Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Busting Some Birthday Packs

So, my birthday was over a month ago, and according to my sloth-like schedule, that means it's about time to post my loot. I took a bit of my birthday cash and went to the LCS in my hometown while I was visiting. They have a box of discounted packs from the early to mid 2000s. I usually just pick what looks interesting, and this time I decided to delve into Play Ball, which I'd never opened before.

Here was my first pack. Nothing too great, a numbered Nomar. I usually love art sets, but something about this design just seems kind of lazy. Maybe I just hate headshots. Dmitri's afro does look pretty cool in all of the anachronism of an afro mixed with a vintage design.

I was left with the same meh feeling as the first pack here, but, oh, what's this? A hit!

And a pretty nice one at that. I always liked Thome, and I love finding a stripe on my swatch-o-jersey. I like the GU design a bit more, but "Artist's Touch" seems like a bit of a stretch. Grainy paint filter, cheesy painter's palette, and what looks like grass drawn by my six-year-old niece on PC Paint does not a work of art make. Despite my griping, this is a pretty cool card.

I also picked up the last three packs of 2006 UD Update the LCS had, half-hoping I'd score a Pedroia rookie. I didn't, but I did land a nice Prince short print. In the first two rows, you get to see what this set is mostly made up of: managers and rookies no one's heard of. A fun set to rip if you don't mind mysterious rookie flops and old dudes sporting jerseys and guts.

Last up, here's what I got in a pack of 2004 Fleer Platinum. And what's that at the bottom? Could it be yet another hit? Let's take a closer look:

These Scouting Report cards are booklets that open up to reveal the arbitrary game-used scrap-o-whatever. It's actually a pretty neat design, and nice to see a set doing something different in a time when GUs were already getting bland. The only problem is this card features Rocco Baldelli, who no one seems to collect. Any Rays fans out there interested in this card?

Actually, everything on this post is for trade, except for the Prince Fielder short print. So let me know if there's anything you need.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bob Bonner's eBay Store, or El Cheapo Ripken Rookie

A while back, I was trolling eBay, searching for deals, when I came upon a listing for a 1982 Topps card, number 21. The dealer listed this information and some random names of guys I didn't recognize: Bonner and Schneider. I don't even know why I clicked. But probably a lot of you already know what card is being described.

Ripken must have been listed somewhere in the posting, but it wasn't obvious that his was his rookie card, one I'd been trying to find a good deal on for a long time. And a deal I got. I bid 5 bucks and I got the card shipped for less than that. Now, of course the seller must have known this was a sweet card, or he wouldn't have put it in a screwdown, which was a nice bonus. My theory is that the seller had me in mind and knew I wanted this card and am a poor teacher. That or Bob Bonner himself was the seller and was sick of Ripken getting all the recognition for his rookie card.
This deal just goes to show how obsessive eBaying can pay off. Or maybe this shows that I'm wasting far too much time. But I don't know if a better deal than this can be found for a 1982 Topps Ripken.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What to Do with Your Padres

I took up  Rod  from Padrographs a while back on his trade pile of Tigers. I had Padres, he had Tigers, so we got to trading.

He sent over a ton of fantastic Tigers cards from this year's Topps. The '87 mini of Verlander is my favorite from this batch. Verlander showing off his floating baseball magic trick in his throwback uniform. And doesn't Verlander look different when the lower half of his face is obstructed?

He got me dangerously close to a team set, too. He actually sent me two of the Cabreras, and I couldn't figure out why he sent me a double, until I looked a little closer. One of them, the one pictured here, is a Gold Rush variation. I didn't expect to be picking up one of these, and it's much-appreciated. Like the Diamond Sparkle cards, these can be easy to miss. Sneaky, sneaky Topps.

Rounding out the trade, here are a few more random Tigers he sent along. The Gehringer Obak looks awesome. I might have to go chasing after some of these parallels.

I also recently traded with another Padres collector who writes the relatively new blog All the Way to the Backstop. Marcus and I have been having some good conversations, waxing nostalgia about The Clash and our punk rock days. The Clash, you know: the only band that matters. Always great to meet another retired punk rocker turned baseball card collector. I think there's a few of us out there. Honk/comment if you love Strummer!

