Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Notes from the National- Part Two: Appels and Archives

Before we get into the rest of my finds from the National, I want to talk about something very important to me that occurred while I was there.

I got into blogging in 2009, and before I got into blogging I made it a point to read my share of the blogs, including Night Owl, Dayf, JayBee, gcrl and all the guys that were big in...early 2009. However, the impetus for all that was this one guy...who doesn't even blog anymore, but was one of the most opinionated, character-driven bloggers I remembered. When I started writing, especially pieces about things that infuriated me, I was trying to emulate this guy.

He doesn't blog anymore, he mainly tweets, but I knew he lived in the same state as me (for a time), and took that to heart whenever I was at a Philly Show or a National. I always wanted to run into him just to say 'hey, thanks for everything you do'. My dad would always say 'well why don't you go up and talk to him, or do something for your blog?' I'm a very shy person, and I'm not great with talking to people that inspire/intimidate me.

Yesterday at the National, I was just walking toward the first row of tables and I saw him.

He was in an old school Fleer cap, and I could tell he was already thinking of something sarcastic to write about the event. Some people just have their mouth open, ready to say something cynical, and he's one of them. And I observed him for a second, passing a few tables and browsing what they held. I didn't say hello or anything, because I'm shy as all hell, but I was at least glad I ran into him in some capacity.

Nevertheless, on with the recap:

#3- 20 Cent Bins, or In Which Jordan Grabs All the 2016 Stadium Club he Possibly Can

I may not have been entirely subtle with this, but I think 2016 Stadium Club is the strongest SC release since the 1995 issue. The photography's at an All Time high, the design is pretty slick and pretty cool (and fits well in parallel form). So I decided to just get as many cards of players I collect (that looked amazing) as I could. And here...are the highlights.

A few action shots. Gosh, this set is amazing when these are only the first few cards I post. Kemp's has all the shadow necessary for awesomeness.

A trio of posed shots, proving that if they're gonna be in Stadium Club products, at least they're gonna be pretty damn cool. Also, I appreciate that Topps still makes cards of Ken Giles despite his inadequacy this season.

Okay, this isn't EXACTLY a posed shot, but this definitely happened during Photo Day, and this may be one of the coolest, most fun shots in this year's set. Just something so fun about the whole thing.

Two more cool posed shots. One is cool because most cards of Jayson Werth are incredibly cool. The other is like something out of the 90's sets- Ramirez is a pitcher waiting with a bat on top of the bench. So much awesome in that one, especially with the lighting.

Four really cool spring training shots- Kinsler gets the edge, but all four are pretty amazing, especially the now-distant reminder that Aroldis Chapman used to close for my team.

Two more Spring Training shots- Yu's has a ton more attention to detail and filtering, but it's also pretty nice to get a photo of Johnny Cueto as a Giant.

Two dugout shots- Swihart is zoomed back enough, but Moreland, as per the trend with this set, has the cooler, more dramatic card. His cousin must work at Topps or something.

Two more dugout shots- Blake Snell's (which somehow was there in the 20 cent bin despite the fact that he's been pretty okay this season) is a nice, well zoomed high-five pic, but there is no stopping the coolness of that Maikel Franco card. SERIOUSLY! THAT'S OUSTANDING!

Two black and white photos of Hall of Famers. Irvin's is the clearer one, and actually the better of the two, not to disparage the Feller.

This is probably the best of the greyscale ones, because you have Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda goofing around together in SanFran. It's just so easy to love.

Four celebration shots. Donaldson's is probably the best one for basically topping his already-awesome '15 issue, but the Prado is something to behold, as it has the entire picture, the second before the picture changes. I love the Duda, in full celebration formation, and the Soler in a classically lit game-winner.

Two more expanded ones. The Arrieta is probably one of the best cards of the year, but the Cano, complete with Ackley and Cruz lifting the guy up, can't be ignored.

Frank Thomas standing next to a statue of Frank Thomas. The awesomeness of this cannot be ignored.

Plus, here are two Hall of Famers being presented at their stadium. Biggio's is all class and prestige, but Johnson's just eating it up, coming on to bask in his awesomeness, with a really cool painting in the background. Just can't be topped.

Two more highlights. I love how, not only did I find a black parallel in the 20 cent bins, but it was a black Blackmon. Also, that Billy Hamilton is a fantastic batter's box shot that I wish I could replicate.

Three legends on really cool sideways shots. Vizquel's is a cool Spring Training shot, but Bench's is probably the highlight.

And here...we have my favorite card in the set.

Robin Yount, a motorcycle, and a cactus. Just...just absolutely perfect. Nobody can put into words how awesome this card is. It's just that good.

Dime Box #2- A Scorching Case of (Arc)hives

I believe I made a point of the fact that I am planning on collecting Archives this year. So...of course, I managed to find a ton of it hiding in a dime bin. I nabbed a TON of the product, and I'm obviously not going to post everything, so I'll just do highlights by design, like this Paul Molitor as a Twin card from '79.

