The end of the road

May 27, 2009 at 12:27 am | Posted in Blogs | 34 Comments

A few people have been asking me about the future of the blog, so it is about time that I officially addressed it.  After a lot of thought and consideration, I’ve decided that my days of blogging are now over.  It was a fun ride while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end at some point.

In a way, I’m surprised that I was able to keep up with it as long as I did.  I first started reading sports card blogs in early 2008.  I was very entertained by what I read and I thought that it would be fun to start my own blog, but I knew that it would be a challenge to find the free time to do it.  Of course I eventually decided to start my own blog anyway.  It was a fun experience.  I love to write and share my opinions with people, so the blog was a natural outlet for me.  Along the way, I was able to share my experiences as I jumped back in to the baseball card hobby and share my thoughts about the Rays amazing run to the 2008 World Series.  And I was able to interact with many like-minded collectors all over the country and the world, including several people who I now consider to be friends.

But it was always difficult to find the time to blog.  I have a relatively busy job and a wife at home.  It was common for me to stay up for several hours after my wife went to sleep to either write blog posts or try to keep up with my collection.  I wasn’t getting enough sleep and it would take a toll on me.  And as my blog grew, the responsibilities that came along with it grew too.  There was an increase in the number of comments on my posts and in the emails that I received.  I tried to keep up with them all, but ultimately I failed.  And then there were the trade requests.  Looking back on it, I should’ve never started trading cards through the blog.  I reached a point where I was getting multiple trade offers through email and several packages in the mail every day.  Sometimes cards would arrive out of the blue from people who already had my address.  I struggled and failed to keep up with it all.

By early 2009, it got to the point where keeping up with the blog and all of the responsibilities that went with it seemed like a second job.  I’d spend all day working at my real job, and then come home and work all night blogging about cards.  It wasn’t fun anymore.  I’d set unrealistic goals for myself, like writing at least one blog post per day and trying to get to 100,000 hits in the first year – and those goals would only increase the pressure and decrease my level of fun.

At the same time, I became somewhat disenchanted with the card industry itself.  The shenanigans that are going on internally within the card companies and at Beckett are well documented all over the internet.  On a personal level, I’d buy multiple hobby boxes of cards per month, some of them simply so that I could video tape my breaks and write about them, and I’d almost always be disappointed with the cards that I received.  And then the 2009 baseball card products started coming out, and I felt that every single one of them was totally unoriginal and uninteresting.  I completely stopped buying new boxes and packs of cards, and now the only cards that I buy are singles (mostly of Evan Longoria) on eBay.

That’s not to say that every aspect of card collecting is negative.  There are many positives too, and I’ve adapted my collecting habits to focus on the things that I enjoy the most.  I loved collecting baseball cards when I was a kid, and I loved it when I resumed the hobby as an adult.  I think that I’ll always stay somewhat involved in the hobby, even if it’s only to buy new Evan Longoria cards.  But I’m never going to let card collecting dominate my life the way that it did while I was actively maintaining this blog.  For me, reading about cards and spending about an hour a day looking at card listings on eBay and organizing my collection, is reasonable.  Spending five or six hours a day on it is too much when there are other priorities in my life that are much more important.

Anyway, I first started to realize that I needed to cut back sometime in February.  I somehow wrote 47 blog posts in January and 39 in February, and that was a pace that I knew that I could not maintain.  By early March, I started to feel burned out, and I cut back.  On the blog, I mentioned that I was busy planning a vacation, and that was true, but as you can see that was not the only reason for my decrease in posts.  After I returned from my vacation at the end of March, I only wrote a few more blog posts.  I began to think a lot about what the future of the blog would be.  Originally, I thought that I’d continue blogging but just post a few times a week.  But the more time I spent without blogging, the more I realized how much better I liked my life without the burden of my “second job”.

And so I recently decided to stop blogging altogether.  Sure, there are topics that have come up that I’d really like to write about.  But I have a feeling that if I started posting again, I’d get sucked back in and it wouldn’t be long before it was dominating my life again.  It’s possible that I might start blogging again at some point in the future, but it won’t be any time soon.  The blog itself will stay up, and anyone who has enjoyed my writing can continue to visit it and read my old posts.  And who knows, maybe someday you’ll come back and find that I’ve started writing again.

