Friday, April 30, 2010

Late to the Party With Topps T206

Since I took ten years off from collecting I missed out on a lot of great sets. I am working my way backwards through the Topps and Bowman Heritage sets that I missed along with Topps flagship and Allen and Ginter, but of late my favorite is Topps T206. I didn’t like this set when I first saw pictures pop up and the first Rays cards I got I didn’t really care for, but its one of those sets that has REALLY grown on me. I do admit that I am a neo-vintage obsessed collector so this does fall right into my tastes I guess. This Carlos Pena is one of my favorite cards of him. I haven’t purchased any myself yet, but I am strongly considering it. I wouldn’t mind starting with 2003 first. My introduction to this set was a card of Justin Schuda (who?) but since then cards have trickled in of all my favorites-Gomes, Brazleton, Grieve and a young and toothpick looking BJ Upton. Since I don’t have either year full on the team set I have a page mixed up of both and they all look pretty good together. I know that some people put together Allen and Ginter mini sets of mixed years showing the best card for each number they have. I think I am going to buy a box of 2003 and of 2009 and put together a mixed set. Oh, there are minis too, awesome! I love this hobby! Go Rays! Troll out.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rhubarb Running for Rays!

My Rays haves and have nots have inverted. I have a whole bunch and I have yet to find 14 of them. Ten of them I really need-more on that at the end… It was everybody’s favorite Twins fan the Rhubarb Runner who whittled down the list.
This 1999 Quinton McCracken is the last regular issue card I needed from ’99. I just needed this Jose Guillen to close out 2000 Topps, but I needed a few from the traded set. The Rays 7th rounder from ’99, Andrew Beinbrink, who would have been the first Italian born Devil Ray had he made it past the minors. The Rays #1 pick in 2000 made it to the majors, to the World Series and into early retirement. It’s card #T86 of (then 18 yr old) Rocco Baldeli. He hooked up the rest of the cards that I needed from the bronze-a-riffic 2002 Traded set which I didn’t scan. I did scan this 2003 Traded card of Jonny Gomes, the Rays 18th rounder in 2001. I really like 2003 Topps and with all of these cards I am done with the traded set, but still need two base cards. Thanks so much Rhubarb for tracking all of these down! I really appreciate it! Okay, those were the new additions to the haves, now for the have nots…
I do still need some 2005 Topps, but I am pretty sure I have those somewhere… I know I don’t have these, so that means I officially have it narrowed down to my Top Ten Most Wanted Topps Cards. From 1999 Topps Traded I need T19 Paul Hoover, T20 Ryan Rupe, T66 Josh Hamilton and T83 Jose Canseco.
I need just one more card to finish off 2000 Topps Traded, it is T106 Greg Vaughn. From 2001 Topps Traded I need 3 cards. I actually have 2 of them, but they are reserved for the PC, so I need number T172 Josh Hamilton, T192 Jared Sandberg and T253 Joe Kennedy. Lastly from 2003 Topps, which is incidentally my favorite Topps set of the 2000s, I need 36 Aubrey Huff and 541 Lee Stevens.
With as many Aubrey Huff cards as I have lying around, I really can’t believe I still need this, but I can’t find one. Okay, that’s it, thanks for looking… Be like Rhubarb and hook a Troll up! Coming soon are want lists for Upper Deck 1998 - 2010, then Topps Chrome, Topps Gold and Fleer Tradition... My want lists are on the side bar. Many need some serious updating, but can point you in the right direction. By the by... big congrats to Chris Tillman and Norfolk on hitting the Gwinett Braves last night! Go Rays! Troll out.

Personal Collections, Team Collections and More!

