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Group Break entries are now closed, the boxes have been ordered and secondary teams have been randomized. Follow THIS LINK for final team assignments.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2009 Elite Extra Edition Austin Kirk Autograph /599

Every Wednesday home game, the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association of Independent Baseball have a post-game autograph party where the entire team signs for the fans. Of course, I am always up for this, and I try and pick up some cards of the few players who have had one issued. In some cases, like this Austin Kirk card, the player also had a certified autograph card, as well.

This one is from 2009 Elite Extra Edition, and has Kirk listed as a member of the Chicago Cubs organization.He was drafted by the team in 2009 and spent the last few years bouncing between the Cubs' A and AA affiliates. Kirk was released by the Cubs this past April, and soon after, signed with the Redhawks. So far this season, he is going 1-4 with an 8.36 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 6 games started.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Three Packs of 2015 Diamond Kings

So, yeah, I just looked at my post history and realized I haven't put anything up in about 3 months. Yikes! I would say I haven't bought a whole lot in a while, which is kind of true, but I could always come up with something to write. Maybe I've just gotten lazy. Who knows.

Anyway, here I am, and while I haven't been buying a whole lot as of late, I did make a stop by my LCS last week and picked up a few packs of a product that kind of intrigued me: 2015 Panini Diamond Kings. 

I've always liked the Diamond Kings cards, back from when they were simply card #s 1-26 in each year's Donruss set, so strictly for nostalgia's sake, I had to at leas get myself a sample. Here's the accumulation of my three packs.

Veterans: Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Adam Jones, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Garrett Richards, Jose Fernandez

Rookies: Jorge Soler, Matt Barnes, Buck Farmer, Gary Brown, Steven Moya, Dalton Pompey, Anthony Ranaudo

Retired: Roger Maris, Lefty Gomez, Lloyd Waner, Sam Crawford, Nellie Fox, Elston Howard, Paul Waner

Parallel: Framed Bobby Murcer

Insert: Jimmie Foxx HOF Sluggers

Hit: Hunter Harvey Mini Jersey 10/99

Not bad for just three packs. The cards all look great, even for an unlicensed product. I do think that the painted pictures for each player somehow make the logo-less uniforms much less awkward. Really, this is the first 2015 baseball product I have purchased apart from buying into a case break of Heritage, but I think I may just have to test out the waters on this one a bit more.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2014-15 SPX Box Break

I really haven't been getting too much into cards this year. First of all, I've been focusing more on my autographed memorabilia collection, which I am chronicling on Not Pulled From Packs. Secondly, I was mostly a Panini guy up until they lost their NHL and NHLPA license, and I just haven't been as excited tis year with many of my favorite brands now off the market. Still, I have been picking up the occasional box, just to get used to An Upper-Deck-only card market, and most recently purchased 2014-15 SPX.

This brand is actually one of the Upper Deck brands I've picked up pretty consistently the past few years. I find that their base cards have a really cool design, the inserts are great, and you typically get some pretty cool hits.

Here's what this year's box got me:

Base Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury
Typically, if I pull a Penguin, it's usually one of "Flower." Luckily, I am a fan of his, so all is good.

SPX Finite Rookies: Adam Clendening
These actually come individually wrapped as a box-topper. Clendening is now playing for the Vancouver Canucks, and has 1 goal and 3 assists for the year.

SPX Retro: Sidney Crosby, Carey Price, Blake Wheeler, Ty Rattie
These are all throwbacks to the 1997-98 SPX cards, complete with die-cuts and holograms, and look! I got a Crosby!

SPX Rookies Andrew Agozzino, Sam Carrick, Anton Forsberg, Oscar Klefbom
Most of the top rookies from this set come complete with autographs and jersey pieces, but these are a few who did not get the full treatment.

Evgeny Kuznetsov Rookie Inagural Materials
A white jersey swatch from the Capitals young center who is making quite an impact in his rookie season. So far, Kuznetsov has notched 10 goals and 21 assists in 72 games.

