Request for advice

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Well, the incentive plan came into place today. I finished my math comments, which earned me two packs of Masterpieces to open. Unfortunately, it's too late for me to write a big post about what was inside. In fact, due to the whole writing reports thing, my writing juices will be pretty well sapped for the rest of the week.

But before I go into a mini-hiatus, I need some help. This whole missing hit thing with my box of A Piece of History is driving me crazy. Everywhere I've looked, it talks about four hits per box, yet I only got three. What can/should I do now? I managed to save all the wrappers (by virtue of not emptying the waste basket) and put them all in the empty box. What else might I need?

Anybody else have experience with Upper Deck boxes and missing hits? What is their policy and procedure? How did they make good? Is it even worth pursuing? This hasn't happened to me before, so any and all advice is welcome. Thanks!

Attention: New Employee Incentive Plan

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

The Incentive: One box of 2008 Upper Deck Masterpiece

The Task: I have to complete my report card comments for my students. I have to write comments on four subjects for each student. These comments should all be six lines long. It is not my favorite part about being a teacher.

So here's the plan. For every ten comments that I write, I treat myself to a pack of Masterpiece. With 23 students, that's a total of 92 comments I need to write. I hope to have this all done by the end of the week. Then I can spend the last two weeks of school, if not relaxing, at least not worrying about report cards anymore.

So far, I have written seven comments. But that was last Thursday, so those don't count. Maybe I will open two packs after I have written 13 comments tonight (13 + 7 = 20).

2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History box break

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , , , ,

It only took me four days (that's quick for me), but the box of APOH has been busted. I'll definitely be looking to get more of this set. For those unfamiliar, the box contains 16 packs with 7 cards each. There's one "hit" in each pack, but most of the time it's a serial-numbered parallel of a base card, but there are autographs, relics and patch cards available. Of course, the big draw is the Hollywood relics, but I really don't care about them, mostly because the checklist seems to contain movies I haven't seen. I'd be impressed if I got a Claude Rains relic and it was from Casablanca, but it's probably more like something from The Man Who Watched Trains Go By.

So here's the hits from my break. As far as the main set goes, I now have 98 base cards from the 200-card set. Another box will put a big dent into that, and then I'll have to further examine the checklist to see if it makes sense to get a third box or just pick up what I need from here and there. But I love the look of the cards. The marble finish, the frame for the picture, the gold-embossed team logo in a solid-colored circle at the bottom of the card - visually, I find this set very appealing. Here's the Felix Hernandez base card (from my personal collection) to show you what I mean:

The more I discover sets like this and Masterpieces, the sadder I become that Upper Deck isn't going to be producing any more of these. One set I'm not sorry about is Yankee Stadium Legacy. That's just a pox on humanity. But this is 2009 Upper Deck, so we don't have to worry about that. What we do have to worry about, is the Upper Deck 20th Anniversary Mega Set. And in this product, half of the packs contain cards from the set. From what I can seem to tell, they're all numbered in the 500s. Here's what I pulled:

554 - Ken Griffey Jr. 1993 MVP voting
534 - Ken Griffey Jr. 27 HR season in '92
559 - UNC Tar Heels
539 - Chicago Bulls win '93 NBA title
544 - Michael Jordan All-Defensive team in '93
524 - John Paxson Game-winning shot in Game 6 (1993)
529 - Montreal Canadiens win '93 Stanley Cup
549 - Derek Jeter Short-print cards introduced

The two Griffeys, obviously, I'm glad to have. They go into my PC with some others from this set. I'm also glad to have the UNC Tar Heels card because I'm a proud alum, even if that particular card has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Heels. It's about how Michigan beat Kentucky to set up the infamous Chris Webber "Time Out" game. And then there's a picture of the Superdome. But I'm going to keep it.

The other five cards are available for trade if anyone wants them. The Jeter card is wonderfully self-referential. It's all about how, in 1993, Upper Deck started the short print craze that the hobby currently "enjoys". Never mind the revisionist history - the card is so comical, it's guaranteed to cheer up anyone who's having a bad day.

Okay, on to the real hits. I'll keep the commentary to a minimum, lest this post end up becoming the size of a William Faulkner novel.

BSM-PK Paul Konerko Box Score Memories relic card

Why not start with the big gun? This was the relic that I pulled, and I can't complain getting a Paul Konerko. It's a shame that it's a plain white jersey, but when you consider all of the other cards out there, to pull a relic of a great player on one of my favorite teams ain't half bad. I'm definitely keeping this.

