One Man's Thoughts on Sports Card Collecting

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Hey, it's-a me!"

I redeemed a few more Topps Million Card Giveaways today.  One of them provided an interesting moment - the 1977 Topps Astros Team Card:

My first thought was how it is quite a sight to see that many of those Astros uniforms all grouped together in one picture.  But then I noticed the guy in the bottom row, third from the left....

I had no idea Super Mario was a ballplayer before embarking on an exciting career in the field of plumbing!

I decided I had to figure out who this guy was, but despite looking all over the rosters of the 1976 and 1977 Astro teams I could not find a picture to definitively ID our hero in orange, yellow-orange, and puke-orange.  My best guess is that it may be reliever Gene Pentz:

I dunno....the mustache doesn't look dark enough.....

Assuming it was Pentz, I looked up his numbers - going by the stats he appears to have been a solid relief pitcher.  In 104 games appearances he want 8-9 with a 3.63 ERA in 191 Innings, and also had 116 strikeouts and 7 saves.  It appears his career was cut short due to injury in just his third full season in the majors.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another First

Hot on the heels of my first decent autograph pull (Mike Stanton), I attended Pack Wars at my local card store last night and pulled my first ever 1 of 1!:

So...who is Casey Haerther???

A read of the back of the card combined with a quick internet search reveals that he was drafted out of UCLA by the Angels in the 5th round (171st overall) in 2009.  He had actually been drafted in a prior year, but decided to return to school instead.  In 2010 he first spent 50 games with the Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League, and in 206 ABs he hit .350 with a .386 OBP, 0 HRs, and 35 RBIs.  He then was promoted to Class A Cedar Rapids, where in 113 games (433 ABs) he hit .307 with a .352 OBP, 8 HRs, 74 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases.

It'll be pretty cool to have a young guy to follow outside the Brewers organization.  Hopefully he hits it big in the majors~!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Finally - A Decent Auto!!

Historically the small group (maybe 2 dozen) of autographed cards that I've been lucky enough to pull from packs fell into two groups: "meh" (e.g. Hunter Pence) and "who?" (Felipe Paulino)

But then a recent trip to the card store to purchase a few packs revealed this beauty:

Finally - a decent autograph pull~!

Monday, November 15, 2010

2011 Topps Baseball Preview Cards

Gotta say, I like the look of next year's Topps base set.  I'm particularly impressed by the gold parallels (I assume that's what the Ichiro card is) with the all gold background and only the player in color.  With this being the 60th Anniversary of Topps I'm actually debating taking on the insane mission of collecting an entire set of the Gold parallels...Read more at

2011ToppsGallery Sneak Peak Card Gallery: 2011 Topps Baseball

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Eyes!!!

The Topps Million Card Giveaway cards I pulled out of my Topps Update series box didn't cause any excitement, though one of them did stand out for an entirely different reason:


I'm not sure if this is a problem with the way they scanned the card, or if uniforms that burned out the retinas of your opponents were just an accepted part of the game back in 1980..

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Epix Return

The 2010 Panini Epix Football set marked the return of one of my all-time favorite insert sets - the Epix series:

This picture really doesn't do justice to how cool these look in person.  Admittedly, I tend to be a sucker for "ooh, shiny!"-type inserts, but these really are awesome.  The only downside came when I learned how big the set is - there are 100 cards, and each one has 7 versions (various combinations of three names - Game, Moment, and Season - and colors - Orange, Purple, and Emerald).  When I first saw these had returned I was excited by the prospect of collecting a whole set, but 700 is a bit much.  Perhaps I'll just try to get one of each of the 100 players instead...

This actually isn't the first time I've been caught off guard by the number of Epix variations.  I fell in love with these cards when they first appeared in Pinnacle baseball sets back in 1998, and I always wanted to get a full set of the Ken Griffey Jr. Epix cards.  I figured it shouldn't be hard, I mean there's only 9 of them - Game, Play, and All-Star Moment, each in Orange, Purple and Emerald versions.

(random voice in the back) - "What about the Epix Season cards??"

Me - "Epix Season?  There was no Epix Seas-"

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

Thus far I've only ever seen one of Griffey's Epix Season cards listed on eBay - the Emerald version - and it was selling for $100, so I had to pass for now.  My understanding is that the Epix Season cards were supposed to be inserted into a set that never got released because Pinnacle went bankrupt, but some of them found their way onto the market later when the company's assets were sold off.  If anyone knows more about the details of where these came from, I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2010 Topps Baseball Update Series Box Break

Just when I thought I had wrapped up the 2010 baseball card season....

Having been away from the hobby for a while, I assumed sets still had just a Series 1 & 2, so imagine my surprise when I learned that I had a THIRD full set to collect if I wanted to complete the Topps 2010 set!

I debated wether to buy the regular box or the jumbo pack box - in the end $55 made a lot more sense than $90, though the 2 additional hits and extra cards in the jumbo box would have been nice....

My box contained:
Set completion: 254 of 330 (77%).  No duplicates, for the base set or insert sets (not counting the Topps Attax cards), so good job on collation Topps!

(As an aside, I'm sure I'm not the first person to comment on this over the years, but the way cards are collated these days drives me nuts.  Sure it's nice to get no duplicates when I buy a box, but when I then buy a pack from another box and get the same 7 "random" cards in the exact same order as another pack, to the point where ALL 5 of the packs I purchased in addition to the box were ALL DUPLICATES, it is frustrating....)

The highlights:

Obviously his buzz cooled off considerably after the injury, but it's still nice to pull card #661:
My rookie refractor:

The box promised one autograph or relic, and I was pretty pleased with the one I got.  Sure they're manufactured bat barrels, but still - it's Rajah~!
There was one other nice pull - one of the short print parallels:

I'm not sure what the rarity is on these things, but either they are very rare or my luck has been terrible.  I went through 2 whole boxes of Series 1 and a box of Series 2 without pulling a single one.  I finally got one (Tris Speaker from Series 2) in a random pack I bought, and now this is my second one.  I haven't pulled any of the "pie in the face" short prints either!...

On the whole this was a pretty good box.  I'm a big fan of the Cards Your Mom Threw Out and Vintage Legends inserts, so I was happy to learn those were extended into the Update Series.  I also got a chuckle from one of the More Tales of The Game cards, seeing as I was in attendance at the infamous All Star Game Tie.  :)  Hopefully I can at least finish off the 2010 base sets before moving on to whatever Topps has planned for their 60th anniversary set!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Welcome Sports Card Collectors!

Hi all - this will be the first time I've ever done the blog thing before!  After an almost decade long hiatus I've recently revived my all-time favorite hobby - card collecting.  After stumbling across some of the other sportscard blogs here I was inspired to start one of my own.  I expect I'll be writing about my recent card purchases, my history in the hobby, sports in general, or whatever else strikes my fancy on a given day.  Hopefully at least some of you will find it worth reading.  ;)