Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Topps Heritage and Other Random Musings.....

I swore I was not going to try and build a 2010 Topps Heritage set.....and it turns out I am partially right. I'm not going to try's a shame too, because I think this is without a doubt the best looking Heritage set that has been released done so far.

Let me start at the beginning. Back when the rack packs first came out I noticed that you could see through the packaging much like the regular Topps rack packs. You can clearly see three of the four cards in the packs. One day while cherry picking for Tigers I noticed a serial number on the back of one of the cards on the bottom side of the pack. I bought it, and sure enough it was a chrome card.

Not long after I noticed that you can clearly see a SP card in a pack, as it is always the last card in a pack and the white card stock is easily distinguishable from the gray card stock. I started going around to area Targets and Meijers just buying the packs that I could see SP or chrome cards in. In the last two weeks, I've picked up a total of 41 SP cards, 7 chrome, and 3 chrome refractor cards just by inspecting the back of the packs.

Even with the SP cards (37 different, 4 doubles), I'm still 38 SP cards short and about 80 base cards short of a 500 card set. Now I've bought upwards of 50 packs at $5 a pack, yet I don't even have 80% of the set even though I've got over 700+ cards total. With this I've decided that this was a foolish endeavor and that I'm not going to try and finish this set by buying any more packs.

I went on ebay to see if it would be worth my while to try and sell off what I had to recoup my losses and call it a nice, but costly lesson learned. I learned a lesson all right. None of these cards are selling for all that much on ebay. You can get the base set of 1-425 for roughly $40. The SP sell for around $2-$3 each if you package them in a lot big enough that the shipping doesn't eat you up. I see all kinds of chrome and refractor cards not even selling for a $1 because of the $2-$3 shipping cost involved. So for less than what I've got in it now, I could've had the entire set already. I wouldn't even come close to recouping what I've spent.

So really, what is the point of buying packs of anything nowadays? This is the second Topps issue this year that I have thrown some major cash into while trying to put together a set the old fashioned way. (I know, fool me twice.....the old fashioned finger banging is all I got) I really am done with building sets from now on. If I see something I like I'll just wait for it to hit ebay and let some other sucker waste his/her money putting it together.

On the flip side, it was a great find at Meijer that helped me come to this conclusion. They had their 2009 Topps factory sets, which retailed for $60 last year, marked down to $50. On top of that they were having a 20% off all cards sale which brought the price down to $40. Since I boycotted buying packs in '09, I picked up a set. It had one of the cool Mickey Mantle chrome reprints ('57) as well as a pack of five Rookie Card variations that are exclusive to factory sets. I opened the set when I got home and one of them was a Rick Porcello. Not a bad deal for $40 IMO. That's about the price of eight rack packs or 4 jumbo packs, which would have only given me around 250 cards roughly.

I've noticed a trend regarding Topps cards. The longer you are willing to wait the cheaper you can get them. I've seen 2008 factory sets for $24. There were hobby boxes of 2006 and 2007 cards for $19. What incentive does a set builder have to even fool with it anymore unless you want to wait for three of four years to try and do so?

In conclusion, I've got a ton of Heritage doubles if anybody is interested in trading. I'm going to hold onto the SP cards, but if anybody is up for a swap of doubles drop me a line.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Card Show, Day 2

With the weather absolutely crappy here in Chicago today, I decided to go back to the card show and spend the day checking out all the booths that I didn't pay much attention too last night. I pretty much shopped out of the $1 bins all day, and came away with a pretty nice haul.

My absolute best find of the day belongs to Lou Whitaker again. I have never even seen a '93 Topps Finest until I found this one in a $1 bin. I thank the card grading revolution for this find. It's off-center enough that I can see why it would be shunned, but given the fact that these things are impossible to find I'd think it would sell for more than a $1. No complaints here that it didn't!

I found some SSPC cards that I'd never seen before either. I've never done a lot of research into these, but the copyright date on the back reads 1975, so I'm going to assume for now that these are from 1975. I got cards of Ralph Houk, John Hiller, Ben Oglivie, and Gene Michael, who I never knew played for the Tigers before. I love the "no design" design, but the photos are atrocious. They all look like mug shots, except in color!

I knocked out all but one card in my '82 Fleer team set. (The checklist card) Like '83 Fleer, I collected a bunch of these as a kid to be missing so many of them. Raise your hand if you think that Jack Morris card might rank as one of the worst looking cards of all time. Exactly what were they trying to get in the frame there?

I snagged this Cobb HOF Heroes card thinking it was the real one, not noticing that it was a reprint from a 2003 Donruss set. Hell, with the glossy finish and thick card stock, this card is actually much nicer than the original.

I didn't know that Upper Deck made a set based on the 2008 Olympics. I found this card of Tiger phenom Jacob Turner. I haven't seen any other Turner cards yet. Would this one be considered his rookie?

The day was not all fun and games though. I learned a very valuable lesson today while digging through the $1 bins. You know that warm, tingly feeling you get when you open a pack of cards and lo and behold there is a chrome insert inside? Or better yet, a refractor, or x-fractor, or blue border, or black border, etc.? And the feeling that you've pulled something really cool out of the pack?

Well I no longer have that feeling after today. Eventually EVERY SINGLE ONE of those cards will make it to the $1 bin. Ok, maybe not every single one, but damn near most of them. I probably only searched a tenth of all the $1 bins that were there today and came away with 22 different Tigers refractors. Everybody ranging from Kyle Sleeth and Mike Maroth to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. I found 6 different '09 Bowman Chrome and 5 different '07 Topps Chrome. Once upon a time these things were the cat's meow. Now they've gone the way of the jersey card and autographed card. Ho-hum.

