Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Pair of Packs of Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks

Don't you just love alliteration? I couldn't resist when concocting catchy, captivating titillating title text. Okay, perhaps I should have resisted. And, I digress. Often.

In the last post, I talked about feeding my cardboard addiction and part of that feeding comes by way of two packs of 2014 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks. I thought it would be fun to not only go through the list of players I got, but let's see where they are now**:

Matt Imhof (Draft Class) - Philadelphia - Lost his right eye in a freak accident* in June 2016. He retired at age 23, currently coaching college ball.

Sean Newcomb (Draft Class) - Los Angeles (Angels) - After bouncing between multiple teams in 2015 (including Arkansas Travelers). He is currently in AA ball for the Braves.

Max Pentecost (Draft Class) - Toronto - Has stayed with the Blue Jays organization, had several surgeries, and is now playing A+ for the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Jordan Luplow - Pittsburgh - Has remained a Pirates prospect, currently playing for Bradenton Marauders in A+ ball. In 2015, racked up several awards including All-Star and Player of the Week.

John Richy - Los Angeles (Dodgers) - Was part of the Phillies deal to send Chase Utley to the Dodgers. Still with the Philly organization, most likely on track to find himself in the 4th/5th pitching spot one day.

James Norwood - Chicago (Cubs) - Still with the Cubs club, playing in Myrtle Beach. His 4.75 ERA includes a couple of rough times of 7.00+ ERA outings plus a nasty 13.50 ERA back in 2014 in just 2 innings. As of 2016, he has brought it back down to 3.25.

Mark Payton - New York (Yankees) - Still with the Yankees, he batted .309 in 2016. In several articles, he is referred to as a "sleeper" prospect about to break out.

Malik Collymore - St. Louis - With St. Louis until mid-2015, he now plays for the Brewers organization. He had a very rough 2016, getting sent to Australia in hopes of building his game and confidence.

*Matt Imhof story/update: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/phillies-prospect-thriving-after-losing-right-eye-in-freak-accident-at-the-ballpark/
**Player info from baseball-reference.com, milb.com, and other sources.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Feeding the Cardboard Addiction

I left the office and headed out to lunch. I stopped at Walmart because I wanted to see if they had the charging/headphone adapter for my iPhone 7. They did not. Our Walmart has a Subway in it, so I figured I would just eat there since I was already in the store. And, you can imagine what happened next, I'm sure. I stopped by the cardboard aisle. I was just looking, though I had half-heartedly decided to pick up a pack of 2017 Topps since I hadn't busted any of that yet. I felt the pang. Do you get that pang? The one that whispers to you, "Hey... Over here... I'm a blaster box... I have cool bits of collectible cardboard in here..." It whispers, at first. Soon, however, it is screaming at you and you're helpless to resist. The cardboard habit pulls, tugs, and yanks at you, your wallet, your sense of duty... Duty? Yes, you see, the habit, the addiction, convinced me that I needed something for a post. "You don't want to write about what your already HAVE," it said. "You want something new to talk about."

I looked and there was a repack box. I loathe repack boxes, and yet my addiction prevents me from resisting them. "11 Factory Sealed packs inside," the label read. And, just below that, the ever-taunting proclamation: "INCLUDING 1 HOBBY PACK IN EVERY BOX!' A Hobby pack!? In EVERY box!? Oh, man... It's a Hobby pack. Do you know how much Hobby packs are by themselves? This was a blaster with 11 packs for $15. That's not great, but it's not bad, either... right?

I snagged one. I was at the checkout with it before I knew what was happening. The cashier, a family friend, commented, "Buying baseball cards on your lunch break, David?" Yes, YES! Yes, I was. And then I was grabbing lunch. And I wasn't eating it there because I figured I could grab the food, head back to the office and have time to bust open a pack before my break was over. Maybe even TWO packs...

I tilted the box upside down and it felt... wrong. Something wasn't right here. It made a different kind of noise. It didn't sound like 11 packs in a box sliding around. It sounded like something else. Something... plastic.. rubbing against foil. I know that sounds weird, but that's the only way I can describe it. I hurried back to the office, found a quiet spot and ripped open the box. Sure enough, a screw-down nestled itself among the packs. I actually thought it was a graded card at first, but the split along the top convinced me otherwise. Before I took it out, I examined the box... Sure enough. On the side of the box, it said, "LOOK FOR THESE SPECIAL BONUS CARDS..." There was Kris Bryant, Mike Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr, Mickey Mantle, and Cal Ripken Jr. Holy smokes.

