Sunday 31 May 2015

2013 Topps Opening Day baseball cards

I like Opening Day. It is a fun set and it is inexpensive. I can always pick up a number of packs in the UK, very reasonably priced and less than the expected $1.00 a pack price.
I have always liked the 3D Stars and have collected this great insert for a number of years. The blue bordered parallels numbered to 2013 are nice looking cards as well. In 2013 some interesting additions were included, which made some non- opening day collectors take notice, in particular the surprise picture variations and mascot autographs.

The 2013 Topps Opening Day Baseball base set has 220 cards. This includes 75 players who are not in 2013 Topps Series 1 set. The inserts, which are all 25 card sets, included: Mascots, Superstar Celebration, Opening Day Stars, Play Hard and Ballpark Fun. There are also 10 player autographs and 5 mascot autographs.
The variations can be found in 1 in 617 packs. There are currently 15 identified variations. For a full gallery look here at the superb Cardboard Connection who has images of all the variations.  
I have 6 packs of Opening day, each pack contains 7 cards.
I still need these Red Sox :
#41 Dustin Pedroia 
#42 Jon Lester 
#171 Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Pack 1:
#5 Eric Hosmer Royals
#70 Danny Espinosa Nationals
#97 Matt Cain Giants blue border 0803/2013
#197 Jhonny Peralta Tigers
#153 Andre Ethier Dodgers
#177 Chris Sale White Sox
#BF2 Josh Reddick Athletics

Pack 2:
#40 Carlos Quentin Padres
#86 Brandon League Dodgers
#130 Chase Headley Padres
#183 Fernando Rodney Bay Rays
#185 Curtis Granderson Yankees
#198 Ryan Howard Phillies
#M10 Swinging Friar 

Pack 3:
#22 Felix Hernandez Mariners
#46 Zack Greinke Dodgers
#112 Chase Utley Phillies
#121 Nick Markakis Orioles
#146 Alex Cobb Bay Rays
#155 Brandon Crawford Giants
#SC20 Prince Fielder

Pack 4:
#59 Matt Harvey Mats
#79 Tyler Colvin Rockies
#115 B.J.Upton Braves blue border 1192/2013
#119 Angel Pagan Giants
#126 Todd Frazier Reds
#171 Jarrod Saltalamacchia Red Sox 
#ODS6 Robinson Cano Yankees
Pack 5:
#2 Ricky Romero Blue Jays
#56 Josh Hamilton Angels
#158 J.J.Putz D-backs
#161 Dan Uggla Braves
#174 Kendrys Morales Mariners
#210 Will Middlebrooks Red Sox
#PH15 Andrew McCutchen Pirates

Pack 6:
#41 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox
#75 Trevor Cahill D-backs
#101 Adeiny Hechavarria Marlins
#148 Alex Rios White Sox
#176 Mariano Rivera Yankees
#180 Jason Heyward Braves
#PH23 Hanley Ramirez Dodgers

Not a bad series of packs. A few Red Sox, a smattering of inserts and numbered blue borders. No variations or autographs but those a difficult to find.

Saturday 30 May 2015

2008 Topps Series 1 baseball

2008 Topps are one of more easily recognisable sets from recent years. The cards have a bold white border and circular font on the top of each card featuring the team name. The Series One packs featured Man Ram standing in front of a Japanese rising sun.
2008 Topps is a 660-card set split between two series. Each has 330 cards.
The set is also most remembered for 'gimmick' cards. 
Card #234 The Boston Red Sox celebration card featuring New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani and card #FS1 Kazuo Uzuki, a fictional Japanese baseball player. Apparently not a 'gimmick' but an April Fools prank. 
The pack cost $1.99 and contains 10 cards in the pack, although if there is a relic card the pack will contain 8 cards.
There are no Red Sox that I still need from this set.

The pack:
#12 Jason Bartlett Twins
#46 Zack Greinke Royals
#52 Trevor Hoffman Padres
#118 Marco Scutaro Athletics
#127 Steve Pearce Pirates
#155 Carlos Zambrano Cubs
#209 Andy Phillips Yankees
#251 Dan Johnson Athletics
#272 Anthony Reyes Cardinals
#MHR525 Mickey Mantle Yankees
By far the best card in the pack!