Blue Parallel cards (numbered to 999):
31 - Troy Tulowitzki
90 - Evan Longoria
150 - Mitch Talbot
Franchise Members - Chicago Cubs (Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, Soto)

The double Tulowitzki isn't a mistake - I pulled two of them in this box, within three packs of each other. None of these cards overwhelm me so they're all available for trade, especially the Tulowitzki dupe.

Box Score Memories subset (numbered to 999):
Derrek Lee
Rafael Furcal

Both available for trade. The idea is okay, an important game in the players career with the box score for that game printed on the back.

Both cards are available for trade.

Franchise History subset:
Roy Halladay (numbered to 999)
Jason Varitek (numbered to 149)

I've already got the Tim Lincecum card in this subset, but would be interested in the cards from the five teams I collect. I know Brian Roberts is on the Orioles card, Konerko's on the White Sox and Bobby Crosby is on the Athletics (remember, this was a 2009 set).

Both of these cards are available for trade. The Varitek is from the rarer "black" subset. Looks like it should be called the "gold" subset to me.

A Piece of Hollywood
POH-BS - Ben Stiller

"Pants" is a good word to describe this pull. Over on A Pack to Be Named Later, I wrote that I hoped whatever relic I pulled it would be from a movie I'd seen. Three packs after I wrote that, I didn't get my wish. These pants, as you can see, are from Along Came Polly. There's a reason I didn't see that movie. I'm not buying Jennifer Aniston as a free spirit. Uptight and controlling like she was in The Break-up - now that I can buy.

This is definitely available for trade.

Violet Rookie Autograph
125 - Shairon Martis

Really? Shairon Martis? The guy so obscure, Topps spelled his name wrong on his 2009 base card? And it's a sticker auto, too.

I guess I shouldn't be badmouthing this card if I want to trade it away. Umm, this card is great! Truly a special card of a special player! Thanks, Upper Deck, for allowing me to share its glory!

Yeah, it's available.

Timeless Moments subset (numbered to 999):
TM-CH - Cole Hamels

When Thorzul opened a couple of cases of this, I got a Ken Griffey relic from this subset that would have been the hit of the break if it hadn't have been for some crazy Junior short print about his return to the Mariners. And the damn thing was, I would have had the Mariners *and* the Reds if I had logged on five minutes earlier. Instead, I got the Orioles and ended up with two Brian Roberts base cards and a Nick Markakis. It's funny how life works.

I have no interest in this card. If you do, please make me an offer.

Cut From the Same Cloth subset (numbered to 999):
CSC-GB - Ken Griffey and Jay Bruce
CSC-RR - Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins

Saving the second-best for last. Here's a card for my Grifffey White Sox Project that I didn't even know existed before I pulled it. And it's got a Red (and a good Red at that) as well. I pulled this within the first four packs (maybe it was Pack 2?) and that pretty well cemented my love affair for this set. A really sharp looking card.

The Reyes and Rollins card is available for trade. The Griffey/Bruce card, obviously not.

Let me just finish by saying that I enjoyed this set. However, I may have been shorted a memorabilia card, according to the sell sheets and the Dave & Adam's web site. But what the hell am I going to do about that from here, and more than a year after the product was released. With Upper Deck on its last legs, can it even do anything about the problem?

But I'll be a sucker and get another box, to be sure. And if there's three relics in that one, then all will be forgiven.

Happy Thanksgiving...FROM THE FUTURE!!!!

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

2007 Tim Lincecum Turkey Red #88. Geddit? Turkey!

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten that Fernandomania post. It's just a very busy time around here - we're heading into the summer in the Southern Hemisphere, so school is wrapping up. That means report cards, end-of-school assemblies, and all that crazy stuff. I hope to write a couple of posts this weekend in between tee-ball games (coaching, not playing) and report cards.

But I did want to take the time out to wish everyone in the cardosphere* a happy Thanksgiving. Even though I'm thousands of miles and thirteen time zones away from America, my wife was still kind enough to cook a full Thanksgiving meal, including all of the Big Five**, after she got home from work. Throw in a bunch of good friends (one of whom is half-American herself, so she knows about Thanksgiving), some wine, and it's a recipe for a pretty terrific evening. I know you all still have Thanksgiving dinner to look forward to. I hope it's as nice as mine was. Enjoy.

* Do you like that phrase? I'm trying to start a thing here. Feel free to spread the word (literally)

** Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. Green bean casserole, despite what the folks at Durkee might say, is not part of the Big Five. We also had two kinds of pie (pumpkin and apple).

Post up on A Pack to Be Named Later

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

I haven't posted on APTBNL since my post in July about Allen & Ginter. I'm surprised Matt hadn't revoked my posting privileges due to gross inactivity. Anyway, it turns out that '09 A Piece of History had never been written about on the site, so I wrote about it.

