Thursday, May 5, 2016

An excellent run of regionals

Back in February I managed to pick-up a 1995 Oh Henry! Blue Jays team set. To say the least, this was a coup, because that set has been hard as hell to locate, and I found it because I had nothing better to do than search many pages deep into some Google results. Just typing that reinforces how crazy good Google is, that I, and most people, probably don't often venture 2 or 3 pages deep looking for results.

Anyway, picking up the 1995 Carter, left me one short of what I would consider an excellent run of regionals. Specifically, I'm talking about the 1996 Oh Henry! Joe Carter card. Late last year, a 1996 set showed up on eBay but somebody binned it before I ever saw the auction. Earlier this year, another set showed up on eBay, but it too was spoken for before I had time to pull the trigger. But, it seems, luck was on my side. A few weeks ago, Seth posted a comment on the blog about having a 1996 Oh Henry set for sale ... we exchanged a couple emails, a deal was reached, and pow, just like that, a 1996 set lands in my mailbox. No late night Google searches, no hard fought eBay auctions, none of that. Just some cordial email, a transaction and poof!

So here, for your viewing pleasure, running down the right side of this post, I've got a run of Carter cards that I'm pretty thrilled about.

The first three cards are from the 1991, 1992 and 1993 "fire safety sets". Team issues that were produced by the Ontario Association of Fire Chief's. As a kid we always believed these sets were handed out at fire stations around Ontario, but I have no proof of that, in fact. Often they were produced as a joint effort with the Blue Jays and some other company, such as the Toronto Sun newspaper, Becker's variety store, etc.

If you've been around this blog long enough, you'll know that I love these fire safety sets. They are often very low quality cards, but they are everything a regional should be...unique photos, obscure players, questionable design choices, tough to get your hands on, etc.

In 1994 things changed. I have no idea why, but the Ontario Association of Fire Chief's stopped producing these sets, and Oh Henry! got involved. And they became SGAs at select Blue Jays games. If I was a more dedicated blogger, I'd have taken the time to nail down the exact dates as part of this blog post -- that'd be interesting to know right? Spoiler alert -- I'm a terrible blogger, so we're all going to be left guessing!

Given what happened in 1994 with the baseball stike, and the subsequent decline in baseball attendance until 1999 when Sosa and McGwire were making headlines, you can well imagine how tough these Oh Henry issues are to track down.

Persistence and dumb luck has paid off, though. The last 4 cards in this run -- 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 -- are all Oh Henry issues given out at stadiums. The 1997 sets are actually quite easy to locate, it's the earlier three that are tough. I picked them up in year order, but I'm not sure which I would say is actually more difficult. I guess I don't have to worry about it now ;)

From 1994-2001, these sets continued to be distributed as a joint effort with Oh Henry, and they were all given out at Blue Jays games. The 1997, 1998 and 1999 sets can be found on eBay with relative ease, with 1997 probably being the more difficult of the three. And then there's the 2000 and 2001 sets. I've collected Jays cards for years, and I can think of maybe 2 instances where I've seen these sets for sale in their entirety (and that was in the past month). I no longer collect Blue Jays cards, but almost bought those two sets just on principle.

The Blue Jays did one final SGA team set in 2002 before taking a 10 or so year hiatus from producing/distributing these sets. That set, to be honest, is probably my favourite. It doesn't contain Joe Carter as his Blue Jays days were long over by then, but it is my favourite design of all of the sets, and it's at least as difficult as the 2000 and 2001 sets. I've only ever seen it for sale once and I bought it (and still have it, I think).

Anyway, there you have it -- 7 years of what I consider to be a very awesome "subset" within the Joe Carter collection.

On a side note, you may also notice that in addition to removing the 1996 Oh Henry! card from my 'Level of Excellence', I also eliminated the 1994 UD Collector's Choice gold card. I already had this card once for my set, but wanted a second for my player collection and picked it up off of eBay last week.

The remaining 5 cards on that list will probably still be there next year, but I can't complain having knocked out the other 5 in the first 5 months of the year.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Is there such thing as an in-card auto?

When it comes to blogging, I am full of excuses. Family commitments, work commitments, the weather is too nice outside, the bad weather has knocked out my power or internet, baseball season has started...and yet, I enjoy blogging. There just aren't enough hours in the day, it seems.