I’ll finish this up with a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who has read my blog posts, left a comment, sent me an email, traded cards with me, linked to the blog, or interacted with me in any other way since I started writing.  It is because of you that my experience was enjoyable.  You can continue to stay in touch with me through email or facebook.  And of course, I’ll continue to read many card blogs, and you’ll still see comments from me on some of them.  And now, in the immortal words of Porky Pig … “that’s all folks”!

Shout it out loud!

February 26, 2009 at 11:38 am | Posted in Blogs | 7 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve given any “shout outs” to other blogs.  There have been a lot of new card blogs lately, and I don’t want anyone to feel left out.  But I was inspired to do some shouting out when Jawdy, who is my favorite YouTube box breaker, a frequent trading partner, and a friend, finally started his own blog.  It’s a dual effort with another YouTube breaker, JoshSamBob.  I’m not as familiar with JoshSamBob’s YouTube videos, but I’ll be checking them out.  Anyway, the blog is Cardaholics Anonymous, and it’s definitely worth checking out!  There have been some great posts already from both Jawdy and JoshSamBob, and I have a feeling that it won’t be long before this blog will be one that I read daily!

There are some other relatively new blogs that I also want to mention here.  Again, I don’t want anyone to feel left out; if you don’t see your blog here, it’s probably because I don’t consider it new, or I haven’t had enough time to check it out.  If you have a new blog and I don’t have a link to it yet on the sidebar, let me know if you’d like to do a link exchange.  Here are the other blogs that I’d like to give a “shout out” to:

  • Blue Diamond Cards – This blog is from a Dodgers fan who lives in Brooklyn, who I traded with a few months back.  So far, he’s provided some interesting commentary on topics like Razor, sticker autographs, and historic memorabilia that is cut up for cards.
  • Mike Pelfrey Collectibles – This is a new blog from one of the most frequent commenters on my blog and other card blogs.  I’d guess that Anthony is the most dedicated Mike Pelfrey collector in the world.  If Pelfrey had more cards, I am sure that his Pelfrey collection would outnumber my Longoria collection.  The blog also features commentary on many other baseball card topics.
  • Sac Bunt Baseball Card Blog – This blog has quickly emerged as one of the most interesting reads in the card blogosphere.  It’s written by two guys in Virginia: Chris, who is an Orioles fan, and John, who is a Twins fan.  This is another blog that could become a daily read for me in the near future.
  • Ryan’s Memorabilia Blog – Another blog from an Orioles fan.  It is great to see another blog from a fan of one of the non-evil A.L. East teams.  Hopefully we’ll see some Blue Jays card blogs soon too.  Anyway, one of the cool things about this blog is that Ryan’s wife has been getting interested in collecting and writing some posts.  It’s always interesting to read a woman’s perspective on cards.
  • Jesse’s Cards – Jesse has some interesting posts, and he told me that hasn’t gotten many readers so far.  He was very generous in a recent trade with me (more on that later) so I hope that this shout out helps his blog to gain some visibility!

Finally, I want to acknowledge a couple of established blogs that I’ve been reading for a long time, but now I’m finding myself checking back several times a day due to their high quality:

  • Bad Wax – Two words: Craigslist Idiots.  This new feature is one of the most entertaining things that I’ve ever read on any blog.  Whenever I see a new Craigslist Idiot post, I immediately drop everything that I’m doing and read it immediately.  The hilarity makes me laugh out loud almost every time.
  • A Cardboard Problem – Even though they’re Yankees fans, Marie and Sooz are both excellent writers and provide the rare female perspective on the card collecting hobby.  They usually post multiple times per day and it’s always interesting.  I’ve also made trades with both of them, and I’m participating in their fantasy baseball league.

So check out all of the blogs that I’ve mentioned here, and all of the others in the card blogosphere.  It’s amazing that there are so many talented writers sharing their thoughts on cards.  It’s just more proof that here in the 21st century, Beckett is completely irrelevant!

Way behind in trades

February 24, 2009 at 1:17 am | Posted in Blogs, Trades | 3 Comments

As time goes by, I continue to fall further behind in making trades.  I’m posting this to let people know that I haven’t forgotten about them and to motivate myself to get these trade packages shipped within the next couple of days…

I owe packages to the following people:

If you don’t see your name on this list and you’re still waiting for something from me, please let me know.

