Amazing card acquisition – Part 3 (or maybe not so amazing)

March 13, 2009 at 12:43 am | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck | 7 Comments

You can check out Part 1 of my “amazing card acquisitions” here and Part 2 here.

This post has been in draft mode for a while now.  Check out my third amazing acquisition:

coveleski_cut_auto

coveleski_cut_auto_back

Stan Coveleski is a name that is familiar to most baseball fans.  He’s a Hall of Famer, but not many people know much about his career – at least I didn’t until recently.  A little over a month ago, I had just finished watching the 3rd inning of Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary on MLB Network (covering 1910 – 1919) in which Coveleski was mentioned.  I had trouble falling asleep that night, so I walked over to my computer and started looking at eBay auctions that were about to end.  This card was one of them.  The only cut signature card that I owned was the Enos Slaughter that I pulled from Sweet Spot Classic (see it here) and I thought that it would be cool to add another cut signature of a Hall of Famer to my collection.  I had seen many cut signatures sell for well over $100, so I was very pleased to be able to get this one for $43.57.

Coveleski was a Polish kid who grew up in the Pennsylvania coal mines.  He made his major league debut for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1912, but he had his best years with the Cleveland Indians between 1916 – 1924.  The highlight of his career came in the 1920 World Series, in which he had quite possibly the greatest pitching performance in World Series history.  He pitched three games, completing all of them, and giving up only two runs in 27 innings.  He won all three games and had an ERA of 0.67 for the Series, a record that still stands today.  He was a master of the spitball, which was outlawed after 1920, but Coveleski was one of several pitchers who were still allowed to throw it until their retirement.  After his tenure in Cleveland ended, he went on to pitch for the Washington Senators and New York Yankees, retiring after the 1928 season.

Coveleski wasn’t one of the elite pitchers of his era – that group includes Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, and Grover Cleveland Alexander – but he was definitely in the second tier of great pitchers.  He was finally elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, and he passed away in 1984.

I think that it’s awesome to own a signature of a legendary Hall of Famer who pitched almost 100 years ago, and who passed away 25 years ago.  However, in light of the recent allegations about card companies, including Upper Deck, allowing fake cut signatures into some of their products, the card has lost a little bit of its luster for me.  The wording on the back of the card that the signature was “independently authenticated by a third party authenticator” doesn’t inspire much confidence.  I think that there’s a pretty good chance that the signature is real, if only because counterfeiters would probably be focusing their efforts on bigger names than Stan Coveleski, but it’ll always be a question mark in my mind.  I probably won’t buy any more cut signature cards in the future, unless the card companies do something significant to give collectors more confidence that they’re completely authentic.

As you can see, the card pays tribute to 1920, when Coveleski had his amazing World Series performance, but a photo on the front of the card would’ve been nice – especially since many collectors probably have no idea what he looked like.  So I present to you a photo of Hall of Famer Stan Coveleski in action:

coveleski

Watch out for Part 4 of my amazing card acquisitions, featuring a player who played even before Coveleski…

Quick updates

March 11, 2009 at 9:17 am | Posted in Donruss-Playoff, Football, Panini, Random, Razor, Upper Deck | 4 Comments

As you’ve probably noticed, my posting has been sparse since the beginning of March.  I’ve been very busy at work and at home recently, with very little time left over to devote to collecting, let alone blogging.  This will probably continue at least until the beginning of April.  My schedule is pretty packed for the next week and a half, and then my wife and I will be on vacation in Florida from March 20 – 28.

In case you’re waiting for it, I’m still working on my follow-up post on 2009 Topps Heritage.  It should be ready soon; I just need to find some time to scan some of the cards.  One thing that I can tell you is that I was extremely lucky with my two boxes in that I got ZERO doubles!  Yes, I managed to get 382 different cards.  I got enough base cards that I don’t think I’ll need to buy any more hobby boxes or packs.  I’ll just buy the cards that I still need on eBay or Sportlots.

