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.


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!


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 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.


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.


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.