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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.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Trade With Juuust a Bit Outside

Not thinking that the mail would be delivered Dec. 24, I received quite a surprise when I opened up my mailbox to find a padded envelope from Kyle at Juuust a Bit Outside. In exchange for a couple of relic cards, Kyle agreed to knock out a significant chunk off my want list.


The biggest portion of the trade was 2011 Allen & Ginter. The great thing about going after this set, is that so is everyone else, so it's easy to fill your set needs via trade. Kyle killed off about 2/3 of my remaining needs, plus 11 SPs which were a BIG help. I got a couple of cards from the seemingly-impossibe-to-complete Heritage set and the it's-only-a-matter-of-time-before-it's-done 2011 Topps.

Thanks for a great trade Kyle! Getting ready for Christmas with a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old has delayed me a bit in getting your cards out, but I hope to have them in the mail within the next couple of days.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Trade With The Cardboard Don, Or How Marian Hossa is the Biff Tannen to Pittsburgh's George McFly

I just completed my first trade with WickedOrtega from the newly-renamed Cardboard Don. After posting some new cards on my trade bait page, he sent me an e-mail, I found some stuff I liked, and the rest, as they say, is history. Here's the best of what I got.


Now, in the year that I have been actively blogging about the hobby, one (of many) complaints I keep hearing about Upper Deck products (a complaint that I share, BTW) is how in the case of free agent signings or trades, the pictures don't always match up with the team logo on the card. This Marian Hossa, however, takes it one step further, in that THREE teams are represented. Detroit Red Wings logo, Pittsburgh Penguins photo, and Atlanta Thrashers jersey swatches. A pretty cool anomally if you ask me.

As a Penguins fan, here's my take on the whole Marian Hossa thing. If this was in any sport but hockey, this would have been the biggest sports story of the year. Imagine Josh Hamilton's contract being up, and instead of staying with the Rangers, who he just went to the World Series with, he signs a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, because, as he puts it, the Cardinals give him the best chance to win the World Series. Of course, the season goes by, and in the next years World Series the Rangers and Cardinals meet AGAIN, this time with Hamilton on the opposition.

Now, a lot of Penguin fans had a great deal of animosity toward Hossa, and understandably so. This wasn't just a case of the player leaving for more money, in fact, I believe he took a pay cut. To bolt for the very team that defeated you in the finals was a slap in the face. So, the Penguins and Red Wings meet again for the Stanley Cup, and as fate would have it, Pittsburgh won, giving Marian Hossa two Stanley Cup Losses with two different teams. The funny thing was, when Hossa signed the following year with the Chicago Blackhawks, Penguin fans still booed him with the same resentment that they had the year before, which I didn't quite get.

Once Pittsburgh beat Detroit, game over. The story ends. Hossa bolt, thereby insulting the Penguins and their fans, but in the end, Pittsburgh embarasses him, by showing him that he made the WRONG decision. That's it. Continuing to boo him after that was just mean. Take, for example, Back to the Future. Biff Tannen spends most of the movie insulting, berating and humiliating George McFly. Now when McFly gets his revenge at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance and kisses Lorraine Baines, he doesn't continue victimizing Biff. He moves on with his life, because he won. He got the girl. In fact, he even patronizes Biff's auto shop when they are older.

I guess, in the same way, I was actually happy for Hossa when he won the cup with the Chicago Blackhawks. We won the battle. He lost. Let's move on.


Wicked also sent me a Jim Thome bat relic from 2011 Topps Heritage. For one, the heritage relic cards in 2011 look AWESOME. When you are using an old design with a relativel new concept, sometimes they don't always match up, but this year, they worked out perfectly. As somewhat of a Twins fan, it is great that this card features him in a Minnesota uniform. Also, since he just hit homerun number 600, isn't a bat card the type of relic you'd want from this guy?

If anyone isn't reading the Cardboard Don, go check it out. A great blogger and a great trader.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some MAJOR Ebay Wins

Well, I had a pretty good week on ebay. Most of the time, I try pick up some trade bait along with my keepers, but these are all mine. Two orders were placed, and for a RIDICULOUSLY low price, I was able to get my hands on TEN autographed Chicago Cubs cards.

The first order was for an autographed card from 1999 Hillshire Farms Home Run Heroes. There were three cards in the set, all of them autographed. Banks was joined by Frank Robinson and Harmon Killebrew. The interesting thing behind this, was that I didn't even win the auction. I placed the opening bid of $5 with one day left. I wasn't able to get online as the auction was closing, and I lost, with it ending at somewhere around $12. One day later, I received a second-chance offer to purchase the item for my $5 bid, plus $2 for shipping. SEVEN DOLLARS!!! ERNIE BANKS!!! ON-CARD AUTO!!!