Of course, any time that I take a break from blogging, huge events start to happen.  Here’s my take on a few of them:

  • It’s absolutely inexcusable that Razor and Upper Deck have allowed fake “cut” signatures to find their way into their products.  I’m sure that everyone has read about this by now, but if you haven’t, the details are here.  I give Brian Gray of Razor credit for trying to rectify the situation after the fact, but I think that some irreparable damage has been done to the hobby.  I know that I’m not alone in saying that I’m much less likely to buy any cut signature card now, but my confidence is shaken in other types of cards too.  For example, I doubt that any significant verification is done on the “game used” pieces of memorabilia that are inserted into cards.  I think that it’s less likely that non-cut certified autographs are fake, but in many cases, the card companies are simply mailing stickers to athletes, who sign them and mail them back.  I do believe that the vast majority of athletes are legitimately signing the stickers (and cards) if only because they don’t want to see their reputations damaged if they’re caught mailing back fake autographs to the card companies.  But the potential does exist that there are some fake certified autographs out there.  If any evidence of that is ever discovered, get ready to watch the entire card industry implode.
  • So apparently Panini is buying Donruss-Playoff (details here).  This has the potential to be a very good thing for collectors.  First, it keeps Donruss in business.  The company was obviously having financial troubles, but Panini seems to have plenty of cash, so that problem is solved.  I think it’s logical that Panini would use the Donruss name for their U.S.-based card business, and keep many of the existing Donruss, Leaf, and Playoff brand names around.  Let’s face it, football and baseball card collectors are much more likely to buy cards with the Donruss name on them than Panini.  Hopefully they’ll keep many of the creative people from the company too.  But this is really great news for basketball card collectors.  After it was announced that Panini had obtained an exclusive license to produce NBA cards, many collectors assumed that the cards that would be produced would be a joke.  But now, the cards are likely to have the Donruss brand name on them, be designed by the Donruss creative team, and be produced at the Donruss facilities.  I don’t really see any negatives about this deal at this point.  Now, it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens to Upper Deck, which is also for sale, and has apparently completely given up trying to make quality baseball card products.
  • If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m a Buffalo Bills football fan.  Even though my blog is focused on baseball and cards, my private conversations with friends and family in recent months have been dominated by talk of my disgust for how the team is being run.  They have a completely incompetent head coach (Dick Jauron) and coaching staff who are coming back again in 2009, their biggest star player (Marshawn Lynch) is unable to obey the law and stay out of trouble, and they consistently make horrible decisions about what players to let go and what players to sign.  It seemed obvious that a 10th straight non-playoff season was on the horizon…

    And then they signed Terrell Owens this past weekend.  I was completely shocked and blown away by this.  My first reaction was disbelief, and then I quickly decided that I hated the signing.  After all, T.O. is a complete jackass, a horrible teammate, and he’s been a cancer in the locker room of every team that he played for.  I mean, if Jerry Jones didn’t want him in Dallas anymore, that really says something.  The signing also demonstrated the impulsive decision-making in the Bills front office and their complete lack of long-term planning.  But amazingly, the more that I thought about it, the more that I started to like the signing.  First, it’s a one-year deal.  If it doesn’t work out, the Bills can cleanly cut ties with T.O. after the season.  Also, he’s going to have to keep his tantrums to a minimum and perform on the field at a high level if he wants any other team to want to sign him next year.  But most importantly, T.O. is unquestionably an elite receiver, and he’s going to make the Bills offense a lot better.  One of their major problems has been that opposing defenses have been able to double-cover Lee Evans, preventing him from getting open and making plays.  Now, the Bills will have two top receivers, Evans and Owens.  That’s going to cause problems for defenders, and it should allow both of them to make more big plays.  And if the passing game is much improved, then teams won’t be able to load up on the line of scrimmage to stop the run, so Lynch and Fred Jackson should be more productive too.  Finally, one of the things that I hated about 2008 was how apathetic it appeared that the coaches and many of the players were.  They just didn’t have much competitive fire.  Say what you will about T.O., but he wants to win more than anyone, and he’s not afraid to speak his mind if others around him don’t have the same commitment to winning.

    Strangely enough, the signing of T.O. has made me a lot more excited about the 2009 football season.  If nothing else, he’s going to make the team much more exciting to watch, either because of his performance on the field, or his antics off the field.  The Bills weren’t going to do anything in 2009 without T.O. and now that he’s on the team, they have somewhat of a chance.  If the Dolphins and Falcons could improve so much between 2007 and 2008, anything is possible with the 2009 Bills.

