Tuesday, May 14, 2024

2024 Topps Total #99 - Travis d'Arnaud


04/18/24 / 3-HR Showing Highlights 8-3 Win Over Rangers

Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud was nothing short of electric in his Club's meeting with the Texas Rangers last night. The veteran backstop collected three home runs and six RBI over the course of the contest, going long in the second, fifth and sixth inning. His sixth-inning blast was a grand slam, helping his team to take home the win, 8-3. Remarkably, d'Arnaud became just the third franchise player since at least 1901 to collect three dingers in a single contest with at least one grand slam.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Sunday (Cardboard) Verse: Philippians 4:13

 If you've followed my blog or Tweets on Twitter X (@flywheels), then you know that I'm a Christian and I collect cards of Christian athletes. While I don't own a lot of autographed in person type cards, I do have a few where the player added their favorite Bible verse. I've often thought about trying to craft a series of posts on these cards and spotlight the verse they shared for those who may not be familiar with said verse. However I'm bad about starting something only to not follow through after a few weeks...so will this post be a one off or the beginning on something that will see sporadic updates?

I came to know Matt Diaz when he joined the Braves organization in 2006. I often do a Google search on players, especially new acquisitions on the Braves to get a little more insight as to who they are and what they've done in their career and what they could possibly be bringing to Atlanta. At some point in my searches on Diaz, I discovered that the was a brother in the faith. Shortly after I noticed that he would add different Bible verses to his autographs he'd sign for fans at games. One such is this auto on this 2005 Multi-Ad card for the Triple A Omaha Royals, Philippians 4:13.

" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. "

I believe a good way to sum up this verse is that 1) it's not just for Christian athletes, it applies to every child of God (you, me, our neighbors, the guy standing at the intersection holding a cardboard sign) in every different life situations, especially the hard situations. Nothing is too hard, nothing is impossible with Jesus and His love. When we are dealing with tough times and going through those trials, God is more content with us than when we are just sitting idle and happy with the blessings we've been given.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Oh My! How the local card shows have changed!

The other weekend I noticed a card show was being held a small church, hosted by the closest LCS to me. For once I didn't really have any plans so my oldest daughter (14) went with me. We had a 30-40 minute drive to get to the venue. On the drive there I asked what my daughter was going to be looking for, since I was a little surprised that she wanted to go with me in the first place. She told me she would like to find some wrestling cards, particularly of a few of the female wrestlers she likes. For me, I wasn't looking for anything in particular.

Growing up I used to attend card shows all the time. I have vivid memories of all the boxes, packs and singles on the table from various vendors. I would place the "dice game" for that change at a lucrative card (and usually lose). I'd search for cards of some of my early PC guys like Tim Salmon and David Justice. This was before I was a Braves collector, so it was fun hunting cards of a few guys.

Fast forward and the card shows began to get bundled in with general "collectible" shows. Cards, comics, toys, die-cast vehicles, that sort of thing. There the dealers would always have nickel and dime boxes. I loved browsing through those boxes as at that time I was still into quantity over quality. I could walk away from a table with a huge stack of cards and that was always a great feeling.

When I wanted to the gymnasium of this small church for this card show I guess I was expecting more of the same. Boy was I wrong. Just about ever table had slabs, slabs and more slabs. All the cards were modern, flashy, shiny stuff. If the dealers had boxes of cards to sort through, they were a minimum of $1 each. Are those the new nickel and dime boxes? I barely saw any sealed boxes for sale, instead everyone was trying to sling overpriced retail boxes...except the one guy that had $10 NASCAR blasters. I was tempted for a moment, then I came to my senses and kept walking!

I like modern cards as much as the next guy, but I've never got much into the grading game. Now I have to say it was nice looking at so many different grading companies' slabs laying all side by side. Some of these companies have some very sharp looking labels, HGA for instance stood out to me, but I'm a binder kind of guy so if I have a card of one of my PC guys I want to either put it in a One Touch to display on my card shelves or put it in a binder with the other cards. I guess I was surprised that I didn't see older stuff being offered. I go to a lot of comic book shows and you always have a good mixture of 80s/90s books available with all of the modern/slabbed books. Not so much at this show. Perhaps I just picked a bad show to go to? Since then I am seeing more card show ads for the Columbia, SC area so I may have to give it another shot and this time lower my expectations.