SOLD!!!


The next auction was for a 9-card lot of autographed Cubs cards. Most of these kinds of auctions are just for scrubs that can't be sold on their own, but there were quite a few good ones in here. Like the Banks, I placed the opening bid. It was set at $9.99 plus $4 shipping, so I place an $11 max, to even the total at $15. After the auction ended, that proved to be a wise decidion, as it closed right at $11 + $4. Here's what I got:


2008 Triple Threads Auto/Triple Jersey Carlos Marmol 65/75
2007 Exquisite Rookie Signatures Auto Carlos Zambrano 12/15
2005 Cracker Jack Auto Angel Guzman


2011 Topps Finest Auto Andrew Cashner
2011 Gypsy Queen Auto Andrew Cashner
2011 Topps Auto Carlos Pena
2010 Bowman Auto D.J. LeMahieu
2009 O-Pee-Chee Auto Sean Marshall
2011Topps Auto Marlon Byrd

The two big ones, obviously, are the triple relic of their closer, Carlos Marmol, and an incredibly low serial-numbered (/15) card of their talented, albeit insane, pitcher, Carlos Zambrano. Just those two would be worth that 15 bucks. Everything else, I see as a bonus. Also, I think I'm the LAST person to acquire that Andrew Cashner Gypsy Queen auto. Not sure what took me so long.

So, 10 autos, including one hall-of-famer, acquired for a grand total of.......

22 DOLLARS!!!!!

Not bad at all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trade With Nomo's Sushi Platter

After inquiring about a Shawn Green dual relic that I had, Spiegel, who runs the Nomo's Sushi Platter blog, and I worked out a trade. Here's the best of what I got.


I will always welcome a good Kerry Wood relic, such as this one from 2004 Fleer Tradition. What I really like about it is that not only is the pinstripe vertical, like any pinstriped swatch should be, but it is placed directly in the center of the circle.


He also sent a few set needs from 2011's Allen & Ginter, Gypsy Queen, and Heritage. The one thing this made me realize is, how did I not already have a Starlin Castro card from Allen & Ginter?


And then, of course, the team stack, full of Cicago Cubs cards from various years.

Thanks for a great trade, Spiegel. Your package will ship out over the next couple of days.

Blogger of the Year Nominations at Jaybarkerfan's Junk

The Jaybarkerfan's Junk blog is taking nominations for blogger of the year. Not only will he be recognizing the winning bloger, but the person who nominates the winner will also be eligible for prizes. Go check out his blog, and voice your opinion on who you have really enjoyed reading in 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Trip to the LCS

With my mom in town visiting, that meant the wife and I had a night out on the town with free babysitting. Still needing to get a little Christmas shopping done, we headed to the mall, which meant that my wife was going store-to-store, while I spent an hour and a half, at my local card shop, Big Nick's Sports Cards. I usually hit up their "5-for-$15" auto/relic box, and this day was no exception. As an added bonus, the guy who runs the store let me get an extra card for my 15 bucks. Here's what I got:

2010 ITG Decades: 1980s - Brad Park autograph

2010-2011 SP Authentic Eric Tangradi Autograph 52/999

2002-2003 UD Authentics Eddie Griffin Autograph

2001-2002 Fleer Force Steve Francis Jersey 39/200

2009-2010 SP Game Used Yao Ming/Andrea Bargnani Dual Jersey 73/499

2008 Donruss Sports Legends Bela Karolyi Memorabilia 163/250

I usually get a satisfactory pull out of these, but the fact that three out of six were autographs, all on-card, was extra cool. The memorabilia cards were all cool in their own right. The Stevie Franchise appears to be a swatch of the elastic material from either the neckline or armholes, the dual relic is of a potential future hall-of-famer, and how could you turn away a Karolyi relic? Back when I was writing for a newspaper down in Huntsville, Texas, I interviewed him at the opening of his new training center, and he is EVERY bit the character you would expect him to be.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Card Draft Goods From Tomahawk Chopping

Derek over at Tomahawk Chopping held a card draft a few weeks back, which gave me a great chance to get some pretty cool cards to add to my collection. I got a couple of hits, a couple of Rynos and all sorts of assorted Cubs.


The two Sandbergs is actually what convinced me to sign up for this draft. I got the Joe Benson from the auto round and the Hank Greenberg from the relic round, and that framed Josh Hamilton is just a sweet looking card.

Topps Finest is a great looking set, but man, these cards are just as warped as 2010 Topps Chrome ever was.


Speaking of Topps Chrome, I picked up quite a few refractors, and a Josh Hamilton card that pays tribute to a Topps set from WAAAAAAAAAY back when.


