Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Show Must Go On

Since the beginning of October, I've written 4 posts on this blog.  Yes, I've kept up with my other 3 line player collection blog, but it's just not the same.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that something happened at work; I've wanted to write about it on the blog since then, but haven't found the way, or the words to create the inspiration to write.

Then Queen's "The Show Must Go On" came on my iTunes this morning, and inspiration came to light.

I work in an office setting, and for any of you out there that work in the same kind of environment, you know that gossip usually is a big thing.

We had speculated ever since Hurricane Irma that our boss just wasn't the same.  Thoughts were that he might be taking another position in the company, or moving on to other employment.

The boss was away for a week in meetings at the end of September, and was expected back to work on the Monday after.

He never showed up.  His boss tried to locate him, but to no avail.  Our security department was called in.

Our boss was found dead.   Suicide.

There's 9 of us in our department, and not one of us had any idea he had these kind of thoughts.  Had I any idea, I surely would have reached out to talk to him.

He was 40.  Well established in the company and well thought of.  I wasn't close to him, but I liked the guy.  We had a good rapport.  I never believed for one moment that he would have been capable of this.

When it comes down to mental health, you just really never know. 

One card rule:  

2003-04 Topps - Own the Game #OTG19 - Wade Belak - Courtesy of
2003-04 Topps - Own the Game #OTG19 - Wade Belak

I remember hearing about Wade Belak's suicide a few years ago.  (note: Belak's family believes his death was accidental, but the police ruled it suicide)

It surprised me to say the least, but it wasn't personal.   What happened with my boss was really personal, and gave me perspective on myself, as well as the others in my office.

This has taught that you truly never know what's going on in a person's mind.  But you can be there for them.

Sometimes listening is all you have to do.  Bell Canada's slogan during mental health awareness month rings more true to me now than ever.


Thanks for listening, Robert

Monday, October 16, 2017

Speaking of card shows

Twenty bucks.  That's all I spent on Saturday. 

One table.  That's all I looked at on Saturday.

I quickly walked through the room at the monthly card show, and went to the one vendor on the stage.  That area usually has the biggest selection of cards in varying prices.

This month it was a different vendor, and he had what the normal vendor doesn't usually have.

Dime boxes.  Now I get the allure.  I found some great stuff in the boxes...

70+ cards towards my 2017 Heritage set.  Including 4 SPs!  Nearly 1/2 the set is complete now.  Still have over 80 SP's to go however...that's a little depressing.

4 cards for the goalie frankenset.

Some miscellaneous hockey and baseball dotted the 107 cards I pulled out of the boxes.

One of his other tables was several $1 boxes.  Discounted 12 for $10.  I didn't do too bad here either.

Knocked one card off the serial #'d hockey set.  Dallas now has 8 cards in the set thanks to this 2007-08 SP Authentic card of Chris Conner.  Didn't remember the name, still don't even after looking at his career stats.  Chris bounced around the NHL over 9 seasons playing 180 games for 5 teams.

A couple of big names from the '82 set are crossed off the list.

A trio of serial #'d cards, including a couple of Blue Jays.  I've thought about starting a small Ichiro collection, and this serial #'d card for less than a buck might just be the start.

One true vintage card, J.C. Martin from the '62 Topps set.  Haven't bought any cards from that set for quite a while, and this card has the Rookie Trophy on it for under a buck.  Just 11 more cards to hit 200 in hand for the '62 set.

A couple of hall of fame short stops from the early 80's were easy pickups as well.

A couple of my newer set projects both get a Nolan Ryan scratched off the want list. 

The 12th card I won't show as I'm going to send it off to a fellow trade partner. 

After this bounty for just $20, I feel a little excited and a little empty.  I did spend close to 2 hours at the show, but only at one table.   I'm used to hitting a few tables at each show, and even though I did well for myself, I felt a little cheated afterwards.

My time was limited though, as I promised friends that I would help them on Saturday.  I'm thinking about hitting the smaller West Palm Beach show this Sunday now; maybe I'll get lucky and find another dime box to pad my collection further.

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I can't be relying on card shows

For the longest time, I've built a good portion of my vintage collection at card shows.  Sometimes you pay more, sometimes you pay less, but the major advantage of buying at shows is that you have the card in hand.  You can look at it, judge for yourself how good the quality of the card is.

Things have changed a bit now that I'm in the deep south.   Shows aren't as prevalent down here, as I've only found 2 shows that run once a month down here.  I could drive to N. Florida if I wanted to hit some more shows, but that's about a 4 hour drive.  Not something I prefer to do.