Seth Griffith Rookie Inaugural Materials Patch 51/99
Griffith may not have the same first year stats as Kuznetsov, but man, is that a great looking patch. You don't always get good pieces, especially with a relatively small window, but all three Bruins colors are clearly visible, making this quite a fantastic card.

Doug Harvey Winning Materials Dual Stick
A dual-relic card of a Hockey Hall-of-Famer. Both pieces are plain wood, but at least there are some differences in them, which makes it extra cool. 

Darnell Nurse Rookies 279/399
These are the typical rookie cards that are guaranteed one-per-box. each one contains an autograph, plus a large piece of fabric. They are great-looking cards, and I managed to pull a good one with Nurse. Despite not buying a whole lot of hockey cards this year, this is my second card of his I pulled, the first being a jersey card from SP Game Used.

I was definitely glad I purchased this box. The cards all look great, and although there wasn't anything earth-shattering, I ended up with some pretty decent hits. It's a product that's definitely worth a try.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2014-15 ITG Leaf Metal Box Break

I'm really not a prospector when it comes to my hockey card collecting, but I decided to roll the dice on a box of 2014-15 Leaf Metal. The product is an all-autograph set, and primarily features players from the CHL, including the NHL's next big rookie, Connor McDavid, who is projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. There are also a few autographs from current and retired NHL stars as well, and most five-card boxes seem to have a collation of 4 CHLers and one NHLer.

There are also plenty of parallels, but each one is pretty rare, as the highest numbered parallel is /25. Depending on where you live, there are USA and Canada Editions, with each having a parallel with a background representing that country.

Here are the cards that I pulled.

Ryan Kubic Base

Anthony Beauvillier Blue 12/25

Brendan Guhle Purple 3/15

Jeremy Roy Star is Born Die-Cut 14/25

Ray Bourque Canadian Pride Blue 3/10

Of course, the star of this box was the autographed Ray Bourque, numbered just to 10!!! Still, the others were pretty decent, too. Of the prospects, Beauvillier seems to have the biggest upside, scoring 42 goals and 52 assists this season for the Shawnigan Cataractes. It's always tough to tell this early, though, so only time will tell if any of the four are successful at the NHL level. Even if they are not, I still was able to walk away with an autographed card of an NHL hall-of-famer.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Topps Redemption Redeemed: 2014 Triple Threads Mike Olt Future Phenom Sepia Parallel /75

I'm a bit more patient than most when it comes to the idea of redemption cards, so it wasn't a huge issue for me to purchase a redemption for a sepia parallel of Mike Olt's Future Phenom autographed triple relic card from 2014 Triple Threads.  It took about two months to get it in hand, but at last it has arrived, and here it is with an autograph, three jersey swatches, and is numbered 19/75.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top 10 Pack Pulls of 2015

Here's a running tab of the top 10 cards I have been lucky enough to pull from packs during the 2015 calendar year.

Updated: 1/28/15

5. 2014-15 SP Game Used Mark Visentin Rookies Jersey /499

4. 2014-15 SP Game Used Darnell Nurse Rookies Jersey /499

3. 2014-15 SP Game Used Duncan Keith Stadium Series Jersey

2. 2014-15 SP Game Used Pekka Rinne Patch /50

1. 2014-15 SP Game Used Aaron Ekblad Draft Day Marks Autographed Patch /35

Monday, January 26, 2015

2014-15 SP Game Used Box Break

Admittedly, my card-buying has been rare as of late. Upper Deck is now the only hockey card on the market, so I haven't been flooded with Panini releases, and they seem to save their biggest products for the second half of the season, so there hasn't been a whole lot that I have gotten excited about.

One product that I was looking forward to, however, was SP Game Used. This year, Upper Deck completely re-tooled the brand, taking it from a regular base set brand with a few hits, to a hits-only product. Every single card is either a memorabilia card, an autographed card, or a "base" card that is serial numbered to a player's jersey number.

Each box contains one pack of five cards, with one of those five guaranteed to be autographed. Here's what my box got me.