The box whispered, "See? I told you to buy me. Now, why don't you come look inside?"

I did. The Hobby pack turned out to be Stars and Stripes... Meh, okay.  The screw-down? A 2015 Cal Ripken Jr insert. Look, don't get me wrong here: any Ripken is a good Ripken. But, a screw-down for a 2015 insert? I would bet the holder is worth more than the contents, not that "worth" has anything to do with why I bought the box to begin with. Still.

There are a couple packs of "Babe Ruth Collection," a few packs of "Triple Play," a couple packs of Prizm "Draft Picks," and a few other random packs. Yes, oh sweet addiction, you got me. I have 11 packs, including one Hobby pack. PLUS, I managed to score the bonus card (found in 1 of 4 boxes).

With the first phase of the addiction process over (the buying and initial bust), the next phase just as eagerly calls out to me... "Open us... Open...just...one... Come on, Dave... Just one..."

Friday, February 24, 2017

A slew of cool Indians cards from @GypsyOak! Thanks to @MDAubrey!

A friend of mine many of you may know, Mark Aubrey (of Mark's Ephemera fame), shared some very cool pieces of art on Twitter with me. I suppose the proper vernacular would be something akin to: @mdaubrey tagged me in a Tweet showcasing some #Indians items made by @GypsyOak.

I reached out to Jeff at Gypsy Oak to see what Tribers they had and to inquire about purchasing some. Well, some turned to a "slew" and the slew turned into a whole freaking bunch! Now, in the name of full disclosure, I did not pay for all of the items you see here. Many, many were actually marked "FREE GIFT" and were thrown in for nothing! How great is that!?

I'm not even sure where to begin, so I'll start with the Artist's Proofs. These are 4x6 prints of some of the amazing work produced by Gypsy Oak. Each one has a label on the back indicating the player pictured and the Artist Proof Number out of 10. Yeap, there are only 10 Proofs of each player! Just. Wow!

Joe Wood (#07/10)

Ray Chapman (#07/10)

Tris Speaker (#05/10)

Addie Joss (#04/10)

Cy Young (#03/10)

Joe Jackson (#03/10)

In addition to these incredible player depictions, I received a wood-burned "card" about the size of a T206. The one I received features Bob Feller, which I found a bit ironic (though, I am probably not using that word correctly in this context) since it was on his birthday that I had previously retired from writing here.

A set of cards that I did purchase in addition to the Proofs above: Helmar Brewing Art Stamps. In my correspondence with Jeff, I learned there were 20 Indians in the set, so I bought them all. I'm not exactly sure how the "sets" work because I received an additional 9 cards (29 total):

The backs of the cards have either a "2015" or a "MMXVI" (2016) in addition to some text. The thing is, there are 18 of the "2015" and 11 of the "MMXVI" cards. I'm sure someone somewhere can explain - or perhaps Jeff just misspoke about the number. Either way, I am not complaining one bit!!

Now, you are probably thinking, "DANG! That's a lot of stuff, there, man!" And, you'd be right. But, that's not the end! In fact, in terms of "types" of cards, we're only halfway there (cue the Bon Jovi music...)

The next three cards are thick. I don't points of thickness from a hole in the wall, so I can only say they are about as thick as a standard relic card. These are also T206-sized. The Chapman is dated 2005 while the other two are dated 2014.

The back of the Chapman has a rubbed off coupon for Helmar Brewing while the other two feature an "ad" for Colgan's Chips:

Those are some seriously cool cards! I have not done any research into the make/model/pricing of these nor do I know if they are considered "fan art" or collectibles. I don't really care. As far as I'm concerned, these go into my personal collection and add the value of "those are freakin' cool!"

Gypsy Oak also included two custom cards with pennies in them! The cards are the same thickness of the ones I just mentioned, which makes sense since these actually DO have relics in them!

The Feller has a 1952 penny and the LaJoie has a 1933 penny in it. These are great cards! 

Rounding out the incredible package I got, there were three MICRO Indians cards plus an entire strip of 12 micro cards featuring all kinds of players!

