Thursday, April 30, 2015

More Gypsy Queen - Braves and Trade Goods

The local Walmart near my work restocked their Gypsy Queen hanger boxes so I grabbed two more. Still haven't landed a auto or anything good like that, but at least the first box I opened up had several Braves!

Two base cards of two Hall of Frame Braves pitchers, Smoltz and Glavine. Even scored the Pearl Framed Paper parallel of Smoltz! One of the 6 minis between the two boxes was of new outfielder, Nick Markakis!

Knocked off 4 more inserts from the want list as well - two for Glove Stories and two for Walk-Off Winners.

Here are the cards (minus the base) that went up earlier on my trade list. Still plenty I need so hopefully someone will come along and need something above.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Today's post features 1 (struggling) Brave and 2 guys I wish were still Braves

The 2015 baseball season, both on the field and in cardboard for the Braves has been interesting. On the field, the team got off to a red hot 6-1 start, before running into problems with both starting pitching and the bullpen.

On the cardboard front, many of the early 2015 cards feature players that aren't even Braves as of the start of the season. This is in large part because of the many late off season trades the club made. However I still try to acquire new Braves cardboard when I can and here are a few of my latest acquisitions.

The smattering of colored parallels for Gypsy Queen has begun. I was able to snag this Gold parallel of Alex Wood's mini (#05/99) for around $3 shipped.

While I miss seeing Heyward in a Braves uni patrolling left field, his replacement (Nick Markakis) has done an admiral job at filling his shoes. What I don't get is why so many of Heyward's inserts still feature him as a Brave when he's a Cardinal in the base set?

I've actually been trying to pick up this 2014 Panini Immaculate Collection card of Hudson for several months now...but the price was always more than I wanted to pay. However this low serial numbered card (45/49) finally became mine for just a few bucks last week. Like Heyward, this one has him as a Braves player too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pack Break: 1989 Topps Nintendo Game Pack

In a recent retro video game purchase I made came one sealed pack of 1989 Topps Nintendo Game Pack cards. I've seen packs of these cards at throwback stores and at card shows, but I've never purchased a pack, yet alone opened one. I've been meaning to share the contents of this pack for some time, but just have been busy with work and such. However the time for procrastinating is over!

I haven't opened a vintage wax pack in some time! Just opening this brought me back to my beginnings with baseball cards. Alright, 5 cards total - 3 scratch offs and 2 stickers...with top secret tips! 

It appears the scratch off cards are actually some type of game...fitting considering the overall Nintendo theme. Scratch off 3 bats and you lose, but if you can find 1 arrow plus either 2 kicks, 3 elbows or 4 punches and you win and advance. I guess there are multiple Double Dragon scratch off cards as it says Screen 4 of 10 underneath the game logo.

Super Mario Bros. 2 scratch off up next. Same premise as above. Scratch to reveal certain items to win the game and advance. This is Screen 3 of 10.

Wouldn't be a complete pack without something Zelda related. This game seems pretty forward. 3 swords and you win or 3 fireballs and you lose.

The stickers come with these hideous, yet cool all yellow backgrounds. Billy Lee here of Double Dragon fame. On the flip side is one of these Top Secret Tips the pack mentioned...however it's for Super Mario Bros. and not for Double Dragon?! Did you read the tip? That's not a Top Secret Tip! That is common sense!

The last card in the pack is a sticker card for Punch-Out!! I must have been the one kid growing up in the 80's that could have cared less for Mike Tyson's Punch-Out. Just never could get into the game. This card's tip is for the Legend of Zelda. At least this is something that not everyone may have known about when originally playing the game back in the day.

Overall this was a fun pack to open and now it's got me wondering how hard it'd be to find a sealed box of this stuff. Being that I'm a retro gamer and all it'd be fun to build this set. What do you think about these cards? Have you seen them before? Have any in your collection?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015 Gypsy Queen has landed

While stopping earlier today at our local Walmart to pick up a birthday gift for a party we were headed to, I checked out the pathetic excuse for a card section while my wife and daughters looked for a birthday card. I saw the pegs had been restocked, even eyed some new product (at least for this store - mainly 2015 Donruss value packs).