Check it out here. I'll be back on RGB Cards tomorrow with a post on Fernandomania (seriously!)

2009 A Piece of History

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

I picked up this box mostly out of obligation and the need to buy something at my "local" card shop (which is about to get even less local next year). After months (not an exaggeration) of waiting for him to get some baseball boxes, he finally got some in last week. The good news - he got the Updates and Highlights. The bad news - I already ordered it online and couldn't justify buying another box.

So that led me to this, almost by default as it was the cheapest box he had available. But four packs in, I'm glad I got it. It's another fun little set and chock full of bonuses. I've already got two Griffey cards from the 20th anniversary set and a new card for the White Sox Project. I also got an autograph card, with the Piece of Hollywood card and possibly a relic card still to come.

I'll post a wrap-up piece later this week, when all the packs have been busted. And I hope that in a couple of months, when I get back to my "L"CS, there will be at least one more box available. I'm definitely down for another go.

The oldest Cub in my collection

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , , , ,

I planned to start this post by congratulating King Felix on his well-deserved Cy Young award, then showing off the cards of his that I bought on my trip to Al's Card Shop today. Small problem - they didn't have any Felix cards. Well, that's not strictly true; there was one, but I already owned it.

So what to write about? I was stumped. I bought some cards, to be sure. A few Griffeys, Ichiros, Lincecums and even a Matt Wieters. A couple of team bags full of commons from the 2009 American Heritage set that I haven't decided will be a new Good Little Set for me to collect or not (it probably will, because I've reached The Tipping Point - expect a post on that soon). And some other stuff.

The big news is that Len finally got some new baseball stock, including 2010 Topps Update. Of course, I had just ordered a box of that earlier this week. But hey, this is a rare opportunity to pick up a couple of packs of the most current release, just like everyone else in the blogosphere does. So I got two packs from a freshly opened hobby box. Len even gave me the rookie chrome refractor, which was nice. Turned out to be Sam Demel, which wasn't great, but I took it as a sign that I had arrived as a Valued Customer.

As far as the two backs, I can't complain. No ZOMGSTEPHENSTRASBURG!!! cards, but from what others have written, I'm not too worried, my turn will come, probably in the jumbo box that's currently sitting in Singapore. I did get a Legendary Lineage, a Card Your Mom Threw Out and a Turkey Red card - which happens to be the only insert sets I care about. And I got an MCG redemption card.

Because I'm up in Perth, I decided to redeem the code straight away because I don't trust myself not to lose it. Looking at the "recently unlocked cards" I wasn't holding up much hope - there was even a 2010 Strasburg amongst the last ten. I typed in RwsxKDF4L (what do I care - it's already redeemed), hit click, and up popped:

Sure it's a Cub, I've never heard of the guy, and it looks beat up all to hell, but it's a 1956 card. And it's the oldest one in my collection (although only by 3 years). A nice way to wrap up my first '10 Update purchase.

Scratch that

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

Okay, remember what I said about patience in my last post? Well, forget it. I am now the proud owner of a sealed 1989 Upper Deck factory set.

A few months ago, Thorzul had a series of posts about this great haul of cards he bought online for a stupid-low price. The gist of it was that if you find a seller on eBay who doesn't know what they have, then you can make it work for you. In this case, I dutifully typed in "1989 Upper Deck set" just like many times before, once again to find the usual assortment of crumb-bums ranging in price from $50 up to $150. They have THE GRIFFEY CARD in the set, you know.

Well, practicing the patience that I preach, I opted not to go for any of these deals, tantalising though they may be. Instead, I decided to look at the listings for "1989 Upper Deck box". I know that sets contain one of all the cards in a particular issue, while boxes are just full of unopened packs of cards with no guarantee of the contents therein. But just because I knew the difference, and you know the difference, doesn't mean everybody knows the difference.

Of course, there were a bunch of listings for hobby boxes, most sealed, some unsealed, all at inflated prices. But there was a listing buried pretty much smack in the middle, that expired in two days. It was for a sealed factory set. The description said a factory set. The pictures seemed to confirm it was a factory set. Yet the seller had listed the product under the "box" category. What's more, the starting bid was $25 and there were no bidders.

This was exactly what I was hoping for! The speculators and horders interested in purchasing boxes because they might get multiple Griffeys had no interest in a factory set with merely one Griffey. And the people chasing sets wouldn't think to look in the "box" category, so nobody was bidding on it. I saved the listing in my watch list. Now all I needed was for two simple things to happen:

a) Nobody else found the listing, or put a bid on it
b) I remembered to bid on it myself (don't laugh, it's happened before)

I should mention that all this happened the day before I wrote my last post, so I knew that getting this set was a distinct possibility at the time I wrote this post. Sorry for the slight deception. But at the same time, if the listing had be found by other people, and the bidding rocketed, I would have just bowed out and wait for the next opportunity. Thankfully, that never happened. Both (a) and (b) occurred, and I won the auction at the minimum bid. Now I just need to get the thing over to Australia.