Here's a little bit of what he sent along:
Some nice Tigers prospects and some Archives Tigers. I'm too cheap to buy this product, but thanks to the wonderful blogging community, I've been getting to enjoy this set. I love the '71 style Cobb.
Another product I'm too cheap to buy new is Heritage, but Marcus sent me some really awesome key Tigers, including Fister and Martinez parallels, and a sweet Fielder short print. The Best Verlander is a super shiny bonus.
Finishing up this trade, we have a gigantor Prince. What's Prince doing way up there? Signing a ball? Cleaning his gloves? Constructing a cloud? This is a great rookie card from one of my favorite Upper Deck flagship designs.
So, two great trades for a bunch of my Padres that were feeling neglected. Be sure to send your neglected Padres to All the Way to the Backstop and Padrographs. Both are fantastic traders. Thanks, guys.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Give a Hoot for the Coot

Walter Hoot Evers wants you to head on over to Nachos Grande and vote in the Blog Bracket Contest. Now, we here at the Vealtones aren't saying you should vote for us (dhoff); we say vote for the best. However, Hoot thinks our unbiased advice is stupid, and he wants you to vote for dhoff. You can check out our entry here.

By the way, this 1952 Bowman Hoot is brought to you by Captain Little Sister o' Mine, the same one that gifted me a 1955 Bowman Kaline last Christmas. What a gal! And she actually checked out my blog's want lists for vintage Bowman Tigers and found a card I needed. That's a pretty cool sister.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vote for a Vealtone--Chose Veal-Alert

Adrian Beltre has fallen and he can't get up.

It was a day like any other. Adrian was moseying on over to the say "what up" to his Uncle Orville who always wore his lucky green poncho. And then tragedy struck. Adrian didn't see the rain tarp and tumbled. Uncle Orville turned away at the horror of seeing his favorite nephew paralyzed, his waving glove frozen in midair. "Hi, Uncle Orvie" quickly turned to "Oh sweet Becheesmus, help me!" because he'd fallen, and things would never be the same.

Adrian's bruised and beaten body remained splayed on the tarp for three days, and his injuries were such that his loving family, the Dodgers, would eventually be forced to send him to an old folks' home in Seattle where he spent his days pretending to fish and wearing sea captain hats made out of folded newspapers with other invalids, patronizingly called Mariners.

If you don't want Adrian's story to become yours or your aging loved third baseman's, then call 1-800-VEALTONE today and order our patented Veal-Alert, or simply place your order online at Nachos Grande and click on Dhoff, our most trusted Vealtone. With your completely free commitment to voting for Dhoff, a Vealtone representative will be at your side the next time you wave at Uncle Orville, and you'll be whisked away to safety and away from cardboard paralysis.

Prospecting Catchers Because Their Gear Is Cool

Some of my impulse bargain buys on eBay tend to be of the prospecting type. But my prospecting is a little biased in the direction of catchers. Why? Because who doesn't like a catcher in gear? I find the gear and the careers of catchers--the hardest working dudes on the diamond--most interesting to watch. So where have those careers gone since I snagged random prospect cards?

This is certainly a beautiful card, and we have a catcher in full gear. Not much to dislike. But what's Kyle Skipworth up to these days? He was drafted in the first round by the Marlins in 2008. Since then, he's been batting below .250 with some power, 16 homers so far this year in the Marlins AA club. He's still an everyday catcher and has a 35% caught stealing rate. At 22, he probably has a decent chance at the majors. It looks like the Marlins could use a power-hitting catcher.

A much less interesting card here, of the blah Bowman USA scrap-o-jersey variety. But the price was right, and Chris Chinea is a catcher. So what's Chris been up to since 2010? He's as of yet undrafted, but it looks like he might be a pick in the upcoming draft, as one a top catching prospect, according to random Googling which hardly seems reliable. That makes this card a little more exciting, as it will be interesting to see if Chris' name pops up in the draft this year.

More scrap-o-jersey blah from Bowman, but this time it's Sterling, and we get a little catcher's gear. So what are you doing Blake Swihart? Another first round draft pick, this time for the Red Sox, in 2011. According to Baseball-reference.com, Blake's rated the #72 top prospect in 2012. He's currently playing A-ball and batting .255 with 6 home runs in 286 ABs. Nothing amazing, but not too shabby. At 20, I'm thinking it'll be a few years before we see what Blake can really do. The Sox gave him a 2.5 million dollar signing bonus, which is a hell of a wad to give to a high school kid, so I suppose they see a lot in him.

