The case is here!

July 30, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck | 2 Comments

The U.P.S. man was just here to drop off my case of 2008 Goudey, so I’m very excited right now. This is the first, and likely the last, case of baseball cards that I’ve ever purchased. I want to share some of the excitement with my readers. Here’s the unopened case:

Here is the case after I opened it with 12 boxes inside:

Here’s the first box that I’m opening:

My plan is to open one box per day and share the results on the blog. As I write this, I’ve opened one pack so far. I’m not going to post about every single pack, but since this is the first one, I want to share it. Here’s what I got:

  • #25, Dustin Pedroia
  • #72, Magglio Ordonez
  • #88, Billy Butler
  • #103, Warren Spahn (there are several retired players in the base set this year)
  • #155, Chris Young (of the Padres, not the Diamondbacks)
  • #176, B.J. Upton (woo hoo – a Ray in the first pack!)
  • #292, Gary Hall Jr. Sport Royalty mini short print (a swimmer)
  • Tommy John Yankee Stadium Legacy (Game 4528 on 10/13/1981)

The cards of A.L. players have a picture of Derek Jeter on the front with the phrase “Derek Jeter says …” while the cards of N.L. players have Ken Griffey Jr. and “Ken Griffey Jr. says …” The original 1934 Goudey cards, which are the inspiration for this set, had “Lou Gehrig says …” Interestingly, though, neither Jeter nor Griffey actually “say” anything on the back of the cards. All of the base cards have green backs, while the Gary Hall Jr. Sport Royalty card has a red back. I don’t think that there are any red back parallels of the base cards like last year.

Here are some scans:

B.J. Upton, card #176:

Warren Spahn, card #103:

Gary Hall Jr. Sports Royalty, card #292:

I’ll be back later with more results from the first box…

Sneak peek at the new Stadium Club

July 30, 2008 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Topps | 4 Comments

I found the first example of what the new Stadium Club cards will look like:

The borderless design of the card is reminiscent of the early 1990s Stadium Club sets and I like it. Johnny Cueto sets a new standard for lousy “signatures” though, doesn’t he?

Obama vs. McCain: Battle of the Baseball Cards

July 30, 2008 at 1:36 am | Posted in My Cards, Topps | Leave a comment

One of the most interesting developments in the baseball card hobby this year has been the inclusion of cards featuring Presidential candidates in both Topps and Upper Deck. I’ll admit it, I was very intrigued when I first heard about the candidate cards that were inserted into Topps Series 1 and Upper Deck Series 1 early in the year, and I went to eBay right away to buy the cards of my favorite candidate. It’s really a good idea by the card companies. The cards created a lot of publicity, and what political junkie wouldn’t want to own baseball cards of their chosen candidate? It’s possible that that these cards could be the bait that lures them into the baseball card hobby.

Anyway, I put the cards of my candidate on a shelf and hadn’t thought much about them for a few months until I noticed something interesting when I started buying eTopps cards a few weeks ago. I found out that there are “Allen & Ginter Presidential Candidate” cards of Barack Obama and John McCain on eTopps, and they look pretty cool:

Each card is limited to 999 copies. I didn’t wait long before buying the Allen & Ginter eTopps card of my favorite candidate on eBay. I’ve had that card in my eTopps portfolio for a few weeks now. I checked the value today and saw that it had gone up since I bought it. eTopps calculates the value of a card by averaging the final selling price of the last 10 eBay auctions for that card. I also checked the value of the card of the other candidate. I was expecting that there would be a difference in the value, but I was surprised at how big the difference was:

  • Barack Obama: $43.74
  • John McCain: $18.67

I checked eBay too, and I found that Obama’s Topps and Upper Deck cards have also been selling for more than McCain’s cards. Based on this, it certainly looks like a lot more card collectors are supporters of Obama than McCain. Or perhaps, people think that Obama is much more likely to win the election than McCain, so they consider his cards to be a better investment. After all, the cards of whoever wins the election should be worth a lot more in the long run than the cards of the loser.

Whatever the reason might be, the fact that Barack Obama’s cards are selling for more money than John McCain’s cards can only be a good sign for Obama’s chances of winning the Presidency this fall.

More Beckett silliness

July 29, 2008 at 10:10 pm | Posted in Beckett | 6 Comments

Earlier today, I was enjoying Chris Olds’ excellent Sports Stuff blog on the Orlando Sentinel web site when I came across an article on Goose Gossage’s rookie card.

Here is an excerpt from it:

But the best part of it all? You can afford to own his rookie card.