Up on the top shelf was one lone Gypsy Queen blaster. Then I noticed the hanger boxes. I grabbed one of each and began to compare the number of cards per box...the same. Then I looked over the odds of the inserts and what not and determined the hanger boxes to be the better deal. Plus each box contained 3 exclusive Pearl Framed Paper parallels.

I grabbed 3 of the hanger boxes and proceeded to check out. I wasn't able to open all of the boxes until I returned home from the party late this afternoon. I haven't even had time to get to my scanner, but I'm liking this year's GQ effort more than in the past. I like the design as it doesn't take up as much of the card front has compared to the last few years. Parallels are crazy, but this is Topps we are dealing with. I'll go after anything Freddie Freeman I can get my hands on, but the other Braves players are a little lower on the totem pole of what I'll be searching out.

Speaking of Freddie, check out his variation from the base set. Freddie is known for his hugs almost as much as he is known for his bat/fielding!

Glove Stories return for another year and will be a set I'm looking to complete. Pillars of the Community and Walk-Off Winners are two new full card sized insert sets that look nice. I'll be aiming to complete those too.

Last year I decided to focus on finishing off some of the sets I had already started on, but moving forward I would only try to build two sets - Gypsy Queen and Allen & Ginter. I'm glad I splurged today on these 3 hanger boxes as it's been fun sitting down with these cards and making my Want List. I won't be doing anything with most of the Minis and those Pearl Framed Paper parallels so check out my Trade List to see if I have anything you want.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Atlanta faces a plenty!

It's been no secret that the Atlanta Braves under went a big shake up of the team's roster this past winter. Heck, on the eve of Opening Day the club even traded away the best closer in baseball. So the 2015 roster has a lot of new faces.

Without cheating, how many of these guys can you name? I have to admit that I did pretty poorly. Yes, I've watched most of the games in this young season, but I too am still learning who these guys are that after last night's win over the Marlins have helped improve the NL's best team to a 6-1 record.

Thankfully one of the players left that I do know is 1st baseman, Freddie Freeman. I also just happen to have a few "new" cards of his that I haven't shared yet on the blog so I'm using this post as an excuse to scan and share them.

2014 Topps All-Star Stitches relic

2014 Topps..uh, what's this insert called?

2014 Topps World Series Heroes

Wait a're not Freddie! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Braves 4, Dodgers 1

No, I'm not delirious. I know the Braves and Dodgers haven't squared off on the field just yet!

Upon opening the one and only pack of 2015 Topps Heritage, I found a Sandy Koufax card inside. It wasn't long before the Night Owl contacted me wanting that card. Without hesitating, I fired off the card to Greg expecting nothing in return.

Well that wasn't the case.

When I returned home from a camping vacation at Myrtle Beach earlier this week, there was a plain white envelope waiting for me in the mailbox. Inside said envelope were 4 Braves cards. Wait. How was this supposed to work? I wasn't expecting anything, let alone 4 cards. I only sent 1, but got 4? I like those only if my stock would perform like that I'd be all set!

First card in the folded piece of paper was this 1992 Baseball Cards Magazine card of Steve Avery. I actively started collecting cards and following the Braves around Steve's rookie year so I have many fond memories of watching him pitch.

This 2013 Postseason Heroes card of John Smoltz has a chrome finish, but lacks the typical Topps Chrome logo. I'm guessing it was part of 2013 Topps series 2? Either way I'll always take a Smoltz card that I don't have!

The last 2 cards hail from this years Topps flagship set. I've seen both on eBay, but I couldn't bring myself to pay $.99 for a card only to pay another $3 to have it shipped to me. 

Who would've guessed that entering the 2015 season that Freddie would be the longest tenured Braves player?

