Fav 2019 card so far

Granted, it’s still early in the year but this is my favorite Dodger card of the year so far. Casting aside how easy it is to like Kiké Hernández, this card has it all: the beautiful ball park grass and a (flying) sliding catch. These action shots rarely work but this one does. It’s a sports photo that reminds me of street photography.

I’ll probably revisit the favorite card of 2019 in a few months but for now, this takes the award. The runner up is Julio Urias’ Donruss 1985 throwback card as it pictures Julio’s pitching leg kick. Too bad about the missing logos though. Donruss cards look nice but it’s hard to like them because of the missing logos.

Also, couldn’t they have used a better Kershaw photo? His fly is open for crying out loud. I’m not sure the ins and outs of which photos the card companies can use but you’d think after all these years, the curation of what makes it to the cards would be better. It just isn’t.

Finally, cards with action shots would be much better (for people like me) if the back of the card listed when the photo was taken. I get that’s what Topps Now cards are for yet I cannot bring myself to search out any of those cards. I get the feeling others feel the same way.

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One month update

It’s been a little over a month since I took the plunge back into collecting. Since I’ve been only collecting Dodgers, my focus has been pretty singular. That said, the desire to open packs really has been strong. Opening packs has allowed me to trade with a couple other card bloggers.

I’ve noticed a few things since I’ve been back.  Here’s 10.

1. The hobby is still crazy.

It’s even crazier then when I left it. Online box breaks, bloggers, Facebook groups, twitter wars ….. yadda yadda yadda. Some things never change, like collectors flocking to stores to get ugly Michael Jordan cards in packs of Hanes.

2. Card shows are where it’s at, still.

The best way to make contacts and actually see cards before you buy them are at card shows. eBay is nice and deals are to be made but nothing compares to spending $10 to $20 at a card show and coming home with cards, human interaction and a good experience.

3. Group breaks are crazy.

Crazy can mean a lot of things. I’ll wait for something affordable to get base, a chance at a “hit” and the excitement of opening packs at a distance. Crazy is the prices at which some breaks go for. Crazy for how many there are. Are card companies still mass producing cards like they were in the late 80s and early 90s? All of this makes me wish I could find a group of collectors locally so we can pool money and have our own breaks. Also crazy? The speed and carelessness that some breakers open packs.

4. Bloggers make collecting fun.

Granted, I’m still trying to figure out just how this blog is going to work for me. Am I going to include some of my baseball photography? Reviews? Witty banter about cards, players and life? While I figure it out, the best card collecting bloggers show me things I’ve never seen before, make me think about players and cards differently than I did before and give me more content than just what they added to their binders.

5. Topps is still king.

2019’s set is pretty damn good. Many of the previous base sets just do not have design qualities that make a good baseball card. Heritage is fun-ish. Allen and Ginter seems like a cool idea but I feel like it needs a reset. Panini, Donruss, etc just do not have the same excitement factor for me. I hated Donruss design back in the 80s and 90s. I tolerated Fleer. Diamond Kings were the only thing Topps didn’t have but should have.

6. Hit chasing is still a thing and it’s incredibly stupid.

Sure it’s fun to pull a nice relic or autograph. But upon re-entering the hobby I see the same predatory collectors making it harder for others to enjoy it. Searching and weighing packs in aisles? Get a life! Plus some of the designs on these relics and autographed cards are very poor.  Relics with white jersey patches are boring.  I’m also noticing all the “hits” from the same players.  Either they are mass produced or my perception is not reality.

7.  Player and team collecting is more fun now than before.

Again, this is a little due to bloggers documenting their successes and failures.  Seeing others modest successes is inspiring and motivating. 

8.  Leaving and coming back is helpful.

Knowing how being patient is great way to save money on your collection.  Prices always end up going down on what most people need for their player and team collections.

9.  Franken-sets, WTF!?

Now this is a new thing since I’ve been gone and it seems like a pretty fun thing to do but not for me.

