Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NHL Playoff Contest

If you are a fan of contests, a fan of great card sets, a fan of winning, a fan of playoff hockey or a fan of interesting blogs head over to Waxaholic's domain. He has set up a great playoff contest for the Quarter-Finals all the way through to the Finals.

Thanks for doing this Captain!!!

**Update - click here for the proper thread to enter your picks!!!**

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What I Collect - Part II

In my previous post I had shown some of the newly acquired personal sub-set cards and I continue to scan the others for future posts. In an effort to further introduce myself and my collection I have decided to share with you some of the other non-set/single items I have tended to over the years. One of the ones that I started right away, even without thinking really, was unopened wax packs. When I began card collecting I was truly a Topps supporter, very little else interested me and I was a bit of a "product loyalist", almost to a fault. Every year when the new releases came out I always tucked away the VERY first pack purchased, thus satisfying the OCD part of my brain.

Here is my current Topps collection.

As the years passed the collection began to grow into something that I really began appreciating and valuing. Eventually it carried itself over and beyond just Topps packs as the releases in the hobby began to grow. It was around this time that I started to impulsively buy packs from sets I was not even considering collecting. I bought packs just to collect packs. Usually it was oddball or individual releases more than just other card companies. Some were event related like the Petro-Canada (a government run gas station) All Star Set. Some were from "special" sets while others were first year releases. Still others were food issued.

*the Denny's wrappers are easily seen through so I know they are Cal Eldred, Albert (don't call me Joey) Belle, Cecil Fielder, Mike Piazza, Andres Galarraga and Gary Sheffield

I even purchased a pack of 1981 Fleer simple because it had a Jeff Reardon rookie card on the back and Jeff Reardon actually mattered in the hobby at the time.

Obviously the Topps collection has a long way to go before it can even be considered to be worthy of bragging about and I intend to bring it to such a level in the future. I also wanted to send a special "Thanks" to Topps for introducing the variant pack this year, way to go. I still keep my eyes peeled at shows for interesting packs and more than likely always will.

I will be posting in the near future a particular pack that I have found that I am trying to decide if I should open, keep or sell. Once I get it scanned I will post. Maybe you, respected reader, can help me come to some sort of decision. As well, if anyone out there has an unopened pack of 1983 Topps that you would be willing to trade I have an extra pack of 1982 Topps at the ready.

I have not decided what collection to post next so, until then.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Underappreciated Art

When I first decided that tackling a blog about baseball cards sounded like a good idea, I knew that I had assigned a task unto myself that would require a great deal of tending and attention, in order for it to be worthwhile for others to spend their valuable time reading. Another daunting task I had assigned myself was to bring my collection of cards out of storage, catalogue and sort it and eventually scan most if not all of them for purposes yet undetermined. (Not to mention catching up on some heavily negelected Battlestar Galactica DVD's)

Needless to so both of these undertakings have proven themselves worthy adversaries.

While reading through some of the daily enjoyments I have bookmarked, two topics relating to the same subject caught my eye. Years and years ago at a card show I was discussing with some fellow collectors what we did to pass the time between releases and the conversation came around to personal sub-sets. Kind of a "what do you do with your doubles?", "What do you do to pass the time and keep the hobby interesting?" sort of deal. I was amazed at the number of unique and creative collections people had come up with. At the time I had never really given any thought towards what I would choose for such a collection. It had to be something I would find interesting enough to build and continue to add to. I had never really decided upon something and put the idea in my back pocket.

It was while building the 1991 Topps Baseball set that I discovered what my personal sub-set would be. One of the greatest and most magical plays in all of Baseball is the suicide-squeeze. For my money it is the definition of what Baseball is. I have been raised a Toronto Blue Jays fan since they were born but I have always enjoyed National League ball just a bit more. Pete Rose and the Cincinnati Reds were my "other" team until 1989 when, due to circumstances, I was "forced" to change. My local cable company started offering WGN and I got to watch a great second-baseman play. But, I digress......

When I started to go through prior Topps sets I noticed that there was a regularly occurring collection of players attempting the art of "the bunt". I knew THIS was my set. It HAD to be. It was PERFECT!! I decided from that day forward I would collect every Topps baseball card that had a player attempting to bunt. This would satisfy my craving indeed. Of course, as all of you know, once you start something it rarely stays what it is. Soon I began noticing more and more companies releases and began scouring their sets for singles that could join my personal sub-set.

As I go through what I have pulled out of storage I will eventually scan my entire personal sub-set and include newly discovered candidates as well. This set is what kept me collecting back then and I am going to use it to help spark the fire in me again.

