Friday, January 23, 2015

Mr. Cub

This one hit me pretty hard. One of the greatest baseball players of all time, and the greatest Chicago Cub of all time. He'll definitely be missed, especially on the North Side of Chicago.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nostalgic Box Break: 1994 Stadium Club Series 3 (Part 2)

Yesterday, we began our rip into a box of 1994 Stadium Club Series 3. It was a bit of a spoiler that today I posted that Julio Franco was one of the last three cards I needed to complete the series. So yes, I did will enough in this box to almost complete the set. Spoiler alert.

Then again, it's a third series, and I usually come within inches of completion of a usual Series 3 of Stadium Club, so it's not really a spoiler.

Ah, who cares. On with the rip.

Pack 13:
Cards I needed: 7/13
Doubles: 5/13
Inserts: 1/13
Hall of Famers: 1/13

Three cool sideways shots. Jeff Treadway's is the best, because there's a could of dust in the distance.

Our Fantastic Finisher on the pack is the Big Hurt himself, Frank Thomas. I'm happy he made it into the Hall of Fame. He is a classic hitter.
Our 'Finest' insert is of the 1993 ROY, Tim Salmon. Back in 1994, he was evidently a big deal.

I didn't do a group shot for Pack 14, so we'll dip right into it, with a card of Darrin Jackson, and a rookie card of one of the Alex Gonzalez' that played in the MLB. Don't make me figure out which one.

Willie McGee, in one of his few seasons on the Giants, hits a homer, alongside two guys that I don't really know too well.

Our rookie Rocker this pack was of Bob Hamelin, the eventual '94 AL ROY. What we're learning is that the AL did not have a great sense of career in picking their Rookies of the Year.
Meanwhile, David Justice is the umpteenth Finest insert.

Carlos Delgado's rookie card actually showed up in the 1993 Stadium Club set, appropriately enough in Series 3. I like this card a lot though. Look at that smile.
Javy Lopez in catcher's gear, like basically everybody else in this set.

Pack 15-
Doubles: 3/13
Cards I need: 10/13
Hall of Famers: 1/13
Guys named after hotel chains: 1/13
Three stars of the 90's. Al Leiter was a great pitcher for the Blue Jays and Mets. Felix Fermin was a nice infielder. Marquis Grissom was an excellent power hitter.

Howard Johnson was an All-Star with the Mets. Here he is wasting his career away in Denver.
Dan Wilson, in yet another catcher's shot.\

John Smoltz was signing at the White Plains show I went to a few months ago. I didn't get his signature, because I didn't know how much it was.
Steve Trachsel is best known for being the guy that gave up Mark McGwire's 62nd home run of the 1998 season.

Pack 16:
Doubles: 12/13
Cards I needed: 1/13
Vince Coleman saved this pack from being a complete waste of time. Then again, any Vince Coleman after the 80's ended is a waste of time.

Pack 17-
Doubles: 6/13
Cards I needed: 7/13
Hall of Famers: 1/13

I posted this combo for the Rick Sutcliffe. This was sadly Sutcliffe's last season, which makes this card with the Cardinals one of his last. It's a pretty awesome shot, too.

Jose Rijo had one more season before embarking on a half-decade-long stint on the DL. Poor guy.
Eddie Murray, in a wonderful shot, was still doing awesome things on the Indians, and had a few more years left in his career before his retirement in 1997.

Pack 18:
Doubles: 4/13
Cards I need: 9/13
Subset cards of future stars: 2/13
Hard to believe that Mitch Williams was still playing after the '93 series. I've heard he's a nice guy, and he's local, but...sad.
Delino Deshields was one of the guys that lured Pedro Martinez out of LA. Sorry for reminding you, Night Owl.

These are pretty cool, because Carlos Delgado and Manny Ramirez would become huge stars after these cards came out. To get them in the same pack is pretty nice too.

Pack 19-
Doubles: 5/13
Cards I need: 8/13
Botched super-prospects: 1/13
Guys that should be in the Hall of Fame: 1/13

Bobby Jones, the guy who gave the Mets a reason to play Counting Crows over the loudspeaker during warmups.
Todd Van Poppel, whose sheer existence makes Stephen Strasburg bless his throwing arm daily.

Lonnie and Bream are great players...but that teal is distracting me.

Jack Morris, one of the best pitchers of the 80's, played his final season as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Yes, he did indeed show up to spring training with the Reds, but he didn't actually play a game in Cincinnati. Therefore, this Stadium Club issue of Morris in an Indians jacket is one of his last cards. At least it's a nice one.

Pack 20-
Doubles: 11/13
Cards I need: 2/13
Steroid Abusers: 1/13

Juan Gonzalez and Darren Holmes were the only salvageable parts of this pack.
Pack 21-
Doubles: 4/13
Cards I need: 9/14
Hall of Famers: 1/13
Blogosphere Legends: 1/13


Hector Carrasco is a pretty terrible career pitcher.
Greg Maddux, on the other hand, is pretty awesome. He did indeed have a Fantastic Finish.

Pack 22:
Doubles: 6/13
Cards I need: 7/13
Not a whole lot going on here. Steve Karsay was an okay pitcher, Melido Perez' double play shot is cool, and Fernandez has a nice lunge going, but it's a pretty boring affair.

