Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Double Rainbow

It's a Sunday Hochevar double rainbow, all the way across the blog!!!

2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces Hochevar Rainbow - White, Red, Black, Grey, Green, and Blue

2009 Topps Triple Threads Rainbow -- including a 1/1 White Whale

The Mustaches Set

One of the cards that I received from Mike of BA Benny's Baseball Card Buffet reminded me that I need to announce the start of a new set I will be collecting:  The Mustaches Set.

This year I am collecting cards (any sport) that show a player sporting a righteous mustache.  I can't tell you why I'm doing this just yet, but anyone and everyone who sends me such a card will receive a reward later this year.

Here is an example of what I'm looking for in my mustache cards:

Everyone, including The Quiz, looks better wearing a lip sweater.

I know it's an odd request and I know I'm being a little cryptic, but if you have a card like this that you would like to donate, please email me for my address.  I promise it is for a great cause.

Thank you for your help.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Trade with BA Benny

When I posted pictures of some cards I wanted to trade away, Mike from BA Benny's Baseball Card Buffet contacted me and kick-started a trade.  He said he liked one of my autos and asked me if I'd want one of his game-used cards.  I said absolutely.  I told him I'd also be throwing in some other cards that I thought he might enjoy when I sent the autograph to him and he said he'd do the same.

Today I received a collectors best friend, a bubble-mailer choke-full of cards.  First up is the card that initiated the trade in the first place, a 2002 Topps T206 Todd Helton Game-Worn Jersey card.

I love this card, with its purple swatch and its simple robin's egg blue boarder.  I'm a fan of the 2010 T206 cards and after receiving this card, I may have to chase after the 2002 set sometime in the future.  A great looking card and a VERY nice addition to my personal collection.  Had this card been the only one I received, I would have considered this trade more than worth my time, but of course Mike sent along some extras that I enjoy very much.

He sent along some Rockies cards, although the Francis will actually be going in my Royals folder now that he is one of the newest additions to the Royals pitching staff (which I am super pumped about.  I love the guy).

Also included in my package were three kick-ass 1985 Royals sticker cards.

And, finally, the icing on the cake for my first trade as the proprietor of M-P&C.S., two pages worth of Royals.

If you have never had the pleasure of trading with Mike, I highly recommend you do so.  He is generous and fair with his trades and I know I'll be trading with him again as soon as I can track down some fresh NY-related cards.  Thanks again Mike and don't forget to color in Nebraska on your Trade Map.

My Favorite Card from the 1990s

I currently have no interest in the NBA.  I'm completely indifferent about it.  Should I wake up one morning and find out that the NBA has disappeared, I don't think I could care less.  I wouldn't go so far as to say I hate the NBA, but I do hate what it has become.

At one time in my life I worshiped the NBA.  Basketball was my favorite sport to play and I was convinced that I would one day be in the NBA, which is why I spent my pre-teen years (the late 80s and early 90s) collecting basketball cards.  Growing up in rural southeastern Colorado, basketball cards were the only tactile way for me to be connected to my favorite players and teams of my favorite sport.

(Incidentally, I know the precise moment that my love for the NBA died, along with my desire to collect cards.  I'll have to do a post about that at a later time.)

One of the best parts about basketball in the 1990s was the creation of the Dream Team and their utter and complete dominance during the 1992 Olympic Games.  I was glued to the television during those Olympics, hoping to catch a glimpse of my favorite players from the US imposing their will upon lesser players from around the world.  

Which is why this card is my favorite card from the 1990s.

The above scans are of the front and back of a 1992 Skybox USA #NNO card that I pulled from a pack back in the day.

I was so excited to have pulled this card.  It was my first major "hit".  I loved (and still love) everything about this card.  I love it's simple design.  I love that the "back" of this card has four of my favorite players of all time standing together -- Stockton, Malone, Mullins, and Robinson.  I love that they are wearing their white jerseys (I never really liked the navy blue ones) and the white background.  I love the gold lettering and boarder.  I love how the stars-and-stripes design is so unmistakably 1990s Skybox.  I love that the players names are unnecessary and, therefore, not included anywhere on the card.

This card is perfect.  This card signifies everything that I loved about basketball and the NBA.

