Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kool-Aid is good for you...

Drinking the Orange Kool-Aid is having a contest. It's not just a contest though. He's searching for an answer to a question that may plague all of us. Check it out here. Or here.

6 Packs of Ginter

Slow down.

Don't get too excited. These aren't 2010 packs.

I went to Target to spend two $10 gift cards on something from the card rack. I picked up a Chicle blaster, which I'll be posting soon. I also found 6 of these.

2008 Ginter packs in the discount box. I never find anything good in the discount box. Well, never anything that I want to buy, so I was glad to find these.

I wasn't back into collecting when these were fresh and new and I've only managed to pick up a few through trades. I'd like to put the set together, but it's not a high priority. Anyway, here is what my retail finds gave up.

Pack 1

#270 Lance Berkman
#204 Julio Lugo
#251 Matt Cain
#7 Mickey Mantle
#22 Chin-Lung Hu mini

#8 Brian Bass

Pack 2

#127 Billy Butler
#136 Javier Vasquez
#303 Jason Bay SP--Some type of ghost image on the scan.

#175 Chipper Jones A&G back mini
#US 9 Lastings Milledge State card
#37 Pedro Martinez
#294 Torii Hunter

Pack 3

#67 Kevin Kouzmanoff
#20 Vladimir Guerrero
#33 Nick Swisher
#179 Hidecki Matsui A&G back mini
#4 World's Greatest Victories Man Walks on the Moon

#109 Joey Chestnut--Really?

Pack 4

#131 Todd Helton
#149 Freddy Sanchez
#118 Geovany Soto
#175 Chipper Jones
#234 Jered Weaver black border mini

#294 Torii Hunter--only 6 packs, 36 cards, and I get a dupe.

Pack 5

#55 Josh Beckett
#96 Carlos Zambrano
#87 Aaron Rowand
#128 Golden Gate Bridge--Leave it to Ginter to put a bridge on a card.

#279 Jim Edmonds regular back mini
#147 James Fenimore Cooper

Pack 6

#211 Josh Hamilton--my first Ranger, but I may have received this in a trade package before

#161 Randy Winn
#124 Greg Maddux
#78 Ivan Rodriguez
#278 Kevin Van Dam regular back mini--a little fisherman who catches big fish
#288 Pete Weber--what a way to finish...a fisherman and a bowler

I only got one SP in 6 packs even though the odds are 1:2 packs. Otherwise, I'd say pretty standard for retail. I'd buy more, just to bust them. Do you think 2010 Ginter will ever be in the discount box? I'd say no, since they'll all be purchased before that happens.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Night Owl Delivers

Sometimes you get a package and you just know it's going to be filled with a variety of goodies. I recently received one of those packages from Night Owl. It had regular issues, oddballs, unlicensed, a mini and everything in between. It hit my team collection, my player collections and spanned the years from 1981 to 2010.

Let's start with the oldest card first.

1981 Topps John Ellis. John's final season in the majors was 1981. He played 6 mostly forgettable seasons with the Rangers. He did have one fairly decent season. In 1979, he hit .285 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs in 316 at bats.

This is one of those Nolan Ryan 1991 Pinnacle cards. It even says "Authorized by Nolan Ryan" on the back.

These next three are from a 1991 U.S. Playing Card deck.

That's a nice three of a kind.

I can always count on Night Owl for some Will Clark cards. It must be his natural disdain for the Giants. You'll notice the lack of logos on this one and the Nolan Ryan below. Just so you know Upper Deck, that's how your SUPPOSED to do an unlicensed set. It tends to keep you out of the courtroom.

Now you're combining the best of both worlds for me. This 1998 Bowman Will Clark satisifies the team collection and the player collection. Anybody know what stadium this is?

This 2004 Finest comes from a time when I wasn't collecting. This one will no doubt be snatched up by my son for his Michael Young collection. I do believe this is my first 2004 Finest card.

I'm sure those of you chasing the Bowman Strasburg's are super happy to pull one of these Mitch Moreland cards instead. Ok, maybe not. Still, it's my first 2010 Bowman Chrome Ranger and I like it. Even if I don't know squat about Moreland. Well, I looked some info up. He is listed on the card as playing firstbase, but he has been playing this season at AAA Oklahoma City in right field. He is batting .276 with 6 homers and 47 RBIs in 69 games this season.