Some Bowman, which is good, because this way I don't have to waste spend any money on packs.


Bowman Platinum is a nice looking set, but this shows why I actually like serial numbers on parallels. Three different colors and I have no idea which is more rare than the others. In fact, I don't even know what the BASE cards are. Oh well.


Some cool-looking Topps parallels and a few Topps 60 inserts. I still like the diamond parallel set, too.


I absolutely love these Masterpieces framed parallels. Not only do they look great, but a lot of the vintage players are depicted in their milestone moments.

If anyone hasn't participated in a card draft like this, go ahead and give it a shot. It's a fantastic way to get some interesting cards at a pretty low price.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

(Contest) Pimpin' Ain't Easy - Diamond King

Hey everyone, go check out a seven-part contest over at the Diamond King. Seven prizes will be given out, and each one of them is pretty sick. Each person can only choose one to enter in, so choose wisely.

Trade with The Daily Dimwit

After deliberating on whether or not to part with a really cool-looking Craig Biggio patch card, I went ahead and shipped it over to Sam at the Daily Dimwit along with a few other Astros and set needs. In return, I got a card that is not one of the coolest in my entire collection, a 2011 Bowman Platinum auto/jersey of Starlin Castro.


In addition to a considerable chunk of my set needs, Sam also sent some cool-looking Chrome Cubs, plus a Marlon Byrd relic.


In addition to the cards Sam traded me, I also picked up a couple of Castros off of ebay. The Tier One card is the /199 parallel and the Chrome came from, I think, a 2010 Topps Chrome Value Pack.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

(Card Draft) Pimpin Ain't Easy - Cardboard Heaven

Hey, everyone. Cameron, over at Cardboard Heaven is a big Ryan Braun fan. With today's PED revelations, he is no doubt, a very sad collector. One way we can make him a happier guy is by participating in his card draft. For $15, there will be 26 rounds of relics, autos, inserts, and whatever else he feels like including. All proceeds will be put towards the purchase of a ticket to the Rose Bowl to root on his Oregon Ducks. So go visit his website, sign up, and at least give him SOMETHING to smile at, at this dark day for all Braun fans.

Monday, December 5, 2011

JaybarkerFan's Draft Party Goods

To celebrate his 100th blog post, Jaybarkerfan, who runs the blog Jaybarkerfan's Junk, held a really cool draft. Ten fellow bloggers were chosen from a number of entries, and 12 (I think) round took place, with themes ranging from things like baseball or football, to wacky or non-sports rounds. In addition to the cards, I received an unopened copy of Ocean's 12 on DVD and a well-used Tampa Bay Lightning hockey pucks. Here's the cards I got:


I was pleasantly suprised at how many wrestling cards there were in the draft, which, of course, I snatched right up. There was also a tough-to-find 2006 Allen & Ginter shortprint. Nothing wrong with a Jim Thome minor league card either.


There were also a few hits, too. My favorite HAS to be that gigantic swatch of Kurt Angle. Not only does the swatch have some of the print on it, but the picture depicted shows Angle wearing that very shirt. Also, that Jessica Alba card has to be the SMALLEST piece of memorabilia I've ever seen on a card. The Karl "Snow Goose" Mecklenburg auto is pretty sweet, too.

A pretty cool haul, if I say so. Go check out Jaybarkerfan's blog.

Group Break Haul From My Cardboard Mistress

Spankee, who runs My Cardboard Mistress, recently held a different kind of group break. From what I understood, there were a whole lot of packs and blasters he opened, hoping to find a few set needs, but had little to no use for the rest. He ran the break similar to the way most go, but based the pricing of the teams on that team's salary. So, naturally, the Yankees were the priciest, and teams like the Royals were cheapest. I picked up the Cubs, and while I didn't receive any hits out of the break, I was VERY happy with the manilla envelope I found in my mailbox.


The Bowman Chrome card is a really cool-looking die-cut and the rest are all serial numbered. The Finest Mickey Morandini is numbered 43/100, the top Soriano 575/699 and the one beneath it 13/149, the Derrek Lee/Prince Fielder is 7/149, and the Soriano beneath that one is 28/699.


I also liked these. Two really cool Kerry Wood Topps Finest cards and a Bowman Chrome Darwin Barney rookie. The Rogers Hornsby shows what I liked about Gypsy Queen. It took a lot of older players and put them in uniforms we never really seen them in, since it may have just been a year or two at the ends of their careers. I hadn't seen the Propaganda cards from 2009 Topps before getting that Soriano, but I really like that concept.