Friday 29 May 2015

2003 Donruss Estrellas

Totalmente en Espanoli

The third and final pack in the mini theme is Donruss Estrellas. These cards were produced for two years, 2002 and 2003, in 2002 they were known as Super Estrellas. The text on these cards is in Spanish.
The 2003 series consisted of 100 base cards, 5 insert sets and 25 different posters. The inserts are:
Estrellas (Stars),  
Poder de Cuadrangular (Power of the quadrangular Diamond?), 
Nacion de Origen (Nation of Origin),  
Leyendas del Pasado (Legends of the Past), 
Precision de Lanzamiento (Precision Throw), 
Thank you Google translate 
And a 5x7 poster, which is inserted one per pack.

The pack:
#28 Jeff Baker Rockies Novato 
#37 Jeff Bagwell Astros
#67 Roger Clements Yankees
#75 Bobby Abreu Phillies
#99 Eric Hinske Blue Jays
#PC1 Jason Giambi Yankees Poder de Cuadrangular
Adam Dunn Poster

What a great idea to include the poster that is also the complete checklist.
Bien hecho.

Thursday 28 May 2015

1988 Pacific Eight Men Out trading cards

The second pack of this mini theme comes from 1988 and features pictures from the baseball movie 'Eight Men Out'. 
The movie is about the infamous 1919 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox (forever dubbed the 'Black Sox'). 
The cards are notable for a few reasons. The set has the only MLB licenced 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson card and also features cards of the actors, Charlie Sheen ( Major League), John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd ( Back to the Future) and for Walking Dead fans Michael Rooker.
I don't want to get in to some war about the best baseball movie, however 'Eight Men Out' stands very close to the top. Which makes me wonder why there hasn't been any other sets featuring baseball movies, besides this set and the recent Major League inserts. I would seriously consider a set based on 'The Natural' in the 1939 or 1940 Playball design.  

This Eight Men Out set has 110 cards showing pictures of the actors in the movie and actual pictures of the 1919 Reds and White Sox players. 
Each pack contains 10 cards and comes wrapped in a lovely wax wrapper shown above.  

The pack:
#8 Eddie Collins (Bill Irwin)
#9 Chick Gandil (Michael Rooker)
#20 Joe Jackson (D.B.Sweeney)
#50 Ray Schalk (Gordon Clapp)
#53 Chicago Stickball
#74 Not Guilty
#77 Who's Joe Jackson (D.B Sweeney)
#86 Bill Rariden Reds 
#97 Dickie Kerr White Sox
#102 Kid Gleason White Sox Mng

Just for the record-
1.The Natural
2. Major League 
3. For the Love of the Game
4. Eight Men Out
5. 42
6. Field of Dreams
7. A League of Their Own
8. Fever Pitch 
9. Bang the Drum Slowly 
10. Bull Durham
11. Moneyball
12. 61*
13. Million Dollar Arm 
14. Ken Burns Baseball documentary

Wednesday 27 May 2015

1991 Conlon Collection

Three unusual /oddball sets to follow. 
 Firstly 1991 Conlon Collection featuring classic photographs from American photographer Charles Conlon. His collection of black and white portraits of thousands of players was turned into cards sets from 1991 to 1995 by Megacards in conjunction with The Sporting News. 
The set consists of 330 cards released in 3 printings. 
The first two printings, whilst missing the MLB logo also differ slightly in design. The picture remains the same but the top right banner reads Hall of Fame in the first printing, and HOF plus induction year in the second printing. Almost identical to the 2nd printing, the 3rd printing displays the MLB logo. The 3rd printing is the most commonly found. There are also subsets in the 1991 collection which includes Hall Of Fame (1-67), 1927 Yankees (100-125), 75 Years Ago World Champs (135-150), 75 Years Ago League Leader (151-164), Great Stories (165-176), Unassisted Triple Play (200-208), Trivia (225-229), All Time Leader (250-277), Most Valuable Player (300-317), and a Charles Martin Conlon Special Card (327). 
The pack contains 18 cards. This pack is the most common 3rd printing. 