It looks like this wasn’t such a “quick” update after all.  I might only have a few more posts for the rest of the month, but I hope that you’ll stick around and keep reading Fielder’s Choice when I’m able to write more!

The future of Upper Deck basketball

March 4, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Posted in Basketball, Upper Deck | 5 Comments

I think that I might be breaking some news with this, but I’ve been so busy in the last couple of days that I haven’t been able to keep up with many blogs, so maybe this has already been reported.  But I found an interesting tidbit in my email today from Balenac & Abrams, a dealer in Iowa that I’ve bought hobby boxes from in the past.  It’s about an upcoming 2009-2010 Upper Deck basketball product.

As you probably know, I am definitely not a basketball card collector, but I still had a very opinionated reaction to the news that Upper Deck (and Topps) would be losing their basketball card licenses, and an Italian sticker company would be gaining exclusive rights from the NBA to produce basketball cards.  So I think it’s a very interesting development that Upper Deck is going forward with at least one unlicensed 2009-2010 basketball card set.  It’s called Upper Deck Draft Basketball and here are the details:

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Upper Deck is debuting 09/10 UD Draft Basketball. Draft Basketball promises to bring you top rookies from the upcoming NBA entry draft. Collectors will be able to uncover basketball legends and future all-stars and get them the week of the draft! Each box will have four numbered autographed cards with an insert, autograph or parallel card in every pack. Every case will have one multi-signed card. This is a great way to get next year’s stars today!

The release date is June 23, 2009.  I assume that the cards will feature the rookies in their college (or in some cases, high school) uniforms.  Since college basketball is arguably even more popular than the NBA, I don’t think that many people will complain about this.  It’s also interesting that “basketball legends” will be included.  It’s likely that the list of legends will include Michael Jordan and others who are signed to exclusive contracts with Upper Deck.

It seems pretty clear that Upper Deck is taking the same route with basketball cards that Donruss-Playoff has taken with baseball cards since losing its license.  It’s going to be very interesting to see if this will prompt the NBA to sue Upper Deck just as MLB has sued Donruss.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Upper Deck executives are monitoring the MLB-Donruss lawsuit very carefully, and weighing whether it might be better for the company to forgo its MLB and MLBPA licenses in favor of producing more profitable, unlicensed products like Donruss has done.

So what do basketball card collectors think of this development?  Are you more likely to collect unlicensed Upper Deck cards of the top 2009-2010 rookies (and legendary retired players) or go with the unproven Panini cards?  I know that I’d choose Upper Deck in a heartbeat…

Amazing amount of hobby love for the Rays

March 1, 2009 at 1:27 am | Posted in Rays, Topps, Upper Deck | 6 Comments

So check out what the 2009 Bowman hobby boxes are going to look like:

price_bowman_box

Yep, that’s David Price pictured on the box and on the packs.  This is just one example of the incredible amount of attention that the Rays have been getting from Topps and Upper Deck recently.  Every product preview that I’ve read on Wax Heaven lately seems to feature Evan Longoria, David Price, or both.  For a sampling, check out this image that Mario posted showing images of five different 2009 Upper Deck products; all but one of them is of a Rays player:

ud_waxheaven

Somebody even told me that Longoria is pictured on the cover of the current Beckett magazine.  It’s crazy.  One of the things that drew me back into the hobby about a year ago was how cheap all of the Rays autograph cards were.  I was able to load up on autographs of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena, Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and many others for about $5 – $10 each.  Many of the same cards are selling for twice as much money today, even though the poor economy has led to a decline in the value of most cards.  I also remember being frustrated by how the card companies seemed to intentionally minimize the number of Rays in each card set.  The vast majority of 2007 and 2008 card sets included cards of Crawford, Upton, Kazmir, and no other Rays.  It’s incredible how much the amazing 2008 season can change things…

Suddenly I live in a world where Evan Longoria and David Price are the hottest names in the entire card hobby, and extra Rays cards are being included in every set due to their appearance in the 2008 World Series.  The Rays have gone from being hobby pariahs to hobby messiahs!  Despite how horrible most upcoming 2009 baseball card products look, it should be a fun year to load up on all of the great Rays cards being produced.