There are bloggers out there, however, whose commitment to blogging (and quality blogging at that), is impressive. I'm sure they could teach me a few things about time management, but then I'd have one less excuse ;)

Matt, over at bobwalktheplank.blogspot.ca, is one of those guys. You know the guy. He balances having a family, working, being a baseball fan AND being a WVU sports fan with blogging about cards and the occasional (and welcome) post about his beer exploits. And somehow, amidst all of these commitments he has time to mail kick-ass card packages to fellow collectors.

Last week, I was on the receiving end of just such kick-ass generosity. Actually, last week was epic in terms of card-collecting. I had a bunch of Zistle trades going on, and received 5 back last week, so in 5 days,  I actually received 6 trade packages!

Today, though, let's focus on this beauty. It's from the 2003 Fleer Rookies and Greats set. That much I know. Which exact subset, to be honest, I'm not sure. And not for lack of looking. What's throwing me is that it's got the 'UNCOMMON' back but has no serial number. So that's my first question. What sub-set is this? And what is the obvious 'tell' that I'm missing?

The next part focuses on this autograph. As I've said in the past, I'm a huge fan of the relic/auto combo cards. This card is no different -- it's awesome! What I find most intriguing here, is the autograph. It's not on a sticker (I get why card companies do that, it's very practical, but it takes a bit of the fun out of the autograph if you ask me), but it's not exactly on the card either.

My scans don't capture this, but the top layer of this card is basically 'cut-out', and it appears Joe's autograph is actually on that thick white stock that sits between the front and back layers of the card.

So my next question -- is there such thing as an 'in-card' auto?

No matter the answer, I'm pumped to add this card to my Joe Carter collection.

Thanks again Matt!

And thanks for reading.

Richard.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Justice has been served. Finally.

See what I did right there? The real reason I'm so far behind on trade posts is that it requires a great deal of effort to come up with such witty titles for my posts.

But seriously, this one is long overdue. In an earlier post, I mentioned that Mike, from Not Another Baseball Card Blog, hooked me up with some 1994 Collector's Choice for my set. I broke that into two posts, this being the second part of that.

To recap: He sent me a series 1 base card of John Kruk. After a couple of trades and busting a couple boxes (a Series 1 jumbo and a Series 1 wax), that card was the only one missing to complete my Series 1 base set. I'm still surprised, and thrilled, by that.

So now, to round out the trade package, here's some of the highlights of the nearly two-dozen series 2 cards he sent. On top of the pile was this David Justice checklist card. I love what Upper Deck did with the checklists in this set. I love the style of the artwork (kinda reminds me of those paint-by-number things), the choice of colours and players, and I actually like that Series 1 ends with the Series 1 checklists and Series 2 starts with the Series 2 checklists. There are 12 total checklists in that subset (5 in Series 1 and 7 in Series 2), and they're all awesome. Equally cool is that the same artwork is used on the actual card packs, with I think, one exception. In Series 2 there are packs that feature Joe Carter, but he is not represented as a checklist. Given Griffey's relationship with Upper Deck, if anyone was going to get 2 checklists in this subset it should be him, but given how Carter ended 1993 combined with my obvious Carter-bias, I kinda feel like maybe his pack could have also been a card, but I'm not gonna dwell on it. Too much ;)

The next card that jumps out of the stack is that of Kirk Gibson. And not because of his 1988 World Series home run, but because of the absolutely ridiculous photo. And while I'm talking about the photo on the front, the one on the back is equally ridiculous. And by ridiculous, I mean hilarious.

Next up, more recognizable names of the 1990s. The truth is, I could have scanned nearly every card in the stack and if you were collecting between 1985-1995 you'd know these guys almost immediately. A couple guys not making the cut include Walt Weiss, Trevor Hoffman and Cecil Fielder, for example. But onto guys that *did* make the cut.

We've got Albert Belle, whose captured here grimacing toothily. That's a word, right? Maybe it's toothly. Either way, you have to believe he's watching a long foul ball here knowing his *just* missed mashing another home run. He's probably mostly remembered for corked bats and umpire locker rooms, but in 12 seasons he mashed 381 home runs. That's a productive career.

