Sunday, March 18, 2018

Delivery Time! Results of a Random Two Team Group Break from The Iron Lion

I've mentioned a new hobby store (via Facebook) a couple of times on my blog now - it's called The Iron Lion and they do some pretty neat stuff including a bunch of group breaks via Facebook.  Now, most of their breaks seem to gravitate towards the higher end stuff (better profit margins I suppose) but that type thing doesn't suit my collecting style or budget so I sit those out.  Once in a while, however, they post a "cheap" baseball break and I've been fortunate enough to get in on a couple of those.

Today's mail day is the results of one of those breaks.  The way the break worked was that they sold 15 slots and then they assigned all 30 teams randomly.  At first, I thought that was kind of cool - but I quickly learned that no one wanted to trade teams so I had no shot at picking up the Reds (the only team I was truly interested in).  Even worse, I did two of these breaks and both times I got the Twins as one of my teams...and virtually no one out there collects Twins cards.

So yeah, in concept it's kind of a cool break idea but the two times I joined it definitely didn't work out for me.  In this particular break, I ended up with both the Twins and the Orioles...neither of which have a big following on the blog (at least not on my blog) so these cards don't have much use for me in terms of my own collection or as trade bait.  Still, should you see something that catches your eye let me know!

The break was for a box of Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Bowman's Best, and Panini Chronicles.  For the Bowman's Best (a set that I found out that I liked quite a bit), the Orioles got completely skunked but I did land a pair of Twins.

For the Chronicles, the Orioles also got completely skunked but I did pick up a pair of Twins including one of the few keepers (for me) in the break - a Bartolo Colon card that may make its way into my Frankenset when/if I ever get around to completing that task.  The Sano is a green parallel numbered out of 199 should someone be interested in that.

The regular Bowman sucked, as regular Bowman pretty much always does...I mean, the card design isn't the worst but I didn't get anything that interested me out of that box (but at least the Orioles were represented finally).

That leaves us with the final box - Bowman Chrome.  The Chrome box was the best of the four for me, though that isn't saying a whole lot.  I did end up with a refractor of Ryan Mountcastle plus two colored parallels.

The blue Torres is not numbered but the green Palka is out of 99 making that the highlight of the break for me.

In the end, the cost definitely didn't justify what I got.  I know some of that is the nature of a group break but I think when both teams are random it makes it even worse, especially if it isn't a set (or sets) that I plan to collect.  I don't think I'll be jumping in any more random team breaks...let me claim my Reds outright and then give me a second team at random, that's a break style I can get behind (and, not so coincidentally, that's how I run the vast majority of my group breaks that I host)!

I have another Iron Lion group break package to show off at some point soon - and at least that one has a hit in it...even if it is a Twin.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Barry Larkin Collection 593: 1987 Topps - #648 (Error card)

Jose Canseco / Barry Larkin
Year:  1987
Brand:  Topps
Card number:  648 (error card)

The 1987 Topps set has a pair of well-known Barry Larkin printing error cards.  I managed to grab both copies from the same eBay seller not all that long ago.  I already showed off the first error card here (with Larkin on the front and Canseco's stats on the back).  Today, we get a look at the other version - basically the subject on the front and backs of the card are flipped.

I don't generally have much interest in error cards (printing errors or otherwise) but I guess I felt the need to make an exception for my Barry Larkin Collection (I consider many of my 1980s sets complete if they have one copy of a given base card, all the various error cards aren't necessary in my book).  Still, for Larkin I make exceptions and so I find myself purposely buying error cards from eBay.

The things we do as player collectors, am I right?!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Rockin' Retro Group Break Highlights: Gold Label (x2), Optic, and Triple Crown

This morning, I showed off the highlights from the first three boxes of the break.  Tonight, it's time to take a look at the goodies from the final four boxes included in the group break.

First, let's begin with the remaining box the yielded the most cards - 2002 Fleer Triple Crown.