I am still obsessing about finding a new player to collect. I shouldn’t be. With my changing of jobs I am going this week without a paycheck, so I am lucky to eat never mind buy cards, but I have a minute to post and that is what I am thinking about. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I left my player collection up to a reader poll and it ended in a 3 way tie between Bill Mazeroski, Larry Doby and Bill Madlock. Readers have treated me to cards of each, but I haven’t picked one. A huge thanks goes to reader Claudia for this autographed Mad Dog postcard. I certainly don’t mind collecting any of these players, but I am not SUPER collecting just yet.
Anyway, I have been sorting my thousands of Rays cards into team sets. I am pretty darn close to finishing off all of the Topps team sets for the past 13 years (more on that later). I have started binders of a few specific players doubles and got them all their own binder, calling it my Elite Eight Favorite Ex-Devil Rays. That list includes Jared Sandberg, Jonny Gomes, Joe Kennedy, Ben Grieve, Quinton McCracken, Dewon Brazelton and now, the newest addition, Dave Martinez. I posted this card a few weeks back and was a little bummed that it didn’t get a reaction, so I will post it again. I got to talk with Dave at length during spring training this year. I was writing a feature on the 1998 Devil Rays Inaugural Season and since Martinez posted the organizations first ever hit, he factored prominently in the story. At the end of our talk I brought up card blogs and he confided that reading them was a guilty pleasure of his. He also mentioned one of favorite haunts and I pulled this card out of my bag for him to sign for the Troll. This is officially the 4th “To Troll” card in the collection. I may post the others someday. I have begun sorting out my Dave Martinez Rays cards and he now fills a few pages in the binder. If you are curious I have zero interest in cards of him on the Cubs, Reds or White Sox or any team other than the Rays. If you are further curious, he has been known to swing the bat in BP every now and then and I believe I would much rather have him in the lineup than Pat the Bat. Anyway… This is all just a prelude to a pair of actual posts which are coming. One is a trade that nearly wiped out my team set needs and the other is the unveiling of my new player collection… Oh, speaking of player collections... Here are 2 gems that Madding from Cards on Cards sent me about 6 months ago. He had come into a big lot of basecards and sent me about 500 Rays cards. He also sent this SP '05 (numbered 108 of 199) Carl Crawford jersey relic and this '06 SP Gomes. These got completely buried and never got posted. I hope to sort through and binderize the Carl Crawford collection soon. I can't decide what to do with autos and relics. The thin ones fit in pages fine, but thicker cards don't. I have some super special CC cards in the display case, but I really want to have ALL of my CC cards together. Any suggestions? Stay tuned! Oh, thanks to everyone (all 4 of you) who entered my shopping spree contest. Roof God was half right and Play at the Plate was correct. I don't have any Rangers or Tigers relics or '65s, but I do have a few to pick from. Send me an email please... Go Rays! Troll out.

The Joy of a Completed Page...

These are great to post when I have ZERO time... 2008 Topps GOLD Rays. I actually have 11 now, but I still need more! I do have Willy Aybar completely covered... Go Rays! Troll out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Blog Bat Around Shopping Spree is Done!