It's been a great two days of collecting. Usually I only hit the shows on the first night but from now on I'm going to plan a second day back to dig through all the $1 boxes to see what other Tiger treasures I can dig up. Now when is that next show?!?!

Card Show Last Night!

Last night I went to the Sun-Times Card Show in Rosemont. I've been to enough of these things in the last 2+ years that I've gotten to know a handful of dealers who are some good guys, so it's always fun to visit and say hello, and then dive into searching for Tigers cards! Last night was a rousing success!!!

I picked up 21 '60 Topps Tigers cards, bringing me 5 short of finishing the team set. I'm not really familiar with the gray back vs. white back story, but I did notice that some players had both. Does anybody know if there's a checklist out there detailing which ones are which?

I found the last two cards I needed to finish the '69 team set, Dick McAuliffe and and Bill Freehan. At 42 cards, this has to be one of the largest Tiger team sets ever (I'm including the All-Star cards, World Series cards, League Leaders cards, etc.) I'm going to guess that maybe the 2007 Topps set is larger. (Which should not qualify since they made two cards of Gary Sheffield and Mike Rabelo.....)

I found 12 of the '70 cards, including nice ones of Willie Horton, Norm Cash, and Mickey Stanley. I'm only 6 short of that set now, but one of them is a Kaline high number. I'll be poking around ebay for that one.

I found a few more cards from the 70's that I needed, with the highlight of the night being the '78 Lou Whitaker RC to finish out that set. This was the first year I collected cards so it's pretty cool to finally finish this set with one of my all-time favorite Tigers.

Rounding out the vintage edition of the night were a handful of early 80's cards including '81 Topps and '82 Topps of Jack Morris and a bunch of '83 Fleer including a Howard Johnson RC. I collected a ton of '83 Fleer when I was a kid and I'm amazed that I'm missing so many of these. Even after last night I'm still 6 cards short.

That was it for the older cards. By my count I'm only about 50 cards away from finishing all my 70's Tigers sets, with the bulk being '71 and '72. Oh well, that'll give me something to shoot for next time!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

2010 RobbyT Cards: Brent Dlugach & Ryan Strieby

Found a couple more. Brent and I went to college together. I'm pretty sure he's the only U of Memphis Tiger to ever play for the Detroit Tigers.

I'm pretty sure Ryan Strieby is not.....

2010 RobbyT Cards: Jacob Turner & Phil Dumatrait

A couple more from the weekend. I drafted Turner today in my keeper league. I think I'm in love. I haven't even seen a Bowman card from this guy yet.

File Dumatrait under one and done......

Friday, March 12, 2010

1960 Topps Al Kaline

So I picked this nice little card up off ebay this past week. Fantastic condition, I think I paid around $25 for it, which was a steal for me. But when it arrived I noticed something odd about it.

There are little red marks in the upper left corner that I know from my experience in printing are a flaw from the pre-press cutting a mask for the red background. Is this common with this card, or was this an error that was corrected later in the run? It's not enough to bother me in the slightest, but as someone who has cut enough background masks in my day I'm really curious if this is how all the '60 Kaline cards are. Are there other cards like this in the set?

Back in the old days you would cut a window out of a vinyl mask for each image to appear on the printed piece. On anything that formed a corner, if you extended the mask too far out your exacto blade would leave a tiny cut line like the one seen in the pic above. Now it's all done on the Mac. No cut marks. The process used to be called four-color stripping (four colors because that's how many inks are used, and stripping because in the real old days you used to strip the emulsion off the film before you burned printing plates), and yours truly was a stripper for many years.....

Knowing that I know what this is is actually pretty time I'll give a little lesson in trapping.....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

2010 RobbyT Cards: Wilkin Ramirez

I'm beginning to think he's never going to make it with the Tigers.

I didn't realize that this was the third year I made one of his cards.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2010 RobbyT Cards 3-10-10

Here are the latest from sunny FLA.

Don Kelly has been having a nice spring so far.

These are for you Mr. DeArmond.

I have to stay on the ball in Spring Training to get photos of some of these cats because they may not be seen in a Tigers uniform again all season. I hope Mr. Sborz is one of those fellows.....

Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 RobbyT Cards Are Here!

It's been a harrowing night around here, as a roofer fell through my ceiling this afternoon, but the cards are finally signed off on and I'm looking forward to getting started and getting more out as the 2010 Championship Season gets underway!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2010 Topps Heritage Bonanza

Target now has Heritage rack packs. At $5 a pack for 14 cards I don't see myself picking up too many of these. However, since you can easily read 3 of the 4 cards showing, I went through the dozen or so packs that were there and found three packs with Verlander's name showing and one pack with Granderson's and I bought those 4 packs.

There were a total of 8 Tigers in the packs, and the Granderson was a chrome card. There also were cards of Edwin Jackson in his new threads and Johnny Damon in his old ones.

I've posted pics of most of the Tigers cards. I got two cards of both Dlugach and Marcus Thames.

That Kaline card is pretty damn sweet. I probably sat in one of those seats at one time or another in the mid-80's cheering for Kirk Gibson.

As usual, I think this will be the coolest set of the year, but between the price and all the frigging variations and short prints it won't be one that I'll be trying to put together. I usually end up with around 50 to 100 or so Heritage cards from each year that I keep in a binder all to themselves. I think of all the Heritage sets so far I'd rank these up there with '59 and '57 sets.

One suggestion I would make to Topps. PLEASE LEAVE THE HISTORY LESSON CARDS OUT OF YOUR SETS!!! There's nothing worse than pulling an insert card commemorating the passing of the 23rd amendment (not that I am against Washington D.C. getting voting rights or anything). Well ok, I lied. There is something worse than pulling one of these cards......can you guess what it is?

You got it. Two of those fuckers.....