There were TONS of other cards included along with these, but the ones pictured here are my favorites. It was quite a good haul with this break.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Topps Diamond Die Cut Experiment Part 2

Okay, everybody, after being successful in my quest to turn a common (in this instance, D-Backs 2B Kelly Johnson) from the 2011 Topps Diamond Die Cut set into a Josh Hamilton from the same set, I decided to see exactly how far I could take it. While the Great Ham-bino was the ultimate goal of round 1, I feel as though I could have gone further.

So begins round two. I'll be pushing my bartering and haggling skills to their fullest extent, as I try to turn a common die cut into a rare black diamond die cut card. I don't have a particular player in mind, although in a perfect world, it would be Hamilton, Ernie Banks, or Starlin Castro.

To start things off, I needed to get me my die cut. I had a 1968 common and a 1969 common that I was more than willing to part with, so I put out a bunch of offers (160, to be exact) of each of those cards for any die cut that I figured someone actually might part with. After five days of no responses, I put the '68 and '69 together and offered the pair up. I hadn't even gotten through the Arizona Diamondbacks, when an offer was accepted for, you guessed it...


The great thing about this, is that I get to start from the EXACT same point as I did in the first round. The last one took me just a week. This one, I'm sure, will take me MUCH longer.

GAME ON!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Trade Bait Updated, Plus A Few Items on Ebay

Real quick everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I have updated my trade bait page, which can be found here. If you see anything you like, just let me know and we'll see what we can work out.



Also, I have a few cards posted on my ebay page. There are a few cards that I don't really want to get rid of, but bottom line, with the move we just went through, combined with the fact that I don't have a job yet, I need the money. So if anyone has a few bucks set aside or some spare Paypal, go check it out.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Maybe I Shouldn't Have Sold This Card

A couple of months ago, I decided to clean out my useless autos and relics, hoping to earn some Paypal, with which to purchase some cards that I actually want. One of those cards was a David DeJesus autograph from Gypsy Queen. Got me a whole $1.04 for the card, and though nothing more of it.




Sure enough, DeJesus just signed a two-year deal with the Cubs. He is projected to be the starting rightfielder, taking over for Kosuke Fukudome, who departed the team at the 2011 trade deadline. 

New Cubs president Theo Epstein, who pursued DeJesus at the 2010 trade deadline said in a MLB.com article that while DeJesus might not have the statistical numbers that make him stand out, what he does have is a completely well-rounded style of play.


"You can't necessarily point to anything with David and say, 'Hey this guy is going to hit you 30 home runs,' because he's not. You can't say he's going to hit .320, because outside of one year, he's not going to do that either. He's not going to steal you 40 bags. But I like players whose contribution is consistent across the board. They help you defensively, they can swing the bat, they have good consistent at-bats, they run the bases well. The totality of their contribution can be equal to or more than the player who does one thing extremely well. If we have a club full of well-rounded players, we'll far exceed the expectations, because those subtle contributions really add up."

While this signing won't blow anything out of the water, and might be passed on by everybody, I see it as the first step in the Theo Epstein regime. I'm not sure what other Cub fans feel about Theo, but the bottom line is, he has a record of winning. He took a team that hadn't won the World Series in, I think, 86 years, and turned them into two-time champs and perennial contenders.

While the DeJesus signing doesn't mean we get considerably better as a team, it is the first step in what I hope to be the right direction.

Now we just have to get Pujols.

Topps Diamond Die Cut Experiment: How to Trade Kelly Johnson for Josh Hamilton

A week ago, I set out to see if I could get a 2011 Topps Diamond Die Cut card of my favorite player, Josh Hamilton, using nothing more than the commonest of commons, Kelly Johnson, from that same set. I had a few other cards in my online collection, but just to see if I could do it, I was limiting myself to one-on one trades. Here's how I did it.


Kelly Johnson for Aaron Hill
Aaron Hill for Martin Prado
Martin Prado for Fransisco Liriano
Fransisco Liriano for Brandon Morrow
Brandon Morrow for Colby Rasmus
Colby Rasmus for Aramis Ramirez
Aramis Ramirez for Alexei Ramirez
Alexei Ramirez for Tyler Colvin
Tyler Colvin for Grady Sizemore
Grady Sizemore for Matt Holliday
Matt Holliday for Jose Reyes
Jose Reyes for Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano for Josh Hamilton



I knew, once I got the Matt Holliday, that it was just a matter of time. If I could just keep it withing stars on big-market teams, I knew there would be enough demand for guys like him, that I could quickly move my way up.

With the success that experiment brought, I think my next one will be to try and transform a die cut common into a black diamond die cut. The die cuts I have are all keepers. I finally have the full Cubs set, plus Hamilton, plus 53 other cards beginning in 1961. I'm sure I can pool a couple together for a Brett Anderson or a Danny Valencia. I'll let you all know as soon as round 2 begins.