This passed Sunday I began what will hopefully be another weekend tradition and drove around discovering new Card Collecting stores around my home town. I want to say a quick "Thanks!" to Ron.
Ron was patient enough to indulge me with his take on the hobby, both where it has been and where he sees it going, while letting me search through boxes of singles to add to my collection. I came away with 3 new Cubs additions including an auto, a wax box of Topps for $25 and nine new additions to my personal sub-set.

As I work through scanning my other singles is there anywhere anyone would recommend I could store them online to use as a slide show on my blog? I will be uploading them to Zistle when done but I am not sure I can use them like that from there. Any help would be appreciated.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mail Day (aka Western Canada Delivers)

Pulling into the driveway after a long, busy, grueling day listening to people whine and complain over the most mundane of issues I was looking forward to a glass of Johnny Walker's finest, putting my feet up and watching the battle of Pennsylvania.

Being greeted at the door by two of the most affection-starved animals on the planet, to hear them tell it, has a way of wiping away the day. So do bubble-mailers!!

Straight from Calgary, Alberta from the hands of the curator of Waxaholic came the very first blog inspired trade for me. 14 more cards designated for the monstrous 800 card OPC Hockey set undertaken this season.

Judging by the sheer fun and challenge that building both the base and parallel set of this issue has been I cannot wait until the Baseball release and starting all over again.

I have to admit that of all the recent expansion teams jerseys the Minnesota Wild appeal to me the most.

Thanks for the help Captain and I'll be getting your package out in the coming days. I'm searching for something specific for you and remembering where it is has become more of a challenge than I anticipated.

One of the things I truly appreciate is when people go the extra mile and do certain things "just because". It doesn't have to be a grand gesture just one that is unexpected. Coupled in with his shipment were two packs that I will be putting aside for a rainy day or when I need to "scratch the itch", so to speak.

While on the subject of unopened packs I recently rediscovered my shoebox of unopened wax. I will be going through it and posting some and maybe opening others. There is one pack in particular that I will be looking for serious input on as to its future.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

'The Best Team Money Could Buy'....on this day

As I had stated earlier in an earlier post I would be reading this book as it is, laid out in a diary style. Figured today would be a good day to post something from it.

Monday, April 18 - New York

Another loss, 5-1, to the Toronto Blue Jays, who came to life twelve days ago. The Yankees made four hits and four errors. When the press entered the clubhouse it was occupied by only the batboys and a couple of players who had not been in the game. The rest of them were in the lounge with the "Yankees Players Only" sign over the door. Martin was there, too. So the writers moved on to wait in Martin's office; sooner or later he'd be there, or go home in his uniform. They waited forty-five minutes. Then Pat Kelly, the stadium manager, stuck his head in the room. "Mr. Martin will not be in today," Kelly said. "He has no comments." That was comment enough.
Steinbrenner is due in New York tomorrow.

I have always been fascinated how professional sports teams work behind the scenes. How immensely talented individuals who are the best at what they do interact with others who share their unique abilities. I will post more of this periodically.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

My First Case Hit

Yesterday was the release date for Upper Deck's 'O-Pee-Chee Hockey Update' set. I stopped by the local Hobby shop to pick up a box to crack during Game 1 of Philly vs. Pittsburgh. I got what I believe is my first 1 per case hit EVER, not to mention it was of one of my favorite player as well. Needless to say I am quite happy.

According to Upper Deck's checklist there are 4 variations of this card. So, looks like I have 3 left to find.(poor scans brought to you by ebay)

The Box Break and review will be posted soon to


Monday, April 13, 2009

Impulse Buy #2

Today's impulse buy comes courtesy of a wicked craving on the drive home for ;

Normally I try not to buy cards from convenience stores. I am not a fan of the way they get sold. However, something tugged at me to grab a pack on the way out. I have decided to give into these impulses on a trial basis, maybe see if there is some kind of weird jedi-mind-mojo-karma thing happening around me and the collecting Gods are directing me to hits.

Yeah, I know, my B.S. meter was off the charts about halfway through typing that. Anyway, here's what caught my eye ;

I am a sucker for anything with Wayne on the front. Feeling good though I tore into the pack and...............

2 guys who go into my team collections but ironically no longer play for either team.

One guy who did nothing to help my Fantasy Hockey team and one guy who could have done wonders for it.

And finally.......Right uniform, unfortunately he is around 113 career goals shy of the guy I was hoping for. Still, an AWESOME player in his own right.

As always, if anybody needs/wants any of these cards, drop me a line and they are yours.


Phillies Fans....It sucks to lose your voice..