Next up, we've got Kent Hrbek. As a kid, I really only knew this guy because I remembered his odd last name. That is the honest truth. I knew he was a 1B for the Twins, and he had an odd last name. Upon reading about him now, I didn't realize he was a native of the Gopher state and a career Twin. Now, thanks to Mike, Kent is more than just a funny last name ;)


Rounding out this post, we've got Jack McDowell. Remember this guy? I do. I remember the Jays facing him and the White Sox in the 1993 ALCS, the year he won the Cy Young Award and was an all-star. He's featured on 3 cards in the 1994 Collector's Choice set, the other two being commemorative of him being a "Wins Leader" and having won the aforementioned Cy Young. And I seem to remember this guy being super tough to face in Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball. Just typing that makes me want to bust out a Super Nintendo and play that game. Too bad both the game and console are long gone. Man that game was great. Just like this trade package. Thanks again Mike!

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The ultimate odd ball

Like many of the bloggers out there, I'm not as young as I used to be. I've been in and out of the hobby since I was a kid, and have collected many different cards many different ways. So seeing odd ball or regional cards is nothing new. If you're a team collector that lives in the region of your team, there is almost no limit to the stuff you'll see. Just off the top of my head I can think of those awesome Fire Safety issues, numerous food issues (Post, Kraft, Dempster's, Maxwell's House) and restaurant issues (McDonald's, Denny's) before getting into stadium giveaways and licensed/collector issues.

As a player collector, depending on the player, I guess, you get to look across regions. This, for me, is a lot of fun, because now different foods, restaurants, etc enter the mix. I love the fact that with Joe Carter, I am looking for regional issues from the Cubs, Padres and Indians, in addition to the Blue Jays -- and that's just because that's what I know about. I'm not even aware of any regional issues that show Joe with the Orioles or Giants.

And the truth is, in most cases, I know what I'm looking for. I mean, sure there is an issue here or there, or a variation I don't know about. Actually, there are dozens of variations I don't know about, but many of the issues are on checklists if you go about this methodically (which I don't -- I go from memory a lot and end up with duplicates now and again as a result).

But every now and again, something like this beauty appears on your radar. For my money, this card defines odd ball. I've never seen it before, never heard of it, and don't even know where to begin with trying to find it on a checklist like Beckett or in the Standard Catalog. This is the kind of card that makes it into your collection without ever even being a consideration on your wantlist.

And for the minimum bid of $2.99 from a local seller, there was no way I was passing this up.

Check this out! Without even looking at the back it's obvious that this was printed by a photography studio. The feel of the stock screams photo. There is an odd, almost powder-coat like texture on the blue parts of this photo on the front, and based on that banner, one has to assume this was used as advertising during the 1991 All-Star game hosted at Skydome.

On the back we have what is very clearly a sticker. It is advertising 'High Five Photography', 'Legends of the Game' and 'Rewards by Design'. To be honest, I have never heard of 'High Five Photography' or 'Rewards by Design', but 'Legends of the Game' is a sports cards and memorabilia shop in Toronto. I haven't been there in probably 7-8 years, but that address on Google Maps/Streetview suggests they are still in operation. Too bad the internet wasn't invented sooner so that they could advertise a web site on there...otherwise I have to phone them and risk talking to a real person ;)

In all seriousness, it might be fun to travel down there one day and check them out. It'd actually be interesting to take this card with me and see what they have to say about it. I wonder how it was distributed, if they printed other players, or different years/series. It might be interesting to see their reaction to even seeing this card again, or what they'd think of the idea that I bought it on eBay.

Now that I've typed that, it almost feels like I *have* to go on just such an adventure.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Finding whales isn't supposed to be this easy

To say the least, 2016 is off to a good start. On the last day of January, I managed to pickup a very obscure 2003 Canadian HoF Induction card of Joe Carter, and then part-way through February I managed to snag a 1995 Oh Henry! Joe Carter. Given my odds-defying success rate, it would only make sense that March be a total dryspell right?

Wrong. Because look what arrived in my mailbox the first Friday of March, via a trade with Chris over at a-blog-to-be-named-later.blogspot.ca. Yessir, that is a 1990 Leaf Preview Joe Carter. And the crazy thing is that this isn't even the only thing he sent.