I’ll also be documenting the cards (and other items) that I’ve received from the following people in upcoming posts:

So if you’ve been waiting, rest assured that I’ll be sending your cards or posting about the cards that you sent as soon as I can.

50,000!

February 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Blogs | 14 Comments

Holy cow – the blog just got its 50,000th hit today!  That really snuck up on me.  It was only a little over two months ago that I celebrated my 25,000th hit.  So I’ve had just as many readers in the last two months as I had in my entire first six months of blogging.  I’m not sure if the quality of my writing improved, or if it was the increased frequency of my posts that caused the increase.  If anyone knows what I’ve been doing right, let me know, and I’ll be sure to keep doing it.  But whatever the case might be, it is a great feeling to know that this blog has been visited over 50,000 times.  Thanks to everyone who has ever taken time out of their day to read my posts, and a huge thanks to everyone who has left comments or emailed me.  I absolutely love getting feedback and hearing people’s thoughts about the things I’ve written about – it makes the whole blogging experience worthwhile for me.  Almost every time I write a post, I keep checking back to see if there are any comments, and I cheer to myself when I see one.

So I’ve finally decided to do something that will hopefully make it easier for even more people to find their way here.  I registered a domain name for the blog.  You can now reach Fielder’s Choice at http://www.fielderschoiceblog.com.  You’ll still be able to get here the old way too, by using https://fielderschoice.wordpress.com.  There’s no need to update your bookmarks, links, or feed readers unless you really want to.  Just don’t get confused and go to http://fielderschoice.blogspot.com or you’ll wind up at this incredibly awesome blog.

Anyway, I’ll be referring to the new URL in my YouTube videos and I’m working on a new banner that will also contain the new URL.  Speaking of YouTube videos, I just received a few boxes from Dave & Adam’s that I ordered last week, and I opened them on video this afternoon.  One of them was quite possibly the most awesome product that I’ve ever opened.  I’ll be posting a Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects break that I did a few weeks ago later today, and then I’ll start posting the new stuff.  Trust me, at least one of them will blow you away…

The next few months should be pretty eventful here at Fielder’s Choice.  Next week I’ll be busting two boxes of 2009 Topps Heritage as soon as I receive them.  There will be a lot of posts coming up about the new baseball season.  There will be updates about the Rays, the blogger fantasy league that I’m starting, and my spring training trip to Florida in March.  I’m also starting to plan a trip to New York City in June, where I hope to see games at both the new Yankee Stadium and the new Mets stadium.  And then in July, I’m planning to attend the National.

My goal now is to reach 100,000 hits by the one-year anniversary of the blog on June 14, 2009!

Blog Used Cards

February 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Blogs | 1 Comment

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d be selling my graded 1995 Topps Stadium Club Virtual Reality Members Only card of Don Mattingly now that I owned an ungraded copy.  I called it a “blog used card”.  Anyway, check out the awesome creativity from Travis at Punk Rock Paint:

blog-used

I burst out laughing when I saw this.  Here’s the original:

mattingly_psa10

I definitely recommend checking out Punk Rock Paint on a regular basis to see the awesome graphics that Travis comes up with.  And while you’re at it, check out Goose Joak, another blog featuring amazing card-design genius.

dayf is very wise

February 13, 2009 at 12:36 am | Posted in Blogs, My Cards | 7 Comments

I’m sure that many people will agree with the title of this post.  This guy is a very wise man:

dayfaandg

There are many examples of the wisdom of dayf from Cardboard Junkie that I could write about; he’s like an encyclopedia of card collecting information.  But what prompted me to write this was a comment that he wrote for this post about whether or not I should break a hard-to-find 1995 Don Mattingly Stadium Club Virtual Reality Members Only card out of its PSA 10 slab.  Almost everyone who commented on the post advised me to leave the card in the slab, and they convinced me to do so.  But in the back of my mind, I still really wished that I could store the card more easily with my other 1,098 Don Mattingly cards.  Then dayf said this:

“I’m not a big case fan, but when you’re talking about high grade vintage cards and real PSA 10s you might as well keep ‘em in there simply for the protection value. You can throw those suckers up against the wall and dunk ‘em in the toilet and the card will still be reasonably protected. You never know, you might end up finding an ungraded copy of this next week, then you could flip the PSA10.”