I didn't walk away empty handed. I managed to find a 2008 Upper Deck A Piece of History Lance Berkman Stadium Scenes jersey card numbered 89/99 in a dollar box I just happened to thumb through. I also grabbed a 2000 Fleer Tradition Ken Griffey Jr. Halls Well insert card from the only dealer I could find that was offering "older" cards. I'm a sucker for cards from that era, especially acetate stuff. However once I got home and was ready to log these two cards in my collection using TCDB.com, I noticed I had the entire Halls Well set. I had no clue!

My daughter did end up finding some wrestling cards in a small box, next to the guy I got the Griffey from. She loves Charlotte Flair and not-Sasha Banks and these cards were priced at 3 for $5. Probably overpaid, but all 3 are Refractors/Prizm parallels. She likes the shiny stuff. I'm just happy we share a common interest in wresting and trading cards!

All in all we had fun, though I think we were in and out in maybe 30-45 minutes? It was a small show, but it just wasn't what I was expecting. I know finding junk wax singles and boxes at shows now days may be a little tougher to find as the Hobby has changed quite a bit since I first entered it. I'll give it another try at some point, but as I said before I guess I'll just have to adjust my expectations next time.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Grandmama - 90's NBA Marketing Genius?

If you were a fan of the NBA in the 90's, then you were exposed to a plethora of NBA stars and of course the products they endorsed. In a sports world seemingly dominated by the likes of Nike, Converse stepped up to the plate with their spokesman, Larry Johnson, forward of the Charlotte Hornets at the time. The Converse executives didn't just stop there however as they took it a step further. In their first commercial, Larry Johnson stated that you couldn't beat his Grandmama.

Long before Tyler Perry would unveil his Madea character, we had Larry Johnson and Grandmama. At the time there wasn't anything else like it on TV. The commercials stood out on TV and of course now in people's memories. Take a massive athlete like Larry and put him in a dress with pearls and a gray wig, playing basketball and you have the birth of a great marketing campaign. I would love to know who's idea this was and what was Larry's first reaction upon being introduced to it.

In 2024 do people still remember these Grandmama commercials? I don't follow the NBA like I used to, but I find these commericals to be just as hilarious now as I did then. I gotta say though I don't remember the last few that featured the Phoenix Sun's Kevin Johnson. None the less I loved watching Larry Johnson play, especially in those early years in Charlotte. While I have a good many 90's LJ cards in my Hornets collection, I never knew until recently that the card company Front Row manufactured a small 7 card set in 1993 that focused on the Grandmama character. I picked up a set not that long ago just out of sheer curiosity.


I absolutely love this set! I never cared that much for the various colligate sets that Front Row produced in the early 90's, but this set brings back so many memories. Each card shares the same overall design with the Converse logo in the upper left corner and a simple "Grandmama" in the upper left corner, while the Front Row basketball logo adorns the bottom right corner. The back of the cards give as a simple write up with the 7th card featuring a checklist on the back. For additional info you can check out the Trading Card Database listing for this set.

After I got into collecting baseball cards, it wasn't long before the NBA caught my attention with their cards. It was a great time to be a collector as all of the card manufactures of the time were releasing some great cards/sets. Discovering small sets like this 1993 Front Row Converse set makes collecting basketball cards fun again.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Filling Those Want Lists Courtesy of Cardbarrel.com

The other day I ran across a thread in a Facebook card group where guys were talking about different methods they used to fill holes in their sets. Of course the usual suspects were mentioned, COMC and Sportslots, but then someone mentioned Cardbarrel.com, which was a first for me. Well the other day I checked out the site and started looking around and was pleasantly surprised to find so many cards listed that I needed for some of my early 90's sets. On 12/23/23 I put together a small order to give their services a try and on the 27th my order was on my doorstep...talk about great service/fast turn around time!

My order consisted of 133 total cards. 1991 Topps, 1994 Fleer Extra Bases, 1994 Pacific, 1994 Sportflics, 1995 Pinnacle Museum Collection and 1995 UC3, With shipping my total came to roughly $40.00. Most of the commons were priced around $.16 each with the Museum Collection parallels priced at $.50 each.