My favorite card of the package wasn't even a Ranger. It was this 2009 Goodwin Joe Mauer foil mini. That's my first foil mini from the set. I know Night Owl will tell you a real team collector doesn't collect players from other teams, but I have a certain affinity for catchers. I can't help it.

Thanks Greg, for all the great cards in this package, and for the great blogs you put out.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Now THAT's a homer

Location: The Ballpark in Arlington

Date: June 13, 1994

The Mariners are in town to play the Rangers. Ken Griffey Jr. hits a grand slam. That hit is overshadowed by three big homers by Mr. Juiced himself, Jose Canseco. One of those homeruns remains the longest homerun ever hit at the Ballpark.

This homerun was featured in the 1994 Donruss Long Ball Leaders insert. 480 Feet. It was a monster shot that hit the back wall of the visitor's bullpen. I remember it well, because it was one of the games I attended that year.

Last night, Josh Hamilton made a bid to be the new Longball Leader at the Ballpark. He crushed a pitch to right center and it landed in a place only one other ball has ever landed. If you've seen Sportscenter or MLB highlights, you've seen it by now. It landed 6 rows deep at the far left part of the UPPER homerun porch. That is right above the Rangers bullpen. 468 feet away from homeplate. Hopefully you can enlarge the picture of this Specially Designed Highly Customized PATP/OPC card. Notice the the beauty of the design. Big D has nothing to worry about!

Josh Hamilton is having a remarkable month. I'll probably put up a post with his final stats for the month on July 1st. Here's hoping Josh and the Rangers can keep it up as they travel to Anaheim on Tuesday.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Play at the Plate 22: Sid Bream vs. Mike LaValliere

Today's play at the plate is of the playoff variety. Many of you will remember it and were probably watching it on television.

1995 UD Collector's Choice Best of the '90's Sid Bream

The play is described in detail on the reverse of the card, but basically, it's Game 7 of the NLCS and the Braves are down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth. David Justice is on third and Sid Bream is on second. Francisco Cabrera gets one of the best pinch hit singles of all-time and Justice scores, followed closely by Bream who slides in safely, beating the tag of LaValliere. The Braves win a thriller and go on to play Toronto in the World Series.

I'm sure we have an Atlanta Braves fan or two that have fond memories of this play. Not so much the World Series against the Jays though.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blogging is educational

I came across a card that normally wouldn't have registered with me too much other than to help complete a set. I say that because it features a player I know very little about. I've heard of him, but couldn't tell you anything about him except what I read on Wicked Ortega's blog a few days ago. If you've been reading My Past Time...I Love It, then you know Mr. Ortega has been on an autographed bat buying spree. He recently picked up one auto'ed by Enos Slaughter and he told the story of Slaughter's Mad Dash. That baseball moment is also highlighted on this 2010 Topps History of the World Series Enos Slaughter card.

It's a nice shot of Slaughter scoring the winning run. It's amazing what you can learn from blogs and the cards we collect.

To think, my wife thinks cards are a waste of time and money.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rangers win streak hits 11, I was there for #10

Last night, the Rangers ran their winning streak to 11. Since they were swept in 3 games at Minnesota May 28th to May 30th, they've been unstoppable. They have won 7 straight series, sweeping the last 3. Since June 1st, they are 18-4. I'll be the first to admit they've been playing some inferior teams, but that is still a great month. Hopefully, they can keep it up against the Astros and the Angels in the coming days.

I was at the 2nd game of the Pirates series, the 10th game of the winning streak.

We arrived early since it was Autograph Wednesday. Three Rangers and one coach were signing autos on the concourse. My oldest got the very first card he ever pulled signed by Nelson Cruz. My youngest got Darren Oliver and Matt Harrison to sign his Nelson Cruz ball. Jerry Narron was also signing, but we didn't get into his line in time.

The game started out with a bang as this guy hit a 2 run homer in the bottom of the first:

The action continued in the 2nd as Kinsler, Guerrero, Murphy and Cruz each had bases loaded singles. Matt Treanor finished off a 5 run second with a sac fly.

The Rangers wrapped up their scoring with a 6 run 4th inning. Andrus had 1 RBI, Young had 2 more, Kinsler had 1 and Cruz had the final 2.

