Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 22)

Day 22: A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you

We're moving into the final quarter of this challenge, and I must say that it's been fun. There is a tall stack of other stuff for me to post, but I doubt I'll be getting to that until next month. I guess I won't run out of post ideas for a while, huh?
While this comes from an insert set, it's not supposed to be terribly uncommon. In fact, based on odds at, it's one of the most common inserts found in packs - 1:4. I didn't have much trouble finding the other 9 first series cards, and I'm pretty sure I have the SP 11th card found in the second series.

But for some reason, the NHL Winter Classic card remained quite elusive. Elusive to the point that it's not found on COMC (sold out), Sportlots, or eBay. I finally got one in an eBay auction last year, but this card is one tough cookie. Is someone hoarding all of the copies? Was it short printed?
From a base set, one card that I finally got was the Robinson Cano from 2008 Stadium Club. Again, not quite a "common" card, as '08 SC has a ton of short prints. But there are 999 copies of this card, and I've never seen one. The whole 2008 Stadium Club set is full of short prints and variations, and to get around the difficulty and price of obtaining the regular SP'ed base cards, I have been getting parallels too. Many times, the parallels have been the only versions available, and in several other cases, they are cheaper than the base cards. Just yesterday, I picked up a parallel from Sportlots to finish off the "short" veteran base set.

My '08 Stadium Club set is getting closer to being a full master base set - I have all of the veteran base cards (or parallels) and the "A" version rookies, most of the "B" version rookies (41/50), and a handful of cards from the autographed rookies subset.
I'm not sure how "common" they are, but finding an affordable card of the following 2005-06 basketball sets still elude me:

  • Finest 103, 104
  • Big Game 142, 143
  • First Row 146
Those are premium releases, and the cards are of celebrities - Jay Z, Shannon Elizabeth, and so on. I've finished off the other subsets from that year, but those five cards remain evasive. I think some of them are SPed. That quad relic isn't on my want list, though it would be neat to have.
I haven't chased it extensively, but there are some common cards from a fairly common set I still don't have. The 1996 Collect-A-Card Centennial Olympics set remains unfinished, as I still need #2, 18, 22, 56, 64, and 105. And the POGs #11 and 18. And posters #4, 6, 7, 10, 15, 16, and 17. That base card above is one of only three listed on COMC, and the asking price is $10 (currently on sale for $6.25). I can buy a whole set on eBay for less than that if I really want to!

So those are the cards that did and still do remain missing from my collection. Can anyone help a collector out?

Friday, April 21, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 21)

Day 21: A card of a rookie you thought you were "investing" in

I'm not the investing type. I only buy Bowman for my type collection, not for prospecting. I don't hoard RCs and keep an eye on who's hot and who's not. It's entirely possible I have a 1993 SP Jeter rookie sitting in a box in Georgia. Or any other 1990s high-value rookie card.

When opening cards at a shop, occasionally I'd get a card that the owner expressed interest in; "Oh, he's going to be good for Seattle next year!" "That's the best rookie in the set!" I'd get a little happy with my luck and completely forget about it.

If anything, I'm the opposite. When I buy cards for my type collection, I go after the cheap players. For the Awards collection, I wait if I can't find a cheap card for the ROY award. I rarely, if ever, collect sets focused on rookies, unless it matches one of my existing collections (Diamond Kings, for example).

That said, there are two players that I've collected since their rookie years.
The first was Jose Altuve. I was very impressed by his action on the field in 2011 when I saw him a couple times in the LA area. And I got a bat he broke during the game, which I will keep in my collection. Who needs relic cards when you have actual relics? Anyway, as soon as I saw him on cardboard, I grabbed what I could. Obviously, he's turned out to be a very good player, and there are a few cards I can't find at reasonable prices that I missed out before.
The second is Buck Farmer. I collect him because he was my student in high school and I was a coach for the baseball team. I'd love for him to make it big, but I'll never sell my collection of his cards even if he does.

So I'm not really investing in either player, though a good bit of money has gone into each collection.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 20)

Day 20: Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player

I'm all about oddballs, and while I don't buy much of it, I love vintage. So I started thinking about vintage parallels and oddballs. Checking my database, the first real parallel can probably be considered to be the 1975 Topps mini set. It was a unique release, though, not marketed with the regular cards as a parallel.

You could go back further than that. Tobacco cards had a variety of backs based on the product the cards came in, but most people consider those variations, not parallels. And I do too. But I do think having all those different card backs would be cool!

The Desert Storm parallels for 1991 Topps are great because they were a unique gesture on Topps' part for troops fighting overseas. And they paved the way for 1992's Topps Gold and Leaf Black Gold. And every other parallel that exists today. (Yes, Topps Tiffany came first, but it wasn't packed out, only a luxury form of complete set.)

But what's my favorite?

Topps Chrome Refractors.

The regular refractors look pretty cool; I liked refractors all the way back in 1993 when they debuted with Finest. And those 1993 Finest Refractors are beautiful. But I like Chrome's parallels better simply because of the rainbow of colors they offer. Sure, Finest has colored refractors too, but Chrome's colors just look better on those "white" bordered cards Chrome was itself a parallel of.
It wasn't until 2002 that Topps Chrome got colored refractors. And it was only black and gold.
In 2003, they added silver. That's kind of confusing, since the base refractors are essentially silver.
Two more types were added in 2004 - red x-fractors in the regular set followed by regular, but uncirculated, x-fractors in the traded set.
The 1/1 Superfractor made its debut in 2005 as a gold card.
The blue debut came in 2006.
We had white in 2007. This made sense in a year where the base cards were black, negating the black refractors.
2008 saw the first copper refractor.
2009 was same-as-always. But in the 2010 base set, two new colors appeared: orange and purple. Another color would show up in a wrapper redemption:
Green had been a part of Finest for a while, but it didn't come to Chrome until 2010.
I count 13 parallels in all in 2011 Chrome. And a few were new. Atomic Refractors and Sepia Refractors were most common.
The Gold Canary Diamond was the most challenging, with a 1-per print run.
After no new colors the next year, 2013 brought camo and pink as two limited parallels.
Topps must have ran out of ideas, because again 2014 saw nothing and 2015 only saw Prism, which is a variation on SuperFractor, X-Fractor, and Atomic Refractor styles.
And 2016 saw Blue Wave, another variation on the previous year.

There's no doubt that white borders give Topps Chrome better parallel options, but the new etching-style refractors add a bit of a twist to the old colors. I count 20 total refractor types over the years, though Topps certainly doesn't issue 20 parallels each year. By the way, here's a comparison of a few sets based on my data (some Asia parallels might be missing?):
  • Topps Chrome (2016): 9 refractors
  • Topps Finest (2016): 9 refractors
  • Bowman Prospects (2016): 9 paper parallels, 11 refractors
  • Donruss Optic (2016): 12 parallels
  • Panini Prizm (2015): 15 parallels
  • Pacific Prism (2000): 15 parallels

  • Upper Deck Masterpieces (2007): 18 parallels
Panini put out more in Optic and 2015 Prizm, but Chrome remains my favorite. Those 2015 Prizm parallels have been fun to collect, though - the only one I don't have for Buck Farmer is the 1/1 Black Finite. And those Upper Deck Masterpieces parallels are very difficult to distinguish from each other at times.

Did I miss any other super-parallel sets?