Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 Gypsy Queen Cubs

Super casebreaker Brentandbecca again provided super service and the 2014 Gypsy Queen Cubs are in hand.

Eight Cubs were on the checklist and all were on the base list.  No shortprints for me!

Two of the eight were Cubs from the past...


....Mr. Cub and Fergie.  From the four years of Gypsy Queen, Ernie has been in three of the four while Fergie makes his second appearance as a Cub.  I've got no quibbles with either of these two being included, but I still wonder why Ron Santo has never been in this or pretty much any Topps product from the last four years.

Of the six active Cubs, one is a real head-scratcher...

....Kyuji Fugikawa.  He pitched in only 12 games last year before blowing out his elbow.  He has yet to return to the majors.  Yet somehow Topps saw fit to make him part of the set.  They must really have a strong customer base in Japan because I don't see too many America card buyers rushing in to swoop up his cards.

The rest of the Cubs in the set are whom you would expect...


..Starlin Castro, Junior Lake, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija, and Travis Wood.

Four years worth of Gypsy Queen are enough for a tile, so here you go....the entire Cubs run of Gypsy Queen from 2011 - 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

No, I Won't Be Adding This to a Rainbow

Since I started collecting Darwin Barney cards I've put several Barney rainbows together.  I'm also on the lookout for cards to add to any and/or all of the rainbows.

A card was recently listed on Ebay that would fit nicely into an older rainbow.

Barney was in the 2011 Chrome set and there were several parallels.  Here's what I ended up...

Base, Refractor, Xfractor (/225), Atomic Refractor (/225), Red (/25), Gold (/50), Sepia (/99), Blue (/99), Purple (/499), Orange, Autograph Refractor (/499).

I was pretty please with the results.  There were different versions of the autograph card, but I was content with one.

There was also one more base parallel and that's what recently was listed.

It's the 1/1 Canary refractor.

I was excited when I saw the listing title.  I was less excited when I read the listing.

Yikes!  I like Darwin Barney, and I like putting rainbows together, but I don't like spending $399.99 for one card.

There are four other 2011 Chrome Canary cards listed on Ebay right now and the price for the Barney is $100 more than any of the others.  I'm thinking that the card is going to be sitting there for a while unless the price drops significantly.

At this point, I'm going to pass and settle for a virtual rainbow, free of charge

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Really, Topps, Again??

Time for another post blasting Topps for reusing pictures.

Billy Williams was included in Gypsy Queen for the first time in 2013.  I was happy about that and put picked up several of the cards.

Billy didn't make the checklist in this year's Gypsy Queen. He did manage to score a place on the /25 Jumbo patch relic list.  One of these popped up on Ebay last week.  It was a BIN for $34.95.  I like Billy, but not that much.

Plus, I didn't really like the card.

Here's why....the used the same picture as with last year's Gypsy Queen.  They didn't bother to make an new one!  Lazy!!!!  The mopes at Topps must have said that since he's not in the base set, he's not worth creating a new picture....just reuse last years.  Idiots!

Another problem....look at the bottom of the card and you'll see that it says "Game worn patch".

I'm pretty familiar with the Cubs uniforms over the years and I don't recall them wearing a piece of wood.

Topps, if you're going to use a piece of a bat, which is fine, then say so on the card.

I've seen these jumbo patch cards for other players and there were more with bats and others with just a big piece of a jersey.  In both cases, that's not a patch.  There is a fear (very real) that scammers will buy these up and substitute a fake patch piece, which would turn them a tidy, ill-gotten profit.

So, let's recap....

Topps reuses a picture again, calls a bat a patch, and enables scammers to rip off collectors.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Sweet Card

I've been adding some autographs of Billy Williams to my collection and this recent addition is a sweet one.

The card is from 2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic.  I though it was appropriate that Sweet Swingin' Billy has a Sweet Spot card.

The autograph is on a curved piece of wood cut to resemble a bat.  That's a nice idea.

The picture on the card is a more recent picture of Billy as a coach.  It looks to be from his days as the Cubs dugout coach in the late 90s and early 2000s.  My guess is its from 2000.  There is a nearly identical picture in the 2000 media guide.  I suppose the good news is that we don't have a recycled picture from his playing days.