For most of us, this group break was all about the base cards - but that doesn't mean we didn't get any cool inserts or hits out of the break.  In fact, the Triple Crown box was quite nice to us.  For starters, the two Seasons Crowns cards at the top are kind of cool (and those will be randomized between the featured teams).  We also pulled three of the green parallels (all numbered out of the batting average of the player for the previous year).

In our case, it's Lowell /283, Chavez /288, and Erstad /258.

While those are all neat, the biggest score of the box has to be our one promised hit:  a Diamond Immortality relic of Rickey Henderson of the Padres.

The Diamond Immortality relic cards are seeded a whopping 1:129 packs which makes this a very nice score for the Padres (and by extension, Spiegel83 who ended up with San Diego as his random team).

All in all, I'd say the Fleer Triple Crown box was a worthy inclusion in the group break (not to mention it provided a ton of really nice base cards for all 30 teams).

Next, we have our box of 1998 Topps Gold Label.  I think I was looking forward to this box the most because I still need some of the '98 Gold Label Barry Larkin cards from the set.  Unfortunately for me, I was shut out of Reds' cards entirely (I did get one Twins card which was my random team) but other teams in the break did quite well (especially the Cubs and Indians)!

That Sammy Sosa is pretty cool - as are the three Class 2 cards and the one Class 3 (Sosa) card that we found in the box.

No Larkins this time around for me, but you better believe I'm going to keep a lookout for another box of this set - I love it!

Now we move from a set that I knew I liked (1998 Gold Label) to a set that I had never opened before but ended up liking a lot (2016 Panini Optic).

Since we opened up a retail blaster, we got six of the retail pink parallels.  Based on the names we pulled, I'd say we made out well (especially Bru who had the Astros in the break).

However, the big hit of the blaster was a card that I initially skipped right over thinking that it was a facsimile.

That's a Kyle Shwarbe on-card autograph numbered out of only 25.  More specifically, after a bit of research I believe this is a Rated Rookies Signature Black Parallel autograph.  These things are crazy hard to pull, especially in retail!!

A huge congrats goes out to the Cubs (and Trevor P. who claimed Chicago this time around).  The Cubs were definitely the biggest winners of the group break in my eyes.

And finally, we get to the seventh box of the break - 2017 Topps Gold Label.

This set is broken up into three tiers (named Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3).  I didn't realize it during the video break but there is a small ribbon running down the left-hand side of the card that says what class that particular card is.  Of course, it isn't always easy to read the ribbon (sometimes the background makes it impossible) but it's a good start.  Class 1 cards are the most common and by my count we ended up with 15 of those.  Class 2 is second most common and we had 6 of those.  Finally, Class 3 is the rarest and we only had four of those (Darvish, Arrieta, Strasburg, and Story if my eyes don't lie to me).

There are also colored parallels with the Black parallels being most common.  Just like with the regular base cards, there are different classes within the parallel sets too.  We pulled a total of six black parallels, four were Class 1 (seeded 1:2 packs), one (Moncada) was Class 2 (seeded 1:6 packs), and we found one (Sonny Gray) Class 3 black parallel (seeded 1:20 packs).

We also found one other colored parallel, a Class 1 blue parallel (seeded 1:11 packs) of Johnny Bench which I like quite a bit.

Finally, the last card of the box - and of the group break - was our one promised framed autograph.

That's a black parallel autograph of Luke Weaver for the Cardinals (madding in the break).  It's numbered out of only 75 and is a super thick framed card which made for a great ending to what I think was a fun break.

I want to thank everyone who participated - whether via actually buying a team slot or just joining in the chat room as I ripped the boxes (having others in the room makes it feel less like I'm just talking to myself for 1.5 hours).

I'm more than willing to do another group break in the future - let me know what sort of product(s) and/or price point and I can try to figure something out.  For now though, I have a ton of packing to goal is to get as many of the cards in the mail as possible before the weekend is over.