All of the attention on the Rays certainly is strange.  There have even been a few people on the internet who have accused me of being a band wagon jumper.  Little do they know that one of my biggest reasons for becoming a Rays fan in the early part of this decade was that they had absolutely no band wagon to jump on.  I loved being a fan of a new team that had never had a decent season so that I could follow their minor leaguers and watch them try to grow into a winning team someday.

Well, “someday” arrived quite suddenly last year.  It is a much different experience to be a Rays fan now.  And even though I am about the furthest thing imaginable from a band wagon jumper, I do hope that many people, especially in Florida, jump on the band wagon this year.  The Rays definitely need to see an increase in attendance at Tropicana Field and an increase in TV ratings to help build a case for getting a new stadium built.  And they’re also going to need an increase in revenue to be able to afford to keep all of their good young players around for many years.  The thought of seeing B.J. Upton or Matt Garza in Yankees uniforms in 2013 makes me want to vomit…

Ray of the day: Wade Davis

February 28, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Posted in My Cards, Rays, Upper Deck | Leave a comment

We all know that the results of spring training games are meaningless, and Thursday’s game between the Rays and the Yankees was no exception.  The Rays only had one regular starter in the lineup (Carl Crawford) and the team more closely resembled the 2008 Durham Bulls than the real Tampa Bay Rays.  And of course, they lost the game, 5-1.  But there are some moments in spring training games, performances by certain players, that actually are meaningful and become sources of real optimism for fans.

I remember last spring when David Price pitched an inning against the Yankees and struck out the side, generating a huge amount of excitement and foreshadowing his late season and post-season success.  And then on Thursday, another Rays pitching phenom, Wade Davis, took the mound and had an even more impressive performance.  Davis made his first start of the spring, and pitched two perfect innings against the Yankees.  While Price struck out Shelley Duncan, Jason Lane, and Wilson Betemit in his memorable outing, Davis faced the Yankees real lineup.  He struck out Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Robinson Cano.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Photo credit: St. Pete Times

Photo credit: St. Pete Times

Wade Davis is a name that might not be familiar to many baseball fans, but he’s been very well known to Rays fans ever since he was the team’s 3rd round pick in 2004.  Davis has been overshadowed by David Price in the Rays organization, but he’d be the top pitching prospect for almost any other team in MLB.  Although the Rays have a very, very good starting rotation with Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, and Price, I expect that Wade Davis will find a spot in the rotation sometime in 2009, either because of an injury or by forcing the team to trade someone to make room for him.  At the very least, he could be a very valuable late inning reliever until a spot in the rotation opens up.

The story of Wade Davis really goes back to 2003.  That year, the (Devil) Rays took a gamble with their third round pick, taking a highly touted pitcher from a Florida high school in the third round.  They intended to offer a large enough bonus to entice him to sign instead of going to college.  That pitcher was Andrew Miller, and the Rays were unable to sign him.  He decided to go to college down the road from me in Chapel Hill, where he dominated for three years.  He was then drafted by the Tigers with the #6 overall pick in 2006, traded to the Marlins in 2007, and he became a card blog phenomenon in 2008 when Mario from Wax Heaven began collecting his cards…

Anyway, the experience with Miller in 2003 did not deter the Rays from following the same strategy in the 2004 draft.  Once again, they took a high school pitcher from Florida in the third round.  This time it was Wade Davis, and this time they were successful in convincing him to sign with the team instead of attending the University of Florida.  They did the same thing in the fifth round, grabbing Jake McGee from a Nevada high school.  Davis and McGee immediately became two of their top pitching prospects.  They pitched together in rookie league Princeton in 2004, and then they both started to dominate at short-season Single-A Hudson Valley in 2005.  Davis led the league in strikeouts.  They moved up to Single-A Southwest Michigan in 2006, and high Single-A Vero Beach in 2007.  Davis threw no-hitters in each year, and he finished second in the organization in strikeouts both years, only behind McGee.  Both of them were promoted to Double-A Montgomery in the second half of 2007.

