Friday, March 24, 2017

Canadian Blaster

My son's baseball practice was rained out last night, so I finally had time to scan some cards that have been sitting on my desk since last Monday.  This was the third and largest trade package that arrived on that day, all from Trading Card Database members.  It was a 300 count box that came all the way from Canada.  It had been forever since I mailed anything outside the US, so I had to ask the trader if postage would affect the deal.  He assured me it would be less than $20.  I was getting over 250 Cardinals in the deal, so I figured it was worth the chance.  It cost me $15.50 and about 10 minutes in the post office, but I ended up spending less than a blaster to pull of the trade.  The cost per card was about 6 cents.  I could not have bought these cards at a show for that price.  In addition, you do not see a lot of the cards at shows.  Here are the cards from the 1980s.

The box was full of Topps O-PEE-CHEE cards from every year in the 1980s.  I have very few of these in my collection, with most of them coming from a package I received from Kerry of Cards on Cards fame.  I believe there were about 10 1980 cards.  Some of the card had the same photos as the Topps brand, but others had different pics.  The backs also featured French text.  Some of you may recognize Vuckovich as slugging first baseman Clu Haywood from the Major League movie.  He won the AL CY Young award in 1982 as a member of the Brewers, but would lose in the World Series to the Cardinals.

1981 added the O-PEE-CHEE name on the front.  I am not crazy about cards like the Shirley being listed as a Cardinals, but it is so it was be filed away with the rest of my Cardinals. 

Check out the sideburns on the 1982 Lonnie Smith.  He won a World Series with 3 different teams: 1980 Phillies, 1982 Cardinals, and 1985 Royals. 

I like to think of 1983 as the bulls-eye design.  Sadly Porter and Forsch have both passed on.  Porter died of a drug overdose in 2002, Forsch of a heart attack just days after throwing out the first pitch of Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.  He is the only Cardinals pitcher to throw 2 no hitters.

Smith was still rocking the sideburns in 1984.  Tom Herr chose to go with the perm look.

Jack Clark was the only power threat of the Cardinals during the 1985 season.  I know a lot of athletes age once they retire, but I bet Clark is almost twice as big now as he was on this card. 

The first non O-PEE-CHEE card in the package was this 1985 Kondritz Vince Coleman.  This was part of a 20 card set that highlighted his 1985 Rookie of the Year season.  VMC stands for Vincent Maurice Coleman.  I thought it was strange the other trader only had 1 card from this set.  I am pretty sure you had to buy all 20 cards as a set.

I mentioned in yesterday's post how I love the 1986 design.  The OPC version looks good also.  I hate to be mean, but I don't think many cards used a close up of Willie McGee for a reason.  Various Cardinals fans have given him the nickname ET.

Leaf was the Canadian Donruss version in the 1980s.  I always think of the crazy prices the Jose Canseco Rated Rookie card brought in the late 1980s when I see the 1986 design.

Classic 1987 wood grain design.  Enough said.

I am not sure why O-PEE-CHEE used different font colors on the front of the 1988 cards.  I have seen white, blue, and black versions. 

Look closely and you will see Leaf added a leaf to its name in 1988. 

Who doesn't love stickers that double as baseball cards.  The front of these 1988 Topps stickers have 2 peel offs, while the back features just one player.

1989 OPC closes out the decade.  Like 1988, black and white fonts were used. 

Topps changed some of the stickers in 1989 to a single player on the front.  I like that version a lot better.

Panini also produced stickers in 1989.  I will give them the edge over Topps because of the use of Cardinal colors for the borders. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2 More TCDB packages

I had 2 more trade packages come in on Tuesday from Trading Card Database members.  The trade feature on the site makes it so easy to match up trading partners that it seems I am getting 4 to 5 packages a week since I started trading there in early February.  I hope to write about the large package I received last week before the end of this week, but for now I will highlight the 2 from Tuesday.

This 1973 Topps Ken Reitz rookie card is in great shape other than the photo being off centered.  It may appeared that I scanned it crooked, but that is how the card actually is.

Unlike Topps, Fleer chose to make their 1986 Star Stickers same size as cards.  I wonder if there is an album to go with these.

I like the red border 1986 set better than these 1988 cards.  The gray border and stars make me think of a circus for some reason.

I often overlook Heritage cards with multiple players or the Topps League Leaders cards in my team sets.  It is nice the TCDB trade feature notes different teams featured on a given card.  Select put out some nice base sets in the mid 1990s.  1996 Certified as a chrome finish that does not scan the greatest, but they are sharp cards.