I will start with a message for those who read my last post... I am NOT a Yankees fan, I repeat I am NOT a Yankees fan! It is possible to want to buy the most expensive card from your favorite set of all time without being a fan of that team… That said, lets move on for the final installment of my 50K spending spree. Of course I run the risk of looking more like a Yankees fan, which I am not. Just read on. The next buy I made was not on my list but I found it while searching for ’48 Leaf cards. I was randomly searching around and I found this excellent lot of 1948 Leaf Boxing cards. It is actually the full set of 18 cards and half were graded. This was my favorite surprise find of the spree. I jumped on it after seeing pics of Jack Johnson, Sugar Ray Robinson and Jack Dempsey. The BIN price was $1500 plus 15 dollars shipping. I wasn’t pissed about the shipping considering there were 18 vintage cards and some were graded. The average cost of these boxing cards was only 84 bucks, I was happy with this deal. I know now that many of these cards can be found cheap. A '48 Bob Fitzsimmons for 10 bucks? I bought one of thoese for real! Okay, speaking of deals…
While looking at ’48 Leafs I came across this PSA 9 of Hall of Famer Luke Appling for only $309.00. Probably not a wise buy with the clock ticking, but considering what I “paid” for the other ’48 Leaf cards at a lower grade seemed like a true great deal. I know the other cards were rookies or early cards and Appling was on his way out, but still… I did also drop 8 bucks to ship this one and I stayed with ’48 Leaf for the next one.
I found this PSA 6 Larry Doby card for 3500.00 After getting a PSA 8 of Jackie Robinson from the same set for $3700.00 I couldn’t pay this much for a 6 of Doby. I wanted this card really bad, but I kept on looking and found a PSA 2 with the wrong back for $650.00. I wasn’t thrilled with that either, but I would be bummed to have Paige, Musial, Robinson, Appling and NOT Doby. It is a wrong back, but the back is of Danny Murtaugh, so that was kind of nice, too. In retrospect, I wish that I put principles aside and bout the 6, but I am glad I got one…
I am at $33,553 with just a couple of minutes left. First order of business was buying the first Clemente rookie that came up-I got this PSA 5 for $749.00. I have seen ungraded cards at shows for more money that didn’t look this good and it was $5000 less than the first one I found.
I went Yankees again, but I have no shame because I “own” a 1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig. A PSA 3 for $1200.00.
To balance out my Yankees purchase I bought a Ted Williams card. A 1941 Play Ball for $995.00. I know Williams has a lot of great cards and I was tempted to go with the ’48 Leaf, but I love ’41 Play Ball.
There are a ton of cards I still need-more Satchell Paige, some ’53 Topps, more ’51 Bowman, more… I decided to keep with the variety and chase a few more Hall of Fame hurlers, first stop Sandy Koufax. I found this PSA 8 rookie card of The Left Arm of God for $2150.00 plus 12 bucks shipping. My Dad knew Koufax and was his favorite player of All Time. He doesn’t collect, but he would think it was neat, plus I know I could trade bait this to the Night Owl the next time he finds a Carl Crawford card that I can’t live without…
I wanted to go Warren Spahn and then Steve Carlton and then more Satchel Paige, but I was down to 70 seconds and needed to burn up 10 grand. I was SWEATING! First pick was this amazing 1937 O-Pee-Chee of Rapid Robert Feller. I had never seen this card before and really didn’t know it existed. Feller was just 18 years of age when this card came out-is this his rookie? Again it wasn’t on my radar, but a PSA 7 of Bob Feller from 1937 was too much to pass up. I dropped $3,995. Plus 10 bucks shipping on it.
My stop watch said 14:34 and I had almost 8 grand left to go and I was stressing big time. I called on Joltin Joe to bring it home… I was able to find a card of him as a San Francisco Seal (not a Yankee) and I burned up $5775 in the process. It’s a 1933 PSA 1 Zee Nut PCL Joe DiMaggio. I jotted this one down just as the alarm went off. Shopping spree over. I was pretty disappointed in myself. The 15 minute time limit did me in. I started off being so organized with a great plan and after 12 minutes it all went out the window and I just started jumping at high ticket items. Although they are neat cards I didn't want to spend the bulk of my budget on the Joe D, Mantle and Feller cards. I wanted more cards of Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige and I REALLY wanted to pick up autos of Satchel Paige, Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson and I can't believe I didn't get a single card of Willie Mays. For the record, I search new listings for Danny Tartabull everyday and I knew he didn't have any big ticket cards available, otherwise I would have picked them up. My final total was $48,429.00. That means I left $1571 on the table. Ouch. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so damn picky. That’s it, thanks for reading along with my entry in the Sports Cards Uncensored 50 K Shopping Spree Blog Bat Around. Go Rays! Troll out.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Money Spent...

