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Monday, February 8, 2016

TTM Success - Al Hrabosky

I received another TTM success recently when I got this 1983 Donruss signed by former Major Leaguer, Al Hrabosky.  I sent to him on January 16, 2016 and got the card back on February 6, 2016.  Not a bad turn around.

I originally got the card in one of the many huge cards boxes that I picked up after Christmas from my good friend, and fellow blogger, Pete.  This was the lone Hrabosky card in the box, and I figured I would try to see if I could get a TTM return out of it.  I'm not disappointed!

Hrabosky signed for free, and included the inscription "The Mad Hungarian".  Pretty cool!

Hrabosky (b. 1949) played in the majors from 1970 to 1982 for the Cardinals, Royals and Braves.  Mainly a reliever, he compiled a career record of 64-36 with a 3.10 ERA and 97 saves.  He finished as high as 3rd in the NL Cy Young voting (and 8th in the NL MVP voting) in 1975 when he went 13-3 with a 1.66 ERA.

This is now, obviously a shift for me when it comes to TTMs.  I had previously only sent off baseballs to be signed, but with the cost of OMLBs, the terrible fading of many of my past successes, and lack of space, I am now moving more toward having cards signed.  I think this will help me get back some interest in TTMs.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Thoughts on 2016 Topps

Well, football season is over and the NFL got what they wanted via tons of terrible calls and sent Peyton Manning off into the sunset with another ring and his 200th win.  Good for him.  I feel bad for my sister who is a huge Panther fan.  I'm no football expert, but it did appear that there were a lot of missed calls that could have benefited the Panthers, and several calls against them that were questionable.  Better luck next year, I guess.

What all of this means, and with the receipt of my three jumbo boxes of 2016 Topps Series One, baseball is right around the corner!  With that, I spent the majority of today by sorting through the cards and building my set.

This year's design is probably one of Topps' best yet.  From what I am hearing from a lot of my trading partners, lots of folks are really happy with the changes that were made.  Gone it the standard white border seen on so many Topps offerings over the years.  There are a ton of great photography shots this year, as has been customary in the recent past.

I did ok with my hits from my boxes.  I feel like I will be able to move all of them very quickly, which is something I haven't been able to say about hits from some of the past boxes I have bought.
I also did pretty well with my own PC needs.  As you can see at the start of this post, Chris Davis was in Series 1.  He also shows up in the AL Home Run Leaders and RBI Leaders cards.  I have plenty of parallels to pursue as the year moves along.

I finally was able to pull an actual PC parallel in one of my boxes, with the above Davis gold parallel.  It is numbered 969/2016.  I like how the color parallels are very subtle this year.  I think it is a nice way to do them.  They're subtle, but you can still tell what is a parallel and what isn't.
Another cool parallel that I was happy to see return is the Topps retro parallel.  With the Topps retro logo and an old-school card stock, these are pretty nice cards.  I pulled this Sonny Gray numbered 81/99.  Another cool parallel not shown on this post was the black and white negative parallel.  This aren't numbered, but are seeded one in every 22 jumbo packs.  I pulled two of them (Curtis Granderson and Dee Gordon) and already have one sold.  The only drawback from the black and white parallel, is that they look too similar to a printing plate and I'm sure there will be some initial confusion when folks pull them.
Finally, I didn't feel bogged down by a ton of inserts.  There are several insert sets, but I won't be pursuing them.  I did pull two of these Ripken/Murray Back to Back inserts, so there are two new additions to those PCs.  Not bad.

Overall, I was really happy with this year's Series 1.  While I didn't have any super pulls, this one was solid, and being able to move almost everything quickly helps me out.  I will be able to move the rest at next weekend's card show.  Come on out to see me if you can make it!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Belated Post About a Belated Package From Michael A.

I have had this package from Michael A. from Instagram and Facebook since before Christmas, I think.  He didn't put a note in the package, and at one point it was at the bottom of my "to be blogged" pile, but the pile was accidentally knocked over a couple weeks ago.  I was able to keep everything together, but I realized that I had forgotten who these cards came from.  I embarrassingly posted them on Instagram and asked who had sent them to me, and Michael responded within seconds.

I remembered the Daniel Cabrera auto, but hadn't been sure who sent it, obviously, but since Michael said it was him, I remember now when we talked about it.  Cabrera was one of those pitchers who could (and did) get a pitching coach fired.  He had such good stuff, when he could trust and command it, but that consistent trust and command eluded him throughout his career.
Another nice card he sent was this Adam Jones framed relic from 2013 Gypsy Queen.  I'm pretty sure I have one of these already, but I will gladly take others.  I like the look of the framed relics and autos from Ginter and GQ.

Thanks for the package, Michael.  I'm sorry it took me so long to post it, and I'm equally as sorry that I forgot who sent it.  Please include a note, next time!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ebay Pickup - 2015 Topps Strata Sonny Gray Relic Auto

Recently, I won my first contest on Instagram.  Topps' Instagram account was giving away three boxes of 2015 Strata to folks that other Instagram users nominated.  A lot of my Instagram friends nominated me, and I ended up being one of the names that was drawn.  I had never won a contest like that before, and I was so very flattered that it came by way of others feeling like I deserved something nice.

The box itself was ok, I got a nice Rick Porcello relic/auto and a Yan Gomes auto.  The setup is one pack per box, two cards per pack.  So, I can't be all that disappointed, since I didn't pay for the box.  I can sell the cards I pulled at my next show, and just pick up a couple Strata here and there to make up for the ones the I sell.