Mark Visentin Rookies 2-Color Jersey  53/499
Visentin was the first round draft pick (27th overall) of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010. The team appears to be giving him time to develop, as he has only made it up to the NHL for one game, which came during the 2013-14 season. He had been playing for the Portland Pirates of the AHL, but is now out for the season following ankle surgery.

Darnell Nurse Rookies jersey 288/499
Nurse is one of the big rookies in this year's product, having been selected seventh overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He also has an athletic pedigree, being the son of former CFL wide receiver Richard Nurse and a nephew of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb. He played in 2 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers at the beginning of the 2014-15 season, but was sent back to the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for another year of conditioning.

Duncan Keith Stadium Series Jersey
The cool thing with these Stadium Series cards is that the swatches were cut from the actual jerseys worn during the Stadium Series games. This one comes from Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who played against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Stadium Series game held at Chicago's Soldier Field. Keith went scoreless in the 5-1 Blackhawks win, but did get 4 PIMs.

Pekka Rinne Patch 20/50
Rinne may have been a late draft pick in 2004 (258th overall), but over the past decade, he has developed into one of the game's top goaltenders, being named a finalist for the Vaezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top goaltender, in 2011 and 2012. Rinne is having his best season yet in 2014-15, compiling a staggering record of 29-6-2, with a 1.96 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.

Aaron Ekblad Draft Day Marks autographed patch 1/35
So, far, this is only my second hobby box purchase of 2014-15, and already I pull an autograph of the year's top draft pick! The Florida Panthers picked him first overall this year, and already, Ekblad is making a name for himself. In 44 games, he has totaled 6 goals and 19 assists, for 25 points, putting him tied for fourth in scoring among rookies.

This product is definitely a risk, I will say. I did pretty well on my box, but I've also seen plenty of boxes with four plain jersey swatches and an autograph of some lower-level rookie. Still, with all the risk, there are plenty of great cards to be had, and I was lucky enough to pull one of them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

From Santa Claus: A Box of 2012-13 Rookie Anthology

I know it has been a while since I have posted on here, but a lot of that has to do with the attention I have been giving my autographed memorabilia collection, which is written about on Not Pulled From Packs. I also spent Cristmas driving from Moorhead, MN to Houston, TX with my wife and three girls (ages 6, 3, and 3 months), so my attention (and money) has been focused elsewhere.

Still, I do like to pick up some cards every now and then, and received an assist under the Christmas tree from "Santa Claus" in the form of a hobby box of 2012-13 Rookie Anthology that he may or may not have found at my LCS for a discounted price.

Anyway, I've opened up plenty of boxes of this in the past, so I'll save you the full narrative of what comes in Rookie anthology and get right to it.

I'm not sure if there's a point to posting base cards, as I've pulled each Penguin multiple times, but this box gave me Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Sutter from my favorite team.

My bonus pack of Prizm gave me a Jarome Iginla, which is kind of a Penguin card, as well as a Torey Krug rookie and a Riley Sheahan rookie refractor.

I got mostly the same garden-variety inserts that I had in the past, with one exception, the Wendel Clark Intensity card, numbered 155/500. It's a great looking card, printed on acetate, and gives a close-up view of a player's face as he eyes down his opponent. It isn't the most rare of cards, but for some reason, I don't think I've ever pulled one.

The first of my hits is a Cameron Gaunce Titanium Metallic Marks Bronze card, which I'm pretty sure was a sticker dump. Gaunce played for the Colorado Avalanche for 11 games in 2010-11, and didn't get back to the NHL until 2013-14, when he played 9 games for the Dallas Stars.

Speaking of Titanium, I also pulled a Roberto Luongo Game-Worn Gear jersey card. I thought that I already had this card, but looking through what I have, I must have traded my old one away, so it's nice to have it again.

This Slava Voynov All the King's Men jersey card may have been cool at one point, but not so much anymore.

