Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cards from the West, Cards from the North

Time to play incoming mail I've got two great packages to share that have arrived at Shoebox Legends World Headquarters within the past couple of weeks.  First, a small package of cards from the West Coast, representing my very first trade with Adam (aka arpsmith) of ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession.

Adam hooked me up with a nice grouping of 2011 Gypsy Queen cards, a set I still have not completed more than four years after its release.  I won't show all the singles that he sent, as quite frankly some of them just aren't the most exciting players (but hey, a set need is a set need).  My favorites featured a couple of retired players, Brooks Robinson, who is already in the HOF...

...and Mariano Rivera, who will be there before long.  Gypsy Queen got old for me as the years went on, but I really loved this inaugural set, and it's nice to get a few cards closer via a trade.

Accompanying the Gypsy Queen cards in the envelope was this slick Dustin Pedroia relic from 2015 Allen & Ginter.  A very nice looking card as relics go and a very nice surprise, thanks Adam!

The other PWE I'll be showing today came from up North, courtesy of frequent trading partner and friend of the blog Douglas from Sportscards from the Dollar Store.

Douglas included a nice variety of both Boston Red Sox and Hartford Whalers with this latest delivery.  Here we have an insert of the most famous DH in baseball.  I'm pretty shocked that David managed the numbers he did this past season (37 HR/108 RBI).  He was able to stay healthy all year which was nice, finishing second on the team in games played behind Xander Bogaerts.

I have to confess that I'm not 100% sure why this Devin Ortiz made its way into the package.  I need to find a few free minutes to research this kid a bit.

The hockey portion of this latest delivery blew me away.  Kicking things off is this awesome Duracell Power Check card of Brendan Shanahan.  I've come this close to grabbing this card numerous times on COMC in the past, so happy to finally have a copy in my Whalers collection.  What I never knew until I got it in hand though was that the card features an "interactive" back...

The strips of black to the right of the card react to heat.  When you press a finger against them for a few seconds your body heat causes the black to fade away and reveal Brendan's stats.  Very similar to the technology on Duracell batteries back in the day that would show you how much juice you had left (as depicted here).  A great oddball addition to my Whalers collection.

Douglas' envelope provided me with my very first 2015-16 card from any set, period.  My expectations for Eriksson are awfully low heading into the season, so it won't be very hard for him to surpass them I guess.

A nice Parkhurst International Emerald Ice parallel of Jeff O'Neill comes my way courtesy of a repack.

I know relic cards maybe aren't as impressive on the whole as they were maybe a decade ago, but when I get one like this I'm still impressed.  This one claims to feature a game-used swatch of glorious Whaler green.  I know I've said this before, but if you had given me this card as a 10-year-old kid my head probably would have exploded.  A very thoughtful and much appreciated throw-in!

Let's close it out with an autograph of goaltender Greg Millen.  This is my first autograph of his, and one of very few cards I have where he's listed with the Whalers.  I love that it's a nice, large signature and is on-card.  I'm pretty sure Douglas purchased this one just to send it to me, because that's the kind of collector/trader he is.

Thank you both for the great new additions to my collection!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Signature Sundays - Yogi

For my birthday last month, I received a $30 gift card from my mother-in-law.  With some money to spend on myself, of course I thought of cards.  I didn't have anything in particular in mind, but a couple of weeks later while browsing around on eBay I found a card that I knew was perfect.  My winning bid was $31 and the auction offered free shipping, so I spent my entire gift card plus a buck of my own money thrown in on just a single card.  I think it was well worth it, though.


He may not have the most exciting autograph of all-time (keep in mind he would have been nearly 80 when he signed this card), but I'm really happy that Yogi Berra is now a part of my autograph collection.  The autograph is on-card, as are all the autos from this amazing set.  Kind of cool to know that one of the greatest catchers of all-time held and signed this one.

If you follow the blog then you've definitely seen autographs from this set before.  I count these among my favorite baseball autos, I guess I'm a sucker for the Baseball Heroes design since busting early '90s Upper Deck packs as a kid.  This is the 11th Emerald Auto (#'d /99) that I've been fortunate enough to land so far, which leaves 89 others out there.  Someday...