Now, when I say MICRO, these little babies measure 3/4" x 1" each. Yes, you read that correctly. These things are tiny and are oh-so-good! 

First of all, I want to thank MARK for hooking me up with the incredible talent of Gypsy Oak! And, I want to thank Jeff for not only sending what I ordered, but for also surprising me with an INCREDIBLE array of Indians cards greatness! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Setting Free a Stand-Up Guy - 1934 Boze Berger Batter-Up

This is a 1934 Batter-Up card of Boze Berger. I bought this card back in 2008 on eBay. At the time, this poor fella was trapped in a PSA-graded sealed containment unit. It was graded Poor-Fair 1, which I can only assume is just as low as you can go. I didn't care. I wanted the card and I wanted to set it free. So, I bought it and did just that.

It's hard to tell, but the card is die-cut around the top half of the player such that one could fold the card and create a mock 3-d stand-up of the player. From the looks of it, someone had done that. I did not. It actually looks as though the person folded it in half before punching out the player, thus the crease at the belt line. That's a bummer.

Berger played for the Tribe in '32, '35 and '36. He played all over the infield along the bases. He also played for the Red Sox and the White Sox during his career. As an Indians player, he mustered a .144 batting average. He hit .238 in 1935 with the Tribe, which turned out to be his best season in the majors.

As he embarked on that 1935 season, he remarked, "...I’m going to do the best I can and if that isn’t good enough it’ll be just too bad for me." I think a good many players would be served well to hold the same attitude.

He gave 20 years of service for his country, serving in the Army then the Air Force.


Monday, February 20, 2017

I bought a #Repack. Let's do a #ShowYourHits post

I spent the day with my wife and daughter, which means we went shopping. While in target, I decided to grab a repack box that had an auto'd card and four packs of wax.

I managed to snag a 2016 Bowman Michael Brantley, so score one for the Tribe fans! Wahoo!!  I also snagged a few inserts along the way, so I'm sharing those here, too.

We have a Charles Brewer auto card (that was the auto that came with the box) that arrived in a penny sleeve. Do we still call them penny sleeves? I do because that's what they were called when I was a kid. They are probably more like dime bags now. Er, never mind.

We also scored a 3000 Hits Club Kaline and a 500 HR Futures Club Fielder. The Trevor Story Youth Impact is a fine specimen of chrome, but you can't tell it in the scan. We round things out with another cool bit of chrome in the Scouts Top 100 , Gleyber Torres.

The rest of the cards were standard pack cards from various brands/sets, but all were from 2016. At least the repack box wasn't full of junk wax from the late 80's/early 90's, right?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

For the Love of Cardboard #thehobby #collecting

It happened. I never thought it would, and it didn't take long. I heard the call.

The truth is ever since I hung up the keyboard around here, I've felt the pangs of separation. The Hobby kept calling like the siren that it is. I kept ignoring it. Then, a funny thing happened. Well, a couple funny things, really.

First, I ended up in a Crackin Wax charity break (er, I think that's what it was, I'm afraid my memory fails me as I type this) in which I scored some rather nice Bowman Chrome and some Topps 2016 cards. I knew then I would have to make a post about them. I fought it as long as I could, but as you see, obviously, I gave in.

Second, this crazy blog has gained a readership I never would have expected. I am blown away by the number of folks that have come by since my retirement from writing here. Several of you have taken the time to reach out to me and I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated that over the past few months.

The past few months... Frankly, it feels like I quit several years ago. The time away from sharing cards and stories about cards has felt like several seasons have passed and yet, really, I didn't even make it to the start of the new season. The call, the pull, the siren song is just too great.

I don't know what my posting schedule will be or what the content will be. Okay, that's not true. We all know that the content will focus on Indians baseball cards. As for the other stuff (Pack-A-Daily, etc), I cannot say. Like coming back into any relationship, we're taking things slowly, cautiously.

The Hobby is a sweet, seductive songstress, whose clutches often leave the victim with much less money than when s/he started and, all too often, with that money vested in bits of cardboard worth much less than the amount spent. That's not really what it's about though. There are mutual friends, surprises, cherished memories, and the promise of memories yet to come. And, that, my friends, is why I have dusted off the keyboard and pulled the rubber band off the bits of cardboard.

Today, we start Tribecards 2.0. Welcome Home.