And, in all honesty, it is because of this card and my John Stockton collection that I even kept lugging my cards around from house to house and from state to state for all these years.  People offered to buy it from me or asked me to trade it to them, but there are very few cards that could ever entice me enough to let go of it.  To me, it has very little monetary value, which makes it even more important to my collection.  It doesn't need any autographs or patches or game-used materials to make it important and valuable.  Its value lies in the memories it brings back every time I see it.

So what card (or cards) is important to you not for it's monetary value but because of the memories that specific card brings to mind when you see it?

Cardboard Collections February Group Break

Be sure to head over to Cardboard Collections and get signed up for the February Group Break

The prices are great, the product is diverse, and the teams are going quickly.

This month's break will contain:

* 1992 O-Pee-Chee (36 packs)
    - low cost and will up bump up the number of cards per team
    - NOT the Premier version
    - Manny Ramirez RC

* 2005 Topps Total (36 packs)
    - Rookies include Dan Uggla, Ian Kinsler, Matt Kemp & more
    - 5 insert sets to chase
    - 1 silver parallel per pack
    - 1/1 Printing Plates and Autographs

* 2007 Upper Deck Elements Hobby (15 packs)
    - 3 mini boxes, 5 packs each, 3 cards per pack
    - 1 game used, 1 autograph, 1 game used/auto
    - base cards feature different "technology" - foil board, light f/x, clear acetate
    - Rookies include Tim Lincecum, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Adam Lind & more

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dual Signatures

My player collections are currently focused on two players:  Luke Hochevar of the KC Royals and Dexter Fowler of the Colorado Rockies.

I collect Hochevar cards because I went to high school with Luke (he was two grades behind me) and I enjoy supporting a local boy.  Collecting Luke's cards are the main reason I reentered the hobby this past summer.  After it became harder and harder to find Hochevar cards I didn't already have (or weren't out of my price range), I decided to pick another player to start collecting.

I decided to focus on Dexter Fowler cards because I'm a Rockies fan, his last name is one that has personal significance to me, and he isn't a huge star, which means his cards are reasonably priced (not the best reasons in the world, but they work for me).

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Just Minors had released a card that had both of their autographs.

As the back of the card indicates, this is a 2008 Just Minors Dual Signature card serial numbered 2/2.  I bought this card with the proceeds from the sale of the Steven Strausburg 1/1 printing plate I pulled from a box of 2010 Topps T206 cards I opened this summer (I'll have to post something about that card at a later date).  It was listed as a buy-it-now on eBay for a ridiculous price, and luckily the seller accepted my more reasonable offer.

I'd like to be able to own the other one of these that was released, but I'm not going to hold my breath for it to come onto the market anytime soon.  As for now, it will remain one of my favorite cards in my personal collection.

2008 Upper Deck Trio

Since I am predominantly a player collector (and someone who grew up in the hobby during the 1990s), I enjoy chasing down the multiple inserts and rainbows of my players.  I don't think I'd have much fun in this hobby if I there was only one card of a player I collected released each year.

Here is a trio of 2008 Upper Deck Luke Hochevar cards from my personal collection which came from different sets but appear to employ the same picture.

The top card is from 2008 UD Baseball First Edition, the second is from Series 1, and the bottom card is a Sweet Spot card (and is numbered 002/199).

At first glance, it appears they are all the same photo, but if you look closely at the guy in the navy blue shirt standing in the back ground is walking out of the frame of the picture in the bottom card.

Also, I like how the card from the Sweet Spot release has the stitches of a baseball imprinted on the left-hand side of the card.

These are small differences and changes, but it's the little things that make player collections interesting and fun.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Junk Wax Gem -- 1995-96 Hoops Grant Hill

As a collector of NBA cards as a kid, I have a handful of cards I pulled from packs that I've always enjoyed.   This is one of them.  It is a 1995-96 Hoops Grant Hill NBA Co-Rookie of the Year card.

(Please ignore the name on the case.  Obviously this case was intended to house a Shaq card, but I had no other way to protect the card at the time and I've never had the energy to pull it out of it's mislabeled tomb.)