The final score was 13-3 and it made for a fine wrap up to my son's birthday. He and his friend celebrated entering double digits by getting their names on the center field scoreboard and getting some very cool gift bags from the Rangers. The icing on this birthday trip to the Ballpark occured in the 4th inning ( I think it was the 4th anyway). Michael Young rips a ball down the left field line. We were sitting near the foul pole, right on the rail of section 11. The ball hits off the wall about a foot or two foul. This guy...

...Jose Tabata picks up the ball and starts to walk away. My friend, father of the other birthday boy, calls Jose's name and Jose throws the ball up to him. Right to him! He passed it down to his son who later proclaimed this "his best birthday ever". That was very cool.

All in all, it was a great night and I can't think of a better way for a couple of 10 year olds to spend their birthdays. This nearly 40 year old had a pretty good time too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

10 Retail Packs of 2010 Topps Series 2

I needed confirmation that loose retail packs of Series 2 were better than the blaster I posted yesterday. That's how I rationalized buying 10 packs of cards. It's not just for me, it's for all of us.


I'll show my favorite cards from the pack and then give you the details.

I believe Night Owl already commented on this card, but I love that you can see how far Saltalamacchia's name goes down the jersey.

I may be the only one, but I really like these blue back cards. I need to update my list, but I think I'm still one or two short from series one.

The Legendary Lineage may be the worst insert (next to Topps Town or Attax), but I like having a card with two of my favorite players on it.

That's pure, unbridled joy right there. That is what baseball should be about.

Many of the Vintage Legend cards make no sense, but I like this one. Any photo of Ty Cobb going in with spikes up high looks good to me.

Now for the details, the proof that loose retail packs are a better deal than a blaster.

For the same price, about $20, I got 10 packs of cards with 12 cards. Basically, a blaster shorts you 40 cards and gives you one manu-patch card. That's a bad trade-off in my opinion.

Base cards--90, no duplicates
Topps Attax--1:1, ten, no dupes
Blue Back--1:4, two, Mickey Mantle and Warren Spahn
CYMTO--1:3, four, Yount, Marichal, Eckersley and Maris
Vintage Legends--1:4, two, Pee Wee Reese and Ty Cobb
HOTWS--1:6, three, Podres, Mantle, Slaughter
Turkey Red--1:4, two, Seaver and Billingsley
Legendary Lineage--1:4, three, Bench/Mauer, Sandberg/Utley, Bo Jackson/Upton
Peak Performance--1:4, three, Ubaldo Jimenez, Willie McCovey, Juston Upton
Topps 2020--1:6, one, Andrew McCutchen
Two code cards which I'm holding onto for the moment.

So, for the same $20, I got more than double the amount of base cards, none of those pesky black background cards and an extra code card.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that loose packs are a better deal. I might need to buy 10 hobby packs to do a comparison of those.

Who doesn't love free cards?

Joe over at The Sandlot had a crazy group break. I say crazy because it was free. That's right, free. I'm not sure I could afford to do a free group break even if I used 1990 Donruss cards.

He busted a box of 1997 Metal Universe, 2002 UD Vintage, 1996 Emotion XL, 2003 Topps Chrome and 1998 SPX. I could have listed those in order of production, but I chose to go with the order in which he busted the boxes.

This is a small sample of the Rangers Joe pulled.

1997 Metal Universe
These cards are as wild as any you are likely to come across.
I got 7 of these including Rusty Greer and Ivan Rodriguez.

It's hard to tell from the scan, but it looks like a bomb went off behind Pudge.

This is the back of the Metal Universe card and Pudge doesn't look too happy about that bomb.

2002 UD Vintage
I got 6 of these, but none of them were scan-worthy.

1996 Emotion XL
I got 5 of these including Will Clark and Rusty Greer. These cards have too much border, but they aren't bad. Each one of these has a word down the left side, presumably describing some attribute or "emotion" associated with that player.

2003 Topps Chrome
I got two of these and I'll just show Shrek, AKA Kevin Mench.

Mench was a fan favorite in the short time he was here. He was goofy, looked like a common guy and liked to have fun. I think he played ball like he was a kid on the playground and everyone can relate to that.
1998 SPX.
No Rangers showed up in this box, but it wasn't a big deal.