The 52s are probably the weakest of the set, because it's very hard to rate face shots as good or bad, though the Newhouser and Eck are pretty good. I also am showing Colon because it's quite silly.

The 79s as a unit are actually pretty strong, and they're pretty good on keeping the photos true to the original design's form. There's a smattering of good ones here, including the dated 80's uni on Fisk, Bruce Sutter's beard, Enos Slaughter and Early winn appearing on current Topps releases, and Kole Calhoun's bat barrel.

This Robbie is probably my favorite of the 79's, as it's definitely from his mid-90's headband and jacket era in Toronto. Fantastically dated.

Like the 79s, the '91s are also pretty shot on, and there are a lot of really nice cards in here. McCann, both Expos, Cespedes and Rizzo stand out to me.

3 highlights- Hoyt Wilhelm being on a baseball card, Edgar Martinez in a design that actually fits the time period, and a really cool, dynamic Freddie Freeman card.

Dime Box #3- Scattered Showers

This dime box, which was the first yet most accomplished one I went to, yielded the old-fashioned 'literally any set you can think of' mentality that old dime boxes used to. For instance, this Billy Wagner, a shot I'd been looking for for years (as one of the leading firemen), was just...in there, and it's the Minted in Cooperstown version. A lot of really cool stuff hiding in this one.

I still needed a few First Pitches from last season, including this one of teen heartthrob Austin Mahone at a Braves game. Still looking for Eddie Vedder and Jack White.

These two I had been looking for for quite a while. Bad News Bears is one of my favorite baseball movies, and the fact that Panini made these a few years ago in Golden Age was a pretty cool move. So, nabbing the two best cards you could get in the subset felt pretty good.

Three base cards from 2005 UD Update, a very obscure set, including something resembling a Scott Kazmir rookie.

Sosa I needed for my 1990 Topps set, which should bring me one card closer to the end of the line. Perry as a Mariner is a sight that looks odd, from 1982 Topps Traded, and one I needed for my Hall of Fame collection.

Topps Marquee, which is a thick, relic-based set, has a base set that must have been one of the forerunners of Stadium Club, because the photography, attention to detail and minimalistic design are all there. Food for thought.

Insert from 2013 Archives. Only Phillips is still on that team, and only Phillips got a flattering comparison, I think.

Four cards from the always cool hobby-exclusive Spring Fever set, this one from 2013. A-Gon's the only one still in that same uniform.

A bunch of retired guys from 2014 A&G. Posada's pretty plain, Pudge is the coolest.

A bunch of cards from 2015 Heritage, which I had a great deal of cards from already, but somehow not these.


2014 Heritage was something I didn't have a great deal of. And, subsequently, this dealer happened to have a crap-ton of.

So, I basically got most of the players I collect that I didn't have already.

All of these guys are no longer on the teams they're pictured with, even randomly mohawked Didi. The guys on the bottom only lasted a season with 'em. Still...gotta love Juan Pierre cards.

All three of these guys have already retired, but still look cool here. Konerko's is probably the best here.

All of these guys are still playing, and I collect all of them. I do think '14 Heritage was a pretty damn strong release, even after some pretty strong ones since.

This dealer also, somehow, had a ton of 2002 Staidum Club, which is one of my collection weaknesses. So, I nabbed a bunch. Not all are here, but a bunch are.

Bottom row is already in the Hall of Fame. The two on the left will probably get in, while Nomo probably won't. Still collecting him though.

A few sideways ones. The photography, while not at 90's caliber, was still pretty nice for SC.

We'll end that one on an Ichiro, mostly because of his recent 3000th hit, but also because it's not everyday you see an Ichiro card in a dime box.

The guy also had a bunch of '07 Flashback Fridays inserts, and these were the highlights. Top 3 are all still playing. Middle 3 aren't playing anymore (technically Howard counts). Bottom three are retired future legends.

Now we've reached the Rookies portion of this dime box. As in, I'm very surprised I found cards of these guys in dime boxes. This is pretty close to Shin-Soo Choo's rookie, and this is a surprisingly mainstream card of Anibal Sanchez as a Red Sox from 05 UD Update.

These are legitimate rookies of two of the ridiculously powerful starters for the Indians this year. The Kluber is a pretty cool one, as not only is it his rookie, not only is he a Padre...but they spelled his name wrong.

Yes, he may not be as huge as he was, but it's still a Shane Victorino rookie that I kind of needed to have.

I think the biggest rookie of the day was something else relating to Philadelphia...

Mark Appel was the #1 pick for the Astros in 2013. This year he was traded to the Phillies for Ken Giles. So in a few years this guy might be starting for Philadelphia. This, by the way, is his Pro Debut rookie card. So...this could be a pretty hefty card in a few years. And I got it for ten cents.

That's the cherry on top of what was a pretty fantastic day at the National. It probably won't be on my coast for another 4 years, but I'm not taking this year for granted. I got a lot of really nice stuff, and had a hell of an experience.

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