The Pack: 
Moe Berg WW2 Spy
#11 Frankie Firsch HOF-1947 
#31 Earl Averill Indians HOF-1975 
#48 Ray Schalk White Sox HOF-1955 
#65 John McGraw Giants HOF- 1937 
#99 Fritz Ostermueller Red Sox 
#116 Charley O’Leary Yankees 
#133 Bill Dietrich White Sox 
#150 Carl Mays Red Sox 
#167 Paul Waner Pirates 
#184 Moe Berg Red Sox 
#201 George H. Burns Red Sox 
#218 Riggs Stephenson Cubs 
#235 Ivey Wingo Reds 
#252 Rube Marquard Giants 
#269 Spud Davis Cardinals 
#292 George Grantham Reds 
#294 Shanty Hogan Braves 
#320 Roy Spencer Indians

An interesting fact about Moe Berg, according to the back of his Conlon card- Moe was a language and mathematical expert. He also became a top WW2 spy, who gathered atomic information from German scientists. Add to this 12 seasons in baseball, what a wide and varied life he had. 

Tuesday 26 May 2015

2015 Donruss Baseball Jumbo Pack

I purchased this 'Value pack' from a fellow collector in the UK, mainly out of curiosity. I think we should support Panini in their attempt to give collectors a choice over Topps. The baseball monopoly has allowed Topps to produce some half-hearted products in the past.
Panini has tried extremely hard with sets like Americas Pastime, Cooperstown, Golden Age, Prizm and even ultra expensive National Treasures. They appear to be thinking carefully about the collector.
I even liked the short lived Triple Play, although aimed at children, it was a refreshing take on card design.
That being said, Donruss cards from the 1980’s are not of the greatest design. The inserts; Studio, The Rookies and Donruss Preferred are by far the best in this set. I suppose we should be thankful they didn’t rehash '88 or '89 Donruss. 
There are a number of Red Sox base cards and inserts available:
#59 David Ortiz
#60 Dustin Pedroia
#62 Xander Bogaerts
#151 Pablo Sandoval
#190 Wade Boggs
Inaugural 1981 Edition
#213 Dustin Pedroia
#220 David Ortiz
Rated Rookies                                       
#31 Rusney Castillo
All-Time Diamond Kings
#18 Wade Boggs
#20 Carl Yastrzemski
The Rookies
#1 Rusney Castillo
#6 Anthony Ranaudo

There are 30 Pro baseball Trading cards in the Value Pack.
The pack:
#40 Brandon Finnegan Kansas City RR
#60 Dustin Pedroia Boston
#65 Starlin Castro Chicago
#71 Joey Votto Cincinnati
#78 Corey Kluber Cleveland
#86 Justin Verlander Detroit
#95 Eric Hosmer Kansas City
#104 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles
#117 Francisco Rodriguez Milwaukee
#127 Matt Harvey New York
#130 David Robertson Chicago
#135 Ryan Howard Philadelphia
#139 Gregory Polanco Pittsburgh
#142 Starling Marte Pittsburgh
#144 Gerrit Cole Pittsburgh
#145 Seth Smith Seattle
#155 Mike Zunino Seattle
#164 Evan Longoria Tampa Bay
#169 Yu Darvish Texas
#174 Melky Cabrera Toronto
#187 Kirby Puckett Minnesota
#190 Wade Boggs Boston
#214 Felix Hernandez Seattle 
#7 Joe Altuve Houston Studio
#10 Dalton Pompey Toronto The Rookies
#15 Brandon Finnegan  Kansas City Donruss Preferred
#17 Taylor Ward  Collegiate National Team
#29 Mark McGwire St. Louis All-time Diamond King
#33 Yasmany Tomas Cuba Elite

So a couple of Red Sox. I'll take a Wade Boggs card any day. 
There is a number of  'hidden' variations in this set, which I didn't mention earlier. But there was none in this value pack.