PS:  If you want to see the video of the randomization of the multi-team cards, I have that here.  All of the cards were mailed out on Wednesday so they should be arriving soon!

Rockin' Retro Group Break Highlights: Cooperstown, Bowman Chrome, & Fleer Sports Ilustrated

It's time to go over some of the highlights of my recent Rockin' Retro Group Break.  In the break, we busted a total of seven different boxes (plus I threw in a few bonus packs which I won't recap).  Since not everyone could watch the live video, I wanted to make sure that I showed off at least a few of the highlights from each box here.  

Before I begin, I should note that this break was designed for the base card and insert collector - most of the boxes we busted had zero chance of an autograph or relic (which was kind of refreshing in its own way).  That said, we actually did quite well with the few hits we had...more on that in a bit.

First up though, a box that was all about the base card & inserts:  2012 Panini Cooperstown.  

We ended up with way more inserts than I was expecting (18 total) which was kind of fun.  In my opinion, the best card of the box was the wood front Ty Cobb for the Tigers.

We also ended up with a beautiful ballpark card of Polo Grounds - I could see trying to collect all of those inserts some day as I have a thing for old baseball stadiums.

Next, we turned our attention to the box of 1997 Fleer Sports Illustrated.

The box started with an Alex Rodriguez box topper for the Mariners.  From there, we pulled a pair of Extra Edition parallels (both numbered out of 500).

And while the Fleer SI set is truly all about the base cards (and I guess the mini posters which are one per pack), there were two inserts from the awesome Sports Illustrated Covers set.

If you haven't seen the Fleer Sports Illustrated base cards before, I think you'll definitely like them once they are in hand.  It's a great set (and it's one that I'm still working on since we only pulled two of the four cards that I stated that I would be keeping at the outset of the break).

Our next box to look at is the 1998 Bowman Chrome box.  During the actual video break, I had a heck of a time spotting the refractors "in real time" as I was busting the packs.  Luckily for me, the word "refractor" is printed on the back of the card underneath the after taking some time, I can report that the following are all refractors...

The Schoeneweis is actually a parallel refractor - it's part of the International parallel set.  We pulled another six of the non-refractor versions of the International parallels as well (you can watch the video to see all of those since I was able to spot them easily enough)!

Finally, we pulled two of the Bowman Rookie reprint cards.

Both of those are pretty nice if you ask me.  The Vlad goes in the Nationals/Expos pile and I think that's a particularly nice score for that stack.  

Note:  The Bowman cards definitely scan like crap but I promise they are nice in hand!

That does it for the first three boxes of the group break.  In my next post, I'll highlight the goodies out of the final three boxes (including an awesome "surprise" autograph).  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Barry Larkin Collection 592: 1993 Topps - #404 - Marlins Inaugural Edition parallel

Barry Larkin & Travis Fryman
Year:  1993
Brand:  Topps
Card number:  404
Subset:  All-Stars
Parallel set:  Marlins Inaugural Edition

One of the great things about being a player collector is that you often learn about sets (or in this case, a parallel set) that otherwise would have forever eluded me.  In 1993, Topps was all-in on celebrating the two new expansion teams, complete with a bunch of foil stamped parallels.  The Marlins inaugural set was a bit rarer than the Rockies (even in 1993 there were fewer Marlins fans I guess) but I don't think you can consider either set to be totally rare.  Still, it took me a number of years before I even heard about the two sets...and then about another year before I was able to track down all four Larkin cards from the two sets (I've had the Rockies' cards quite a bit longer than the two Marlins' cards). 

At this point in time, I'm still missing three more Barry Larkin cards from the '93 Topps set.   I need the two Topps Black Gold winner cards (versions A and A/B), I need the gold parallel of the All-Star card you see above.  At least, I think that is all of the different versions of Larkin's cards from 1993 Topps that I need.  Who knows, maybe in other four or five years I'll learn about yet another parallel version of the set.