Well, I decided to change my purchasing habits a little bit with my last COMC order.  I plucked out a trio of '59 Topps cards, a set that kind of fell by the wayside the past few months.

These 3 cards combined cost $2.66, a little under a dollar a card.  I've been paying $1-$2 for commons at the show, so I'm saving a bit of money here.  Yes, I may be taking a bit of a chance on quality, but the scans have been good on COMC so I'm confident that I can start putting a dent in my vintage want lists in this manner as well.

These 3 cards also brought my total cards in hand for the '59 Topps set to an even 60%.  Still a lot of big name, big money cards to go, but hopefully I can start pecking away at this set again.

Maybe the card show this weekend will help...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The brothers Staal and some other numbers

It's been a bit since I've posted, something really disturbing happened at work last week and I haven't wanted to take the time to sit down and write a longer post about it.  I still really haven't decided whether I want to write about it yet...

So I stayed away for a few days until I got my COMC order in and decided to split it up into a couple of posts. 

The order came in today, and I kind of surprised myself with the amount of serial numbered cards that I had ordered for my Hockey SNI set.

I was actually able to group the cards together to discuss.  These two SP essentials cards from the 2010-11 SP Authentic set feature a couple of long time veterans of the NHL.  Mike Cammalleri returned to LA, where he started his career back in 2002.  Dan Boyle retired before the 2016/17 season after spending 18 years in the NHL and playing in over 1000 games. 

More veterans are in this trio of 2011-12 Panini Contenders, including the big off season free agent signing in Toronto, Patrick Marleau.  It's hard to believe that Patrick has already been in the league for 20 years, and if he stays healthy and plays every game over his 3 year contract in Toronto, he'll be in the top 5 all time in games played. 

I remember being disappointed when the Leafs bought out Mikhail Grabovski's contract a few years back.  He hasn't played a full season in the NHL since, and he's now one of those players who teams use to circumvent the salary cap. 

I like the trophy contenders cards from the 2012-13 Panini Contenders set.  None of the three players pictured have won the trophy that appears on their card.

Shiny always works.  Both of these cards came on the cheap, so I was glad to add some shiny to the envelope.  As you can see from the first few scans, I concentrated on teams that I didn't have a lot of cards for, such as Anaheim, Winnipeg and Montreal.  I still have a long way to go for the set, as I only have 270 out of the 1200 cards so far; however I'm trying to keep the teams relatively even as I go along.

This was a happy accident, purchasing 3 of the 4 Staal brothers.  Eric and Jordan are well known to many hockey followers, but I had totally forgotten about brother Jared, who only has 2 career NHL games to his credit.  Jared is currently playing in the Elite Ice Hockey League in the UK, for the Edinburgh Capitals. 

It's always funny how things work out.  Jordan moving from talent rich Pittsburgh to Carolina to play with his big brother Eric, only to have Eric leave the team a few years later in a trade to New York, and now to Minnesota on a free agent deal.  Eric seems to have found his scoring touch again in the mid-west, with 65 pts. last season, and 2 points in 2 games so far this year.

Jordan, who won one Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh, has now spent a half dozen seasons in Carolina, and was named co-captain of the team at the beginning of this season.  I'm curious now that he and his brother are playing in opposite locations again if Jordan may wonder what would have happened had he stayed in Pittsburgh for the last 2 Cup runs.

It was also interesting to learn that both Jordan and Eric were both selected in the same spot in the draft, 2nd overall.  Marc-Andre Fleury was selected first ahead of Eric, while Erik Johnson was selected first ahead of Jordan. 

I'm glad to be able to knock some more numbers off the list.  With hockey season in full swing, I'd like to keep knocking more out...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, October 2, 2017

Inbound and Down #24: Dimeboxes

Does anyone out there type out the entire blog name for Nick?  Everyone just seems to know him as Dime box Nick (well, at least that's what I call him), and I'm sure that there's a lot of people out there that don't know the 6 words that follow Dime boxes on his blog header.

Yes, I had to look to see what the 6 words were as well.  Nick is one of the first people I think of when I have a bunch of extra inserts from current releases, and a couple weeks ago after sending him a batch of inserts, an envelope came my way full of cardboard that hit my needs...

I haven't hit the 2002 portion of my Thome collection on my PC blog, but Nick managed to send a couple of cards of Thome that I needed from that year.  It is like he can read my mind.

A lot of word around Blue Jays twitter the past couple of days that Josh Donaldson would be willing to sign a long term deal to stay in Toronto.  He is the team's star right now, and I'm sure that I am one of a million or more Jays fans that would love to see him stay for the next handful of years. 