Monday 25 May 2015

2007 Fleer Ultra baseball

A 200 card base set, really top quality photography, high quality card stock  and a tonne of Rookie cards didn't save Ultra. Fleer bought Ultra to a halt after 2007. 
Some blame a selling device called 'Hobby Only' or as it was really called Fleer Ultra SE. While packs of Ultra, the retail version, sold for around $3.00, the Hobby only SE packs were priced considerably higher. Yes SE packs guaranteed an auto or game used, rookie cards, 'gold medallion' cards and  an insert. The concept didn't overwhelm collectors and it stopped, well in Ultra's case anyway.
This pack is not SE, just standard, run of the mill Ultra.
The pack contains 5 cards but is very thick for 5 cards.

The Pack:
#39 Tadahito Iguchi White Sox
#88 Jered Weaver Angels
#143 Zach Duke Pirates
#155 Brian Giles Padres
#UIM-22 Cal Ripken Jnr  Orioles
A big thick lump of cardboard
No great shakes but nice looking cards. 

Sunday 24 May 2015

2011 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects baseball 'Value Pack'

Yes this is one of those packs. There could be a Mike Trout Rookie card tucked within the pack. A highly sort after card. 
Let's not forget Dylan Bundy and a young fellow by the name of Bryce Harper. Their cards are all possibilities in this set. That is the beauty of Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects. 
There are also a number of Red Sox prospects available in the set.
Matt Barnes,  
Kyle Weiland, 
Blake Swihart, 
Ryan Lavarnway, 
Henry Owens,  
Tommy Hottovy and 
Jose Iglesias.

The 'Value Pack'  contains 12 cards, which includes 3 Bowman Chrome cards.

The pack:
#26 Brandon Laird Yankees
#34 Logan Forsythe Padres
#40 Dee Gordon Dodgers
#77 Matt Young Braves
#BDPP11 Mike Wright Nationals
#BDPP14 Archie Bradley D-backs
#BDPP14 Archie Bradley D-backs gold border 
#BDPP63 Brandon Nimmo Mets
#BDPP69 Jace Peterson Padres
#13 Mark Hamburger Rangers
#BDPP74 Kyle Kubitza Braves
#BDPP36 Larry Greene Phillies refractor

Unfortunately no 'mega' hits but a fairly good cross section of future greats!
No bloody Red Sox either.   

Saturday 23 May 2015

2013 Panini Cooperstown baseball trading cards

There is only one reason I obtained some of these Cooperstown packs and one reason only- Colgan's Chip disks/disc*! 
*"Disk or disc? Disc, being short for discus, refers to anything round. However there is no consensus on the difference between disc and disk and in many contexts the two are used interchangeably. Disk is the standard spelling for computer-related terms such as hard disk and floppy diskDisc is the standard spelling for phonograph records, albums, and components of plows and brake systems. It would appear that disk is more popular in the US and disc the preferred spelling in the UK.  
Possibly not as exciting as some of the other inserts such as Lumberjacks, which may slightly change my first sentence to... 'there are only two reasons...' I am not a fan of the base cards, although the subjects are interesting a find the design a little off putting. 

The 165 disc (disk) set features players from both the modern and vintage era of baseball and lets face it anything card related that is round is oddball enough for anyone to want to collect a sample. So why not the whole set! 
Follow my progress collecting the disc here.

I have a retail box of the 2013 Copperstown, which contains 24 packs. There are 6 cards per pack including a Colgan's disc (disk).