Joining 1990 Leaf Preview Joe on the trek North is this sweet Panini Immactulate Joe Carter numbered /25. I really like the colours in this card, and it's a fairly clean signature, too. I've been conditioned by reading other blogs to look at Panini cards and wonder about this missing logos. In this case, it's not a distraction, actually. The photo is the type you'd expect on a Joe Carter card, so there was minimal airbrushing required, I suppose. Anyway, great card.
 
And if you've ever traded with Chris, you know he doesn't cut corners. Well more than 2 Joe Carters were in the package. There are easily 2 dozen print variations that I needed (yes, *needed*), along with a couple "normal" Carters I didn't yet have in my collection, and if that wasn't enough, he included some other odds and ends for my son because of comments I made in this post (more cards he sent). Beyond spectacular.


Honestly, this has been a crazy few months so far. The pace can't continue, but I'm gonna ride it out as long as I can!

Thanks again for the trade, Chris. These are awesome cards to add to the collection!

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Best laid plans

Last night was supposed to be my catch-up night. I have a couple trade posts to finish up, and after busting through a couple wax boxes of Collector's Choice, have to update my Zistle collection to reflect what I have to trade. But this plan quickly came unwound because I checked the mail on the way to my computer.

Last week I bought a lot of 1994 silver signatures. I did it because it cost me less than $6. The pictures made it a bit tough to quantify how many cards were there, and the auction description was a bit vague. But I was confident it wasn't a full set, and for the price, I couldn't turn it up. The auction images showed some HoFers so I knew I was getting some bang for the buck, and figured at best, I might add 2-300 cards to my set. What I didn't expect was what now appears to be a near-set of probably more than 500 cards. Truth is, I haven't even made it all the way through the box yet. I quickly checked and didn't find any Jordan, Jeter or A-Rod cards, which I didn't expect anyway, but what I did get was some Griffey (one of which I won't keep for my set since it's miscut), Piazza, Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and a pile more. There are so many cards here that I watched nearly the entire Pirates/Phillies game on MLB.tv and barely made it half-way through the box. It's still early, but it's very possible that by the time I make it through this box, I'll need fewer cards to complete my silver signature set than I will to complete the base set. Oh, and now that I've started this, I kinda need to finish it to clear off my desk (am on my laptop right now) since that is where my scanner is, and I need it to wrap-up the aforementioned trade posts.

So, my apologies to my fellow bloggers out there, to whom I owe a couple trade posts, but, as I'm sure you can appreciate, you've been bumped by more cards. Best laid plans...

Oh, and if you're a collector of either Lord of the Ring cards, or Upper Deck golf cards, let me know. The seller book-ended the box with both (including a couple unopened packs of golf) to protect the cards, and I have no interest in keeping that stuff, so it's free to a good home, if you just let me know.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Definitely not just another baseball card trade


Mike, the curator of Not Another Baseball Card Blog, only appeared on my radar a few months ago, but since then we've exchanged cards a couple times. He's a Toronto Blue Jays collector (among other interests), which makes finding stuff to send his way really easy for me.

And he wasted no time reaching out when I mentioned my plans to chase the Collector's Choice set. Before even really knowing what cards I'd need, he had everything set aside and ready to go. As it turned out, I needed nearly everything he had for trade -- a bunch of Series 2 stuff, including some silver sigs and a John Kruk from Series 1.

And here's the cool thing: The same day Mike's trade package arrived, so too did a couple of wax boxes I ordered (one from each series). I ripped through Series 1 already, and after all was said and done, I finished my Series 1 base set. I was pretty pumped, as it came right down to the last pack to pick off the last two cards I needed. But guess what card I didn't pull? Not from a Series 1 Jumbo box and not from a Series 1 Wax box. That's right. After 56 packs of Series 1, for a grand total of 832 cards I didn't pull a single Series 1 John Kruk card.

So here's to you, Mike. There was almost two dozen cards in the pack you sent me -- including some awesome stuff (read: Silver sig Cecil Fielder team card, Dave Justice checklist among other big names of the 90s), and they will get their due, but since this card was the linchpin for my Series 1 base card success, I think a single-card post in your honour is the way to go.