10.  Player collecting, should I or should I not?

Back in the day, I had a PC of Dave Parker.  He’s the one non-Dodger I liked to collect.  There are non-Dodgers who I like to watch play but are they PC-worthy?  At this point, I do not know.  Should I continue with Parker (and work backwards) or should I find a new player to try to scavenger for?

2000s Dodgers

With some eBay sleuthing most of the cards you see here cost no more than .04 each. Did the junk wax era go into the 2000s?

Either way, these cards all seem foreign to me. Although I was listening to and watching games during this time, getting cards never entered my mindset. It’s been fun getting reacquainted with long lost friends like Furcal, Choi, Loney, Braxton and Gagne.

The stacks in the photo are based on year. They about to go into a binder. There is a 100% chance I will be reading the backs and studying the fronts this weekend.

Card show results

In Webster, NY (a Rochester, NY suburb) there’s a monthly card show called Collector’s Monthly. The show, from what I can gather, is organized by the same person since 2001. There’s also free admission and prizes given away at noon.

I gave myself a $10 budget and ended up spending $13. The best thing about starting to collect again is that everything is new. I haven’t opened a pack of cards since 1993.

The dealers were all pretty unique and had varying degrees of friendliness. Some dealers had everything under glass while everyone else had binders, boxes or just laid everything out on a table. There was also a good mix of vintage, junk era, and new.

With my girlfriend and daughter in tow, I had them help me pick out some cards that caught their eye. The bottom two rows were the results of that. This should keep me busy updating my want list and organizing the binder until the next show on April 28th.

1956 Topps Sandy Amoros

I always loved the 1956 Topps Sandy Amoros card. I recently got it for a mere $2.

He’s well known for “the catch” in game 7, but I’ve always wondered what play at the plate inspired this card. The only clue given on the card is Sandy committing to a slide at home. We see Berra’s number 8 ready for a potential tag.

Sandy scored three times in the 1955 Word Series. In Game 5, Sandy hit a homer. In games 3 and 4, Sandy scored a run. In game 3, Sandy’s run was an easy walk home after Pee Wee Reese drew a bases loaded walk. In game 4, with the Dodgers down 2-0 in the bottom of the third, Sandy drew a walk from Don Larsen. After Carl Erskine popped up for the first out, Jim Gilliam hit a double on a hit and run which scored Amoros.

After some searching, you can see the play below:

And the catch:

Finally, the back of the card:

Ripping packs

I’ve been eyeing the 2019 packs with the greatest moments cards since I’ve seen them in the stores. Always looking for and not seeing any Dodgers on the front, I passed on buying one. Until tonight.

That’s Duke Snider. The same Duke my dad loved as a kid. The same Duke we named my childhood dog after. This three pack is going to have to be good, right?

Ripping into the first pack I got two aces, one a need for my Dodger binder.

I’ve always loved the 94 Topps set. Getting this Kershaw (along with the Snider card) made this all worth it. Got two needs and the joy of opening some packs.

Let’s see what pack two got me.

That Kike Hernandez card completes the series 1 base set for me. How’s that for luck? Plus a great card of Mitch Garver. I got to see him play (dominate) in Rochester. I hope he continues to do well.

Since I basically and unexpectedly went above and beyond my needs for any kind of pack purchase, no amount of Yankee or Red Sox WS cards (which there were a lot of) would damage my mood.

On to the highlights of pack three.

Again, I’m a sucker for that ’84 design. Also, those stars of the game inserts are pretty sharp. I’ve never been much for flashy cards but these I like.

That’s probably the last series 1 pack I will buy. I feel like I picked a good year to start collecting Dodgers again. This 2019 design is right in my wheel house. It’s a nice throwback to 1982 plus the photography is above average for baseball cards in general.

Overall, even though my expectations going in are low, coming back has been enjoyable. This along with connecting with other collectors and trading certainly has made it fun again.