Monday, August 31, 2015

Tuff Stuff - Uncut Promo Sheets

Growing up collecting cards in the early 90's and in an area without a card shop, I didn't have access to the Beckett Baseball Card Monthly magazine very often. What I did have access to was Tuff Stuff. I was just thinking the other day while driving around town how much I miss that magazine. Even back then I found myself buying more than just baseball cards so I enjoyed the opportunity to read about more than just baseball cards. The multi-sport price guide was also a nice treat. However the real treat a lot of the times were the freebies that came inside the polybagged issues. Sometimes you were treated to single cards, while other times you could find uncut sheets of promo cards. Yes, those were the good ole' days.

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In the mid to late 90's when the Charlotte Hornets were fun to watch on the court, I found myself interested in basketball cards. Before you had all of these premium card sets you had NBA Hoops. Starting with the 95-96 set Skybox upped their game w/ the Hoops brand. Now I realize today these cards may seem tame or even goofy, but back then I was mesmerized.

When I see that card of Larry Johnson and the large foil time clock "counting down", all I can think of is his stupid "Dallas" play where Larry would take the ball to center court and just dribble it while time ticked away. Then with just a few seconds left he would drive to the basket. I'm sure this play led to many exciting wins at the buzzer, but for some reason I don't remember the outcome being positive. Well at least it makes for a interesting card design.

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Series 2 also came with a page of perforated cards and yet another Charlotte Hornet! Man I miss watching Alonzo play in the purple and teal. Some of these card designs weren't bad, but man what were the people at Skybox thinking when they came up w/ the Gold Mine subset? Those are some seriously gaudy looking cards.

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Around the same time you could find those NBA Hoops promo pages inside Tuff Stuff magazines, Fleer also teased collectors with 1995 Fleer Extra football. Never cared for the base design or any of the subsets. By today's standards these are very forgettable.

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Hockey cards anyone? Nah, I didn't think so!

Seriously though, if anyone wants any of these sheets of cards I still have them intact as shown and I'd be glad to trade them away for just about any single card or a few cards from my want list.

Who else misses the days of Tuff Stuff or card magazines in general that came loaded with freebies such as promo cards?

Friday, August 21, 2015

New A&G Trade Bait

I'm ready to deal some 2015 Allen & Ginter cards...who's with me? All of the cards in this post are available for trade. Looking for base cards to complete the set, including SPs. Also working on all of the insert sets, both full size and the minis. Check out my 2015 A&G want list or just browse all my want lists if I have something you want!


10th Anniversary Buy Backs

full size inserts

Regular minis

SP minis

A&G Back minis

SP A&G Back minis

Black Bordered minis

No # mini

Hand Numbered mini

Friday, August 14, 2015

Box Break - 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter

Hobby boxes of the annual Allen & Ginter brand by Topps have not been kind to me, at least in the guaranteed hit department. Will my luck change this year?

I grabbed a hobby box of Ginter late in the game, however it was less than $90 shipped so I don't feel too bad for waiting. No Gint-A-Cuffs this year as I missed the deadline, but it was still fun opening the box. My box actually arrived while I was away on vacation at the beach, but I was able to satisfy my Ginter fix by grabbing a few rack packs from the Walmart near the campsite. In years past I had really good luck pulling retail hits from this very same Walmart. That tradition continued as I pulled two more retail (full size) relics. But more on those later...lets get to the contents of my hobby box.

Three hits are guaranteed in each hobby box and finally I got something better than just your run of the mill relics. Busty Posey buyback auto redemption! The other two I could care less for, but actually all 3 are up for grabs. Looking for Braves autos and relics.

I'm still not sure what to think about these Buyback cards. I ended up with 3, one each from 2010, 2011 and 2012. I am a sucker for the framed minis, but again all 3 of these are up for grabs.

Regular minis

Mini SP

A&G Back minis

A&G back SP

Hand numbered mini

Black Bordered minis

Mini inserts

Full size inserts

All in all I was satisfied with the contents of the box, although I was expecting to pull more mini inserts than I did. I'm again working on building the base set w/ SPs and all of the inserts. I'm not keeping any of the non-insert minis. I've already compiled my 2015 A&G Want List so if you see something in the post and want to work out a trade, please look over all of my Want Lists.

All of those other inserts, relics and duplicates that I've amassed from retail packs/blasters have also been added to my Trade List along with a lot of the cards from this post as well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trade Completed

You'd think it's been awhile since I was active in the trading department within the blog-o-sphere based on my lack of, but like a lot of you I'm just behind on sharing my trades.

Trying to dig out from underneath work (and get my box break post of '15 A&G and my related want lists/trade lists up) I came across a single white envelope from Jimmy Yang. It's post marked July 18th, 2015. Not quite a month since this deal was completed, but better late than never, right?

I sent Jimmy a few cards off my trade list that he wanted and in exchange he sent me 4 inserts from last year's A&G set that I still needed. I haven't actively pursued completing any of my sets I'm working on lately so it's nice to be able to mark off a few cards, even if it's only 4.