Cheers, man. Thanks again for hooking me up!

Richard.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

22 years between wins (updated)

Prior to winning the ALDS in 2015, the Blue Jays hadn't won a post-season series of any kind since 1993. That's 22 years between "wins". There have been other, longer dry spells in sports, but as I Jays fan, I've been counting the years.

On a much smaller stage, in a moment completely devoid of any bat flip whatsoever, I ended a 22-year winless drought of my own. It started with a 1994 Collector's Choice Series 1 Jumbo box that arrived at my house a few days ago.

If that picture hasn't given it away yet, that there is an instant win card out of the box. These game cards were seeded the same as the gold parallels (one per box), I believe, so I expected to get one. Which is good, because I wanted one to accompany the actual set that I won -- and redeemed -- 22 years ago. It's the only 1994 Collector's Choice stuff I still had, Blue Jays cards excluded. And because I expected the card to be expired, there were no beer cans thrown and no need for extra security to be brought in after I confirmed my assumption. The card expired in May of 1994. Oh, and just so there is no confusion: When the Blue Jays won Game 5 of the ALDS this past fall, I was at the game, and did not throw anything on the field, nor did I do anything else requiring security to visit my section.

So the prize here, is an 8-card "Home Run All-Stars" insert set. The back is pretty plain, so I'm not showing that. But the fronts are pretty awesome. Brick wall, hologram of the player, inset with another picture of the player and a gold signature over that inset. I remember being absolutely pumped, not only when the winning card came out of the pack, but again when the cards arrived in the mail. I've kept these cards all these years not only on the chance that I might want them for a set build, but because there is a certain sentimental value they hold.

As I type this, I have a couple wax boxes headed my way (one of each series) to not only take a chunk out of series 2, but to help build up the silver signatures. I expect that I'll pull two more of these winning game cards out -- but it does have me wondering. That card says "8th Prize Winner". I've heard rumblings of there being prizes consisting of complete gold and silver signature sets, and even a prize to appear on Griffey's card in the 1995 set, but what are the other 4 prizes then?

Anyone know?

Thanks for reading.

Richard.


Update: After posting this I took a look at the back of that instant win game card. Sure enough, it says right on the back, in a font that is so small I had to scan the card and zoom in to read it. 
Here's what the prizes were:

Grand Prize (1): Your picture on Ken Griffey Jr.'s 1995 Official Upper Deck Collector's Choice baseball card. Odds of winning 1:37,831,200.

First Prize (2): You will be the honorary team manager for the Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball Game at the 1994 All Star Game. Odds of winning 1:18,915,600.

Second Prize (2): A $10,000 US Savings Bond - Series EE (Maturity of 18 years from purchase date). Odds of winning 1:18,915,600.

Third Prize (3): A complete 320-card Gold Signature insert set and a 320-card Silver Signature set. Odds of winning 1:12,610,400.

Fourth Prize (5): A Complete 320-card Gold Signature insert set. Odds of winning 1:7,566,240.

Fifth Prize (10): A complete 320-card Silvert Signature insert set. Odds of winning 1:3,783,120.

Sixth Prize (10,000): An Upper Deck baseball cap. Odds of winning 1:3,783.

Seventh Prize (10,000): An Upper Deck T-Shirt. Odds 1:3783.

Eighth Prize (1,019,300): 8-card 1993 Home Run Hologram Set. Odds 1:37.

Overall odds of winning a prize: 1:36.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Zistle trade with Olerud363 gets the quest rolling

Arrived home from work yesterday to find not one, but two, packages of baseball cards in the mailbox. That is how every day should be. Then again, maybe not, I'd have a lot of explaining to do.

Anyway, last week I updated my Zistle account with all my haves and wants for the 1994 Collector's Choice set. I figure the base and silver sets will be easy enough to track down, and that I'll pursue them more casually, but having been chasing the Blue Jays from this set for a few years now, I know that specific gold cards can be tough to find. And that there will likely only be a few opportunities to obtain them in bunches. So with those, I plan to acquire them as often as I see them for a good price. And in the case of Zistle, trade for whatever I can.