His 1973 Topps card (No. 174), which shows him in the Chicago White Sox’s short-lived red uniforms three years after he was drafted, is worth just $6.

Not bad considering the guy is a nine-time all-star, a dominating closer in his time who is 18th on the career saves list, a guy with 1,502 strikeouts in 1,809 innings who carries a 124-107 record with a 3.01 career ERA.

Wow, that’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? $6 for a 35-year old rookie card of a Hall-of-Famer! Well, it would be amazing if it were true. No, I’m not insinuating that Chris is lying. He’s simply relying on the laughably unreliable Beckett value of the card. I pulled out the June/July issue of Beckett Baseball and sure enough, it lists the Gossage rookie as having a “low value” of $2.50 and a “high value” of $6.00. I remember seeing the same values online at the beginning of this year.

I knew right away that this was inaccurate because I have looked for the card on eBay multiple times since the announcement of Gossage’s election to the Hall of Fame in January. I checked again today. The only Gossage rookies that you can find for $6 or less are in terrible condition or are considerably off-centered. Realistically, you can expect to pay at least $12 for an ungraded Gossage rookie in NM condition, $20-$30 for a PSA 7 with no qualifiers, and $35-$40 for a PSA 8 with no qualifiers.

How could Beckett have missed the upward trend in the value of Gossage’s rookie card after his Hall of Fame election? It’s clear that they don’t actually track the selling prices that 99.9999% of the cards that they list, but come on, it’s common sense that the value of someone’s rookie card is going to go up when they make the Hall of Fame. It would have taken five minutes for someone working at Beckett to check eBay and other web sites to notice that the card has been selling for much more than the listed book value and to increase the book value accordingly.

I remember reading Beckett in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the pages of the price guide would be filled with up and down arrows, showing that the value of various cards had increased or decreased in the last month. Currently, Beckett’s baseball price guide is only published once every two months, so you’d think that there would be even more changes in the card values. You’d be wrong. In the June/July issue, page 41 includes every baseball card set between 1972-1981. There isn’t a single up or down arrow on the entire page.

Figuring that the prices of newer cards would be more volatile, I flipped to page 256, which contains the prices for several 2007 Topps sets. There are only two arrows on this page. Beckett says that the value of the 2007 Topps Gold Daisuke Matsuzaka dropped to a low of $8 and a high of $20. Also, the Poley Walnuts card in 2007 Topps Update decreased to a low of $12.50 and a high of $30. Putting aside how ludicrous it is that only two cards on this page had any change in value over a two-month period, I checked eBay. The Dice-K card recently sold for 99 cents (plus $3 shipping). To be fair, the Poley Walnuts card ranged from $16.50 with shipping to about $30.

So all of this is just another example of Beckett’s decreasing relevance to the modern baseball card hobby. If your interest on this subject has been piqued, check out this outstanding post on Sports Cards Uncensored, and my own views on Beckett here.

The Razor’s Edge

July 29, 2008 at 12:58 am | Posted in Razor | 3 Comments

I first blogged about Razor Entertainment Group a couple of weeks ago when they signed the #1 overall pick in this year’s MLB draft, Tim Beckham of the Rays, to an exclusive contract to produce his cards until he reaches the major leagues. Since then I’ve visited Razor’s web site many times, and each time I check it out, I see that they have signed even more high draft picks to similar contracts. As of today, they have 13 draft picks signed:

  • 7 first round picks: Tim Beckham (Rays), Kyle Skipworth (Marlins), Jemile Weeks (A’s), Aaron Hicks (Twins), Ethan Martin (Dodgers), Reese Havens (Mets), and Casey Kelly (Red Sox).
  • 2 sandwich round picks: Jordan Lyles (Astros) and Brett DeVall (Braves).
  • 2 second round picks: Destin Hood (Nationals) and Derrik Gibson (Red Sox).
  • 2 third round picks: Stephen Fife (Red Sox) and David Adams (Yankees).

I am confident in predicting that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Many first round picks will not sign with the teams who drafted them until the signing deadline of August 15. I expect that we’ll hear about many other big-name players signing with Razor between now and then.

Razor seems to be poised to make a big impact on the hobby when they release their draft pick card set later this year. It is great to see a new company being so aggressive in making these deals. With the amount of money that they are investing, I am hopeful that we’ll see a high quality product.

So where does this leave Donruss-Playoff? With so many top draft picks not available to them, I’d be very surprised if they produce a follow-up to last year’s Elite Extra Edition set. It might be a very long time before we see another baseball card from them.