I actually thought about dunking a graded card in the toilet to test dayf’s theory, but what I really liked was the idea of holding on to the PSA 10 graded card until I could find a non-graded copy of the card.  But I knew that this would be extremely difficult.  I had been searching eBay for this card almost every day for a year and I hadn’t seen it before I saw the PSA 10.  I figured that it would be a long, long time before I ever saw it again.  I knew that I wouldn’t find one in the next week…

But wouldn’t you know it – sure enough, dayf’s prophecy came true.  He left the comment on January 30, and then on February 5, a non-graded copy of the card showed up on eBay with a “Buy it Now” for only $3.50.  The graded card had cost me $20.  I quickly jumped on the “Buy it Now” and received the card in the mail yesterday.  So now I have the best of both worlds – a non-graded copy of the card that I can easily store with my other Mattingly cards, and I still have the PSA 10 card that I can now sell on eBay.

I’m actually planning to put a bunch of cards up on eBay this coming Sunday night.  It’s been a while since I’ve sold any cards, and I have some stuff sitting around that I really need to unload.  Some of the cards have been featured in posts on this blog, so you’ll have a chance to own actual blog-used cards – now that’s a gimmick to get excited about!

Blog Bat Around #4: What’s truly valuable?

February 12, 2009 at 1:06 am | Posted in Blogs | 3 Comments

I’d like to thank Dinged Corners for hosting the 4th Blog Bat Around!  The question is very thought provoking.  What cards will be valuable in ten years and are worthy of being bought and held?

Collectors nowadays tend to be very cynical about the future value of their cards.  Many of us grew up in the 1980s and thought that by the time we were adults, our 1987 Topps cards would be worth a small fortune.  Eventually, we came to the sad realization that due to the insane overproduction of cards in the 1980s and early 1990s, our childhood collections were essentially worthless.  Today, we’re better off burning those cards for heat than trying to sell them.  Even the best cards from the 1980s are worth a fraction of what they were worth 20 years ago.

Because of that, it’s common for collectors to say that the only good reason to collect cards is for the fun of it.  If you’re collecting in the hope that your cards are going to increase in value so that you’ll be able to make a profit, you’re probably going to be disappointed.  But while that’s true, it certainly is nice to own cards that you enjoy and also stand a good chance of maintaining or increasing their value in the future.  I definitely believe that there are many cards that make this possible.

One of the bright spots in today’s card collecting hobby is that the era of overproduction is long gone.  The number of active collectors has shrunk significantly in the last 20 years, so the card companies have fewer consumers for their products.  While we don’t know the actual production figures, it’s fairly obvious that 2008 Topps was produced in a smaller quantity than 1988 Topps.  The higher end sets from recent years were produced in even smaller quantities, and there are many serial-numbered cards that are produced in very small quantities.  I don’t think this means that cards from 2008 are ever going to come close to the value of cards from the 1950s, but I do think that it’s likely that they’ll be more valuable than cards from the 1980s and 1990s.

Of course, the value of any cards depends on the demand for them.  The demand for today’s cards is much lower than the demand for new cards was 10 or 20 years ago.  If the demand increases in the future, the value of our cards will also increase.  The big question is, how likely is it that demand for cards will increase in the future?  New collectors must somehow be attracted to the hobby, and inactive collectors must return to the hobby.  A lot of bloggers are former collectors who were inspired for one reason or another to return, including me.  I think that all of the card collecting resources on the internet, including the blogs, YouTube, eBay and other online stores are going to help to bring former collectors back.  But the big challenge is to attract today’s kids to the hobby.  The resources on the internet, especially YouTube, can play a big role in that, and it will be interesting to see how successful Topps is with things like Topps Town and Topps Attax.  Let’s face it – if more kids don’t become card collectors, the future demand for cards is going to plummet.  I think that’s what happened to coin and stamp collecting in recent decades.

With that said, let me begin to answer the question for this Blog Bat Around.  What cards will be valuable in 10 years?