In the past week or so, this aggressiveness has netted me just over 2-dozen new gold cards. I kind of feel like Charlie in that scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where the store owner warns him of a bellyache. But even at 52 so far, I have a long way to go to get to 670. Two of those 52 arrived in my mailbox yesterday, courtesy of Zistle trader Olerud363. As his profile name might suggest, this guy is a John Olerud collector. Jays fans probably recognize the 363 as well -- that was John Olerud's batting average in 1993, the year he won the AL batting title. And on the note of batting titles, 0.363 was Larry Walker's batting average in 1998, the year he won his first NL batting title, but I digress.

The bottom line is this: Olerud363 has a stellar John Olerud collection, he is a stellar Zistle trader, and thanks to him, I am 2 cards closer to completing my gold set.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

PS: The second package that arrived was a Jumbo box of 1994 Collector's Choice Series 1. We'll talk about that in some subsequent posts, I'm sure.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Oh Happy? Oh Henry!

A few weeks ago, I spent a dollar to grab a significant Joe Carter card off my Level of Excellence wantlist. And today, I'm back with another big pick-up. Knocking out two of those ten inside a few weeks, and a very tough two, if I don't say so, is very unlikely, but very awesome.

We'll get into how I managed to track this down in a minute, but first let's find out what I'm even talking about. The card pictured, in case you don't recognize it, is Joe Carter from the exceedingly difficult 1995 Oh Henry Blue Jays set. This set, like 1994 and 1996, was a stadium giveaway, and, based on how difficult the sets from these three years are to find, I'm guessing those games weren't too well attended.

Fortunately, it would appear that Bob over at http://baseball-collect.com was at the game (and many others if you look at the other Blue Jays SGAs he's got for sale) and was willing to sell his set of the cards.

So thanks to a little bit of luck, what would have normally been a late night wasted away in front of my computer, instead became time well spent clicking who-knows-how-many-pages-deep into Google search results. Upon finding his site and looking through it, I shot an email over to him half-expecting it to just bounce back as no longer in use. I was thrilled to hear from him, and even more thrilled to be able to work out a deal for this card.

It's not news that I'm a huge fan of regional issues, so picking this up makes my day. I have the entire set now, so if anyone else has been searching endlessly for a card from this set (and you're not this guy, who is probably also looking for the Joe Carter card!), shoot me an email 'cause I'd love to share this find with others.

Now it's time to set my focus on the 1996 Oh Henry Joe Carter card. If I can get my hands on that card I'll have the complete run of Fire Safety and Oh Henry cards capturing Joe Carter's time as a Blue Jays.

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The choice has been made.

In the past 24 hours I have done two things. First, I bought a jumbo box of 1994 Collector's Choice Series 1. And second, I bought one of every 1994 Collector's Choice Gold Signature off of COMC that was priced at a dollar or less.

You can probably figure out where this is going. And no, I really haven't lost my focus. For the past 18-months I've been steadily building my Joe Carter collection. I think it's going well. My Zistle collection is out of date, but I have broken the 800-card mark and I still have my sights set on getting to 1000. I'm even starting to think about collecting Carter past the 1000-card mark, but now I *am* losing focus.

The point of this post is to talk about one of my favourite sets: 1994 Collector's Choice. I've said it on this blog before -- I'm a huge fan. At different times, I've owned original OJs, T206s, Cracker Jacks, Goudeys, 40's and 50's Bowman and Topps and on-and-on. But no set has the sentimental value that 1994 Collector's Choice has. It is the last set I actively collected as a kid. I still remember the thrill of pulling a gold parallel (Dave Magadan; though it's long gone), and I still have the Home Run All-Stars set that I pulled a redemption card for.

For the past few years I've been building the Blue Jays team sets. And secretly, I've known it was just the beginning. The base Jays team set is done, the silver parallel set is done, and I'm 4 cards away from completing the gold parallel set. And since I was pretty sure all hell was going to break loose after those four cards anyway, I've decided to jump the gun. So with 4 cards remaining in my gold parallel Jays team set, I have decided to go after the whole thing. The base, the silver, the gold. I know it's ambitious to go after the gold, but I think the silver is plenty do-able and the base will be easy. And I know it's going to take a while, but if the idea hasn't faded in the past 22 years, it's probably not going to!