Many thanks to the great Night Owl for his generosity, and of course for his continued efforts of his own great blog.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

So I may have gone a little crazy w/ 2015 Donruss

In my last post I shared the contents of a retail value pack of 2015 Donruss I picked up from my local Target store. I was enamored by the cards and inserts so much that I sought out what eBay had to offer in the area of Braves singles. Well as you'll see below I may have gone a little crazy with some purchases, but I scored them all for a song if you ask me.

Opening Day always gets me excited, however this year I'd be at the beach camping. I missed the first two Braves games against the fish in Miami, however I stayed glue to my phone trying to get updates on each game...that is when I had a connection!

Of course the wind was taken out of my sail Sunday night when I saw the news that Craig Kimbrel was traded to the San Diego Padres. My expectations for this season were already a little uneasy at best with the shake up new GM, John Hart has made. However I've tried to stay as optimistic as possible and none the less was please to see them Braves take down the Marlins in games 1 and 2.

I got home last night in time to watch the 3rd and final game in the series and wow, what fun it is to be watching baseball again. This just makes new card acquisitions that much more fun. I'll leave you with some images of my new 2015 Donruss pick ups, in the mean time I'm off to learn more about some of these new faces on the Braves that have impressed me early in the season.

Freddie is now the veteran on the team and has a lot of pressure on him as such. For many reasons I've gravitated to collecting more and more of his cards and these two sub-theme cards are great additions.

I always liked the old Production Line serially numbered inserts. Card looks way better in hand than the scan appears. Card has that rainbow "refractor" like look and is serially numbered to his .461 Slugging Percentage, 434/461.

Alex Wood is the other Brave that I've picked up the pace in collecting. I hate I missed his start in game 2 on Tuesday evening, but I'm looking forward to watching this young pitcher continue to grow and mature. I've already picked up the blue version of this beautiful auto so now to keep my eyes open for the red version numbered to /49.

Speaking of the red Signature Series autos, check out this Ron Gant! I'm glad older players were inserted into the checklist of this great looking insert set. Numbered 42/49, this card only set me back $3 believe it or not.

While labeled a member of the Astros, I could pass up this $2 auto of the young ace we picked in the Evan Gattis deal. This is one time where not having the logos on the cards doesn't hurt!

Lastly we have the former Brave, El Oso Blanco aka Evan Gattis. I hated to see this guy exit the club, but I can understand the move. I'm not sure his value would have gotten any higher and Christian Bethancourt was just waiting in the wings to show his stuff. Nice card design and for a change it's nice to get a small swatch of bat over jersey. B.J. Melvin Upton is in the same set, but unless someone sends it to me in a trade I'm not bothering with it.

Maybe I didn't go too crazy, but the initial offerings on eBay were pretty good and not many bidders either. I may have paid $15 total for these? And thanks to eBay Bucks none of that money spent actually came out of my PayPal account!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pack Break: 2015 Donruss Value Pack

Panini has yet again revived the Donruss brand for the 2015 baseball season. If you remember I hosted one of my Affordable Group Breaks featuring 2014 Donruss. I enjoyed the break and the product, despite my disappearance from this very blog shortly there after!

While grabbing my first few packs of 2015 Topps Opening Day from Target earlier in the week, a value pack of 2015 Donruss caught my eye. New wax always makes me curious to the point where I'll buy one pack of just about anything to see what it's like.

The value packs boast 30 cards for only $4.99 (retail). In typical Panini fashion, there are tons of inserts and different levels of said inserts. Some inserts have been carried over from last year, such as Season/Career Stat Line. New to this years set includes many designs from past Donruss products. Painted Diamond Kings return along with other new stuff. Overall, non-base cards fall 1:5 packs.

I think I prefer this year's design over last year's just a little. Cards have a nice UV coating on the backs too. Don't remember if 2014 sported glossy backs or not. Granted the lack of a full MLBP license does suck, most of the images look decent enough. Freedie, Tony and Ryne are all in mid swing so you can't see where the team name on the jersey would be anyways. Same for Julio, however the lack of the team logo on his hat is painfully obvious.