Just got home from work a little over 40 minutes ago and heard the news. Thought I'd post something that makes me smile ;

Blue Jays fans lost theirs in 2005 and he'll be forever linked to the Phillies with my favorite call in Jays History. It comes at 5:45 for anyone interested ;

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Confirmed Heritage Spotting

As you may or may not be aware the demand for the 2009 Topps Heritage product, and for that matter 2009 Topps product in general, is seemingly uncharacteristically high this year. As a result many of the Hobby Shop dealers I have been speaking to were caught in a rather unfortunate situation. Knowing that due to several factors, the most important being that Canada is first and foremost a "hockey market", most dealers always order light when it comes to the early initial release of Baseball product. Most rationalize this by saying "if the demand is there they can simply call up their supplier and get what they need." However, this year it has been a bit of a different story.

This leads to what is ultimately the point of this post. I needed to purchase some computer related items for some work I am doing around the house and the only place I could get it was an hour and a half away. I figured it would be as good an opportunity as any to scout out some card stores I would not normally frequent and see if I could find some of the elusive Topps Heritage. As luck would have it I entered into a store and sitting on the shelf amongst all the owners other product were two magnificently sealed hobby boxes of 2009 Heritage.

I could not believe my quest was finally over.

I had finally found what I was looking for and my hand immediately flew to my wallet. Somewhere along the line my brain kicked in and I asked the obvious question....."How much for the Heritage?"

"One-hundred-Forty.", was the reply.

"How much??!!", I asked.

"One-forty.", was the straight-faced answer.

I explained to the seller that I understand that it was a sought after product and that it was indeed hard to find but c'mon, seriously, a hundred and forty bucks?? After further conversation he ended up telling me that what is happening is that even the suppliers were caught "short-handed", so to speak, and the increase in popularity has driven up the price. Now, I can understand this kind of thinking with older product or even product from a couple years back that may have been produced in limited quantities. However, to jack up the price of current product just because demand is there seems to me to be wrong. Retail stores are not allowed to do this so why should Hobby stores? I realise this kind of thing has been and always will be going on, however, in my mind it still does not make it right.

So, suffice it to say, I left the store without any Heritage but all was not lost. I did manage to find a couple singles that went towards my Cubs and Jason Bay collection.

Not being one who is easily discouraged I continue the search for the elusive Topps Heritage. Someday patience will pay off, and besides, there is still the "Big Show" coming up in a little over two weeks. Maybe luck will be on my side there.


Friday, April 10, 2009

It never gets any easier

Already articulated by so many so much better than me. Just wanted to guide you there.

Sadly, this story reminded me of another tragedy.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The hunt for Heritage continues

For the last few weeks I have been searching my local Hobby shops in hopes of finding a pack or few of the 2009 Topps Heritage Baseball release. I have come to accept that the likelihood of finding a box for sale is pretty slim.
Today was another fruitless effort in that quest. However, being not one to walk away empty handed before a holiday weekend I decided to "scratch the itch" with five packs of

hoping to, at the very least, whittle away at the parallel set I decided to task myself with. So, sit back, grab a beverage and enjoy the results.

Pack #1

#470 - Niclas Havelid (dupe)
#456 - Kristopher Letang (dupe)
#239 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (need 'em)
#290 - Dominik Hasek (dupe) interestingly linked to......
#547 - Cody McLeod (dupe) Cody scored his first career NHL goal and first career NHL Playoff goal against Hasek

Retro Insert #4 - Frantisek Kaberle (need 'em)

Pack #2

#162 Tomas Kopecky (dupe)
#323 Martin Hanzel (dupe)
#388 Dustin Byfuglien (dupe)
#166 Matt Stajan (dupe)
Gold Insert #160 - Marian Gaborik
Retro Insert #376 - Sergei Gonchar (need 'em)

Pack #3

#34 - Patrice Bergeron (dupe)
#173 - Jaroslav Halak (dupe)
#230 - Brian Rolston (dupe)
#171 - Pavel Kubina (dupe)
#503 - Zach Fitzgerald (dupe)
Retro Insert #247 - Mike Komisarek (need 'em)

Pack #4

#282 - Jordan Staal (dupe)
#317 - Olaf Kolzig (dupe)
#60 - Boyd Gordon (dupe)
#448 - Patrick Kane (need 'em)
#539 - Mark Fistric (dupe)
Retro Insert #63 - John Madden

Pack #5

#287 - Ryan Suter (dupe)
#238 - Jaroslav Spacek (dupe)
#85 - David Legwand (dupe)
#415 - Brian Campbell (need 'em)
Gold Insert #340 - Steve Downie
Retro Insert - #445 - Andrew Cogliano (need 'em)

Pretty fair shake for five packs of cards. I really put myself behind in the parallel set build by purchasing mostly these, chasing the Gretzky Inserts.