Yet more Bowman Sterling USA GU here. Ficociello is not a catcher, but he's worth including in this post since I snagged the card off eBay cheap, and it turns out he was drafted by the Tigers in 2010. Not sure if he actually signed with the Tigers since he was selected in the 23rd round, but he's worth watching since he may or may not be playing with my team.

Now this is a bit cooler of a card than the Bowman USA GUs. It's a great action shot, and the gear is in full effect. Even without an MLB license, Tristar puts together a really smooth looking card here. I love the black and white fade, too. Josh was a first-round pick of the White Sox in 2009, and he got bumped up to AAA last year, where he's stayed, and is batting .257 in 2012. He has a solid caught stealing rate of 45%, which should get him a call up soon, I'm thinking. But Pierzynski is still going strong.

Prospecting can be an absurd pastime, but I find I enjoy it much more when I buy at a bargain and keep my purchases centered on Tigers and catchers. Do you play the cardboard prospecting game, too? Do you go for the hot talk-of-the-town fellas or fumble around for bargains or stuff you dig?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

An Accidental Baker: Cards You Don't Need and then Do

In my many hours spent eBaying, I end up picking up cards that I don't really need or that don't really fit into my collection, just because they're interesting and cheap. For example, I can't seem to stop my mouse from clicking a bid for framed Diamond Kings cards from the 2000s sets, especially if they have a hunk of bat or shred of jersey mushed into them. They're just cool-looking cards. Case in point:

I got this for about a buck shipped. It's from the 2004 Diamond Kings set, and it's numbered out of 50. The black frame looks awesome, as do all the details: the foil DK insignia, the amorphous blob of green behind Baker, even the interestingly hexagonal windows used to showcase the bat chunks. It's a sweet-looking card, but I had no idea what to do with it, no real place for it in my collection. I was thinking it would become trade bait someday, and poor old Jeff Baker and his cool black frame would be just so much trade fodder.

But then I found out he just got traded to the Tigers. Well, happy accident! Now he has a place in the collection. I don't really collect random Tigers, am more of a player collector, but I can certainly make an exception here. And Baker's not doing terribly so far. He adds a little more depth to the bench. Also, he's from West Germany, and I can't think of another baseball player from that country. So, Baker's birthplace anomaly adds another element of collectibility to this card.

I end up being more pleased than I thought I'd be to own this card. I guess I shouldn't even be purchasing cards unless I really want them in the first place, but such is the life of an obsessive collector, snagging up every piece of interesting cardboard he sees, and occasionally a random purchase works its way into the collection perfectly. Have you experienced these happy accidents before? Picked up a card you didn't really need and then ended up finding a place for it in the collection?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Spankee Shares His Mistresses

Those trades just keep on coming. I contacted Spankee at My Cardboard Mistress, offering him a few cards I thought he might be interested in and he sent me some awesome stuff.

Here are a few cards we talked about in the trade. The Perry/Iorg auto is about as shiny as shiny gets. Shiny to the eighth power, to be exact.

We'd also talked about this one:

I'm not really a Gypsy Gueen collector, but I love getting new Kalines, and I'm a sucker for framed cards. This card is just stunning. As classy as the Perry/Iorg card is shiny.

This card was a complete surprise. Spankeea didn't even tell me he was sending it, though it would have been the keystone of our trade, and it just goes to show what a generous trader he is.

Here's some other surprises:

A low-numbered Pudge card and a shiny blue Clete. Clete's a Twin now, but I still dig this card, the ball frozen in mid-air, the fancy blue chrome-ness, and just the fact that "Clete" is a cool damn name.

He also sent some nice Ripkens for the PC. I'm getting closer with this Upper Deck Road to the Hall set, but this is my first Iron Men card, a set I'd also like to complete one day. There sure were a lot of Ripken insert sets in 2007, and a lot of pairings with Ripken.

This was a trade that just kept on giving. Various minis and refractors.

Some more great Cabreras, including a numbered orange parallel from 2012 Bowman. I'm glad to pick up some 2012 Bowmans, since I still haven't, and probably won't, be buying any of this product this year. So I'm glad to snag these cards in trade.