Part 2 of my shopping spree starts now!
I REALLY wanted to get a NICE Carl Crawford card for my PC. I searched and wasn’t happy with what I found, but bought something anyway just so it wasn’t all a waste of time. I picked up a One of One Carl Crawford 2005 Turkey Red Suede for $249.00 plus 10 bucks shipping. Not my preference, but the clock is ticking…
I do want to point out that if I wasn't in such a hurry, I would have ran away quickly from this seller. 10 bucks shipping? Are you kidding me? I went straight back to vintage and grabbed another card that I have always wanted. Don’t think this makes me a Yankees fan, but I love 1951 and I know this card will always keep from finishing it, so even if it isn’t real, it felt great to “own” a PSA 7 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle for $4195.00. Moving on with the clock ticking, I needed another big ticket item so I went for a classic rookie with another Great of the Game.
For a buck less than 6000 grand I picked up a PSA 8 1948 Stan Musial with free shipping. More expensive than I would have liked, but this is another one of those cards that I dreamed of as a kid…
I’m out of time again… Gotta go back to work. $10,453 more spent. Two classic rookies and a card for my PC. Tune in later for the final installment of how I spent my 50K. Go Rays! Troll out.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blog Bat Around Shopping Spree, How I Spent My First Seven Minutes and 20,618 K!

To get up to speed, please read this post first… If you are reading this, I am at work, at the new job. I thought ahead and scheduled this so dust wasn’t growing on the blog while I am out. I can’t wait for the next “Blog Bat Around” topic because this was a ton of fun! Thanks again to Sports Cards Uncensored for hosting this! For each card the auction is linked, click and see what I "bought". Okay, let’s go shopping!
Starting now!
My first purchase was my biggest. I went straight for my personal “white whale”. A card I have coveted since I saw a picture of it in a hobby book as a child. A card I have never actually seen in person before. The greatest card in the history of the hobby! It is card #8 from the 1948 Leaf set of Satchel Paige.
Since this card is so far out of my price range I have no idea how much it should be, but I thought it would be appropriate for it to be the most expensive card from my shopping spree. I dropped $11,500.00 on this, but did get it shipped for free. In my dreams this card would have been a PSA 8 or 9, but today I will settle for a PSA 7. This is the earliest card of Satch that I know to exist, which I suppose would make it his rookie card, which is even more funny (and sad really) because he was 41 and a 20-year vet when this card was printed. I stuck with 1948 Leaf for the next card, too. This is another card that I have always coveted, but have never seen in person. I spent $3,700.00 on this PSA 8 Jackie Robinson from ’48 Leaf. Considering what I spent on the Paige, this seemed like a major bargain for the “rookie” card of the 1947 Rookie of the Year.
I was able to nab those two cards very quickly and at this point I was still on my game plan. I was going in order of the cards I had most coveted throughout my lifetime. The natural third on that list is a 1955 Roberto Clemente. This card was more complicated to search for as there are many more ’54 Topps cards out there as opposed to ’48 Leaf. More options take more time. I found the perfect card pretty quick though.
Here it is a PSA 8 Clemente rookie. A beautiful card, but I wasn’t prepared to spend $5,950. for a card from the 50s. It’s funny how serious I got about spending imaginary money. I wasted a minute looking for this and didn’t make the buy. Before my time is up I WILL get myself a Clemente rookie, but for about half that price, I hope. I will go back to this one later... With less than 13 minutes left I had just 2 cards in my cart and had spent $15,200. I wasted a little time without a purchase, but stayed on course and moved on to a 1954 Hank Aaron. My game plan was to find the highest grade I could for less than $4,000. I quickly settled on this PSA 7 for $2,400. I was a little bummed to not find a PSA 8, but I was happy with the cost. What I wasn’t happy with was that this seller charged shipping. I thought it was an unwritten rule that cards over 500 bucks shipped for free. Not only did this seller charge for shipping, he/she charged 20 bucks! What? Had this been reality that would have been a deal breaker. For the sake of this exercise the time wasted wasn’t worth $20.00 so I left it in my imaginary shopping cart. I wanted to make sure that I got some 1887 Ginter Champions as part of the deal. These 2 purchases went quick. I knew exactly which 2 cards I wanted and roughly what they should cost. I seriously do plan on someday buying these and finishing this set, probably in about 50 years, but someday. Anyway, I called up this ’87 Ginter card of Mike “King” Kelly, a PSA 4 for $1199 and then this PSA 1.5 of Cap Anson for $1,799. I wanted to stick between 3 and 5 on the grade for my Ginter set, but this 1.5 of Cap had most of its damage to the back and I have seen plenty of higher grade Anson’s priced much higher. One of my favorite “free time” searches is keyword “1887 Ginter”. I don’t know if they ever sell, but PSA 7’s are generally priced from 7,000 to 20,000 of Anson. I wanted the card, but I didn’t want it to be my main purchase, so I was stoked with a 1.5 for under 2K. At this point I swung at 6 cards, missed one and “purchased” 5 cards. I also burned up 7 minutes and only spent $20,618.00 (including 20 bucks for shipping which I wasn’t happy about). I have 8 minutes left to go and a long list of cards I am hunting for. Stay tuned for the remainder of my shopping spree, the sweat is dripping, but the collection is looking GREAT. I have $29,382.00 left to spend, do you think I can do it? How well do you guys know me? I smell a challenge and a contest... Comment here with the answer to 2 questions. One, will I spend it all and two, pick at least one card I will buy. Year and player would be fine. Whomever gets the most cards right wins a choice of some "hits" I still have. A choice of 5 different relics or you can choose one of my dupes from '65 Topps. I will have the rest of my cart posted soon, so get on it! Go Rays! Troll out.