They started 2008 together again in Montgomery, and both were among the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.  McGee was rated slightly higher on most prospect lists since he’s a lefty and Davis is a righty.  Unfortunately, McGee hurt his elbow in June, and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.  He won’t be back until late 2009 at the earliest.  Davis continued to dominate in Double-A, earning the start in the Southern League All Star game, which I attended.  I was able to get him to sign a baseball for me before the game:

p1010431

Davis was promoted to Triple-A Durham immediately after the All Star game, and he was the Bulls’ best pitcher in the second half, with a 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 55 strikeouts in 53 innings.  I was fortunate to be able to see him pitch a few times in Durham.  Davis is now 23, he throws a fastball that tops out at 98 MPH, a killer curveball, an improving changeup, and he’s recently added a slider to his repertoire.  He also seems to have a tough bulldog mentality on the mound, similar to Matt Garza.  He’s going to be a #1 or #2 starting pitcher in the major leagues, and I can’t wait to see his career develop.  But I won’t complain if I get to see him spend a little bit more time in Durham…

To date, Wade Davis’ only certified autograph is from 2004 Upper Deck SP Prospects, and it’s by far his most desirable card.  You can see my copy of the card, #418/600, below.  There should be quite a few more Davis autographs in Topps and Upper Deck products once he makes his major league debut.  If he has the success in the major leagues that I believe that he will, his cards will have a major impact on the hobby.

wade_davis_auto

Some great pulls from free packs!

February 24, 2009 at 2:22 am | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck | 11 Comments

When I ordered the Joe DiMaggio set from Dave & Adam’s Card World, I spent enough money to earn two free packs of 2007 Upper Deck Elements with my order.  I wasn’t expecting much from these packs, so I was very surprised when I actually pulled two very nice hits from them.  Check it out:

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elements_peavy

Not a bad haul from two free packs!  There are 15 packs in a hobby box of 2007 Elements, and three hits in each box.  So there’s only a one-in-five chance of pulling a hit from an individual pack.  Each box has one relic card, one autograph, and one autographed relic card – so I pulled the two best hits from the box that these packs came from.

I’m not the only one who’s had good luck with free packs of Elements from Dave & Adam’s.  Bailey from The Nennth Inning got some hits in his free packs too.  Elements is a pretty decent product.  It features cards made on three different types of card stock.  The “PETG” cards are particularly nice; the card material is similar to hard plastic.  With all of the pointless products on Upper Deck’s 2009 release calendar, reviving the Elements brand wouldn’t be a bad idea.  Even better, they could release a set of all PETG cards.  2007 Elements is also a pretty good deal.  You can buy hobby boxes from Dave & Adam’s for $40.95 – or you can try your luck with the free packs like I did…

It’s great stuff like this (and my free hobby box of SP Rookie Edition) that makes Dave & Adam’s my online card shop of choice.  I also picked up a few other boxes from them, and I’ll be posting my box break videos later this week.  I’ll give you some hints: one box was from 2004, one was from 2007, and one was from 2008 – and all were very good deals.  Unfortunately, Dave & Adam’s sold out of their pre-orders for 2009 Topps Heritage, so I had to order my two Heritage hobby boxes from Captain Collect on eBay.  Those should be arriving any day now, and I am psyched!

Amazing card acquisition – Part 2

February 18, 2009 at 12:24 am | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck | 6 Comments

This is Part 2 of a series of posts featuring some amazing cards of legendary players that I have recently acquired for reasonable prices.  You can see the first post here.  Here is the second card that I want to show off:

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This card is from 2003 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts and it contains a piece of game-worn pants from the immortal Ty Cobb.  Yes, Ty Cobb.  I am completely in awe of this card and I was stunned that I was able to buy it for only $60 (with free shipping) on eBay.  Cobb played between 1905 – 1928, so to own a relic from that time period of one of the very best baseball players of all time is quite a thrill.  The only down side is that the back of the card states that the pants were worn while Cobb played for the Philadelphia Athletics.  He only played for them during the final two seasons of his career.  I didn’t even realize that he ever played for the A’s before I received the card.  Obviously, he’s much more known for playing for the Tigers.  This card was produced before it was mandated that the card companies match the photo on the card with the team that the embedded relic was from.  Still, any game-worn Ty Cobb relic is an outstanding addition to anyone’s collection, especially when the price is less than a hobby box of 2009 Topps.  I also like the card design; Upper Deck used a decent sized photo, and size of the pant relic is pretty generous.