I was really disappointed that Chris Davis wasn't on the checklist for Strata, otherwise I would be buying a bunch of his cards from there.  Instead, I went toward another PC player, Sonny Gray.  I got the same kind of card that the Porcello is, and am really happy with what I got.

This card is not numbered, but that doesn't matter to me.  The signature is on card, and the piece of jersey came from a game that Gray pitched (May 8, 2015).  He struck out 9 in 6 innings, but the A's would go on to lose due to a walkoff in extras.

I really like the Strata product, but am very disappointed that the cards don't really hold a lot of value.  Sure, I was happy to be able to get this Sonny Gray for my collection at only $10, but with 2 cards per ~$75 box, you would think the individual cards themselves would carry a much higher price-point.  I don't blame the actual cards themselves, because they are very high quality.  However, I think the checklist might be to blame.  I think that is the case all around the hobby when it comes to relics and autos, though.  I mean, Porcello, con't get me wrong, but I think bigger names should be what is in stuff like this, especially if folks are expected to pay $75 for a pack.  I guess I would have felt a little differently had I pulled a Bryce Harper, Manny Machado or Kris Bryant.  Cal and Manny are the only Orioles I have seen in the product.

Oh well, I'm happy with this Gray, and I am sure someone will be happy with the Porcello.  I know the person getting the Gomes will be happy, since it is going to a friend of mine.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Amazing Christmas Gift From Sam

My good friend, Sam, told me that he was still working on another part of a Christmas gift for me when he sent the first bit of it back in December.  He even told me what he was working on; he was sending an 8x10 to Nolan Reimold TTM to try to get it signed and inscribed to me for Christmas.  Funny thing was, when I was at Fan Fest, I got Nolan to sign a ball for Sam, inscribed "To Sam, Merry Christmas", without knowing that Sam was working on this TTM.

The package with the signed photo came today.  I was still amazed by Sam's generosity, even though he told me a month ago that this was coming.  The photo looks great, and I will get it framed this weekend.

Sam, wasn't done, however.  He said he had picked up a surprise and would include it with the Nolan photo.  When the Nolan got here today, it was in a page protector and some cars stock that served as protection.  I had shown my wife the Nolan photo, and as I was taking it out of the protector, I told her "You know, Sam said he was sending something else, I wonder if he forgot to put it in the package." Then, as I got the photo out of the page protector, I noticed there was another photo behind it.
This awesome black and white 8x10 signed by friend of this blog, Mr. Virgil Trucks.  I had tears in my eyes as I studied this photo that I had never seen of him before.  Clearly taken in Spring Training of 1958, this was something I definitely wasn't expecting from Sam.

I once was really hard on Sam.  He had asked me to find a bunch of cards for him, which I did.  I spent hours of several days going through boxes of cards, pulling out guys he said he was looking for.  He would message me as I was halfway through and ask for additional guys.  I had to stop a coupld times and go through the same boxes again and again.  Finally, I had him a stack of cards, then when he said he wanted them all, I named a modest price.  He balked, and walked away from the deal.  I was upset and didn't talk to him for a while after that.  Sam, would message me a few months later, asking if I had cards of a certain player, to which I jumped on him because he made me go through those boxes of cards for hours, just for him to kill the deal.  I overreacted, and was rude to a kid.  That was something I swore I wouldn't do.  He apologized, and I apologized.  I felt terrible that I jumped all over this kid, all about some cards.

Since then, Sam and I have become really good friends.  I have helped him grow his collection.  I made him a really cool photo book from Shutterfly that he could use for his trips to Spring Training.  He keeps telling me that my blowing up on him wasn't a big deal, but I still regret it to this day.  He has been very generous over the last couple of years that we have been friends, and now he goes above and beyond to get me something he thought I would enjoy for Christmas.  Sam is a really good guy, and I am happy to call him my friend.  Thank you so much for working so hard on getting these photos for me.  I appreciate it, and I will love having them hanging on my wall.  Thank you, little buddy.  You're a great guy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Awesome Trade With Jared

My friend Tim from the blog "I Love The Smell of Cardboard in the Morning" emailed me recently about a package he intended to ship to me.  In his closing remarks in the email, he mentioned that a fellow blogger had pulled an amazing Manny Machado dual relic/auto and was looking to unload it.  I took a look at the card and was amazed by it, but shot myself down pretty quickly.  My thoughts were "this card is awesome, but there is no way I will be able to afford to pry it away from him..."  Fast forward a couple weeks and I get a surprise follow on Instagram and then an email from the proprietor of the owner of the card, fellow blogger Jared from the blog Catching Up With Collecting.

Jared had heard that I was an Orioles fan and would be interested in the card, so I asked him what it would take to pry it away.  Then, I remembered that I was going to be heading to the antique shop in Columbia and could possibly find some cards that were on his top ten want list.

So, after my trip, I had a couple cards I thought Jared would like, and we instantly matched up on a deal.  You can read about what he got in the trade here.

This Machado card is really awesome, and I am happy that I was able to pull off a trade to get it.  It is numbered 8/10 and will go in a magnetic case, once I go to the card show in the middle of this month.

Thank you for the deal, Jared!  I hope you are as happy with your end of the deal as I am with mine!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Christmas Gift From Jacob R.

I got a nice little Christmas care package from my buddy, Jacob R. for Christmas.  Inside the package was a 2010 Topps Jake Arrieta RC, a 2015 Topps Rey Navarro RC and the above IP auto of former Oriole Mark Reynolds.

It was really nice of Jacob to think of me.  For Christmas, I sent him a stack of PC stuff of some of his favorite players and also some Expos cards.  He is a young guy who likes Expos, which is something you don't see a lot of.  That's pretty cool!

Thanks for the care package, Jacob!