I know that Nick collects Vlad Guerrero senior, so I was a bit surprised that VG Jr. wound up in the package.  If this fellow is anywhere near the player his dad was, the Jays are going to have themselves a great player.  He hit .323 in 437 ABs in 2 levels this year, and walked 14 times more than he struck out.  Can't wait to see him on the major league roster!

I saw some of the Heritage high numbers packs at the store last time out, but decided not to purchase any.  I'll probably stick to the base set this year.  Speaking of Heritage base, Nick sent me over 40 of those to put a nice dent into that want list.

The big brick of Blue Jays included a half dozen John Olerud cards.  Every time I see more of these, I get tempted to start an Olerud collection.   Maybe one day...

This 2017 Archives red parallel of Marcus Stroman was the piece de resistance in the envelope.  I showed it off on Twitter when I first got the envelope to thank Nick, as it is #'d 17/25!  I have no doubt that he found this card, buried somewhere in a dime box to send my way.

Thank you again for the great envelope Nick, it is appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Try A Pack #9: 2017-18 OPC Hockey

To be honest, I don't remember buying any O-Pee-Chee for the 2016-17 season.  I decided to rectify that this year by grabbing the first packs I saw on the weekend during my Target run.

I wasn't disappointed at all.

The non short printed portion of the set is the usual 500 cards.  I like the design this year, it doesn't take too much away from the photo in my opinion.  The packs I bought were the rack pack 32 card variety, so plenty of base in each.

Cards 501-550 are the rookies, while cards 561-590 are team checklists, which I was very happy to see when I pulled them.

The other pack I bought contained the exact opposite of what I showed above, 2 rookies and one team checklist. 

Cards 551-560 are Season Highlight cards while #'s 591-600 are league leaders.   Good excuses to get more star players in the set (like Auston Matthews).

An old favorite, the retro parallels are back as well.  I only pulled one out of the two packs, but from what I'm reading the hobby boxes are netting about 32 of these. 

I missed the playing cards last year, so I'm looking forward to seeing these this year.  I've always loved players on the playing card idea, and I'd like to try and build this year's set.  There are 3 Maple Leafs in the playing card set; their young stars Matthews, Nylander and Marner.  I have a feeling this might be an expensive proposition.

I don't recall ever being disappointed by O-Pee-Chee; each year that I've bought a pack I've enjoyed the rip.  I've got a couple of modern OPC want lists on the blog now, and I have a feeling that I'm going to try and build more OPC sets before too long. 

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Inbound and Down #23: Night Owl Cards

We've been doing this a long time.  One of us sends an envelope, the other sends one back in kind.  There's no real trading between myself and the Night Owl, we just send each other envelopes with cards that are on the other's want list. 

This time I received cards from 4 different want set want lists...

Greg actually sent me more Series 1 Topps cards than this, but while this package was in transit I had already placed an order from Sportlots and knocked my want list down to 6.  So these 2 drop the needs to just 4.

I should be able to finish this years Heritage set sometime in 2022, based on the length of previous Heritage set completions. 

I still don't have 10% of the 1980 Topps set in hand, but these 5 cards surely provide a bit of room in the Night Owl's Dodgers duplicates box.  Sometime soon I'm going to try and find a starter set of these on ebay to get this set going.

I didn't bother to scan all the 1989 Upper Deck cards that Greg sent; there were 48 in total putting a nice dent into the want list.  I still need almost 600 more, a long way to go for sure, but it's been great seeing these come in. 

Check out the first scan.  I scanned these cards in numerical order, but the first scan wound up with 6 left handed pitchers on it.  Not intentional for sure, just a happy coincidence. 

The second scan also reminded me that Willie Upshaw wound up in Cleveland after being replaced at 1st base in Toronto by Fred McGriff.

5 out of 6 base cards from the Opening Day set, plus the Jays mascot Ace also found their way to this Jays fan.

Some other miscellaneous Jays needs came my way.  The two Allen & Ginter cards I need for my set build, so I'm going to put them in there.  I need the Bautista Bunt Blue parallel, and the Tulo Programs card from this year's Bunt also.  The Tony Fernandez card is an interesting one; it has a 1985 front, and the back is in the 1975 style. 

What a great envelope of cards, thank you very much Greg, they are very much appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Try A Pack #8: 2017-18 MVP Hockey

It appears as if Upper Deck has reduced the size of this years MVP set to 250.  I know in some of the years past it was 300 cards, and the cards #'d 201-300 were SPs, which didn't please a lot of collectors.

There's nothing worse for a budget conscious collector than a 1/3 of a set being short printed.  How does that help keep costs down? 

The cards # 201-250 are short printed this year, and I pulled one of them in my pack (John Tavares).