Let’s start with the obvious choice, vintage cards.  By vintage, I generally mean cards that were produced before 1980.  I own many vintage cards, and I am confident that these cards will at least hold their value, and stand a good chance to increase in value in the future.  I believe this for many reasons.  First, these cards were not overproduced and many people did not hold on to them or keep them in good condition.  There are only a finite number of vintage cards in good condition in existence.  Second, many vintage card sets are iconic in our culture.  T-206, 1933 Goudey, and 1952 Topps – just to name a few examples – are always going to be highly desirable.  And finally, vintage cards feature legendary players whose legacies are never going to be tarnished by performance enhancing drugs.  No matter what happens in baseball over the next 10 – 20 years, players like Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays are always going to be among the game’s all-time heroes.

I believe that it’s important for valuable vintage cards to be graded by PSA.  When you own a graded card, you have the peace of mind in knowing that it’s legitimate and not counterfeit, and you have a professional assessment of the card’s condition.  The card is encased in a plastic slab, and it’s protected from anything that would cause its condition to diminish over time.  In addition, because of these things, if you ever decide to sell your cards, you’ll be able to get a much higher price for a graded vintage card than for a non-graded copy of the same card.

Other types of cards that I believe might increase in value are relic cards from legendary players and certified autograph cards of legendary players who have passed away.  Let’s start with relic cards.  We’ve all seen some amazing relic cards featuring pieces of game-used jerseys, bats, and other memorabilia from players like Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio, among many others.  Those cards sell for a lot of money right now, and for good reason.  There is a very limited amount of game-used memorabilia from these players.  A lot of it is displayed in the Hall of Fame and other museums.  There is only so much material that the card companies can acquire and insert into cards.  Eventually, they are going to run out of Babe Ruth jerseys to cut up.  And when that happens, the existing cards that feature these relic pieces will increase in value.

It’s a similar concept with autographs.  It is hard to envision the value of autographed cards of living players increasing very much, but how about players like Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, or Mickey Mantle?  Obviously, autographs of these players can never be produced again, and we have a limited supply available.  Check out the selling prices of certified autograph cards or cut signature cards from these players on eBay.  They’re astronomical, and I don’t see why these cards would ever become less valuable.

That brings me to cards of current players.  It’s probably not likely that the value of cards of current star players is going to increase much, unless there is an influx of new collectors to drive up demand.  But I’m more optimistic about cards of prospects and young stars.  The two players who immediately jump into my mind are David Price and Evan Longoria.  It just so happens that I collect cards of both of these players.  Sure, their cards are already selling for high prices, but there’s certainly room to grow.  Just a year ago, Longoria’s autograph cards were selling for less than half of what they’re selling for now.  Then he went out and won Rookie of the Year, became an All Star, and played in the World Series, and the value of his cards skyrocketed.  But he hasn’t lived up to his full potential yet.  Longoria can easily become one of the biggest stars in the game.  The Rays definitely know this, and that’s why they signed him to a 9-year contract within his first week in the major leagues.  I believe that the Rays have the smartest front office in baseball, so if they believe in Evan Longoria that much, then so do I.  If Longoria hits 50 home runs, wins the A.L. MVP award, and leads the Rays to a World Series win, his cards will be even more valuable.  And since I have 22 of his autograph cards, I’ll be sitting on a gold mine.  Now, even if that doesn’t happen, I’m OK with that.  I collect Longoria cards first and foremost because I’m a huge fan.

David Price is in a similar situation.  Even though he’ll be a rookie in 2009, he is already widely known because he was the #1 overall pick in the 2007 MLB draft and because of his postseason heroics in 2008.  The value of his cards has also skyrocketed over the last year.  With Price, there’s more risk than with Longoria.  Price is a pitcher, and like any pitcher, he’s an arm injury away from disaster.  He also hasn’t proven that he can be successful over the course of a full MLB season yet.  But there are many reasons to be optimistic about David Price.  He could definitely become the Rays ace, win multiple Cy Young Awards, and pitch in many World Series, and I’d be sitting on a gold mine with his cards…

Still, I wouldn’t advise anybody to stock up on Evan Longoria and David Price cards with the expectation that their cards are going to increase in value.  As is the case with any young player, there is a huge risk.  There have been countless prospects that have not lived up to their potential.  I think that the key is to collect the cards that you really enjoy having in your collection.  If you’re a Rays fan like me, then by all means, go out and guy as many Longoria and Price cards as possible!  Even if the cards decrease in value over the years, you’ll probably still be happy that you own them.  But if you’re just buying the cards as an investment, you’re taking a big risk, and you could wind up very disappointed in the long run.