What the scan doesn't show is that the sky behind Mr. Hill is actually translucent.  Also, the card is one of those "no number" cards, which is very impressive to a pre-teen collector.  And the fact that the back of the card is a mirror image to the front was also quite awe-inspiring to my young, impressionable mind.  Cards like this one were the reason I kept (and keep) shoveling my hard earned money into the proverbial money pit of card collecting.

I have no memory of the moment that I pulled the card, but I do remember the joy I had when I flipped through my basketball Beckett and discovered it's (at the time) great worth.  I'm sure that it was a $25 card at the time.  If I would have known then that, much like it's peers, it would never appreciate in value (there are currently five of these cards listed on COMC, ranging in price from $8-18), I would have attempted to trade or sell it to fund the purchase of more packs of cards.

But, all these years later, I'm very happy that I've lugged it around and can now proudly display it in all its Junk Wax glory.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Name Game

After I started collecting the Dexter Fowler manupatches nameplate, I decided to create a personal nameplate for my wife, my dog, and myself, as well as our last name.  It has been really fun to do.

Here is my name.

It is made up of the following patches:
  • Angel Solome - "E" - Milwaukee Brewers - 2009 Topps Finest Baseball #'d 9/25
  • Jarrett Dillard - "R" - Rice (football) - 2009 Topps College Letter Patch #'d 36/150
  • Chris Smith - "I" - New York Yankees - 2008 Razor Letterman 
  • Daniel McCutchen - "C" - Pittsburgh Pirates - 2010 Topps RC #'d 10/106

(As an aside, the plastic sleeve for the "E" above is marred by my eBay nemesis, the scotch-tape massacre.  I hate it when sellers feel the need to seal the top-loaders with scotch tape that will NEVER come off.  How about using some masking tape?  Works just as well and is easily removed by me.  Glad I got that off my chest.)  

What I enjoyed the most about creating the family nameplates was trying to get a different color and style of letter.  It was much fun surfing around eBay searching for a nice looking card for the right price.  Also, since I wasn't worried about what player was depicted on each card, I was able to get them for much less than if I would have been searching for popular players.

I've completed my wife's, my dog's, and my name, and I'm just one letter away from finishing our last name (the "Y" is very elusive).  Since I'm such a fan of the manupatches, I've decided to continue hunting them down and will attempt to complete The Alphabet Set (one of each letter of the alphabet) as well as attempting to find one hat logo patch card for each MLB team (an example of what I'm talking about HERE). 

If you have any manupatch letters (the player and/or sport isn't important to me) or logos with which you'd be willing to part or are interested in trading for any of the above letters, shoot me an email.

Looks like I'll need to dig up a few mason jars from the backyard...

...if I'm ever going to own a 1984-85 Star #235 John Stockton XRC.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Most Important Decision of the Baseball Off-Season

As the days slowly tick away until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, I imagine that most players are preparing to make the most important decision of their off-season:  which song will they select as their bumper music?

I'm sure that most players would not put as much thought into their selection as I would have.  Then again, most players don't spend 8 hours a day in a cubicle alone with their thoughts.  If they did, they would probably come to the same conclusion that I have:  a bad song as your entrance music warrants a life-time ban from the Hall of Fame.

Today, I compiled a list of songs that have much potential as entrance music.

NOTE:  I will assume that I am a high-quality relief pitcher for this exercise, as everyone knows that relief pitchers have the best opportunity to show off their musical tastes.  The game is at its highest level of excitement.  The pomp and circumstance of the manager going to the mound and signaling out to the bullpen.  The long walk out to the mound.  And the music that is accompanying the relief pitcher, when carefully considered, can strike fear into an opponent.

The perfect example would have to be Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn of the Cleveland Indians.