Take the Braves for example. The base cards for the team start with #49 Alex Wood. Then #50 Freddie Freeman. Card #51 is Jason with the St. Louis Cardinals. #52 Justin with the San Diego Padres. #53 gets things back in order with Julio Teheran. Small gripe, but still a gripe none the less.

Diamond Kings make their return with painted images. We also get an All-Time Diamond Kings set featuring retired greats. I think these look fantastic and I'm glad to have pulled the Iron Man himself. Some previous designs are paid tribute such as Studio, Elite, The Rookies and even Preferred. 

The Studio card of Jorge Soler looks decent enough, but I get more of a Pinnacle vibe than I do Studio. Perhaps if the card had a mauve boarder and the image was more posed.

I never cared for Elite so not much for me to say here. Still has the foil front.

The Rookies look pretty good. I even lucked out and got one of the serially numbered parallels of the same dude in the same pack! 031/106. Any Philly fans reading this that want it?

Now let me tell you about Donruss Preferred. I absolutely loved the inaugural release. From the metal tins the cards came in to the overall design and creativity (at the time) of the inserts. 

Even the autographed cards have a very familiar look. Check out this awesome blue serially numbered card of Alex Wood that just came in the mail. 

Does that design ring any bells? Leaf Signature Series? Yup. Who didn't like that set back in the 90's. I've already got a red serially numbered Ron Gant from this set in the mail and I'm trying to track down the non-numbered versions of both Gant and Wood. Love 'em...even if they are still sticker autos.

Overall it appears that 2015 Donruss is a solid double for Panini. I love the different Donruss brands represented in the set as it gives it some much need diversity. I've already crafted my want list with the few cards I'm looking for. The rest of the commons from this pack that weren't shown, plus the inserts have already been added to the Trade List so please make sure to check out those links in the right side bar if you're interested. Remember, if you see something you want and don't have anything I want please still let me know. My trades don't always have to be 1:1!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Opening Day 2015 is almost here...let's celebrate with 2 packs of 2015 Opening Day

Opening Day of the 2015 Major League Baseball season is just around the corner. You know what that means, Topps has their Opening Day set revved and ready to go.

I find it odd that I'm buying Opening Day cards when I haven't even collated and made a want list for the hobby box of 2015 Topps I bought! Man I'm a slacker!

At $.99 a pack I can't resist picking up at least a few packs each season. I don't really collect these cards, but it's a cheap fix. Plus there seems to be at least one cool insert set I like.

Scanning over the listed odds on the back of the pack I grabbed at Target the other day shows parallels 1:5 packs, 1/1 parallel 1:10,080, serially numbered Printing Plates 1:2,391, base card variations 1:307, Superstar Celebration inserts return at 1:5 packs, along with Mascots 1:5. Opening Day Stars fall 1:24 packs and I'm assuming (and hoping) those feature the lenticular design. Hit the Dirt, Stadium Scenes, Franchise Flashbacks all come in at 1:5, Team Spirit 1:36, Autographs 1:383, Mascot Autographs 1:776 and Opening Day Relics 1:383 packs.

Well, no Braves for me in the first pack. One ex-Brave however. Guess I'll toss the Hamilton and McCutchen in their respective PCs.

Now here is a small insert set I could get behind. I appreciate the subject theme and can't wait to see more cards from this set. The photo of George isn't too bad, but I can't help but think it would have looked better if the picture was snapped just a second or two later. I wanna see some dirt flyin' in the photo!

Pack 2 yielded a Georgia boy and finally a Brave! The other cards will be going into my trade stack. I'll get those added to the Trade List Google Doc soon.

I would think by now these Mascot inserts could be retired...but I guess there are plenty of people who still like 'em.

So for my buck 98 I got a pretty cool Hit the Dirt insert and my first Opening Day Braves player...who get this, is actually on the 2015 roster! Pretty par for the course I'd say.

What's that I spot in the corner of my eye? 2015 Donruss? Hmm...