Procrastination Station-My Blog Bat Around Shopping Spree

Okay, rewind back to April 12th. It was almost 2 weeks ago when I read this post on Sports Card Uncensored proposing a topic for a Blog Bat Around. my recap brief. The easiest thing to do is to click on this link to the BBA topic and read it yourself… The basic premise is that you are given $50,000.00 to spend however you like on eBay. Pretty awesome, huh? The only catch is that you only have 15 minutes to do so. The idea of a 50 grand card shopping spree is absolutely awesome, but imagine the stress involved knowing that you only have 900 seconds to spend it. I first read this topic two weeks ago and the rusty gears in my head have been turning ever since. I have read a whole bunch of shopping sprees on the other blogs and felt the excitement of the idea with each post. My time has been limited when it comes to posting; it has been even more limited when it comIf you read this blog, I am sure you read SCU too and are well aware of the topic, so I will keep es to eBay. Knowing I have 28 cents in my PayPal account gives me less motivation to spend any time over there. In fact it makes it VERY dangerous. There have been too many late nights where I have clicked on a BIN button knowing that I can’t possibly afford the item, but the deal seems too good to pass up. For that reason I may have promised someone that I would stay far away from eBay. I have kept my distance from that evil auction site, but with each post I read about this subject, I think more and more about my own shopping spree. SCU gave their readers one week to participate in the Bat Around. More than enough time for most, but not nearly long enough for a procrastinating Troll. In fact I am surprised that I was able to do it after only two weeks. I know I am too late officially for the Bat Around, but I really wanted to try it anyway. I had a 15 minute break planned from 9:45 till 10:00 PM last night and I decided that would be my time to go on a shopping spree. I told my wife I couldn’t talk far in advance. I filled my coffee up beforehand, I shut off my phone and made sure my computer had enough time left on its charge. I had a notebook, pen and a calculator ready. I also set an alarm to go off after 15 minutes AND I set the stop watch on my phone. The 15 minute time constraint is one of the most important things in this exercise and I wanted to make sure that I adhered to it. I bumped around on eBay a little earlier in the week. I didn’t “watch” any items or try to cheat-I went on to try and figure out specific search modes based on price. Normally I prefer to bid on actual auctions, set my max bid and hope it slips by. For this experiment I needed to be sure that I was only looking at Buy It Now cards and I wanted to set a minimum price so I wasn’t wasting time looking at 5 dollar cards. During my lunch break earlier in the night I made an outline.
On my notebook I had my intentions clearly mapped out. I wanted A LOT of things. More things than 50 grand could buy, but I figured it would be good to have an idea of what I wanted. I knew there were a few different sets that I wanted to hit hard, a few personal favorite sets of mine. I was going to be looking for 1948 Leaf, 1887 Allen and Ginter Champions, 1951 Bowman, 2009 Allen and Ginter Woods, silks, rip cards and 1/1, 1953 Topps, 1912 T202, 1909 T206 and 2007 Sweet Spot Immortal Signatures. I was also planning on picking up complete sets of Topps from 1958, ’59, ’60, ’63 and ’65. I wanted to find cool 1 of 1 cards of Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Brian Roberts and Jason Bartlett. I also really wanted to get certified autographs of Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Cool Papa Bell, Willie Wells, Piper Davis, Sandy Koufax, Ted Williams and Satchel Paige. I wanted to get vintage, high grade cards of all of those guys too, plus Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Banks, Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. I had a lot of things I wanted to get. I think I was taking this thing too seriously, but I don’t know when I will get the chance to “spend” $50,000. on cards again, so this was pretty serious. I wasn’t sure what the best method was to “purchase” cards for this, but I decided when I found an item I wanted I would WATCH it, copy and paste the URL and write down a quick description of the item and price in the notebook. That seemed fair to me, so that is what I did. When 9:45 rolled around I was waiting, the computer was on, I was already logged into eBay and as soon as my alarm went off I took a swig of coffee, a deep breath and I started searching. I will say that I considered the idea of just buying something really big like this awesome Babe Ruth baseball for $48,000.00, but I wanted to get in on the chase, fight against the clock and get the most bang for my imaginary buck.
I will post my purchases as soon as I get home from work later tonight… Like I said I know I missed the deadline, but I didn’t want to miss the fun. Stay tuned…I will show you one more card that I DIDN'T buy with my 50K. It's a great looking card, but 6 grand for an auto is too much even when playing make believe... I still had to show this because it really is a cut signature done right and I love the quote. It says "I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give." There will NEVER be another Roberto Clemente!
The 50 grand went quick, like in 15 minutes... I had never broke a sweat shopping on eBay before. It was intense. I will be at work until 11 PM Eastern, but I have a post scheduled to go up at 3:11 PM (My wedding anniversary is March 11th), check it out cuz there is a little contest and challenge and you can win cards! On a different note, I finally sorted through all of my new 2010 Heritage cards and made a list. I don't plan on buying any of this, but I wouldn't mind at least killing off the base set. Thanks for looking... Go Rays! Troll out.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthdays!!!