Now that I've had time to unpack the order and catalog these cards to my collection in TCDB.com, I have to say I'm very satisfied overall. Their listings aren't as detailed as what you'll find on TCDB, so some of the 1991 Topps cards were exactly what I ordered.

Cards #048 and #608 that I needed for the set, I ended up w/ the glow back variant! This was a difference in the order that I was more than happy with.

There are a plethora of errors in 1991 Topps so unfortunately the card of Jose Gonzalez (#279) I was sent was the error that depicted Billy Ashley on the card front. Needless to say this card is still on my want list. #526 that I was sent was also an error, listing 37 runs scored for the Pirates in 1990. This one too is still on the want list. 

Again, I'm very happy w/ the service/cards I've received and I will be back to place more orders. I'm trying to give my early 90's sets a little more attention, finishing them off and fill up those binders I've made and I found this site to be a great help. Eventually I'll re-open myself to trading on TCDB, but for now it's nice to put some huge dents in some of these sets.

Want List totals after purchase:

1991 Topps: 9 cards (048, 097, 279, 526, 552, 570, 608, 661, 706)
1994 Fleer Extra Bases: 12 cards (160, 177, 178, 180, 187, 193, 199, 229, 232, 258, 261, 345)
1994 Pacific: 136 cards (I only grabbed a small amount of what I needed)
1994 Sportflics: base set completed!
1995 Pinnacle Museum Collection: 238 (I only picked up cards from Series 1 in this order)
1995 UC3: 3 cards (035, 115, 125)

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Box Score Debut

In one of my recent Affordable Group Breaks we came across an image of a player holding an old camera on the card and one of the participants commented how they liked seeing a card featuring old tech. In 2002 Fleer released a set called Box Score which contained an insert set called Debut. Embedded in the card was a box score as it would have appeared in the newspaper US Today from that player's debut game. I happen to have this card of the Blue Jays' Eric Hinske. While I don't know if this clipping is manufactured for the set or an actual newspaper clipping, I find it cool none the less...bit it got me to thinking. Would collectors of this generation even be able to relate to a card like this? I guess if you were to "modernize" this set you'd have to insert a small phone screen! Hey, what can I say, I'm getting old.

Now, get off my lawn.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Catching Up...

I've done a much better job in 2023 at keeping my toy blog going, but this trading card blog has kinda fell to the side. After starting up a Facebook group to host my group breaks, I just haven't really thought much about utilizing this blog...which is a shame on many levels. I still like to read other card blogs so it's not like I left the hobby, but I guess at times it's easier to throw up a quick post on Facebook or Twitter/X than it is to try and craft a blog post.

My card collecting has really slowed down in 2023. My limited hobby funds have been allocated to other areas and I feel I've before a little jaded by the current collecting landscape. With what seems like everything shifting over to Fanatics soon, I'm just not sure what to think of current card releases. I try to be optimistic about things, but it's hard to at times. For now however I'm just enjoying casually working on putting together some early to mid-90's baseball sets and picking up cards here and there of some PC guys like Dansby Swanson, Hoy Park, Otis Nixon and some wrasslers too like R-Truth, Candice LaRae and Akira Tozawa.


Say what you will about Panini, but I'm going to miss them. While chasing rainbows can be frustrating and expensive, it can also be a lot of fun and Panini has a knack of producing some nice shiny colored parallels.

My boy R-Truth hasn't been on WWE television in quite some time since being injured so I'm a little surprised to see him on the checklist for both 2023 Prizm (above) and Select...but I'm glad I have new cards to search for.

Hoy Park is a newer PC of mine. While his RCs were featured in most 2022 products as a Pittsburg Pirates, he's currently playing on the Braves' AAA team. With Atlanta's loaded infield and with the acquisition of Nicky Lopez, I doubt he'll have much of an opportunity to play in Atlanta. Hasn't stopped me from picking up some of his autos and numbered parallels.

My desire to set build has also diminished, at least for current product. The discounted blasters that have been showing up at Walmart stores has helped me have some desire to finish off the 2022 Archives set. I'm also looking forward to 2023 Allen & Ginter that is slated for release later this month. That's one set that I always look forward to no matter what.

Oh well, thanks for reading my ramblings...that is assuming you made it this far. While I'd love to say that this particular blog will have more activity in the later part of 2023, I don't like to make promises I can't keep. I'm still around...collecting and talking about cards...just not here as much. Take care!