So, with "Wild Thing" as my muse, the following songs are all strong contenders (in no particular order and assuming that the radio-edit versions of some of these songs would be used).
  • Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix 
  • Wake Up - Rage Against the Machine
  • Right Now - Van Halen
  • Slow Ride - Foghat
  • Watch This - Slash (featuring Dave Grohl and Duff McKagan)
  • Long Hard Times to Come (theme from "Justified") - Gangstagrass
  • I Stand Alone - Jackyl
  • My Hero - Foo Fighters
  • Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J 
  • Anyone Seen the Bridge - Dave Matthews Band
  • Bulls on Parade - Rage Against the Machine
  • Welcome to the Jungle - Guns 'N Roses
  • Tom Sawyer - Rush
  • Thunder Kiss '65 - White Zombie
  • Man in the Box - Alice in Chains
  • Break Stuff - Limp Bizkit
 Yet as great as all of these songs would be, there is only one song that would work for me.  In fact, I would be so adamant about having this song play me into the game that I would gladly leave 10% of my salary on the negotiation table during my contract negotiations.

Seriously, I pity the batter who decides to crowd the plate against me with this song flowing through my veins.


Anyway, enough about me, what would be your song of choice?

John Stockton Game Used Cards

When I started collecting cards again after being away from the hobby for nearly a decade, I was very fascinated by game used memorabilia cards.

At the time, I was still in college and in between classes I would sit in the computer lab and search for John Stockton cards on eBay.  I ended up buying five of them.

I would love to have more of them in my personal collection, so if you have any that you'd be willing to trade, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.

Monday, January 24, 2011

John Stockton 1988-89 Fleer Rookie

I collected basketball cards when I was a kid and my favorite player to collect was John Stockton.  He was my hero and when I was a hardcore collector I tracked down over two-hundred Stockton cards, but I was never able to track down one of his rookie cards.

Years after I had stopped collecting, I decided to try to track down some John Stockton cards that had eluded me as a kid by using eBay.  I don't exactly remember how much I paid for this one, but I'm pretty sure it was really cheap (which makes me worry that it's fake).  Regardless, I still like having it in my collection.

Since John Stockton cards make up a large portion of my personal collection, I plan on showcasing a page or two of them every once in a while and reliving the memories of my childhood that they revive.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trip to my Local Card Shop

I made a trip to my LCS this weekend so I could pick up a few cards to use as trade bait.  The shop, Sportscenter Cards and Collectables, is a small shop in the front of a bowling alley.  The owner is a nice guy, but if there are more than 3 customers in the shop at once, it is very difficult (and uncomfortable for me) to browse around.  I usually try to get in there at an odd time of day so that I can search in peace.

I was greeted with a full shop when I went, so I quickly checked the GU/Auto box for anything useful and then scanned the pack shelf.  There wasn't a ton of product, so I decided to try something I'd never ripped before, 2010 Topps Pro Debut.  I grabbed three packs and here are the results:

I wasn't overly impressed with the product since I'm not much of a prospector, but there was one feature that I thoroughly enjoyed:  the team names.  

This is a minor league product and everyone knows that Minor League teams have the greatest team names of all.  Here are some of the gems that were in the packs I opened:
  • Missoula Osprey
  • Clinon Lumber Kings
  • Auburn Doubledays
  • Savannah Sand Gnats
  • Lowell Spinners
  • Jamestown Jammers
  • Great Lakes Loons
And my favorite of the group has to be the Montgomery Biscuits.  Love that name.

Any and all of these cards are available for trade.  If interested, email or comment away.

Moments and Milestones

One of my favorite aspects of card collecting is discovering a card or a series that you never knew existed, which happened to me recently.

I was doing my daily eBay search for any newly listed Luke Hochevar and Dexter Fowler cards when I came upon the card on the left.

It is a 1-of-1 Black Printing Plate for a 2008 Moments & Milestones card and I had never seen this series of cards before nor did I know that Hoch was a part of it.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that all of the cards in this series are serial numbered which would mean there are no "base cards", which might explain why I'd never encountered it before.

What are the odds that I would find (and buy) a printing plate before I ever saw (or could buy) one of the cards it was used to make?

A few months passed by until the card on the right finally popped up on the bay and I hit the buy-it-now button.

Yet, once I viewed the card in person, I was even more confused because if you look closely at the text on the right hand margin of the card, it says "NL Rookie".  This is odd because I'm 99.99% certain that Luke has been an American League pitcher his entire career (except for interleague play).

It just goes to show that you can learn something new everyday, as long as you are paying attention.

(And, as always, if you have any other Luke Hochevar cards from this set, please let me know.  I'd love to track down some more of them for my personal collection because it is so interesting to me.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Have You Seen this "E"?