Two amazing bloggers came into the world on this day (April 25th) and I wanted to send out some blog-o-spher birthday love to both of them . They share their birthday with some pretty good company, beginning with former Negro Leaguer and Hall of Famer shortstop and coach, John Henry "Pop" Lloyd. Also born on this date are baseball players Brad Clontz, Jacque Jones, Travis Fryman, Darren Holmes and Tony Phillips. NBA stars past and present, including Tim Duncan, Walt Wesley and Mark Bryant. A couple of NFL stars share their birthday including All Pro safety Darren Woodson, Steve Tovar, Corwin Brown, Percell Gaskins, Eric England and Twan Russell. I even found a couple of hockey players who share their birthday including Libor Prochazka and Alek Stojanov. Aside from athletes, they also share their birthday with a bunch of great actors. Former skateboarder and star of "My Name is Earl" and "Almost Famous" Jason Lee as well as Hank Azaria of the Simpsons. Actress Renee Zellweger was born today as was Scarface Al Pacino. One of my role models, Edward R. Murrow was also born on this date. It was a pretty big day for musicians, too. Stu Cook, the bass player for Creedence Clearwater Revival was born today as was Elvis Presley's mom, Gladys Presley. Bluesman Albert King came into this world today as did LEGENDARY jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. Most importantly, today, two good friends, traders, sports fans, authors, peers and all around great guys were born. Please take the time to drop by Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius to wish Matt F. Happy Birthday and then hit up My Past Time I Love It! to wish Wicked Ortega a Happy Birthday!!! Feliz Cumpleanos Amigos! I normally reserve birthday posts for my wife and my boys, but how often do two different, completely awesome bloggers celebrate a birthday on the same day? Not too often... Happy Birthday Matt and Alfredo!!! We are ALL lined up waiting to wish both of you a super happy birthday! Oh, I got a call from Ms. Shannon Stewart and she asked me to send some birthday love to both of you... You guys rock! Go Rays! troll out.