Looks like I'm going to need some more patience.

Nostalgia time

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in

Now that the season is over, I find myself looking for (and thinking about acquiring) the sets of my youth. I noticed this happen last year, too, when I bought a bunch of old wax from the late 80s to replace or supplant some of the cards I collected as a kid. Now, I'm looking at two sets that are taught of as the "Cadillacs" of junk wax (mostly due to the players contained) - 1985 Topps (the first cards that I actively purchased with my own money and traded with friends) and 1989 Upper Deck

'89 Upper Deck of course has THE GRIFFEY CARD and is the set that I always considered out of my reach as a child because I was too damn cheap to spend a buck on a pack of cards. I mean, come on - that same dollar could buy me two packs of Topps cards. I was always think of quantity over quality back then.

Of course, now that I'm older, I can easily afford to spend some of the prices I see for these sets. But I'm not pulling the trigger for some reason. Maybe it's because I've just placed an order for modern cards (that reminds me, I need to check the tracking on that package) and I don't want to annoy the missus when the bank statement comes. But honestly, I think I'm still just too cheap. The prices of '89 Upper Deck have risen with inflation, almost entirely on the strength of Ken Griffey's sterling reputation as a ballplayer. Who would have thought of Junior as an inflationary safeguard? But at the same time, even though I can pay these prices, I don't want to. I still think a lot of people on eBay have no idea how little their cards are actually worth and I don't want to play into their fallacy.

So I'll just continue to wait for that bargain to show up. After all, I was looking at '85 Topps and '89 Upper Deck last year, too. It's been a year and I have neither. I ended up getting my second and third favorite sets from the era, adding a 1986 Topps set and replacing the 1987 Topps set that I scarred with rubber band marks because I just didn't know any better when I was 11.

In the meantime, you can find me on eBay. I'll be patiently waiting.

The long-waited return, random fun fact, and the GLS

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in , ,

Hello everybody, I'm back. I apologise for the long absence, but things happened that either kept me away from the computer or my collection, and when I was with either one, I didn't feel the inspiration to write. In fact, I make no promises with how good this post will be, since I'm a fair bit rusty.

However, RGB Cards hasn't been far from my mind, and I've been kicking around a lot of ideas for recurring segments, interesting posts, and the like. And I've been spending a lot of time organising my collection, just in time to move yet again (something I'll get to later, probably in another post).

When I last wrote, I created a borderline rude post about the superiority of Tim Lincecum over Roy Halladay. Well, I got the last laugh because Timmy now has two World Series wins to go with his two Cy Young Awards, and he got the best of Doc in the NLCS. Lincecum is the best pitcher in the National League, regardless of who wins the Cy later on this week. And it's his bobblehead that will be holding a tiny World Series trophy next year, not Halladay's.

Speaking of the World Series, an interesting fact that I discovered when organising my collection. Bruce Bochy's card in the 1985 Topps set is #324. A mere five cards away, at #329? Ron Washington. Twenty-five years later, and they face each other in the World Series. Too bad the managerial careers of John Denny, Kevin Bass, Brook Jacoby and Bob Shirley (325, 326, 327 and 328, respectively) never got off the ground.

Something else that happened while I was "gone"...I opened my second box of 2009 Obak and completed the base set. That got me to thinking - Obak is a "good little set": 100 base cards (not counting short-prints), interesting subjects, historically based, and fits easily in a binder with a couple of other sets. From that realisation, I came up with the idea of the Good Little Set, or GLS. I bought a binder at K-Mart, and started to fill it with the Obak and two other GLSes that I started on. One is 2008 Upper Deck Heroes. While it's far from little when you think of all the parallels, it is just 200 cards for the base set, and those beige cards are in plentiful supply. I currently have 99 of them.

The other GLS in the binder is another 2008 Upper Deck product, Masterpieces. Beautiful to look at, this set is going to look great in my binder when I'm finished with it. The base set is 90 cards (just ten sheets!) but I'm going to have to try for all the short prints, too, because they're so beautiful, and many of them are players or teams I want to have anyway. I've got a box of Masterpieces heading my way in an order from Dave & Adam's. Can't wait to see how many cards I can tick off the list!

That's it for now, but I promise I won't wait five weeks until my next post. Even though things are about to get hectic around here (again)!