And where does this leave Bowman? This year’s Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects and Bowman Sterling releases will be significantly less interesting.

Now, if Razor would just sign this guy …

Going crazy for Goudey

July 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck | 5 Comments

I was going to wait a few days before mentioning this, but now that I see Wax Heaven and Cardboard Mania posting about the release of 2008 Goudey, I can’t hold back any longer. As you may have read before, 2007 Goudey was the set that brought me back to the baseball card hobby. If it wasn’t for Goudey, then I still wouldn’t have opened a new pack of cards since 1994, I wouldn’t have become an avid reader of Wax Heaven and other card blogs, and Fielder’s Choice Baseball Card Blog would definitely not exist. So needless to say, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of 2008 Goudey for several months.

Since I bought my two boxes of 2007 Goudey in February, I have been thinking about buying a case of some product. I have never bought a case before and it seemed like it would be a lot of fun to open a whole case at least once in my life. I decided that if I was going to buy a case, 2008 Goudey would be the perfect product. I already know that I like the base set, and I’d like to collect a full set of the mini (original sized) Goudey cards and the short prints. It would also be great to get a full case worth of autograph cards, a Sports Royalty autograph, a buyback card, and if I’m really lucky, maybe even a cut autograph.

So this weekend, I took the plunge and bought a case. I financed it with a new eBay Master Card with no interest until 2009, which makes it much more affordable. The case has already been shipped and I should have it within a few days. I can’t wait!

Of course, I plan to share the excitement of busting the case with my readers, so look for a bunch of posts about Goudey over the next couple of weeks. I should have a ton of doubles, and I’m working on plans to give some away in contests and offer some unique trade proposals to the readers of this blog.

The Rays are “feeling the heat”

July 27, 2008 at 10:56 pm | Posted in Baseball, Rays | 2 Comments

As of 10:45 PM EDT tonight, it looks like the Red Sox will beat the Yankees, meaning that the Rays will be only 1 game ahead of the Red Sox and 3 games ahead of the Yankees. The Yankees have been red hot over the last couple of weeks and they made a great move the other day, getting a hot-hitting outfielder in Xavier Nady and an excellent relief pitcher in Damaso Marte for some expendable prospects. The Red Sox are also likely to make some sort of trade before this week’s deadline.

In my opinion, the Rays must make a move so that they don’t fall behind these goliaths. A right-handed hitting right fielder would be nice, but I’m not sure who is available now that Nady and Casey Blake are off the table. The Rays may wind up releasing Jonny Gomes and either promoting Justin Ruggiano from Durham or activating Rocco Baldelli now that it appears that he’s making significant progress in his rehab. I think that a higher priority should be to get an extra late inning reliever. I don’t know how healthy and reliable Troy Percival will be for the rest of the season. Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, and J.P. Howell are all terrific, but it would be nice to add another experienced arm to that mix. Huston Street and Brian Fuentes are two interesting names that have been mentioned.

No matter what they do before the trade deadline, I think that this ad that the Rays have been running on the St. Petersburg Times web site is very, very premature:

Here in Raleigh, the Carolina Hurricanes started selling playoff tickets this spring before they had clinched a NHL playoff berth. They wound up missing the playoffs. Now that the Rays have jinxed themselves, let’s hope that they don’t suffer the same fate.

Trade your Allen & Ginter doubles with me!

July 27, 2008 at 10:31 pm | Posted in My Cards, Topps, Trades | Leave a comment

I have added my 2008 Allen & Ginter doubles along with the cards that I need to my Trading Corner. Please offer me some trades to help make up for my misfortune in getting 120 doubles from two hobby boxes. Thanks!

Rip cards remind me of …

July 27, 2008 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Topps | 1 Comment

Rip cards remind me of this memorable commercial. If you watched Saturday morning cartoons in the early 1990s, you’ll definitely remember this:

Allen & Ginter box break results

July 27, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Posted in My Cards, Topps | 6 Comments

On Friday night I had a great time opening two hobby boxes of 2008 Allen & Ginter at a case busting party at Cardiacs Sports Cards in Cary, North Carolina. This was the first event like this that they’ve done and turnout was a little lighter than expected. There were six customers, including me, opening boxes, along with the two shop owners and their kids. They provided a free dinner (pizza) and drinks too. I really enjoyed opening the boxes with other collectors around and I hope to do more of this type of thing in the future.