I've only been collecting the A&G brand for a few years now, but it seems as if the mini inserts had the best themes. However I really enjoyed the full size inserts last year with the Fields of Yore leading the pack. 

This year's A&G offering has some great full size inserts as well, but we'll talk about those later. For now I just wanted to publicly thank Jimmy for the trade.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Farewell Alex Wood

So the rumored trade in the works with the Los Angeles Dodgers finally went down today, according to the MLB At Bat app notification that just came through on my phone. This one was a hard pill for me to swallow. I liked Alex Wood. I made him one of my guys to collect early on forward.

Alex is from my hometown of Charlotte, NC. The only other MLB player I can remember that played high school ball here in town was the White Sox's Ray Durham. When Ray was playing I had just started collecting cards and I only knew how to be a set collector...if that makes sense. I didn't realize people collected their favorite team or player or for other reasons outside of completing the base set of cards.

2012 Leaf Valiant Alex Wood auto photo Scan009_zps4e4d3b32.jpg   2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Alex Wood auto photo BB011_zps1139e55b.jpg

What was fun about collecting Alex Wood's cards was that I got to see him grow as a pitcher. I got to watch this young, skinny kid come in from the bullpen after being called up from AAA Gwinnett. I got to watch him battle for a spot in the starting rotation. I witnessed his progress as a major league pitcher and hone his knuckle curve ball. Yes, this is one of those trades, at least for me, is tough to accept.

2014 Topps Alex Wood Silk Collection #46/50 photo BB001_zps893fc536.jpg   2014 Panini America's Pastime Alex Wood Rookie #067/125 photo BB007_zps2999b695.jpg

However I'm not Braves General Manager John Hart. I don't claim and never have claimed to know what it takes to run a professional baseball team. I'm putting my faith in the GM that he is making the right move for the future of this team. It's been hard seeing so many fan favorite Braves leave the team this year and during the offseason. Jason Heyward, Evan Gattis, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrell and even Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe last week. 

The Braves weren't supposed to be good this year...and they aren't. However they aren't bottom of their division either. I can still see promise in this team. They've amassed a good bit of young pitching and have some young international flavor in the farm system I know they are relying on in the future.

However the Braves gave up 5 players today in exchange for basically one, Dodgers prospect 3B Hector Olivera. I need to do a quick Google search on this guy to see what all the buzz is about. Or maybe the nightowl or one of my other Dodgers buddies can give me the 411 on this guy. Looks like the team is also getting LHP Paco Rodriguez and a minor league pitcher by the name of Zach Bird and a 2016 competitive balance draft pick (#34 overall).


On the back end the Braves also gave up Bronson Arroyo, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan and top prospect Jose Peraza. To be honest I don't mind losing these guys, even Peraza. I think the acquisition of Jace Peterson from the Padres helped make Peraza a little more expendable, that and Peraza's on the field performance this season. I don't think Bronson has even suited up for the Braves due to injury and Jim Johnson and Avilan have been horrible out of the bullpen.

From a collecting perspective I'll probably still pick up Wood's cards because I think he's a great young guy with lots of potential...I just wish he would've been traded to a club that isn't on the west coast as it'll make it harder for me to follow his career now. Brandon Beachy signed w/ the Dodgers some time ago and I really haven't heard much of him either with him being out west.

Thank you Alex for your time you spent in Atlanta. I know I'm not the only fan that is sad to see you go, but I wish you all the success in the world...unless your team is playing the Braves...and even then I still may secret root for you a little. Just a little.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pack Break: 2015 Topps Series 2

I swear it just feels like the beginning of the baseball season was here and I was tearing through packs of Series One 2015 Topps...but here we are at the cusp of the All-Star break and Topps has released Series Two. In my need to open some packs to get my fix, I went a little overboard earlier this year and bought a Hobby box of Series One...which I still haven't even collated. I decided before the start of the 2015 baseball card "season" that I wasn't going to build the flagship brand of Topps, opting to stick with just Allen & Ginter. Well it turns out that hasn't been the case as I've ended up with chasing Gypsy Queen and to some degree Archives and Stadium Club.

Eventually I'll get those lists updated (or created in the case of Archives and TSC), but for now I'll satisfy my baseball urge with a retail pack of 2015 Series Two I picked up from Target a few weeks ago. While I've discarded the idea of building the entire set, I had to check out at least one pack of the newest set of Topps, right?

Most of the pack was filled with more basic base cards...although the photography on the Garcia card is quite nice. I don't hate this year's design, but the more I handle these cards the more I'm starting to dislike the "fingerprint" design. I guess now I'm spoiled by some of Topps' other designs...or lack there of such as Stadium Club!

Easily my favorite card of the back is this awesome card of Andrelton Simmons, stretching out at Short Stop to rob someone from a base hit. The first half of the 2015 season for the Braves has been better than what I expected after GM John Hart essentially gutted the team, sending away a lot of last year's team including fan favorites such as Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel. However the team still finds itself hovering at .500 and only a few games out of first place. Andrelton's glove has been one of the few consistent things so far this season and I'll never get tired of watching him make those spectacular plays in the field w/ the leather.