While I greatly admire Ty Cobb as a player, there are negative things that can be said about Cobb as a person.  He was possessed by rage and had a violent temper, and there were many incidents on and off the field during his playing career that attest to his character flaws.  There was an incident where he attacked a crippled heckler in New York, and there were many racially motivated attacks, including stabbing a black night watchman.  As a result of incidents like these, Cobb was hated by almost every player in baseball.

On the other hand, there is absolutely no doubt that Ty Cobb is one of the greatest players who will ever play the game of baseball.  No one has ever played the game with more passion or with more competitive drive than Cobb.  He was undoubtedly the greatest player of his era.  His statistics speak for themselves.  His .367 lifetime batting average is the highest of all-time.  He won 12 batting titles, and he held the record for career hits until 1985, career runs until 2001, and career stolen bases until 1977.  My favorite Cobb stats are his record 57 steals of home, his 295 career triples, and his 1909 Triple Crown in which he led the American League with 9 home runs – all of which were inside the park.

Ty Cobb is probably the most intriguing figure in baseball history for me.  There are so many interesting stories about his life, both positive and negative.  One of the most interesting stories is that his father was shot to death by his mother three weeks before Cobb’s first major league game with the Tigers in 1905.  This incident helped to fuel Cobb’s rage and led to his merciless style of play.  Also, after his playing career, Cobb became a millionaire, and he donated money for his hometown to build a hospital, and he started an educational fund that has distributed $11 million to needy students in Georgia.  He was clearly a complex individual, and it’s difficult to comprehend how one person could be capable of so many detestable and generous acts in the same lifetime.  You can check out Ty Cobb’s Wikipedia page for these and other stories about his life.  Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary also does a great job of portraying Cobb’s career, and there was a movie made about Cobb in 1994, where he was played by Tommy Lee Jones.  I haven’t seen the movie, but it’s high on the list of movies that I want to see.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my recent amazing card acquisitions – there are at least a few more great cards that I can’t wait to write about…

The best Upper Deck X card that you’ll ever see

February 14, 2009 at 1:59 am | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck | 7 Comments

So we all know that Upper Deck X is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad product.  It was quite possibly the very worst baseball card product of 2008, and Upper Deck will continue to satisfy what they apparently believe is a strong demand for ugly, uncreative, and worthless cards in 2009 by releasing a follow up to Upper Deck X.

But even though I disliked Upper Deck X since the first time I saw the product, I knew that I wanted to add the Evan Longoria cards from it to my collection.  It didn’t take me long to acquire his base card, die cut, and gold die cut, but his autograph from Upper Deck X proved to be extremely difficult to find.  The Evan Longoria autograph card is apparently a short print with a very small number of copies.  Since Upper Deck X was released in September, it has only shown up on eBay four times!  I know that because I searched for it every single day.  A while ago, I asked Mario from Wax Heaven to ask his contacts at Upper Deck about the card.  They told him that they couldn’t reveal the print run.  But since there have been so few of the cards to hit eBay, I’d be surprised if there are more than 10 – 20 of them in existence.

I really wonder why Upper Deck would produce so few copies of the card without serial numbering it.  Since it’s not serial numbered, only an Evan Longoria super collector like me would know that it’s so rare.  But I’ve been wanting to own it really, really bad.  When another copy of the card showed up on eBay last week, I immediately set my sights on it, and I was able to win the auction with my last minute snipe.  The card is definitely the best card in Upper Deck X and the most expensive, but it is absolutely awesome to finally own this card:

longoria_udx_auto

This is the 96th different Evan Longoria card in my collection, and the 23rd autograph.  I now have at least one Longoria autograph from every Topps and Upper Deck set that has included one, but I don’t have all of the variations, like the different types of refractors.  Unless Longoria has a horrible season or something, a lot of the low-numbered refractor autographs, especially from 2006 and 2007, are out of my price range.  But I am happy just having one from every set.  Anyway, with so few of these Upper Deck X autographs in existence, I know that I’m one of the only Evan Longoria collectors that owns one.  I wonder if anyone out there has more Longoria autographs or Longoria cards than I do – or if I am the ultimate Evan Longoria super collector!