So there it is. I've said it. I am now officially attempting to collect the entire 670-card 1994 Collector's Choice baseball set in all three "versions". I anticipate going after the Team vs. Team subset and the promo(s) as well, but am going to conveniently forget about the white letter variations.

That said, if you have any 1994 Collector's Choice burning a hole in your collection, let's talk ;)

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

I'll buy that for a dollar!

On the right side of this blog is a list of Joe Carter cards that I'm hoping to add to my collection someday. The relics are from older sets that just don't seem to sell too often, and there are some not-so-easy regional issues, but I don't think any of them are *impossible* tough. And sometimes, it just comes down to not being lazy.

Consider, for example, item number one on that list. A 2003 Canadian Baseball Hall-of-Fame induction card. A regional. Not one that's seen too often, although a signed copy was on eBay late last year, and an unsigned copy was on eBay earlier this year. I didn't manage to land either of them, but remained optimistic since I basically live half-way between Toronto and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. One is bound to land on my radar.

And then one basically fell in my lap. I was emailing back and forth with Dave, a Kelly Gruber (super?) collector, and mention of that card came up. He shot me a link to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame website where they were advertising "induction cards" for sale for $0.99 - $19.99. I mean, I could have found this information. I could have reached out to them earlier. And I didn't. But once that link was handed to me, what excuse did I have?

So I emailed them last Sunday evening fully expecting that on Monday or Tuesday they'd email back and say they're out of Joe Carter cards. That was 13 years ago after all.

Instead, quite the opposite happened. Within 15 minutes, they emailed back (yes, I said Sunday evening) and within another 10 minutes, I had bought and paid for a 2003 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Joe Carter. For a dollar! (plus S&H).

So last Wednesday, I *officially* added this card to my collection and can strike it off of the wantlist. So thank you Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, and thank you Dave, for making this so easy and pointing out my obvious laziness. It's too late in the year to adopt a New Year's resolution or else I'd officially strive to be less lazy this year. Maybe next year.

Oh, and stay tuned. There's a chance that another regional in the top 10 will be displayed in "strikethrough" in the coming week.

Thanks for reading.

Richard.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

One card post and a couple of shout outs

Like many of you, collecting baseball cards is what I use to forget about all of the responsibilities that go along with growing up. Work, bills, more bills, all that stuff. And because addressing those responsibilities is the priority, I often find whatever "me time" I have has to take place late at night and into the wee hours of the morning (case in point, right now. It's 4 minutes after midnight on Sunday as I type this). And if there's one thing that has become synonymous with "me time", it's late night browsing of eBay, trying to hang on to some peace and quiet while simultaneously denying my body the sleep it so badly needs.

About this time last weekend, I was enjoying some "me time" and stumbled across this odd-ball Joe Carter card. I love odd-ball Joe Carter cards, and didn't have this one. For a couple bucks shipped, I snatched it up. At this point, I've done nothing to research this card or "Legends Sports Memorabilia", so I have no insight for you (is there anything on this blog worthy of that description anyway?). But I do want to say this: If you ever get the chance to deal with Q-City Sports Collectibles on eBay, do it! I bought this card last Saturday and found it in my mailbox on Friday. To get mail across the border in 6 days is nuts. Especially when shipping was less than $3. I've used these guys in the past to get my odd-ball fix, and I hope to use them again. And seriously, you should too.

And speaking of folks in this hobby that are awesome to deal with, a second shout out goes to the newest blogger on the block, Chris over at a-blog-to-be-named-later.blogspot.ca. For starters, he's a Joe Carter collector, so that has to mean he's got his head on straight. Second, he's the guy that offered to hook me up with some Joe Carter cards I didn't have and then did just that in a huge way, so you know he's generous as hell. Third he writes an entertaining blog. I encourage you to check it out. If my experience with Chris so far is any indication, and what he's written on his blog so far is any indication, he's going to fit into this community very well, and run a very popular blog.

Thanks for reading!

Richard.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

O Happy Jays...Collector!

Late last year a new collector joined Zistle and messaged me to talk cards. Joe Carter specifically, as it turns out, we both collect them fairly extensively. Put simply, CasEjonz has a massive Joe Carter collection. Seriously, you should check it out. I thought I was doing well to be closing in on 500 cards at the time. He's surpassed 900 Carter cards in his Zistle collection and says there's more to come.