Pack 1:
#12 John Baker Philadelphia
#21 Tony Lazzeri New York
#62 Casey Stengel New York gold 272/299
#69 Red Schoendienst St Louis
#78 Brooks Robinson Baltimore
Disc 93 Hoyt Wilhelm Chicago

Pack 2:
#45 Billy Southworth St. Louis
#52 Hal Newhouser Detroit
#94 Jim Palmer Baltimore
#9 Historic Ticket October 9, 1931
#10 Museum Piece Buck Leonard's spikes
Disc 61 Harry Hooper Boston

Pack 3:
#16 Carlton Fisk Induction
#27 Paul Waner Pittsburgh
#43 Bobby Doer Boston
#70 Jim Bunning Philadelphia
#85 Joe Morgan Cincinnati
Disc 87 Rick Ferrell Boston

Pack 4:
#2  Museum Piece Bob Feller first no-hitter
#8 Joe Tinker Chicago
#17 Satchel Paige Kansas City Monarchs
#66 Billy Williams Chicago
#74 Luis Aparicio Chicago
Disc 125 Orlando Cepeda San Francisco

Pack 5:
#9 Andre Dawson Induction
#35 Joe Medwick St. Louis
#50 Luke Appling Chicago
#59 Phil Rizzuto New York
#92 Reggie Jackson Oakland
Disc 11 Charles Radbourn Cincinnati

Pack 6:
#1 Luis Aparicio Venezuela International Play
#3 Tris Speaker Cleveland
#61 Nellie Fox Chicago
#76 Willie McCovey San Francisco
#93 Burleigh Grimes Pittsburgh
Disc 110 Hal Newhouser Detroit

6 packs down, 6 discs. Only 130 to go!

Friday 22 May 2015

2008 Upper Deck First Edition UPDATE baseball

Wow what a long convoluted name for a baseball set. There are still three cards that I still need to complete this set, although none will be in this pack as cards numbered 301-500 are available in update:
 #183 Tim Wakefield, 
#190 Manny Ramirez , 
#259 Clay Buchholz

There are 10 cards per pack, 1 of these should be a Starquest card (and possibly a Yankee Stadium legacy)

The pack:
#313 Melvin Mora Orioles
#322 Sean Casey Boston Red Sox
#334 Orlando Cabrera White Sox
#368 Miguel Tejada Astros
#424 Alex Rodriguez Yankees
#442 Zach Duke Pirates
#469 Brad Wilkerson Blue Jays
#478 Carl Crawford Bay Rays
#496 Odalis Perez Nationals
#SQ-43 Derrek Lee Cubs 

Thursday 21 May 2015

1990 Sportsflic Magic Motion baseball

The wrapper of this product offers a 'Special Glossy Set' in exchange for 3 wrappers and $5.00. The redemption set included 42 1990 YOUNG SUPERSTARS and 5 Magic Motion Trivia cards. The offer was only good while supply lasted. Did anyone purchase this set and how was it different from the Superstar card in packs?
I love this sort of technology on cards, actually I like any sort of deviation from the normal cardboard, be it plastic, wood, acetate or metal. 
Sportflic produced Magic Motion cards,  where the image magically flips as the cards are moved or tilted, from 1986 and this 1990 outing would be their last, ending a five year run. 
This pack contains 3 Superstar cards and 3 'Magic Motion' Trivia cards. 

The pack:
#11 Kirby Puckett Twins
#40 Bob Boone Royals
#162 Nelson Santovenia Expos
#1/153 Trivia
#137/152 Trivia  
What MVP was the first little league graduate to be elected to the Hall of Fame/
a. Willie McGee
b. Don Mattingly
c. Carl Yastrzemski
d. Ryne Sandberg

Wednesday 20 May 2015

2011 Topps Chrome baseball

Two packs of Topps Chrome from a while back. Thankfully not the flaw ridden 2010 product. They were a bit of a disaster. 
Lots of rookies autographs in this series, 2011 included Eric Hosmer.
I don't need any Red Sox base Chrome cards, so what are the odds that I will pull one more from a pack.
There are 4 cards per pack. Refractor odd are 1 in 3, Gold refractors 1 in 11,000 .

Pack 1:
#16 Jason Heyward Braves X-fractor
#105 Felix Hernandez Mariners
#148 Derrek Lee Orioles
#157 Angle Pagan Mets
'borrowed' image from COMC. My scanner didn't like this card at all!