Joe added a bunch of other Rangers to the package as well as a good number of play at the plate cards. I'll be posting those PATP cards as I go along.

Joe, thanks again for the break!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day Blaster: 2010 Topps Series 2

Part of my Father's Day present was a blaster from Walmart. I'll get to the cards first and then give my opinions of the blaster itself at the end.

I'm sure most of you are aware of the general stats on these blasters. You get 10 packs plus the always maddening "Manu-patch" bonus. Two of the packs in these Walmart blasters are of the black background variety.

I'm not giving a pack by pack breakdown, but here are the numbers along with a few scans.

Here is one of the black background cards. I'm not a big fan of these, mostly because it's just another gimmick. This is Yadier Molina. I didn't get any Rangers so all of these are earmarked for trade partners.


It should be a great thrill to open a pack of cards and see Babe Ruth. It really should, but it wasn't. This is the Vintage Legend insert.

So far I've pulled two of these sketch cards and my son who loves to draw has already been working on a Michael Young sketch to send to Topps.

Overall, the blaster gave up these cards:

Base: 42 cards, 0 duplicates

Peak Performance: 1:4--two, Jason Bay, Justin Upton

Vintage Legend: 1:4--four, Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Roy Campanella, Lou Gehrig

Topps Attax: 1:1--8 total

Legendary Lineage: 1:4--two, Dawson/Soriano and Dawson/Soriano--that's right, dupes

CYMTO: 1:4--two, Rick Porcello and Chipper Jones

CYMTO Original Back: 1:10--Bo Jackson

HOTWS: 1:6--two, Yogi Berra and Derek Jeter

2020: 1:6--two, David Wright and David Wright--more dupes

Turkey Red: 1:4--Jake Peavy and Hanley Ramirez

Black Background--10 total

Sketch card--1

Manu-patch--1, Orlando Cepeda

One million card code which turned into this:

1968 Fritz Peterson. I hope the card isn't as badly miscut/off center as the image on the MCG site. I'll probably try to trade it for a vintage Senator anyway. At any rate, the '68 card is the best card of the box if you ask me.

I'm really surprised at the insert dupes. That's just bad collation on the part of Topps. I also don't get all the inserts. When you get a box with 80 cards and only 42 of them are base cards, that's too many inserts. I don't like the black background cards so there will be no more Walmart blasters for me. I'll stick to the 12 card packs or cereal boxes from here on out. At least until I complete the set.

Two Strikes--The New Blog on the Block

Last month I got an email from a local guy with some questions about card shops in our area. He has been following along on some of your blogs and I think our first trade packages may pass each other in the mail today.

He started up a new blog called Two Strikes. Go check it out and help him get off to a good start!

Good luck Matt!

Mini Madness from Puck Junk

Sal over at Puck Junk recently held a Stanley Cup Finals contest. All you had to do was pick the player who scored the game winner in the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals and you could win a prize. I don't know as much about hockey as baseball, but I enjoy a good Dallas Stars game when I get the chance. Fortunately, I was the first to enter because that gave me the chance to select Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks and he came through for me...and the Blackhawk faithful.

Sal has the coolest business card. This was included with the package and is a great item to include with packages. It's full color, heavy stock, glossy paper. The other side is just as cool, but has his phone number so I didn't scan it.

Sal sent over my choice of prizes which just happened to be a complete 42 card set of 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Leaders. These happen to be mini cards, which I like a lot. They aren't as mini as Ginter minis, but they are small. Here is a comparison, plus a few of the cards in the set.

I didn't have a hockey card handy to compare the mini with so you'll have to enjoy the 2010 Bowman Nelson Cruz.

Here is the "Great One". As if Wayne Gretzky needs an introduction. If you're too young to know Wayne Gretzky as a player...I'm sorry. You missed out.

This is the card back. Obviously.

I love the old Minnesota North Stars uniforms. Speaking of Stars, I'm going to miss Mike Modano when he leaves whether it's this year or next. Dino was announced as a Hall of Fame Inductee yesterday. Congrats Dino!

This guy doesn't need anymore introduction than Gretzky.

Holy cow, Patrick Roy looks like a boy in that picture. Did his mom know he was playing in the NHL?

Sal is running another contest right now to pick the NHL season award winners. Go check it out and get an entry in while you can.

Thanks Sal!!