The base set is roughly the same, nothing flashy, just some standard shots of players in the midst of a game somewhere.  There usually isn't any multi-player shots in this set, which is fine for those looking for something simple.

What got me hooked on this release many years ago was the silver signature parallels.  In my rack pack I managed this silver signature card of Calle Jarnkrok.  This is typical of today's athlete, the 2 letter signature.  I actually passed right by this card the first time through the pack, that's how inconspicuous the card is. 

There's also the Gold Script (#'d to 100) and Super Script cards (#'d to 25), similar to past years.   There's also a Black super script parallel, #'d to 5 copies. The John Tavares SP black super script already has an auction on ebay if you want to check it out here.

I also pulled a puzzle back card, featuring Tanner Pearson on the front.  I like how Upper Deck slipped these in as an insert (they've actually been doing it for a few years now), the only difference that I'd like to see is that the photo on the puzzle back card could be different.  Tanner Pearson's card #82 in the base set has the exact same photo. 

That appears to be the left arm of Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon.  I always liked the idea of the puzzle back cards, but never had the desire to finish any of them.  Maybe I'll try one some day...

The player credentials access cards are a neat idea.  There's 4 levels of them, with level 4 being a case hit autograph.

I didn't pull any of the color and contour parallels unfortunately; I really would have liked to have had one of those to show on this post.

Not sure if I want to chase the set this year, as I've bought a couple of OPC packs already and am already hooked on those.  That post will be coming in the next few days...

Thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Try A Pack #7: 2017 Donruss Optic

For me, this is a little steep at $9.49 for a 16 card pack.  It's the Donruss version of Topps Chrome, which goes for roughly the same price per card. 

The base is no different than the regular Donruss base set.   I got quite lucky here and pulled two of the Blue Jays (Tulo and Joey Bats) for my Jays collection.  Managed to pull some decent players in my pack, including Arenado and Corey Seager. 

The pack promises 4 purple parallels.  I fared quite well here as well, even though the Chris Sale in hand looks red instead of purple.  The base purple cards scanned quite well, showing off the purple a lot better than in hand. 

Some more base cards, including a couple of Diamond Kings, and a pair of Rated Rookies.  Can't say that I've heard of either Musgrove or Giolito, so I imagine that I should be following AL games a little bit closer.

The Springer is a Prizm parallel, or Holo as the TCDB calls it.  Aledmys Diaz's card is the only insert in the pack; part of the 15 card All Star set which includes some big names like Trout, Harper, Bryant and Machado. 

This is pretty much a jazzed up Chrome version of the base Donruss set.  To be honest, I prefer the base set, largely because of the price. 

Everything is up for trade aside from the Blue Jays cards.  Comment or email (rmitchell6700 @ yahoo) if something strikes your fancy.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, September 18, 2017

1249: A mixed bag

Decided to hit Target on the weekend, largely because I hadn't bought myself any packs of cards in what seemed to be quite a while.  Part of the purchase was a couple of packs of Topps stickers, something I hadn't bought any of since I posted about starting the sticker set back in July.  No doubles!  I didn't bother scanning of them however, I just went ahead and put them right in the album.

I also bought a couple of packs of cards that I'm going to show off in a pair of "Try a Pack" posts over the next few days.  One hockey, one baseball.

I did buy one 3-pack of Allen & Ginter, hitting a couple of doubles (including the SP of Adam Wainwright), but knocking 9 cards off the 2017 needs list...

I also made a small purchase on Sportlots a week or so back, but had to wait until today to get them, as we had no mailbox last week due to the hurricane.  I spent my Saturday taking a sledge hammer to the old concrete post we had (it was hideous, so I was glad to do it believe me) and myself along with the missus put up a new mailbox.

The post office caught up today and brought a nice stack of Series 1 Topps for my troubles...

Here are the 6 horizontal cards out of the block.  It's almost not going to be a Kevin Pillar card unless it's showing him diving in some form.  Usually it's for an amazing catch in the outfield, this time it's trying to beat a tag at the plate.  The entire group that I bought leaves me needing just 6 cards to finish series 1.   These numbers are the last that I need...7,20,238,283,319,341.  Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have a want list up for series 2.

I also bought a couple of Andrew McCutchen cards for that PC, I'll show those off sometime this week on my player collection blog.

I spent $35 total between the Sportlots purchase and the packs from Target, leaving me with $1249 for this year's budget.

It's going to be tough to get 1/2 way through that budget this year.  

Thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Inbound and Down #22: Not Another Baseball Card Blog

I've been putting this post off for the better part of two weeks now, not sure why though.  Mike from the NABCB blog sent me a bunch of cards for the goalie frankenset a few weeks back, but instead of putting the post up right away, I wanted to get the remainder of the cards I had already for the frankenset posted before I started showing off what Mike was kind enough to send.