We both collect Verlander, so adding these Verlander cards to the PC was a nice suprise in a trade full of surprises. I especially dig the Heritage duo card with Weaver. Something about that picture looks a little shopped to me, but maybe they really posed together.

Finally, the biggest surprise of all:

Some super creepy, ultra-rare X-Files cards. Not sure how these ended up in there, but I like it. I like the whole thing. Thanks, Spankee, for a great trade.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Super Willie Action Man

Order your very own Super Willie McGee Action Man, as featured by Upper Deck-Co:

Enjoy his crime-fighting pearly whites that can blind the vision of any evil-doer Giants batter all the way from his perch at the right field foul pole. Willie's kung fu grip and snap-action swing guarantees to keep him batting a precise .295 for the lifetime of your ownership, or your money back from Deck-Co. Impress your friends with Willie's lightning-fast speed and patented "Whiteyball" fundamentals.

But there's more, so much more. Your Super Willie comes fully accessorized with forty-seven retractable bats, thirty-four genuine ostrich-skin gloves, a life supply of Bengay, and Willie's sidekick, Lord Cornelius Hamster the Third. All this neatly stowed into his Kryptonite Crimson Carry-on. The Giants couldn't keep him and the Cardinals can barely contain him; get your parents to log on to Nachos Grande and vote today so you can meet your very own Super Willie Action Man soon.

Warning: Super Willie Action Man contains small parts that are choking hazards for children under 10 and old-man collectors under 67. Super Willie Action Man should be kept out of direct sunlight or has the potential to spontaneously combust. Super Willie Action Man should be used in fully ventilated areas. Turn off pilot lights and electrical devices before opening the Kryptonite Crimson Carry-on. Deck-Co and all its affiliates (Ovation, Sweet Spot, Goudey, etc.) are not responsible for the fatalities caused by the misuse of Super Willie Action Man.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Card Show-off: The Final Dime Breakdown

This is the last post covering the card show I went to that was not the National, and I'm jealous of all of the cool stuff you other bloggers are showing off. But I feel a little better when I remember the great deals I pulled out of the dime boxes. The last card show post chronicled my Tigers and PC finds. This one will breakdown the other things I look for in a dime box.

Because, yeah, of course, we're hunting through those boxes looking for cards specific to our collections, but then we always end up snagging other randomness, too, right?

Like vintage.

If it's from the early '70s or earlier and is a player or a team I at least half care about, I'm taking it home. '71s and '72s are a no-brainer, especially when it comes to semi-stars. Often, when I pick cards like these up, I'm thinking some other collector will like them in trade.

And that gets to one of my other goals when I look through a dime box. Trade filler:

A Finest refractor, I know at least one blogger who's always looking for refractors. And I have plenty of Red Sox traders who may dig a numbered Lowell as an add-on.

When I see cards like these, my mind starts running through my favorite bloggers. A Tino for a Lost Collector, a Hinske for a guy who likes his Napkins Dooned, more refractors for the report. I'm sure you guys have this mental inventory, too, and for me it adds more joy to my collecting, knowing I'm finding cards others will appreciate. That's almost as good as finding a card that fits perfectly into my own collection.

The last thing I'm always looking for in dime boxes are rookies.

And there are always rookies to be found. A great slew of first-year nonsense and official rookie card logos this time around. I had been wanting that Santana card for a long time, as well as an Asdrubal. I just can't pass up a rookie card of any player I half-respect, and when those cards are from throwback sets, even better.

More rookies here, kind of. Of course, this is a year off from Ortiz's white whale of a rookie. And the first four here, well what do you call them? Minor league cards? XRCs? Ah, who cares. They're cool looking cards and they cost a dime and maybe I don't have a whole lot of use for them in my collections, but there's no buyer's remorse to be found in the dime box.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Lennie Guttman: King of the Gutters -- Nachos Grande Contest

Sure, we all are mourning the death of our beloved Lennie Guttman, his smile, his arching eyebrows, his fine Guttman Gutter products. But we here at the Vealtones need to file a complaint about Detective Allen Ginter's scant report released so mysteriously to the public. It's almost as if Detective Ginter wants us to solve the case for him, the lazy bum.

Among the atrocities of omission Detective Ginter has committed was taking such a poor photo of Lennie, who always adorned himself dapperly with his toupee made of gutter sludge: dead leaves, raccoon fur, and bird nest sculpted into a snazzy pompadour. Lennie is rolling in his grave to see his scalp was so publicly exposed.