So, in summary, I believe that while the best reason to collect cards is for the fun of it, part of the fun can be in trying to figure out what cards to collect that will hold their value or increase in value in the future.  While it would be foolish to expect that all cards will increase in value, there are definitely cards out there that will.  The best bets are vintage cards, relic and autograph cards of legendary players, and cards of top prospects and young players.  And of course, you’re taking the most risk with cards of prospects and young players.

Get ready for the 4th Blog Bat Around!

February 5, 2009 at 12:33 am | Posted in Blogs | 1 Comment

bataround

I had a great time hosting the 3rd Blog Bat Around, and it was a great success with participation from 28 different blogs!  Soon it’ll be time for the 4th Blog Bat Around, and I’d like to announce that it will be hosted by Patricia from Dinged Corners.  I’m sure that most of my readers are probably familiar with Dinged Corners, but if not, I’d definitely encourage you to check it out.  Patricia and her daughter Lucy run one of the most popular card blogs out there, and they’re better than anyone at keeping the fun in collecting.  Patricia has a very entertaining writing style and a very unique perspective on cards.  Anyway, I’ve gotten a sneak peak at the topic, and I think it’s a great one that will provoke a lot of thought and some great entries.  So keep your eyes peeled on Dinged Corners for the details of the 4th Blog Bat Around sometime this weekend!

Massive Trade Post – Part 2

February 3, 2009 at 3:08 am | Posted in Blogs, Trades | 4 Comments

This is Part 2 of my effort to catch up on posting about recent card trades.  You can check out Part 1 here.

9. I received another package from Justin of Tampa Bay Sports Wasteland.  I’ve made a few card trades with Justin in the past.  He helped me out with 12 Topps Stadium Club cards from my want list, and he threw in two Rays cards of Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli that were made by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in 2003 and given away at a (Devil) Rays Fan Fest.  Justin is a fan of both the Rays and the Orioles, so theoretically he should hate the Red Sox and Yankees twice as much.  Anyway, I sent some Orioles cards his way.  Justin is lucky enough to live in the Tampa Bay area, and he might be able to get a few autographs for me at the 2009 Rays Fan Fest coming up on February 14.  Words cannot describe how awesome of him that would be!  Here’s the unique Crawford DAV card:

crawford_dav

10. As many of you already know, Dan from Saints of the Cheap Seats is one of the most generous traders out there.  The excitement of opening a package of cards from him is equaled only by the challenge of matching his generosity when sending cards out to him.  Recently, Dan sent me 68 different Rays cards (and one card of Anibal Sanchez, who I think Dan thought played for the Rays).  There was a great mix of vintage Devil Rays cards from the dark years (when I didn’t collect) and some more recent ones.  The highlight was a 2007 Bowman draft pick card of David Price, which I didn’t have.  It fits nicely into my growing Price collection, which is going to be skyrocketing soon with all of his 2009 cards.  Dan included a few hits, including a Justin Ruggiano refractor autograph from 2008 Topps Finest, a Nick Green autograph from 2005 Donruss Studio, and an Aubrey Huff bat card from 2005 Zenith.  Yep, Donruss-Playoff produced a Zenith set (an old Pinnacle brand) in 2005.  It’s a nice-looking card, which makes me hope even more that the MLB lawsuit against Donruss will get settled and Donruss will get their license back.  Hey, I can dream.  Anyway, here’s the Huff card:

huff_zenith

And here is the best looking card that Dan sent, from 1999 Topps Gold Label:

seay_gold_label

I own a few Gold Label cards from different years now, and I have come to believe that Gold Label is the best looking product ever.  The scan really does not do this card justice.  When I hold it up to the light, it changes into a bunch of different colors.  It’s similar to a refractor, but even nicer.  I have no idea why Topps discontinued Gold Label, but I know that I’d be first in line to buy a hobby box of it if they ever brought it back.

11. Paul from Phungo sent 3 Stadium Club cards from my want list, and he also included seven custom cards that he made with photos that he took at games.  Here are three of my favorites:

Here’s James Shields from a double header in Baltimore that the Rays swept on 9/23:

phungo_shields

Here’s B.J. Upton from Game 5 of the World Series:

phungo_upton

And here’s the Rays new DH, Pat “The Bat” Burrell:

phungo_burrell

These custom cards are definitely a unique addition to my Rays collection.  Thanks, Paul!