Unprompted, he asked for my mailing address and said he had some doubles of cards I needed. Fast forward to this week and low and behold if a brick of cards hasn't made it's way to my doorstep. The suspense of opening it was a struggle, but you know how it is with family, and chores and all that. Eventually I managed to sneak away from my responsibilities (yes, I'm a grown man and I still don't *want* to do the dishes) to open it. I was blown away.

Inside this box was a LOT of cards. My eye was immediately drawn to one holder. I wasted no time separating it from the group. My jaw dropped. And since I wasted no time looking at it, I'm not going to waste any time letting you see it. Scanned to your right -- yep, 2009 Upper Deck Goudey Sports Royalty Autographs Joe Carter. Seriously, that's how this starts. What a cool card. And it brings my certified Carter autograph tally to an even 12.

If it stopped here, I think people would agree that this surprise parcel has already been awesome. But it doesn't stop here, there's more. Like this 2003 Fleer Rookies and Greats Naturals card, complete with a chip from a game used bat. There are a bunch of additional variations of this card, including 2 that are autographed. This is a great card. It's numbered to 250 and yes, the blue in Carter's helmet is actually that blue when you're holding the card in your hand.

Want to see more? Like some Topps Laser? Or 1996 Upper Deck Diamond Dynasty? This is the first time I've ever owned a card from either set. Man are they cool. I think the scan accurately shows the "die-cutedness" (for sure that's a real word) of the Laser, but you can't tell that the Carter bust in the circle on the Dynasty is actually kinda translucent. For anyone that doesn't have a card from either set in their collection, get one. Or some. Actually, the Topps Laser caught my young son's attention. Probably the first baseball card he's cared about. He liked the die-cut edge, the baseball on fire, and the fact that we could hold it up to the light and it'd shine through so many spots on the card. And then I showed him that he could look through the circle on the Diamond Dynasty. That prompted him to ask if we could flip through the entire Carter binder. (Spoiler alert: hell yes!)

And it turned out to be a lot of fun. I'm not sure if this is a faux pas to most people, but I let him handle my cards. I want him to be engaged in things we do. Admittedly, I'm careful not to let him anywhere near anything that he could damage, but as far as I'm concerned anything in the binder is fair game (there are no autos/relics in there). And I won't say I wasn't nervous at times, but it really is just cardboard at the end of the day.  If a card caught his eye and he asked to hold it. I let him. If I thought he'd find one neat, I'd ask if he wanted to hold it. It was good fun. He handled shiny ones, holograms, die cuts, and really had fun trying to look through some of them (like 1994 Leaf Gold Series Stars). And to top it off, he's been intrigued lately by being able to stick magnets to things...so yes, we pulled out the Leaf Steel cards and tested if they were magnetic. And whether they were magnetic through the binder pages. And whether we could then use the magnet to turn the page, and then turn it back again. He actually made it through the entire binder, which surprised me. After we were done he turned to playing with play-doh and probably forgot about the entire experience, but it was cool.

Okay, I need to pick up the pace. I've talked about all of 4 cards and have barely scratched the surface. Let's just cut to some images of some of the awesome cards inside this box, shall we? All-in there were close to 100 cards in the box. If my math is right (not usually), I was able to add over 80 of them to my collection. I'm still trying to make sense of some of the parallels (what on earth is going on with 1998 Leaf Fractals?!), but suffice it to say this was an incredible parcel.


"Mr. Jonz", you are the man. There's no other way to say it. See how happy ol' Joe looks on that SI cover card? I have had a similar grin on my face all week from sorting through these cards. Kevin will tell you -- it was difficult enough before finding cards I needed. I am hoping to break the 1000-Carter mark in 2016 (don't confuse that as a New Year's resolution, mind you) and acting single-handed, you took care of about a quarter of the work. Sincerely, thank you.

It's going to take me some time, and some effort, but this is just getting started. Your wantlist has some vulnerabilities. The kind of vulnerabilities that somebody with access to Canadian regionals and oddballs just might be able to exploit. Just sayin' ...

Thanks for reading!

Richard.