While Detective Ginter's report notes the time and place of death, the most perplexing element of his death was left out. Lennie was found hanging by his suspenders, upside down, from the Blinkington's gutters, which served as his place of work for the day. Mr. Peabody Blinkington, who first discovered the body, commented that Lennie finished the job, like he always did, in true Guttman bang-up style, and the new Blinkington gutters are reportedly now flowing like gang busters.

Because Lennie was the best gutter man to ever gutter up dem gutters. In high school, he broke the record for the fastest gutter hang, affixing two hundred feet of gutter to a 60 degree slope roof in fifty-seven minutes and twenty-two seconds. He held a starting spot on the Willow Cove Varsity Gutter Team for all four years of high school, Competitive Gutter Hanging being Willow Cove's top sport. Every citizen of Willow Cove remembers cheering him as he won state Gutter Championships, and the greatest travesty in Guttman's life was that the Olympics once again turned down votes to put Gutter Hanging into the Olympics.

Lennie will be missed by all, but the memory of his Gutter-rageous feats will live on in infamy forever, despite Detective Ginter's favor for ambiguous concision. Keep it guttery, Lennie. We'll miss you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Card Show Show-off: Bargain Box Vintage and Some War Memorabilia

This last card show had some excellent bargain boxes, as most shows do. Heck, if I knew ahead of time a card show wouldn't have any dime boxes, I wouldn't even show up, probably, maybe, OK, just a brief appearance.

One thing I'm always looking for are cards for my player collections and priority hunting is for Ripkens and Pudges:

Some of these were dime box finds, like the newest Pudge rookie added to the collection, the '91 Classic. The Heritage and Co-Signers came out of a quarter box and are numbered. Good finds for the ol' Pudge collection. I usually find a ton of new Ripkens in the dime boxes, but only a few this time around. But that's fine. I found lots of other goodies.

And what do I look for after these player collections? Certainly not Cabrera and Verlander cards. Those are too pricey at card shows in Michigan. But that doesn't mean there aren't other good Tigers cards to find.

I love all of these Tigers cards, and all out of the quarter box from the dealer who sold me the questionable Keller that has been deemed genuine by my brilliant readers. Topps Gallery was an amazingly well-designed set. The Greenberg is fantastic. And you can't go wrong with an Art Deco Trammell short print.

So what the hell is the Jeffcoat doing in this bunch, in this post about Tigers and player collections? Mostly, it represents my laziness in cropping scans. Secondarily, this card reveals where my dime box hunting gets a little weird. The Jeffcoat is not just any old '91 Topps card. It's from the Desert Shield set. I was always curious about this set, and I've never actually seen one of the cards. And when I see something in a dime box I haven't seen, time to snatch that up. Of course, I'd much rather have a Desert Shield Tigers card, but Jeffcoat will stand in as my cardboard history of the Gulf War for now. And yet another reason to love a dime box: the ability to find war memorabilia for a dime.

Moving on to more bargain box Tigers...

Most of these were a quarter, I think. The Denny Martinez rookie was perhaps misplaced as a Tigers dime box card, and now I don't know if I should put that card in the vintage Tigers binder or the vintage rookies binder. A good problem to have. Of course the Aber is great, and the Zernial was an absolute steal for the condition. But one surprise to me was how nice the '61 set looks. I dig these posed shots, which go a little farther than just being headshots. Chiti and Osborne look classy in the poses of their positions.

Now we're moving on to the real meat of the bargain boxes. I found these and the rest in this post in a 50 cent box. I was never a fan of the '58 set, but its crazy colors are growing on me--Maxwell looking like a Valentine's Day card--and, of course, they use the awesome fat-faced yellow Tiger spewing blood, or maybe that's its tongue.

Sure these are beat-up cards, but in fine shape for me to put together a team set with. There's especially something nice about the hole-punch that I appreciate. I see it a lot. Does this mean some kid strung their cards up on a string? I dig that.

Here are the most-destroyed cards of the bunch, but still for 50 cents, an awesome deal. Birrer hit two three-run homers in one game, which got him his nickname of Babe. Unfortunately, that was about all he did in his career. That, and join the Vealtones Battered Vintage Tigers Collection.

I have a few more dime box treasures I'll save for my final card show post.