12. A reader named Victor (a.k.a. “cub FANatico”) traded 10 Stadium Club cards and 22 Updates & Highlights cards in exchange for a bunch of my doubles from both of those sets.

13. Charlie from Hawk to the Hall sent a surprise package that included 36 different Rays cards.  The highlight was an Evan Longoria base card from 2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects that I didn’t have, so that becomes the 86th different Longoria card in my collection.  Another highlight was a couple of Bowman Chrome prospect refractors.  The 2008 Bowman Chrome refractors were truly some of the best looking cards of the year.  I’m trying to figure out if I have any spare Cubs that Charlie might want…

14. Chuck from Chuck’s Used Cards sent along some old Hartford Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes cards.  The highlights were a Kevin Dineen card and a Bobby Holik rookie.  Chuck collects both Yankees and Red Sox (imagine that!) so I should be able to put together a nice package to send back to him.

15. I also received an unexpected package from Pete of Dropped Third Strike.  Pete sent four Rays Upper Deck Documentary cards, including an Evan Longoria, which is now the 87th Longoria card in my collection.  He also sent an Upper Deck 20th Anniversary Hobby Preview card of Longoria, but I already had a few copies of that one.  In addition, he got me one card closer to finishing my 2008 Goudey short print set with an Andre Dawson Sport Royalty card (#286).  Finally, he sent 14 Topps Updates & Highlights cards including the last 4 that I needed to complete the set.  The final 4 that I needed were Connor Robertson (UH37), Hanley Ramirez & Albert Pujols Classic Combos (UH136), Kyle Lohse (UH310), and Ben Sheets All Star (UH316).  So I definitely owe a huge thanks to Pete (and many other people) for completing the set for me!

16. Finally, I received a very interesting package from Mark of Mark’s Ephemera.  His blog is new and definitely worth checking out.  And “ephemera” is definitely worth looking up in the dictionary.  Anyway, Mark sent a Devil Rays 1998-99 calendar that appears to have been a giveway at Tropicana Field during their first season.  It features great pictures of many of the franchise “firsts” from the 1998 season.  Mark also included a copy of the November 1994 Beckett Baseball Card Monthly.  It’s the 10th anniversary issue and it has Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey Jr. on the cover.  Reading through it, I was struck by how much he hobby and Beckett have changed over the last 15 years.  There are some very interesting ads and articles.  These two items from Mark are really worthy of their own post.  I’ll scan some pages from the calendar and the Beckett and share them with you later this week…

Massive Trade Post – Part 1

February 1, 2009 at 12:57 am | Posted in Blogs, Trades | 1 Comment

I’ve fallen ridiculously behind in posting about recent card trades that I’ve made.  So, instead of writing individual posts about each trade, I’m going to consolidate it all into two posts.  Here it goes…

1. Almost a month ago, I worked out a trade with Chris from Stale Gum.  I sent 29 cards from 2008 Goudey that he needed (13 base, 15 short prints, and 1 Hit Parade of Champions) and he sent the following to me:

  • Two Rays Gold Parallels from 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights: Reid Brignac (#0743/2008 ) and Ben Zobrist (#1553/2008 )
  • 2008 Upper Deck Heroes black parallel of B.J. Upton
  • 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Dioner Navarro
  • 2008 Topps Heritage refractor of Eric Byrnes (#414/559) for my Heritage refractor collection
  • Six 2008 Goudey red back mini’s: Kelly Johnson (12), Sparky Anderson (46), Josh Willingham (79), Andruw Jones (98), Albert Pujols 1936 Black & White (251), and Chase Utley Sport Royalty (291)
  • 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter jersey relic of Carl Crawford (AGR-CC1)
  • 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Dioner Navarro Event-worn All Star jersey card:

    navarro_as_jersey

    Now I own 2 of the 3 Rays All Star jersey cards; I still need Scott Kazmir…

  • And a card that had me cracking up when I first saw it, a 1/1 Chris Harris autograph on a 1999 Fleer Tradition Aaron Ledesma card:

    harris_auto_front

    harris_auto_back

    Come on Chris, what’s up with the sticker autograph?  I want it on-card!