Pack 23:
Doubles: 11/13
Cards I need: 2/13
Awesome players on cards I need: 2/13

Yup, it's Crime Dog and the Big Unit, which definitely sounds like a cop show. Both cards are pretty awesome, and both guys are great players. Plus, the Johnson is a Dugout Dirt insert, so...

I mean, how cool is that? That is so 90's and so awesome.

Pack 24-
Doubles: 4/13
Cards I need: 9/13

Not much going on, but the Alan Mills card is pretty nice.

So, there's the box. In a few days, when you all have had a chance to breathe, I'll post the next box I got from Amazon. And...truth be told, it's not too different from this one. Just a few Series' earlier.

Friday, January 9, 2015


It was bloggerdom's worst kept secret.

As a set completist, it came as odd that someone had came up with the idea of JustCommons so late in the game. I mean, if all you need to finish a set is a few commons, and JustCommons sells them cheap, completing sets isn't that hard anymore. So I figured I'd give it a whirl.

The card you see above is one of the three cards I needed to complete the 1994 Stadium Club Series 3 set. Now, they didn't have the other two, but they had Julio Franco, so I snapped it up immediately.

And then I thought, well what other sets could I try to complete while I'm here?

A week and fifteen dollars later, my cards arrived, as if coming from a card show I'd never asked for, and I broke into what I bought.

2008 Topps Trading Card History:
Not everyone remembers this, but back in 2008 Topps put out an insert set commemorating years of classic card designs (even pre-Topps), and placed current players in them. Since then, I'd been battling to complete that set, and Just Commons had a bunch of them, including Jim Thome, a Mint Condition favorite.

The set featured all players who were relevant in 2008, which means there are a lot of people like Andruw Jones and Carlos Zambrano, who were great players, but haven't held up over time.

However, they also included players like Alfonso Soriano and Pedro Martinez, who were coming off great seasons and great careers. Soriano will spend a couple years on the Hall of Fame ballot. Pedro spent just one.

And on the flipside, they included four guys that are still pretty relevant today. As a bonus, only one of these guys is still on their pictured team.

For whatever reason, Robbie Cano's card was without a nameplate, maybe to recreate an error card from back in the day. Or maybe Topps assumed that the baseball card community would already know his name, which we did. And thanks to his season in Seattle, we definitely do.

Archives (and yes, there's a ton):
The site also had a ton of Topps Archives commons, which I needed as a set collector. As a sidenote, only chooch is still on his pictured team here. And this is from three years ago.

71's and 80's. Man, this is back when Ted Lilly was still a relevant pitcher. Also, I'm glad Tim Hudson traded in his soul patch for a World Series ring.

'84s. Andrew Bailey was coming off a couple of nice seasons as the closer in Oakland, and Dan Uggla was still a trusted 2nd baseman. Good times.

I didn't need as much from 2013 Archives, but I still needed these close-cropped beauties.

Again, in terms of likeness, the Archives sets mostly got it right. These are extremely close to the original design. I just wish the photos would be a bit grainier.

Hell, I even got some from the 2014 release. Here are two Hall of Fame closers and a really good Dodgers pitcher.

A bunch of '80 needs. I like how they got seldom-used photos for people like Eddie Mathews. Also, I love the Butler and the Swisher.

As a bonus, last year's Archives came equipped with a card of a 2015 Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio, looking pretty young.

But set needs are just one way I can use Just Commons. I can also just use it for collections.

Fun Stuff:

One of the ways I collect is I take players in my binder and try to get a lot of different cards that look cool for them. Diamond Kings are cards I love getting for my binder, because I love the way they feel. All 6 of these are of players I collect, and they'll be going in the binders soon.

I was indeed collecting when 2010 Topps Update came out, but for whatever reason I never pulled a card of Vladimir Guerrero as a Texas Ranger, which sucks, because I love getting cards of players in new uniforms. Took me 4 years to get this card, which is a shame, because he looks like he's having so much fun.

One of the first sets I openly collected when I got into the hobby was 2005 Topps. I remember coming over my old friend Mason's house and trading him 2007 cards for 2005 cards, and then walking off with a great deal of star cards for a couple of 2007 inserts. I never finished nabbing all of the stars from that set, so whenever I see someone I collect from 2005 tops, I grab them. I love the Coco Crisp one, and I love the Nomo because it's his last Topps base card.

In between a lot of the standard shots in 2005, there are some pretty nice shots mixed in, like this 'to the wall' shot of Carl Crawford.

Heck, I even got a card from 2005 Topps Update, of Adrian Beltre in his first year on the Mariners.

Above all the other fun stuff, I wanted to improve my collection of base cards from the 1990's, especially of guys from my binder. Trevor Hoffman is one of those guys, and I got a bunch of his stuff from JustCommons, including his 1995 issue.

A bunch of stars from 1994 Topps, only one of which is currently in the hall of fame, and another one of which will be by this time next year. McGriff, Raines, Hershiser and Martinez deserve it too, but that's besides the point.

And a bunch of 93 Topps' as well, including a goofing-off Jack Morris, and a rare shot of Andres Galarraga as a Cardinal.

In addition to those, I picked up a '93 base card of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio turning two...
and a 'Topps Rookie card' of Trevor Hoffman, the 2nd Greatest Closer of All Time, grimacing for the camera. I've wanted this card ever since I knew it existed, and now I have it, thanks to JustCommons.

So, for a site I'd yet to venture onto before this, I'd say I did a pretty good job at JustCommons. I may be heading back there eventually, for some more set needs.