If so, please contact me ASAP.  His family misses him and really wants him to come home.

What you see above is my nearly completed 2009 Topps Finest nameplate for Colorado Rockie Dexter Fowler.  I say nearly completed because I desperately need an "E" to fill the gap and finish the name and, as far as I know, they never made the "E" manupatch.  For as long as I've been looking for these cards, I can not remember ever seeing an "E".

So, one of my "white whales" is a 2009 Topps Finest Dexter Fowler "E" Autographed Manupatch.  If you find one (or have one) please let me know.

Chumming the Waters

Since I'm new to the card blogging world, I figure I'm going to need to get some chum in the waters to attract some trades.  Here are a handful of "hits" that are available for trade.

To help sweeten the deal and to encourage participation, if you would like to trade for one or more of these cards, all I ask in return is one card from you that would fit into my personal collection (found at the top of this page) for each card that you claim.  What you send me does not have to be of equal value to what I'm sending you (i.e. an autograph for an autograph), it just needs to be something I collect.

Let me know in the comments  or send me an email -- -- if you would like to work out a trade.

One caveat, Dennis of Too Many Grandersons has first claim on the Manningham Sweet Swatches.

Some of the cards didn't scan very well so here is a list of what the cards are (left to right, top to bottom):
(UPDATE:  All of these cards have been traded away.)
  • Pablo Sandoval - SanFran Giants - 2010 Topps T206 Piedmont Auto TRADED to Dennis
  • Matt Tolbert - Minnesota Twins - 2010 Topps T206 Piedmont Auto
  • Livan Hernandez - Washington Nationals - 2010 Topps T206 GU Jersey
  • Ron Blomberg - NY Yankees - 2003 UD Yankees Sig Series (Its a buy back, I found it in a 2008 UD Documentary box I broke)  TRADED to Mike (BA Benny)
  • Eury Perez - Washington Nationals - 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Auto
  • Mario Manningham - Michgan Wolverines - 2010 Sweet Spot Sweet Swatches  TRADED to Dennis
  • Chris Smith - Boston RedSox - 2008 UD Documentary Seasonal Signatures
I'll be the first to admit that they aren't the most amazing cards in the world, but I'm sure someone out there would enjoy them more than I do and they will fit into someone else's collection better than they fit into mine.

Let the trading begin.

(And just so someone doesn't call "Card Protective Services" on me, most of the above cards are kept in clean, dry, supportive, protective, clear pages in a binder in my man-cave, so do not worry that they are being neglected.  They are in near-mint condition.  I'd even go so far as to say that some might classify these cards so well kept as to almost be eBay one-of-one cards.  Almost.)

Naming Blogs and Bands

In my spare time, I like to think of names for blogs and bands.  I think it is fun and it keeps my mind busy.

My first blog was named 87 Murphy Squirrels.  I had this name in my back pocket for about 10 years before starting the blog.  In fact, it was what I wanted to name the first garage band I was in during high school.  I came up with the name because my jersey number in football was 87, my bandmate Brad's nickname was Murphy, and the other band member Jonah's nickname was Squirrel.  I thought it was a great combination of sounds and was fun to say.  In the end, we went with the name "Feedback," played a couple of "concerts" for our family, and then disbanded when Jonah graduated.

But the name always stuck with me.  I even tried to reuse the name with my second garage band.  This band consisted of my two college golf teammates Dave and Tyson.  We were a little more successful than my first band as we played two concerts in front of paying customers in two different venues on two separate occasions.   But naming this band was fairly difficult.  Should we try to tie in golf?  (Which I wish we would have done because "Birdies Before Noon", "9-iron Punch Shot", and/or "Bunker" would all be great names). Should we use our location?  Should we use our names? 

Ultimately we went with the name "TED" (a combo of our first initials) which isn't that great of a name, yet, had we become a successful band, we would have had the greatest merch.  We would have had our band name stitched onto bowling, mechanics, and/or janitor's shirts, so it would look like the person wearing it was named TED.  My wife even had a mechanics shirt made for me.  Sadly, this band also disbanded. 