I hope to knock out some recent team sets in the near future.  These 2014 Topps Archives put me down to needing 4 more.  I love the 1986 Topps design.  That is the first set that I opened more than a handful of packs.  I remember pulling the Vince Coleman rookie card out of a pack and displaying it on my dresser the whole season.

I have no love lost for minis, but at least these are a little bit larger than the current A&G or GQ cards.  The Ozzie is a 1988 Topps Leaders card, while the Freese is a 2013 Topps 1972 mini. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

First Taste of 2017 Donruss

I still have not highlighted the last package I received at the beginning of last week. It is a large one that will require some scanning, so I will fast forward to a package I received from a Trading Bases member over the weekend.  I sent some Rangers his way in return for some 2017 Cardinals.

2017 Donruss is about as bland as you can get.  The name plate at the top reminds me of 1990 Donruss.  I am not sure what the price of a hobby box is, but I would hope it is cheaper than Topps.

The inserts are not quite as bad.  These are 1983 Retro inserts.  Unlike Topps, at least a different photo is used for the Carpenter and Piscotty cards.  These are not as flashy as some of the other inserts, but still a step up from the base set.

Rounding out the package were 5 more hits to my 2017 Heritage team set.  This set should not be too hard to complete, although the Aldemys Diaz card is a short print.  I always love the team cards that show a walk off win.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Second TCD Package of the Week

The second package I received this week from a Trading Card Database member was full of Cardinals Topps inserts.  I traded another batch of  Phillies cards for this stack of Cardinals.

There was a ton of Topps inserts in 2011.  I was never a fan of the Topps Town cards.  I did not realize some were also included in Opening Day until I flipped the Holliday card over.  On the other hand I never get tired of receiving Gold cards.  Patterson appeared in enough games with the Cardinals at the end of the 2011 season to earn a World Series ring.  He was not a part of any post season rosters though.

I do like the 2011 Opening Day inserts that Topps put out.  The Stars card has an odd school Sportflics feel it although it lacks the magic motion.  The Superstar Celebrations card highlights a walk off winning hit by Matt Holliday.  Those celebrations never get old.

Wacha had a ton of cards in 2014 after his 2013 post season performance.  He has done well this spring so far, but it will be interesting to see if he can stay healthy enough to pitch 150+ innings this year.

I like the 2014 Topps color parallels.  The red foil cards are my favorite, but the Target Reds are close behind.

2015 inserts of players nicknamed Country, Sweet Lou, Big City, and the Wizard.  Makes me long for a Donruss Signature Series Nickname set.

I will take new cards based off the 1987 Topps design anytime.   The Kiekhefer is the last 2016 Topps Update card I needed for my team set.

2015 Leaf Heroes of Baseball is about as bad an unlicensed product as you can get.  I hate the name plate area, and the airbrushing sticks out big time.  But there are Cardinals in the set, so I guess I will take what I can get.

There was a Musial Milestones insert set included with Leaf Heroes.  How many times can they cut off Stan's head to avoid showing his cap.  At least the last card shows a complete picture of his classic follow through.

Last but not least is this ultra rare 1994 Signature Rookies Draft Picks card of Carl Dale.  It is hard to read on the front of the card, but this is 1 of 45,000.  Hard to believe there is still one floating around after 23 years.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monday Mail Day

Yesterday was a good mail day for me.  I received 2 trade packages from Trading Card Database (TCD) members and also got around to opening another package I received on Saturday from a third TCD member.  I believe there were over 200 Cardinals in the 3 packages that were new to my collection.  Today I will highlight the some of the contents from the first package I received from user herkojerko.  I sent a few Phillies his way while he sent more Cardinals than what he needed to. 
I have never seen these 1987 Hygrade cards before.  I like the concept of highlighting past players, but the green borders and lack of numbering on the back leave a lot to be desired.  The photos are a little to close up also.

I do love the late 1980s and early 1990s oddballs.  The 1993 US Playing cards Ozzie is my favorite.  The top 2 cards are from the 1990 Score Superstars set, while the bottom Coleman is a 1989 Fleer Exciting Stars card. 

The early Topps Gold cards were not numbered like recent versions, but there was an extra Winner parallel made of the 1992 version.  I am not certain which is more abundant, but I have more Winner cards than the regular Gold card. 

