painkiller and something to fight the infection.

To help with the pain I prescribed for myself a quick trip to the Card Store before I fill my prescription. Priority sorting problems?? YOU BET!!!

I decided to try my luck with a brand spanking new unopened, fresh out of the card shop owners trunk, box of Upper Deck Goodwin Champions. I grabbed 5 packs to be precise, figuring that a lump of coal from the Titanic or some weird bug encased in card would help ease the pain. What I got I was extremely happy and pleased with. What the other customer opening packs with me got I was jealous of too, that later.

Pack #1, card number one was a sign of things to come for me. I like to think "omens" are real and actually control the chaos of the universe. However, I KNOW that it was just a random happenstance that was favorable to me. I pulled my namesake right off the hop.

Great looking card and a very decent way to start off a product that has appeared to disappoint most everyone who has broken it so far. I received a couple of Phillies in the pack in the form of Chase Utley (#100) and 7-time All Star Robin Roberts (#112). The Utley card appears to have a production flaw in it. I spent 30 seconds trying to wipe off a white hair to the right of Chase before I realised it was part of the photo. The mini card from the pack was Stephen Drew of the D'backs (#120).

The other card from the pack is going straight to my father, he was a fan of his movies. This is a cool looking card and I may try to pick another one up for myself.

#CD-7 Will Rogers

Pack #2 brought me a box-hit and a cool mini card. I got my first annoying '20th Anniversary' insert card #2120 Chien-Ming Wang. Card #76 Joe Mauer and card #190 Alex Hinshaw.

The first autograph pull is of Josh Willingham of the Nats, card #A-JW.

The min card is of N.H.L. rookie Jonathan Towes, card #90.

Pack #3 had another '20th Anniversary' insert #2150 featuring Chris Paul and a trophy...woo. Mini parallel insert is of Koji Uehara #139, Felix Hernandez (card #134) and some skier, Jeremy Bloom (card #161), who apparently played for both the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. Must have been good.

The show-off card of this pack is another hockey card but one which I am happy to get. Card #81 belongs to Wayne Gretzky, in an Oilers uniform even.

It was at this point that the guy opening packs beside me pulled a 1/1. He got the Mike Schmidt printing plate, red was the colour I do believe. Nice looking plate too.

Pack #4 started off with another '20th Anniversary' insert, this time however it hit an all-time low. David Eckstein??!!??Of all the Cards to feature on a card that marks their first World Series win in 24 years they pick him? Whatever. Oh, it is card #2155 for those keeping score at home.

Pack #4 was also a pack of stark contrasts. I first pulled this majestic, cool looking card of Ichiro, card #69. The Japanese flag waving in the background adds to the coolness of this card. Then I pull this card (#179) of a guy who appears to be the Champion of stepping in dog crap?? I dunno. Check those shoes Marty. Also, nice headband!! In all seriousness though. Anyone who has the attention span to kick anything over 60,000 times and for over 8 hours straight deserves a card.

Next up is some min Cub-goodness courtesy of Rich Harden (card #233)

And my first black-border Gypsy Queen backed mini is of an apparently good basketball player with an unfortunate set of initials, O.J. Mayo, card #24. Does anyone know if these cards come with different colored printing on the back? Just curious.

I left a certain pack for last because it felt thicker than the others when I pulled it. Having seen no dummy cards I felt a little more confidant with my last pack. Hopefully it was something decent. As I stated earlier, Titanic coal or a bug would make it worth it.
Pack 5 as it went was..............

Card #87 featuring Andy Pettitte, card #120 featuring Stephen Drew....

Mini-Philly-ness to match with his regular size card from pack #1, Robin Roberts.

Lastly, the card that I was hoping to hit with and make all the aching in my tooth go away. The thick card that teased me. Card #CGM-CF......

A little bit of airport-tarmac-arm-waving-god-willing-world-series-goodness from Pudge!! Nice card indeed!!

While I am impressed with the design of Goodwin and the selection of subjects for the cards I still have to give the nod to Allen & Ginter. The biggest drawback here was the "5-cards-per-pack" delivery. I would expect that from a product that is considered "upper-tier" or "high-end". I don't see Goodwin as such a product and therefore I feel a bit ripped-off with getting only 5 cards. As with A&G if it were not for my anticipation (read as saving my money) for the Topps T-206 release I may have grabbed a few boxes of Goodwin. They price out here at my local Hobby store to $95 per box. If UD had increased the number of cards per pack they may have had their winning product for 2009.

My head hurts and Tylenol-3's are calling my name.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Impulse Buy #5 (Part II)

Seeing as it is 'Labour Day' I figured I should drag my sorry carcass off the couch for a spell and finish the post I started on Saturday. Three packs remain from my trip into the land of 2006 Bowman Heritage and so far I have been fairly pleased with the rips. Let's get right to it.

Pack #4

Mini Parallel - #90 Roy Halladay (Hot damn!!! My first Blue Jay!!)

Prospects - #BHP29 Welinson Baez (Currently in High Class A Clearwater for the Philles)
Prospects - #BHP69 Lou Santangelo (Currently in AAA Round Rock for the Astros)
Rainbow Parallel - #227 James Loney

Base Cards - #294 Angel Guzman (RC) (gotta love those Cubs), #99 Jon Lieber, #132 John Lackey, #249 Bobby Livingston (RC)

Pack #5

Mini Parallel - #248 Chad Billingsley (RC)

Prospects - #BHP32 Corey Wimberly (Currently in AA Midland for the A's)
Prospects - #BHP85 Clayton Kershaw (Currently the #4 starter for the Dodgers and 8-8 on the season)

Rainbow Parallel - #18 Mark Mulder

Base Cards - #21 Marcus Giles, #84 Lyle Overbay ({insert YAY!! here}), #118 Eric Byrnes, #233 Casey Janssen (RC) (favorite pack so far...2 BJs)

Pack #6

Mini Parallel - #114 Bill Hall

Prospects - #BHP26 Steve Garrabrants (Currently in High Class A Lancaster for the Red Sox)
Prospects - BHP20 Mark Holliman (Currently in AA Huntsville for Milwaukee, looks better in a Cubs uniform though)

Rainbow Parallel - #164 Craig Biggio

Autograph Insert - #SG-AG Alex Gordon

This pull I was VERY happy with. Not only is the autograph on the card it is practically perfectly placed on the card making it look superb. It is also nice to pull one of the top listed cards from any insert set regardless of who it is. Especially from this pile of packs when I believe autos were 1 per box.

Base Cards - #99 Jon Lieber, #116 David Eckstein (classic retro pose goodness), #293 Zach Miner (RC)

I really do like the look of this set and from some of the prices I have seen online it seems to me to be a great bargain to get some nice on-card autos as well as some other decent possible hits. I have a feeling this will be one of the projects that will get me through the cold winter months in The Great White North.