The retail blasters had the Retro inserts at a 1:2 ratio whereas the Hobby box has them 1 per pack. If you enjoy set building then the OPC is a builders dream even without chasing the parallel set. I forgot what a chore doing a 600 card set was, not to mention the 200 card update set scheduled for an April 15th release. Building this set has definitely reanimated the collector bug in me and after reading about the pending June 16th Premier OPC Baseball release on both Hand Collated and Wax Heaven I think I have my Summer and Fall collecting tasks already set.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Before I Go........

Not a very lengthy post. Just received another sign that Spring is here in the mail today.

This will be my first time back at this show in about 10 years. I used to regularly attend so it will be interesting to see just how much things have stayed the same. Hopefully I will be able to find someone who is selling Baseball cards here. The drought here in Canada is absolutely pathetic right now. As for the "special guests" ;

I'm excited about the Fergie Jenkins & Friends. THAT to me is what autographs at a show should be all about. More on the show later, sleep beckons.

BTW, The Blue Jays lost finally this season (snicker,snicker) and Brandon Inge is on pace to shatter Bonds' HR record (see previous snickers).


Monday, April 6, 2009

Snow + Mail + Doc = Opening Day!!!

As I patiently waited all day for the start of the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays' season I had the opportunity to think about what, if anything, I would post to mark the occasion. Meaningless trivial stats about a single game performance on a highly anticipated, exciting yet ultimately insignificant day seemed trite. As I left work I was greeted on the drive home by a rather wicked snow storm. It immediately brought back the thought of the very first Opening Day for the Blue Jays back in 1977. Every year it is mentioned and I must admit I used to find it annoying. However, as I look back I realise just how much of a cherished memory Exhibition Stadium truly was.
When I came through the door, sitting on the kitchen table was a welcomed sight. Another brown envelope signalling my latest ebay acquisition had arrived. A lot of 2009 Topps 'Legends of the Game' which brought me five cards closer to completion. A trio of Yankees that any fan would have loved to see step out of the dugout on Opening Day ;

Followed by a pair that aren't too shabby in their own right ;

A majority of the cards in the lot already existed in my set. If anyone needs to fill their own sets drop me a line and I can send you a list.
Time to sit back and listen to the rest of the Jays/Tigers game called by Jerry Howarth, Mike Wilner and......

I hope it is okay with Cardboard Gods that I borrowed the image. I couldn't find my Blue Jays Team Set box.



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Impulse Buy #1

It has been about six months since my return to the hobby of sports card collecting. So far, It has been an enlightening journey through what has happened over the last 13 years and a bit of a challenge to become accustomed to the "lay of the land", so to speak. Everyone listed on the right side of this blog has played a crucial part in my re-education and I thank you. Some I have done so personally, the rest I will in the coming days.
When I decided to begin collecting again I made a pact with myself that I would practice considerable restraint for the first year. The last thing I wanted to do was to completely overwhelm myself by purchasing anything and everything available without some kind of idea as to what I was looking to accomplish this time around. So far, I think it has been somewhat successful. I currently have 3 hockey sets needing completion and 4 baseball sets, not to mention insert chase sets.
One of the habits I started to develop near the end of my previous stint as a collector was buying random packs of cards. I would purchase packs not for the purpose of collecting the set but rather as a need to open something, anything. Sadly, I think this monkey may have discovered its old nesting ground on my back. Thus, I give to you, Impluse Buy #1 ;

I honestly have no idea what posessed me to buy this pack. I have no intention of completing the set. I guess I was just itching to open something. It is now April 2nd and I only have 5 packs of Heritage under my belt. The stuff is NOWHERE to be seen. I have a sinking feeling that the Wal-Marts here only stock hockey and pokemon.
A pretty decent looking product with an impressive looking "throwback" design that is truly appealing. The three "regular" sized cards I pulled were nothing spectacular, but I did manage to get a 1:8 rookie of Simeon Varlamov. Chris Drury and Tony Esposito were the others.

The two minis are pretty sweet and if it were not for the Topps T206's coming out I would be seriously considering trying to complete them. I pulled the parallel of Anze Kopitar ;

And I pulled one of the insert parallels. A brown-back of Dwayne Roloson ;

All things considered I like the set but it might be one of those things that takes a bit of labour to complete. From what I understand the retail issue is a bit easier on the wallet than the hobby but it is missing some of the higher end inserts. Maybe I will keep an eye out for some ebay lots but I think this release may be ignored by me.
If anyone is collecting the Champs set and needs any of these, feel free to send me an e-mail and we can work out something. If anyone has any of the Gretzky or Phaneuf cards I'd be willing to make an offer.