I'm not sure what I can say that hasn't already been said about the man who was an 18-time All-Star, 10-time World Series champion, 3-time MVP, and was even part of the D-Day invasion in France.  Berra lived an amazing life, and it's an honor to have this one call my collection home.  Quite a birthday gift indeed...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Before They Were Stars

I've been on a bit of a minor league baseball card kick of late, and a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a seller on Sportlots with quite a few that I was interested in.  Some were new additions to my Red Sox collection.  Others, like the Bartolo Colon above, I just found interesting because I like the player.  Bartolo certainly looks a lot different on this 1995 Best release than he does nowadays!

The next two cards are among my favorites from this lot, just because it's not the easiest thing to track down cards of the little known Norwich Navigators.  The AA franchise for the Yankees at the time, the team played their home games just 20 minutes or so from where I grew up.  I used to love sitting in the sun at Dodd Stadium back in the day and enjoying a game with my family.

I distinctly remember outfielder Nick DelVecchio being a crowd favorite in the team's inaugural 1995 season.  Nick clubbed 19 home runs, 23 doubles and drove in 74 runs that year.  Unfortunately, despite getting promoted to AAA, he was out of pro baseball just a couple of years later and never made the Majors.

Catcher Mike Figga was another one of the better players on those early Navigators teams.  Unlike DelVecchio, he would make it to the big show, making his MLB debut at age 27 in 1997.  He actually got a World Series ring with the Yankees in 1998, having appeared in a single regular season game that year, and would go on to play a few dozen games with the Orioles as well.

The Portland Sea Dogs are now affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, but in 1995 when these cards were printed up they were part of the Marlins farm system.  Either way, Edgar Renteria's lone season with the Red Sox was enough to get me to add this one to my cart for 18 cents.

Pretty interesting to see Paul Konerko donning the tools of ignorance.  Konerko was actually the #1 overall catching prospect in the nation during his senior year of high school.  This one's also interesting to me in that Paul was born just down the road from me in Providence, Rhode Island.

That's it for the '95 Best set, the rest of today's cards come from the Topps Pro Debut releases of the last few years.  We'll start off with a couple of new cards for my Red Sox collection from the 2011 set.  Pitcher Stolmy Pimentel never played with the Boston Red Sox, but he did spend some time on the Pirates roster in 2013 and 2014, and got into 8 games this past season with the Texas Rangers.

There was a point in time a few years ago where I would have been ecstatic to land this one.  Will Middlebrooks looked like the Red Sox third baseman of the future when he clubbed 15 home runs, 50+ RBI and had a slugging percentage over .500 in less than half a season with Boston in 2012.  Looks like they made the right call in moving on from him though, as Will saw some time in the minor leagues again this year with the San Diego Padres, and has batted just .191 and .212 in his last two seasons.

Here's a nice Yordano Ventura.  You could easily overlook it, but I like that the baseball is headed straight for you in this photograph.  Interesting card of a young man who was at times the talk of the league during last year's playoff run for the Royals.

Before he was making headlines and participating in the home run derby, Todd Frazier was taking his cuts with the Louisville Bats, which I think is a great team name.

How about a few from the 2012 Pro Debut set?  A nice early career card of one of the emerging third basemen in the American League, Manny Machado...

...and perhaps my favorite card in this entire lot, a new Xander Bogaerts for my collection from his time with the Greenville Drive.  I'd been on the lookout for a copy of this one for quite some time, but could never seem to find it at a decent price (25 cents or less) until now.

A got a couple of other 2012s for my Red Sox collection from the seller as well, another Will Middlebrooks...

...and the guy who was inexplicably in seemingly every 2015 Topps release, Bryce Brentz.

Moving forward to the 2013 set, we've got Astros outfielder George Springer...

...Mets fireballer Noah Syndergaard... of the bright spots in the current Red Sox rotation, Eduardo Rodriguez...

...and another guy who could have a spot in the 2016 starting rotation, lefty Henry Owens.

Here's another Bryce Brentz.  This guy kind of annoys me, and it's got nothing to do with her personality or his abilities as a player.  I just can't stand when Topps creates so many cards of a guy who's barely played at the MLB level, while middle relievers and utility guys are constantly overlooked.

Due to an injury to Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart saw a lot more action behind the plate for Boston this year than he would have otherwise.  He's had a decent year, but he's young enough that he's still a bit of an unknown.

Here's a guy who's definitely not an unknown!  At just 24 years old Nolan's had a real breakout campaign, smashing 40+ home runs and 130+ RBI for a pretty bad Rockies team.  The future is certainly bright for this young third baseman.

Closing things out, I've got a pair from last year's set.  Another Henry Owens, this time depicted with the AA Portland Sea Dogs....