Yet, my love for naming bands and blogs continues.  When naming this blog, I wanted a name that was slightly "inside baseball" and used some of the hobby lingo.  Surprisingly, the first name that I thought up was the one I decided to use, but I still came up with a few others that I thought might work and ran them past my wife.

My second favorite name would have been "eBay One-of-One" or some variation on that theme, but I didn't think the fine folks at eBay would approve (even though it may well have been perfectly legal and appropriate considering its satirical nature). 

Some others that may have worked (with a little tweaking) were:
  • "White Whale Watching" --I'm a big fan of alliteration, but the WWW abbreviation may have been confusing.
  • "The Trading Card Cubicle" -- because I work in a cubicle all day.  More descriptive than creative.
  • "A _______ a day keeps the doctor away" -- this one had multiple problems, including I couldn't decide how to fill in the blank.
When it came time to make my decision, I really wanted the word "Manupatches" in the title.  I may be one of the few collectors who enjoys manufactured patches.  I think they are fun and I like using them to spell out names that are important to me (so far I've spelled out the Wife's name, my dog's name, my name, and I'm one "Y" away from finishing my last name.  If you've got one, email me and lets work out a trade!)

Obviously patches and scratches rhyme and I remembered that chrome cards can get scratched, and the rest is history.

In closing, as you can clearly see, I'm a wordsmith when it comes to naming blogs and bands. 

(Still need a bit more convincing, here are three more blog/band names off the top of my head: "Chaulk-Full", "Blyleven and the Twelfth One is Free", "Staple Gun Picnic".)

If you know of anyone who might need my serves, feel free to have them contact me.

TooManyGrandersons Group Break

One of my main goals with this blog is to use it to network with other collectors.  The blog-o-sphere is chock-full of great collectors talking about the hobby they enjoy.  Occasionally a blogger will have a contest.  Often they'll post about a successful trade with another collector.  And some even host group breaks.

And group breaks are the best, especially for player/team collectors like me.  A typical group break involves the host buying a case of cards and participants paying a nominal fee to get all the cards for their "slot".  Normally, a participant picks which team they want and they will receive all the cards from their specific team after all of the packs have been open.  But not always.  Sometimes certain product lend themselves to a more participation from the participants, which is exactly what happened with the last group break I took part in with Dennis, who blogs at Too Many Grandersons.

This was the second group break I did with Dennis hosting and the guy does a great job.  The latest break was for 2008 Razor Letterman, a product that is made up entirely of autographed manupatches.  Here is what I walked away with:
  • Jeremy Beckham - Tampa Bay - #'d 13/20 - "B"  Claimed by Darkship
  • Cutter Dykstra - Milwaukee - 6/20 - "R"
  • Michel Inoa - Oakland - "O"
  • Allan Dykstra - San Diego - 16/20 - "D"
  • Rashun Dixon - Oakland - 4/5 - "I"
  • Eric Hosmer - Kansas City - 1/5 - "E"
  • (NOTE:  All of the above cards, except for the Hosmer, are available for trade.)
It was a fantastic break and I walked away with the letters necessary to spell my dog's name "BRODIE" and with the best Royal's card in the bunch (after a little trading with Dennis).

The break was so successful that Dennis has ordered another case and is offering up slots into what he's dubbed "Razor Letterman Case Break 2: Letter Patch Auto Boogaloo".  (And you've got to respect the guy for refusing to go with the much cliched "-palooza" tag).

I highly encourage you to head over there and take part in the fun.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Card-Centric Blog

I spent much of the past year and a half blogging at 87 Murphy Squirrels.  I posted about politics, golf, music, pop culture, etc.  After I reentered the card collecting hobby this past summer, I would occasionally post pictures of my newly acquired cards.  I enjoyed showing off my cards this way, but I always had a nagging urge to start a trading card-centric blog.

This week my wife started her final semester of law school and her schedule is made up almost entirely of night classes which has given me a couple hours of time to kill while she is away.  Tonight I spent a couple of hours organizing my card collection and decided that it was time to once again take a crack at blogging.

My plan is to have this blog be a location for me to post pictures of my personal card collection as it continues to grow, network with other bloggers (which will hopefully lead to many, many trades), and talk about the hobby I loved as a kid and am reloveing as an adult.