The one per-box-guarantee is a Rookie Treasures autographed dual jersey card, and I did pretty good here. I pulled one of Torey Krug, numbered 29/99, featuring two multi-colored patch pieces. Krug payed just 3 NHL games in total between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 NHL regular seasons, but made a name for himself in the 2012-13 playoffs, scoring 4 goals and 2 assists in 15 postseason games.

My last hit of the box is a big one, with this Crown Royale Rookie Silhouette card of Brandon Bollig. The card features a jumbo patch piece behind a cut-out of the player, right above an on-card autograph. Bollig is currently playing for the Calgary Flames, but made his mark in Chicago while he was there, winning the Stanley Cup with the team in 2013.

Overall, this was a pretty good box. There were plenty of great inserts and a total of five hits, including TWO autographed patch cards. Some boxes can be quite risky, but there have been very few boxes of this particular product that have left me disappointed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Trade with 2x3 Heroes

This is a trade with Jeff from 2x3 Heroes that began so long ago, I can't even remember who really initiated it. One of us expressed interest in something, it took a couple weeks to iron out the details. Then, it took something like 3-4 weeks for me to get mine shipped out. Things just got busy and then I was just about to send an apology e-mail to let him know of my delay, only to find that he had already sent me one from his end, which made me feel much better. Anyway, eventually, the deal went through, and I now am happy to add the following cards to my collection.

2013-14 Prime Evgeni Malkin/Alex Ovechkin/Valeri Nichushkin Prime Trios "RUS" 96/100

2013-14 Titanium Eric Hartzell Titanium Reserve

2013-14SP Authentic Brian Dumoulin 1051/1299

2009-10 MVP Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin/Brandon Dubinsky/Marian Gaborik Two On Two

2014-15 Artifacts Marc-Andre Fleury Dual Jersey 55/125

2012-13 Certified Kris Letang
2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Mathieu Garon Foil Parallel
2008-09 Collector's Choice Alex Goligoski
2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Alex Goligoski

The first three were the cards we had actually agreed on in the trade, so those were the only three I was expecting. The last six, including the Crosby/Malkin and Fleury dual jersey were "throw-ins," which was quite a surprise. Seeing those made me wish I had waited just a bit longer to send my end of the trade so that I could have thrown a few extras his way, but don't worry Jeff. I'll be sure to hook you up on our next deal.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Bunch of Cards from Ebay Part 5: Trade Bait and a Texan

To close out this series of posts, we basically have the random singles that are left over, combined with cards I got for the sole purpose of trading.

The one "keeper" of this particular post is this 2008 Ultimate Collection Steve Slaton Ultimate Rookie Big Materials card, numbered 8/40. This piece is pretty different from a lot of what we see nowadays, in that they manage to put fabric on both sides of the card. On the front, there's a really nice three-colored patch piece, and the back contains a white jersey swatch. There was so much card surface taken up by fabric, that Upper Deck actually issued a separate companion card to this that contained all of the fine print and authenticity guarantee.


Lastly, we have all the traders. I won't go into any detail about who the players are, or what made me purchase them. Really, I purchased them because they were between $1-$2 each, and I figured there was a chance that I could trade some of them for cards that would better suit my collection.

2011-12 Ultimate Mark Scheifele Signatures

2011-12 Ultimate Brayden Schenn Signatures

2013 Tribute Brett Lawrie 9/35

2013 Tier One Zack Cozart On the Rise 167/399

2014 Triple Threads Enny Romero21/99

2014 Triple Threads Chris Owings 30/99

2013 Triple Threads Jedd Gyorko

2011 Triple Threads Tommy Hanson 19/99

2011 Triple Threads Justin Masterson 2/99

That's pretty much it for this group of cards. Like I said, most of these are up for trade, so if you see anything you like, be sure to let me know.

Also, if you haven't checked it out already, visit and follow/subscribe to my other blog Not Pulled From Packs. That one focuses on my autographed memorabilia collection, which contains quite a few really cool items, and I have a show coming up at the end of this month that will definitely be adding quite a few more to the collection.