More set needs including a 1994 Bowman's Best, 1990 Swell, 1992 Conlon Collection, and a 1991 Topps Archives Dizzy Dean.  After his playing days Dean was a radio/TV broadcaster for more than 20 years. 

Another set I have never seen before is the 1994 Upper Deck All Time Heroes.  I like the mix of obvious great players like Gibson and Brock to go along with lesser know players such as Walker and Garagiola.  I have fond memories of watching Saturday afternoon baseball on NBC with Garagiola and Vin Scully doing the play by play. 

I never realized there were so many minor league cards in the early 1990s besides your basic team sets.  The four cards are from 1994 Classic Best Gold.  Love the photography, but the player's name should have been put somewhere else other than over the top of the team name. 

Rounding out the package are 2 2015 Topps Museum base cards.  It can be tough tracking down team singles of high end brands, but there are some floating around.  It is always nice to find a Maris card in a Cardinals uniform. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's a Family Thing

Baseball is a sport that brings families closer together.  My children are only 12 and 8, but I cannot count the hours we have spent playing baseball or sitting in the stands watching minor league games.  My wife and I have also spent many dates at Busch Stadium rooting for the Cardinals.  We spent part of our honeymoon in 2001 catching a weekend series against the Pirates.  I have fond memories of that weekend for obvious reasons, but also I caught a McGwire batting practice home run ball. It still sits proudly in my display case.

Baseball cards also have family ties.  Whether you rip some packs with your kids or grandkids, or trade with long time friends cards have a way of bringing people together.  Last week I received a small package of Cardinals from Trading Bases member Mark.  He sent a note that mentioned this is the 17th time we have traded.  I do not keep trade stats, but I am pretty sure that is the most I have traded with anyone.  Mark is a fellow Cardinals fan that I swap team cards with a lot.  He is also the first online trading partner I met in person.  We met up at a Memphis Redbirds game 3 years ago.  On to the cards Mark sent.

 2016 Bowman featured an insert set called Family Ties.  The Cardinals actually drafted Mike's son Tate in the late rounds a few years ago, but he did not sign.  The Red Sox picked him in the 4th round of the 2015 draft.  He played against his father's team in the first spring training game this year. 

It seems like it has been a long time since the late 1990s when Tatis Sr. played third base for the Cardinals.  His son is a shortstop prospect who was traded to the Padres as part of the James Shields deal.  As bad as the Padres are, he might make his MLB debut this year.

Chris Duncan was a member of the 2006 Cardinals World Series team that his dad Dave was the pitching coach for.  He was blocked at first base by Pujols, so he was stuck in the outfield where he would make Jose Canseco look like a gold glover.  A great guy that has overcome cancer to work in sports radio around the St. Louis area.  This is a 2006 Topps Factory Set Bonus card I have never seen before.

I do not know anything about these three young pitchers family wise, only that each has signed in-person autographs for my kids while members of the Peoria Chiefs or Springfield Cardinals.  Most people have heard of Weaver and Reyes, but keep an eye on Flaherty.  He should pitch in Double A as a 21 year old this year.  Scouts say he has 3 to 4 plus pitches with a good understanding of when to throw them.   

Friday, March 10, 2017

My First Taste of Heritage

A few weeks ago Chris from The Collector blog ran a giveaway for some 2017 Topps Heritage cards.  I claimed some Cardinals from his break that arrived in yesterday's mail.

My favorite card from the Heritage lot is this dual rookie card.  Reyes will miss all of 2017 after having TJ surgery, while Weaver appears to be slotted in the Memphis rotation until a starter gets hurt.  I would guess they will be 2 of the starting 5 man rotation in 2 or 3 years.

I like the looks of this year's Heritage.  Maybe it is the high glossy finish, but the cards just seem to jump out at you.  

I would have been happy with these 5 cards, but Chris sent a few more Cardinals saying he felt guilty not sending more Heritage.
 Ankiel has a new book coming out soon describing his journey as a top pitching prospect that lost his control.  From what few short excerpts I have seen it looks to be a decent read.

Late 1990s Topps Chrome cards are few and far between in my collection.  They also do not scan well.

Matt Morris was a very solid pitcher for the Cardinals in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  I consider him the Cardinals first member of the Tommy John club.  He missed all 1999 and most of 2000  before coming back in a big way in 2001.  He won 22 games and finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting.  I hope Reyes can come back just as strong since he is so young.

Another big thanks for Chris for doing this giveaway.  I hope to repay his kindness sometime.