A quick search of my files shows that I've now got 16 different autographs of my favorite player....and a few more on en route.  For now, here are the 16

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Five New Barneys

Five new Darwin Barney cards have come my way.  All are from before he made it to the big leagues.

This is the Red autograph version of his USA Baseball card from 2007.  I got it for five bucks from COMC when I was shopping for a few other cards.  Five bucks for an autographed /100 card seemed like a good deal to me.

This makes #5 for me with the USA Baseball.  I've also got the base card, foil, black autograph, and relic/autograph.

Here's another parallel, this one from 2007 Just Rookies.  This is the black version, /50  It took me a little while to figure out what made this card "black."  It wasn't the border.  It was the the background of the picture within the white border.  See how it's got a black tint to it.

I also grabbed the gold (/100) version.  Its a bit easier to see the gold background on this card than it is to see the black on the other.

There is also a silver (/25)  version of the card along with 1/1 glossy versions of the base and each parallel.

The fourth addition is from 2009.  Barney was in AA with the Tennessee Smokies and the team issued their own set.  This card is from that set.  This is only one of two cards I've found from 2009 for Barney.

My final new addition is from 2008 Bowman Chrome Prospects set.  I already had the base card; my new one is the refractor.  It's a /250 and I had to pay all of 45 cents for it.

Including cards in the team sets, my Barney total is now up to 187.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Billy's HOF Plaque...Signed

Today's card isn't actually a baseball card, its a postcard.  But its a postcard of my favorite baseball player, so I think I can consider it a baseball card.  Even better, it has been signed by my favorite baseball player.

For years the Baseball Hall of Fame has been selling these yellow postcards of the player's Cooperstown plaques.  Signed copies make a very nice collectible.  I've been looking for one of Billy for quite a while.  They are fairly plentiful of Ebay, but most are priced higher than I'm willing to pay.

This was an auction with an opening bid of $5.95.  That's more in my price range.  I watched the auction for a week, hoping that there would be little action.

There wasn't a little action, there was no action.  My sniper fired at the last minute and I got the card for the opening bid price.  Yeah bargains!

The card didn't come with a certificate of authenticity, but the seller has feedback of over 8,000 and no complaints of fake signatures.  The autograph matches the other Billy autos I've got, so I'm pretty sure I got a real autograph at a bargain price.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,294 Cubs cards from 88 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1911 Turkey Red #33 Jake Pfeister  With the ugliness that is 2014 Turkey Red, it's nice the the RNG picked an original Turkey Red.  Keep in mind, though, that my cards from this era are not originals....the WW Finance Department doesn't allow for that!  It's reprints for me!  A member of the rotation for the World Champion 1907 and 1908 Cubs, Pfeister was done by the time Turkey Red was issued.  The 1911 season was his last and he pitched in only six games.  He was 1-4 with an ERA of 4.01.  Yes, he was done.

1980s: 1981 Topps Stickers #152 Bill Caudill  This sticker is from Topps' reentry into the sticker game in 1981.  It looks like we've got a head shot of Caudill in Mesa.  Caudill was coming off a decent 1980 season that saw him pitch in 72 games and have a really nice 2.19 ERA.  Things blew up in 1981, though and he made only 30 appearance and saw his ERA skyrocket to 5.83.  He was traded the next spring and ended up becoming the ace of the Mariners bullpen.

1990s: 1997 Fleer Traded #752 Jeremi Gonzalez  Fleer included Gonzalez in their traded set based on the nice rookie season he turned in.  He was called up to the Cubs in late May and spent the rest of the season in the starting rotation.  He was 11-9 for the year and the 11 wins led the Cubs staff.  

2000s: 2004 Topps Chrome #83 Hee Seop Choi  He's with the Cubs in the 2004 Chrome set, but Choi was traded to the Marlins in November, 2003 for Derrek Lee.  He was not missed.

2010s: 2010 Upper Deck #108 Kevin Gregg  Here's a card from Upper Deck's non-MLB license set.  This card is a nice example of why UD got themselves in can clearly see the Cubs logo on the hat, the Chicago on the jersey, and the walking bear on his sleeve.  I still can't figure how Upper Deck thought that they could get away with this.  And the way the lawsuit was settled, it is nearly impossible for them to put out any baseball cards, even though they have a license with the Player's Association.