I actually did show a couple of cards recently, and I asked the blogosphere to vote on which card they wanted to see as part of the set.   It appears that the Andy Moog card won out, so the #9 spot belongs to Andy now.

Mike sent along about 35-40 cards that would fit in the set, so I decided to split them into a couple of posts.  The first one I decided to do in my old style, the 5-4-3-2-1 method to try and fit some of the cards together.

#'s 18 20 24 29 36

These 5 were part of the same set that the Patrick Roy card came from, the 2000-01 Prizm McDonald's release.  I've missed so many good releases from Canadian restaurants since I've moved to the US. 

#'s 215 228 282 392

All of these 4 are from the original Score hockey release, back in 90-91.  Again, can't go wrong with any design that has the Red Wings logo on it, as Glen Hanlon's mask shows.  Also the Don Beaupre mask with the Capital building on the forehead is a classic design as well.

#'s 262 343 465

The 1991-92 Upper Deck set was a great one in my opinion, with a lot of great photography.  The Kelly Hrudey card is the 2nd card that features the helmet/cage combo; his along with Dominik Hasek are the only 2 that I can remember where the goalies had designs painted on the helmet.  Norm Foster's card is #465 and chances are it may last quite a while in the set, as you won't see many cards numbered in the 400's (unless they are from OPC).

#'s 78 163

One of my favorite goalie's was Grant Fuhr, as he was very acrobatic and did whatever he could to stop a puck (as most goalie's do I suppose).  There was something different about him though, and I found it quite interesting that both of these cards featured him in a kneeling position.  I also don't have a lot of Pro Set cards so far, so the card on the right featuring him in his Edmonton colors is also most welcome. 

# 106

Although a bit dinged up, this Darren Puppa card features a good shot of his Sabres mask, with the Buffalo on his forehead and the two sabres on his chin.  The shot also looks as if Darren has lost his stick during play, and his eyes are quite intent on his target. 

I still have another group of cards to go through that Mike sent; I need to figure out how I'm going to incorporate them as well.  That's my next post...

Thank you Mike for the cards, they are appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017--a wild and crazy ride so far

It's funny what comes into my head for post ideas lately.  I probably overdid the hurricane angle, even though it was relevant to my train of thought for those few days. 

I'm sitting at the computer Monday evening reading Daniel's blog (catching up is more like it) and going over his annual collecting goals.  I sat and thought to myself how am I doing with my 2017 goals?  Well, I had to go back and look and I seem to be at a strong "D" grade.

1.  Set completion.  64 Topps?  check.  88-89 OPC hockey?  check.  73 Topps?  2 to go.  Stalling on that one.  Have 3.5 months to go so if I buckle down, I can get an A.

2.  Video posts.  Once a month.  Nope.  Did 2 of them and stopped.  My wife goes to her friends house once a month for a day and a half.  Need to train myself to complete videos when she goes away.  Grade:  F

3.  COMC.  Have the cards in place, but there's too many unknowns for me right now to submit them.  Grade:  Incomplete

4. Jays and Leafs collections.  Sorted and posted to spreadsheets.  Scratched the surface on the Jays, haven't touched the Leafs.  Probably will not finish by the end of the year.  Grade:  

5.  Contest, 100 cards/100 words.  Well now, something I've completed!!  Grade:  A

6.  2016 Allen & Ginter completion.  62 cards to go.  If I don't finish this one, I should absolutely be ashamed.  I'm going to give myself an A on this, because I'm going to finish the damn set.

7.  $2K. Well, I had every intention of spending this kind of money this year, but it's funny how life gets in the way.  Probably 60% of that will be what's spent by year's end.  Not going to grade this one, just because.

Even among the chaos that has been my 2017 so far, I've started a couple of hockey projects, the serial numbered hockey set and the goalie mask frankenset.  In my mind, I've wanted to get back to hockey a bit more this year, and these two sets have me more involved with posting over the past couple of weeks.

I've also kept up with my other blog, the Player PC's blog has averaged better than a post a day again this year.   It has been easy for the most part, only typing 3 lines for each card, but what the blog has done for me is keeping focused on updating and picking up more cards for my PCs.

One card rule:

One day, I'm going to get around to doing my all time Blue Jays 40 man roster.   You can be sure that this guy will be on it.

Posting one card like this also reminds me to check the Trading Card Database to see if the card has been scanned onto the site (this one already was).  I am a big believer in what the site is doing, and will keep trying to help out in any way I can to add cards.

Thanks for reading, Robert