...and my very first card of the inspiring Steven Matz!  With the Red Sox long ago out of playoff contention, I'll be rooting for the Mets coming out of the NL this post-season.

A nice variety of minor league cards there, and the grand total for all 23 of these was a whopping $5.20.  Can't complain about that!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

When Quality Meets Quantity - Part I

This hobby is full of very friendly people.  In the nearly 8 years I've been writing this blog now I've been introduced to, and received cards from, dozens and dozens of other collectors.  Some of my favorite cards in my entire collection have been sent to me in trade, or just out of the blue.  I really do appreciate each as much as the next. 

With that being said, if we are talking about pure quantity of cardboard sent, there is one guy who stands out above the rest, especially in the past year or two.

That would be my buddy Jeff S (who sadly does not have a blog that I can link to here).  Jeff has sent me a few absolutely giant packages of new cards in recent months.  The majority of the cards have bolstered my Red Sox collection, like this great Panini Prizm Fearless insert of second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

The best part about Jeff's packages is not only the total number of cards, but the variety that he manages to hit on among them.  He's sent me everything from vintage oddballs right up through current day releases, like this 2015 Stadium Club Ortiz insert.

Jeff even keeps his eye out for cool Sox items for me at shows, or wherever else he scores new cardboard.  It's pretty awesome to be able to attend a card show "by proxy"!

There are only two unfortunate things about Jeff.  The first is that he's a much more narrowed and focused collector than I am, which makes it awfully hard for me to find stuff to send him in return sometimes.  At this point I'm forever in debt to him, as I think the ratio of cards sent to cards received has gotta be something like 100 sent 1,000+ received, maybe worse!

The second "problem" with Jeff is that when I receive batches of cards this large my OCD scanning and categorization process results in me taking forever to get through them.  I tend to grab, process and post many other PWEs and smaller packages during the time when I'm going through one of Jeff's deliveries, just to keep my card desk relatively clean.  As a result, the person who sent me the most gets the least thanks.  Well, I'm working on that, and today's post is a step in the right direction.

Aside from those two things, Jeff is alright!

All the cards you see in this post are just the tip of the iceberg, and I haven't even gotten to any of the Sox cards from his latest delivery yet.

More Topps Total...

...and a new Canseco Red Sox card.  Love it.

I had the base version of this incredibly awkward card already, and thanks to Jeff's efforts now I've got the Electric Diamond parallel to accompany it.  Makes me want to chase the one-per-box Electric Diamond Gold to complete the rainbow of awkwardness and hand moles.

Typically I find a healthy batch of new Nomars any time Jeff sends a package to my doorstep.

I think I collect Xander Bogaerts.  I learned long ago that being a player collector is not for me, too stressful chasing everything down and with my personality it makes my hobby seem more like a chore.  I have enough chores.  Xander was one of the few bright spots on a doomed 2015 Red Sox team, and whenever I land a card of either he or Mookie Betts it feels extra significant.  So, I guess I kind of collect those two.

A nice shot of The Hawk signing some pre-game 'graphs.

The second 1996 Topps Gallery card I've received in trade this summer, pretty random for a set I never knew existed until a few weeks ago.

I don't know how Jeff does it, he must have some good card shows, or dime/quarter boxes in his area.  He's even started expanding out and sending cards to other bloggers recently, at least a couple that I know of.

I like the cameo appearance on this one of the blurry beer vendor.

More Nomah!

I already had a couple of parallel versions of this Mookie Betts rookie, but somehow the base card had escaped me.  Like I said, nothing makes me happier than new Betts or Bogaerts cards, and the photograph on this one is great.

Going old school oddball with a trio of 1987 K-Marts!  I can remember a copy or two of this box set kicking around among my childhood collecting friends back in the day.  From a monetary perspective, these are probably among the least valuable cards in the entire package, but they brought a smile to my face.  Besides, I think most everyone has learned by this point that if you're in this hobby to make money, you're in the wrong hobby.

Everyone loves the Hostess cards from the '70s, but how about one from the early '90s?

Last Red Sox card for today, 1990 Donruss done right (or at least as well as 1990 Donruss can be done).

Oh, and in case that wasn't enough I also got a nice, large chunk of my 2015 Topps Stadium Club set knocked off in a recent package as well!  I won't show most of them, but here are a couple select favorites from the dozens Jeff sent...

Alright, I've dragged this one on long enough, so I'll just say it one more time, short and simple.

Thank you Jeff.
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