Pack 2:
#57 John Jaso Bay Rays
#139 Clayton Richard Padres
#142 John Buck Marlins refractor
#149 Ian Desmond Nationals
Another 'borrowed' image. My scanner really does hate these chrome cards.
Despite there not being any Red Sox cards, pulling a refractor from each pack is pretty good odds. I had also forgotten how much I like shiny cards.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

2012 Topps Opening day baseball

Yet another Opening Day pack from 'The Dollar Store'. I'm not 100% sure how this works. How does The Dollar Store actually get hold of packs? According to the person who purchased the packs they were in a large bin near the front of the store. Does Topps dump the packs? Or is it a third  party? Such as: returns from other stores, packs that failed to sell?
Opening day, Panini Triple Play are common, but there are the odd Upper Deck...

The Pack:
7 cards per pack

#19 Mat Latos Reds
#45 Mark Melancon Red Sox
#62 Ervin Santana Angels
#88 John Axford Brewers
#128 Lance Berkman Cardinals
#201 Jose Reyes Marlins
#SC-3 Dan Uggla Braves

Monday 18 May 2015

2011 Topps Opening Day baseball

A solitary 2011 Opening day pack. Another pack that came from 'The Dollar Store'. I am always checking 'Poundland' and 'The Pound Shop' here in the UK but as of yet there have been no baseball cards. Seems odd?
The pack:
#77 Koji Uehara Orioles
#86 Stephen Strasburg Nationals
#124 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers
#150 Matt Cain Giants blue border (0365/2011)
#187 Brandon Phillips Reds
#205 Carlos Quentin White Sox
#9/10 Buster Posey Giants Spot the Error
Can you spot the error?
Still no Red Sox!

Sunday 17 May 2015

2011 Topps baseball stickers

When Topps reintroduced baseball stickers in 2011, I was very excited. Too excited in fact, as I spent a partial arm and leg to get both the book and 6 packs of stickers from Canada no less. 
I liked the stickers so much I also started the 2012 book, which was a little easier to acquire but just as difficult to complete. I am still a few stickers short on both sets. 
Topps continues to make the sticker albums, 2015 has recently been released. 
These five packs came up for auction on ebayUK. I was the sole bidder. Lucky me.
There are 8 stickers per pack. I still need the following 34 stickers to complete the album:

9 43 44 46 59 70 71 73 81

109 133 138 146 147 149 162 168 173 178 180 191 200
224 227 243 245 248 251 258 259 264 277 294   
301 307.

Pack 1:

#49 Adam Dunn White Sox
#94 Maicer Izturis Angels
#141/304 Padres/Cubs
#231 James McDonald Pirates
#238 Albert Pujols Cardinals
#262 Casey Blake Dodgers
#270 Will Venable Padres

#283 Aubrey Huff Giants

Pack 2:
#37 Juan Rivera Bay Rays
#82 Delmon Young Twins
#100 Josh Willingham Athletics
#114 Jack Wilson Mariners
#150 Tim Hudson Brewers
#156 Omar Infante Marlins
#182 Ryan Zimmerman Nationals
#251 Dexter Fowler Rockies- needed

Pack 3:

#5 JJ Hardy Orioles
#87 Tsuyoshi Nishioka Twins
#124 Mitch Moreland Rangers
#176 Carlos Ruiz Phillies
#183 Ian Desmond Nationals
#191 Starlin Castro Cubs - needed
#214 Ryan Braun Brewers
#242 Chris Young D-backs

Pack 4:
#28 Johnny Damon Bay Rays

#42 Aaron Hill Bay Rays
#85 Danny Valencia Twins
#115 Jack Cust Mariners
#131 /306 Royals/Pirates
#192 Blake DeWitt Cubs
#198 Jay Bruce Reds
#282 Freddy Sanchez Giants

Pack 5:
#20 Curtis Granderson Yankees
#25 Mark Teixeira Yankees
#138 /301 Brewers/ Rangers- needed
#170 Shane Victorino Phillies
#227 Ronny Cedeno Pirates- needed
#228 Neil Walker Pirates
#248 Miguel Montero D-backs- needed
#249 Daniel Hudson D-backs

5 cards taken form the wants list, 3 from one pack! Leaving 29 to go.
For the second day NO Red Sox.