2. A few weeks ago, Jordan (a.k.a. Jawdy) from Jawdy’s Basement sent a bunch of cards that I needed for sets that I’m building.  He sent one of the last 2008 Topps Heritage cards that I needed (Ross Detwiler), three 2008 Topps Heritage refractors (Joe Mauer, Delmon Young, and Adrian Gonzalez), two 2008 Topps Chrome (Alfonso Soriano and Tim Lincecum), four 2008 Bowman prospect cards, 13 2008 Bowman Chrome prospect cards, and ten 2008 Topps Finest cards.  All of the cards really helped to put a dent in these sets for me.  In return, I sent a few cards from his want lists, a bunch of Phillies, and some Elijah Dukes cards for his son, Elijah.  I just hope that he doesn’t try to emulate Elijah Dukes’ off-field behavior.

3. Topher from the great new blog Crackin Wax also helped me to pare down my want lists for a few sets by sending seven Topps Heritage High Numbers cards, one Topps Chrome, and 17 Topps Finest cards.  I’m still working on combing through my collection to look for Twins cards that he might need.  I really appreciate his patience.  Unfortunately, my collection is more disorganized than you can possibly imagine, and it takes a while for me to complete trades that aren’t for specific cards.

4. Rob from Voice of the Collector sent 6 cards from my want lists: 3 from 2008-09 Upper Deck Legends Masterpieces hockey and 3 from 2008 Topps Stadium Club baseball.  I sent him 6 Topps Updates & Highlights cards in return, and I threw in the Ron Santo & Aramis Ramirez dual relic card from SP Legendary Cuts that I knew that Rob liked.  Rob thoughtfully included a few extra cards in his package to me too.  He sent a B.J. Upton Xponential insert from Upper Deck X, two Prince Fielder cards (although I’ve given up on actively collecting Prince), and an awesome autograph card of Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes.  He came to the Canes from a trade with Chicago last season, and he has emerged as one of their top forwards and a fan favorite:

tuomo_ruutu_auto

5. The next trade was from Tony and his son Isaac, two huge Cardinals fans who I’ve traded with before.  I recommend checking out their new blog, Ike’s Cards.  They helped me out a ton by sending 44 Topps Updates & Highlights cards from my want list, and 29 Topps Heritage High Numbers (21 regular green backs, 5 black backs, 2 Flashback inserts, and 1 Then & Now insert).  There’s a package containing some cards from their want lists, a bunch of Cardinals, and a few cards of Ryan Braun and Grady Sizemore, who are two non-Cardinals that Isaac likes, in the hands of the U.S. postal service on its way to them now.

6. Marie from A Cardboard Problem awesomely sent 29 base cards from 2008 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts, leaving me with only 2 that I still need to complete the set.  She also sent a Don Mattingly Yankee Stadium Legacy card that I needed (#5467).  I now own 70 of the 187 Mattingly Yankee Stadium Legacy cards.  In return, I sent Marie some of my Mattingly Yankee Stadium Legacy doubles and sent some of my non-Mattingly Yankee Stadium Legacy cards that she needed in exchange for some of her doubles.

7. Greg from Night Owl Cards sent 26 Topps Updates & Highlights cards and 8 Topps Heritage High Numbers cards from my want list.  He also included 4 Bowman Chrome cards, and some “old school” Devil Rays from 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003 Topps.  I wasn’t collecting in those years, and I have to say that I’m glad I missed 2002 Topps with its ugly yellow borders.  2003 Topps, on the other hand, is pretty cool with its blue borders.  Lastly, he threw in a Carl Crawford “authentic game-worn uniform” card from 2008 Topps Series 2.  I actually have another copy of this card with a white uniform piece, but I think the card looks better with this gray road uniform piece:

crawford_topps_gw

I’m working on putting together a package of Dodgers cards for Greg.

8. I also made my first trade with Brian from 30-year old Cardboard.  Brian sent 8 Topps Updates & Highlights cards from my want list in exchange for 3 extra 1983 Topps Super Veteran cards that I had.  Brian is trying to put together a set of all of the 1983 Super Veterans.

So that’s the first half – up next is Part 2 with the details of 8 more card trades.  You can see that I’ve been busy, and so has the U.S. postal service!

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