I ended up with one more Braves player, but Alberto is no longer on the team. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Juan Uribe. Even though his card has him at 2nd Base, he played the majority of his time at 3rd Base. The trade has been good for the Braves as Juan has really been a good fit. So good a fit that he has made Chris Johnson expendable to the point the Braves have been shopping him around. As far as Callaspo, I'll have to reach out to Night Owl or Greg Z to see how the trade has faired for the Dodgers.

Speaking of the Dodgers, my one insert per pack ended up being this Hot Streak card of Clayton Kershaw. The card looks much better in hand versus this scan. I'm guessing these cards come in sticker autograph variations as there seems to be some "empty" space. I don't search out Kershaw cards, but when I pull them from packs they end up in my keep pile.

Overall Series 2 is more of what you've come to expect. I think I have one more pack laying around here somewhere, but for the most part I'm done with the flagship brand. Now I just need to get my lazy butt moving and update my GQ Want List and decide whether or not I'm really going to go after 2015 Archives and or Stadium Club.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pack Wars: 2015 Bowman Football vs. 2015 Score Football

Here it is in late June and I'm already seeing 2015 NFL trading card sets hitting the retail shelves at my local Target. My curiosity usually gets the best of me and I end up grabbing a pack of the newest cards. This time it would be 2015 Bowman and 2015 Score. However instead of doing my usual "Pack Break" type post, I thought I'd try something different...


Let's take a look at each product and then compare it to the other brand and see which is the better buy. Sound simple enough?


Bowman: 7 cards per pack, $2.99 MSRP 

Score: 12 cards per pack, $1.99 MSRP

Before we even tear into the packs you can already see that Score is coming out a head with 5 additional cards and being a $1 cheaper per pack. If my memory serves me correctly however Score football packs used to come in at a buck a pack, so perhaps 2015 Score has upped their game?

Winner: Score


The base design Bowman chose to go with isn't bad, but to me it's awfully busy. The lack of foil on the front is a nice change of pace, however I could do without the design block thingies on the sides. 

The backs are typical Bowman fare. Resume, Skills and Up Close sections give you some insight to the player. Underneath you have last year's stats. That's about it.

Score again decided to go with a team color coordinated design and added silver foil. While I don't always care for foil, if it's used in moderation I don't mind it. Because this is a change for Score over previous years, I like it. The design doesn't impede too much on the photo which I like.

The backs use the same picture from the front, seems lazy to me, but Bowman doesn't even bother to put a photo on the back. Small write up of the player, last year's stats. Simple, but clean look.

Winner: Score


The last few years it seems as if the rookie cards in Bowman have this awful, drab look. Well that boring look is back. I can deal with the collegiate uniforms, but since Topps doesn't have the proper license they have to air brush out the logos like Panini has to do on their baseball cards.

The backs use the same design as used for the veterans.

Panini does have the collegiate license and I think it makes a big difference. The base design is basically the same as it is for the veterans, however you have the RC logo in the corner that Panini started using a few years ago.

The backs remain unchanged as well from the veteran design, minus the stats. In their place is the round and number pick they were drafted.

Winner: Score


Parallels come in a rainbow of colors and I just happened to pull a red parallel of Ereck Flowers. If it weren't for the serial number on the back, I wouldn't have known this was a parallel as it has that same boring look the RCs have.

Well what do we have here? A Red Zone Rookie Autograph parallel of Bernardrick McKinney! While not quite the same kind of parallel when compared to Bowman, you get the idea. Same design, just the border has been replaced with red foil. I'm kind of partial however to different colored border parallels over different colored background parallels.

Winner: Score


Well this comparison will be lopsided as I didn't pull a insert from the Bowman pack.

This Ground Gainers card is actually die cut, though with the white background it's hard to make out in my scan. Basically the card looks like a corner puzzle piece. I'm guessing there is some sort of aerial type counterpart card that "fits" onto the other side?

At first I thought this was a subset for the base set as I already pulled an insert from the pack...but it's another insert. Not my favorite design, but at least they are pulling in some history to the set with some retired players.

The last card in the pack of Score was yet another insert, Gridiron Heritage. I like the slightly retro look of the card. It fits the theme of the set quite well, both in design and player selection.

Winner: Score

Well it doesn't take a genius to figure out that I think 2015 Score easily topples 2015 Bowman. Perhaps the flagship Topps football would have been a better suitor to compare against Score, but it'll be another month or so before Topps has their base set ready.

As I mentioned earlier, Panini has really upped the quality of Score this year. It was a pleasant surprise for me and I found opening the pack was fun. Panini also has a contest going in each pack of Score football where you have a code to redeem online where a child over the age of 7 and their parent can win a trip to the Super Bowl 50 and be a "Kid Reporter"!

I should make mention that I'm basing my winner based on the 2 packs I opened. I haven't looked online at the checklist, insert ratios or anything else about each product. Heck, I didn't even know the 2015 NFL trading card season had begun until a few days ago when I grabbed these packs! No matter which pack of cards you pick up, it's just nice to know that the new NFL season is just a few short months away!