Amazing card acquisition – Part 1

February 11, 2009 at 12:41 am | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck | 10 Comments

A few days back, I wrote a post about my collecting strategy for 2009.  One of the things that I mentioned was that I had recently acquired some amazing cards of legendary players that I would be sharing with you on the blog.  Here is the first card that I want to show off:

jackie_robinson_relic

This is a relic card of one of my favorite players of all-time, Jackie Robinson, from 2008 Upper Deck Premier, featuring three pieces of game-used memorabilia from his playing career with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Jackie retired after the 1956 season, so the memorabilia (either a jersey or pants) is over 50 years old.  The card is numbered 41/50.  Amazingly, I only paid $28.09 for this card on eBay!  That’s right – for the price of a blaster and a couple of packs from Wal Mart, you could add a card like this to your collection.

I am absolutely thrilled to own this card.  I plan to add more relic cards from legendary players to my collection this year.  Cards like these truly do give collectors a “piece of history”.  Additionally, I really like how Upper Deck designed the card.  Instead of coming up with some obscure statistic, like Jackie Robinson’s 7 triples in 1953, they kept it simple by using #42 for the relic windows.  The designers of Topps Sterling and Triple Threads should be required to study this card.  The picture is also much bigger than you’ll find on similar Topps high end cards.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my recent amazing card acquisitions.  Believe it or not, it gets even better from here…

The best deal in the hobby right now

February 10, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck, Video | 15 Comments

I recently opened the hobby box of 2007 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition baseball cards that I got for free with my order from Dave & Adam’s Card World in December.  Unfortunately, the promotion that offered the free hobby box ended a while ago, but you can still find these boxes for about $25 each, which in my opinion is the best deal in the hobby right now.  2007 SP Rookie Edition is somehow overlooked, but it features nice base cards, several different styles of rookie cards based on past Upper Deck SP designs (very similar to 2008 Timelines), and two autographs per box.  The price is only a little bit higher than a retail blaster, but the value is much greater than what you’ll find in any blaster.

On top of that, the 2007 rookie class turned out to be very impressive.  Here are some of the big names:

  • Ryan Braun
  • Alex Gordon
  • Phil Hughes
  • Akinori Iwamura
  • Tim Lincecum
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka
  • Dustin Pedroia
  • Hunter Pence
  • Troy Tulowitzki
  • Delmon Young

Here’s my video box break for your viewing pleasure:

Here’s the breakdown of what I got:

  • 54 base cards (out of 100 in the set).  If you pick up two boxes of this product, you should be pretty close to the full base set.  Here’s a scan of the Albert Pujols base card in honor of Marie from A Cardboard Problem:

    pujols_sp_base

  • 21 base rookie cards (out of 42).  For some reason, the scan is much darker than the actual card, but here’s Dice-K:

    dicek_sp_rookie

  • 7 “1993 SP Rookie” cards (out of 50).  Here’s Ryan Braun:

    braun_93_sp

  • 7 “1995 SP Rookie” cards (out of 42).  Here’s the other, much less popular Ryan Braun:

    rbraun_95_sp

  • 21 “1996 SP Rookie” cards (out of 50).  Here’s Akinori Iwamura:

    iwamura_96_sp

  • 2 autograph cards – one that’s pretty worthless (Sean Henn, a former Yankees prospect who has a 7.56 career major league ERA) and one that was really great, Josh Hamilton:

    hamilton_sp_auto

That’s the second Josh Hamilton autograph that I’ve pulled.  The other was from 2007 Masterpieces.  It definitely makes a nice addition to my collection!

I certainly can’t complain about a hobby box that I got for free, but even if I had paid $25 for it, I would’ve been very happy.  In all, I got 110 cards featuring stars and 2007 rookies, plus two autographs.  I’d highly recommend this product.  If you like 2008 Timelines, you’d definitely like 2007 SP Rookie Edition too.  I can’t think of anything that is a better deal in the hobby right now.  With the economy the way that it is, it might make sense for collectors to hold off on the new 2009 products and pick up a very undervalued product like this from the recent past.

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