Now, on to my results:

  • Base cards: Each box contained 143 base cards, so I received 286 total. You’d think that I’d be able to get somewhat close to a set of the 350 base cards, but that was not to be. Instead, I was exasperated as I opened the second box and found almost exactly the same base cards that I got in the first one. Out of the 143 base cards in the second box, only 21 were different than the cards I got in the first box. The boxes came out of different cases, and both of them had the number 00197 on the bottom of the inside of the box. I am wondering if all boxes with the same number inside are all this similar to each other. It would be really unfortunate if Topps is intentionally producing boxes have such similar contents. Anyway, I was able to make two base card trades. I traded an extra Josh Hamilton to get Evan Longoria, and an extra Ian Kinsler to get B.J. Upton. So now I have 166 of the 350 base cards and 120 doubles sitting around. I desperately want to trade off the doubles for cards that I need, and I’ll be posting my list of doubles and the cards that I need at my Trading Corner soon.

    Here are some of my favorite base cards:

    Evan Longoria:

    B.J. Upton:

    Josh Hamilton
    Can anyone figure out why he’s wearing #52? He wears #32 for Texas and wore #33 for the Reds:

    How great is it to get a card of Ben Franklin:

    And Albert Einstein:

    The first man to get a perfect score on Pac-Man, Billy Mitchell:

    The coolest PBA bowler of all-time, Pete Weber:

  • Regular mini cards: 23 cards, including 4 duplicates that I’ll be looking to trade.
  • Mini cards with Allen & Ginter graphic back: 11 different cards. The best is this one with an awesome, intimidating picture of Scott Kazmir:

  • Black bordered mini cards: 6 different cards. The big prize was one of Evan Longoria:

  • Mini card with Bazooka back #/25: I got one of these, Alex Romero (22/25). The back is more interesting than the front:

  • World Leader mini cards: I got the same cards of the leaders of Brazil and South Korea in both boxes, but I was able to trade my doubles to get Russia and Switzerland too:

  • Ancient Icon mini card: I got one of these, Romulus & Remus, the founders of Rome, being nursed by a wolf:

  • Baseball Icon mini card: I got one of these, Walter Johnson:

  • “The World’s Deadliest Sharks” mini card: I got one of these rare cards, the mako shark:

  • U.S. State cards: I pulled about 30 different states, but I was able to trade for all of the ones that I needed, so I have a complete set of 50 now. I’ll feature the cards of states that are important to me:

    Brad Ausmus from Connecticut, the state where I was born:

    Alex Rodriguez from New York, the state where I grew up:

    Ken Griffey Jr. from Pennsylvania, the state where I went to college:

    And Ryan Zimmerman from North Carolina, the state that is now my home:

    I personally think that North Carolina has one of the better looking state flags. I didn’t realize that Zimmerman was from here, since he went to college at the University of Virginia. I think that Topps made a mistake by not putting Josh Hamilton on this card. A Hamilton North Carolina card would be incredibly popular around here!

  • “Crack the Code” cards: I got two of these. I don’t really care about cracking the code, but if you do, maybe these will help:

    Red Sox 2004 ALCS:

    Kerri Strug:

  • Box loader jumbo cabinet cards: I got one of these in each box:

    D-Day “Historical Battles”:

    Phillies catch the Mets “Baseball Highlights”:

    I’ll bet that Mets fans just love this card!

  • The hits: I got two in each box:

    I got an Alex Rios bat card that I traded for this Carl Crawford bat card:

    Tom Glavine jersey card (it’s always nice to get a relic from a future Hall of Famer):

    Ichiro jersey card (first Ichiro relic I’ve ever owned):

    And I was able to add to my Prince Fielder collection with this bat card:

    There are two guaranteed hits per box, but there were a few people who got three, and one guy who got five in one box!

  • And finally I got one rip card, which I wrote about here.

Other than getting so many duplicate base cards, I do like this year’s Allen & Ginter. The design of the text on the bottom of each card is a little more stylish than last year and there seems to be a greater variety of pictures (action shots, poses, etc.) and more color this year. The framed relics are awesome, the mini subsets are very cool, and the state flag cards that are in each pack are an improvement over last year’s Dick Perez cards (and there are 50 of them so it’s more of a challenge to get a full set). I’m getting more used to the cards of non-baseball players, and as I was opening the packs, I was actually looking forward to see what interesting non-athletes I’d find on my cards. So 2008 Allen & Ginter is a great product that I’d highly recommend.

Opening the cards with a group of people added to the excitement too. In addition to the cards that I received, I got to see another rip card, a rare framed silk card, an autographed guitar pick from Marcus Henderson, the guy who plays the guitar on Guitar Hero, and two Joba Chamberlain autographs.

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