Friday, December 30, 2016

My 2016 Collecting Year in Review

I went into 2016 with a plan to buy fewer cards over all while focusing more on Phillies and Astros cards (current and past). I think I was successful. I purchased 2,876 cards in 2016, about a thousand fewer than in 2015. Of those, 530 were Phillies cards and 162 were Astros. 1,888 were 2016 cards so about one thousand cards were from prior years. Most of them were from repacks, although I did make some dents in prior years Phillies want lists. This is the oldest card I bought:

1952 Topps #149
I got it for $2 at a card show in February. It's one of ten oldest cards I own.

Here are some other interesting cards that I haven't featured in prior posts this year.

1962 Topps #135
I got this for $3.50 at the same card show as above. It's the oldest Babe Ruth card I have although still nowhere as old as during his career.

1985 Renata Galasso Pete Rose #40
That February card show also yielded 3 cards from this set. I consider this a big find.

1990 Topps Tiffany #479

Topps Tiffany cards weren't easy to get back in the day, and are still rare. This is the first one from 1990 that I've seen. I pulled it from a repack in November.

1990 Upper Deck Comic Ball #398
Upper Deck produced these Comic Ball cards, featuring Warner Bros. cartoon characters from 1990-1992. I don't remember seeing them for sale. I had cards from the other 2 years but this is the first one from 1990. All of them have come from repacks.

1991 Topps Stand-Ups #12
The weirdest thing I bought this year. I got it from eBay in February. From the scan it looked like a die-cut card. There was little information in the listing. It is a plastic container of candy. It has a sliding door on the bottom to get the candy out but someone had glued it shut. 25 year-old candy was not that tempting.

1992 Donruss Rookies #69
I got this 132-card set in March, mainly to get the 5 Phillies cards in it. It's a nice looking set but it must have been a poor year for rookies. Besides Pedro Martinez, the only other big rookie was Manny Ramirez (which I already had).

1992 O-Pee-Chee #244
1992 Topps Gold Winner #244
I bought the complete Phillies team cards for each of these sets on eBay, filling some big holes in my Phillies want lists.

2016 Donruss Promising Pros Materials 
I'm not a big fan of modern Donruss but Nola is supposed to be a big part of the Phillies future and this is a nice looking relic card.

2016 Panini Diamond Kings Rookie Signatures Bronze
But I did like Panani's Diamond King set. I got this on eBay. It's the most expensive single card I bought this year.

2016 Grandstand Reading Fightin' Phils #24
I also bought a couple of 2016 Phillies minor league sets. Does the front design look familiar to you?

2016 Topps Opening Day Printing Plate #159
I managed to pull a printing plate out of a retail pack of Topps Opening Day.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Players I collect - 2016 Completed

I started this awhile ago and this will be the final post as I present 2016 cards of the players I collect. We're going to finish out with two current players.

Mike Trout

Bowman #1

Panini Diamond Kings #91
Topps #1
Topps #26
Topps American League Standouts #1
This was from a blister-pack I found at Target

Topps Allen & Ginter #194
According to, there were 890 Mike Trout cards issued this year. I only got 7 of them.

Melvin Upton

Stadium Club #193
A good old-fashioned sunglasses card.

Topps Update #186
In my database he's still B. J.

And that's it!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

"I'm one with the Force, and the Force is with me." - Chirrut Imwe

 Do we really need another review of "Rogue One?"  Probably not. If you don't need one, then stop here.

I was not particularly interested in seeing this movie. I know there are a lot of people (some of whom I know personally) really love the Star Wars universe. And I get it why they do. I like Star Wars as well, but I pretty much like any good science fiction. As I've noted before, I'm more a Star Trek kind of guy.

We went to see "Rogue One" last night, and as we were leaving we both said, "That was a lot better than I expected". That's because we had low expectations for the film. But the film didn't just beat those low expectations, we both enjoyed it very much.

It gets off to a really slow start. The first 15-20 minutes are spent introducing the main characters in a variety of different, non-connected locations and situations. We also get a tour of various galactic hot spots: moons, planets, Imperial bases and the like. Sort of like a dramatis personae crossed with a travelog. Boring. I was literally falling asleep during this part.

But fortunately the story started and it got interesting and exciting.

Consider the problems of the story writer. Before this we knew nothing about how the Alliance got the plans for the Death Star beyond the bare fact that some rebels had obtained them.  The writers (it took 5 people to write it) had to come up with a story with virtually nothing to guide them. It helped, I'm sure that they had the details of the Star Wars universe to fill in the background.

Great literature it's not but, really, what did you expect? I don't think anyone had a conversation that lasted more than 2-3 sentences. Exposition was not what you came for anyway. You came for flying spaceships, blasting blasters, weird aliens and the occasional wise crack. You came to the right place.

Lots of daring do, great fight scenes, peril, explosions, bravery, evil intentions, and the story made sense. What more do you want? My biggest problem was trying to figure out everybody's name. I pretty much failed at that.

So, if you're not that really into Star Wars, go see the movie anyway.

One more thought. Does it seem to you that pretty much every Star Wars character, except for the crisp military people, wear rags and live on dusty planets?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Players I Collect - 2016 continued

We're getting near the end of this series of players that I've collected over the years who had cards in 2016.

Ryne Sandberg

Topps 100 Years at Wrigley #26

Topps Archives #41

Topps Allen & Ginter #180
There's probably a Topps Bunt card for Sandberg as well. In addition to his playing career, Sandberg was the manager for the Phillies from 2013 to 2015 where he compiled a 119-159 record before he resigned. Sandberg was the 20th round draft pick of the Phillies in 1978 and actually played a few games for the Phillies in 1981. But I suppose everyone knows that. I have 150 Sandberg cards in my collection, spanning his whole career.

Tom Seaver

Stadium Club Legends Die-Cuts #8
This is a pretty nice card I pulled from a blaster of Stadium Club

Topps MLB Debut Series 2 #7
The original Tom Terrific. I only have 59 Seaver cards and most of those are post-career cards. I didn't start collecting until 1985, the year before he retired.

Gary Sheffield

Topps Archives

Sheffield retired in 2009 and it's only been the past 3 years when his post-career cards started showing up.

John Smoltz

Stadium Club #267

Topps Archives #45
For years a part of a terrific Braves staff, Smoltz was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2015. In 25 post-season games, he is 15-4.

Willie Stargell

Topps Allen & Ginter The Numbers Game #12
Stargell is one of the players I collect that I saw play a lot. While he played, my Phillies and the Pirates had a great in-state rivalry, and both were in the old NL East.

Frank Thomas

Topps Archives #151

Topps Allen & Ginter #268
Topps Bunt #184
Most players disappear from the hobby for several years after they retire. Not the Big Hurt. I have cards for him for every year since his first season until this year. He retired in 2009 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014. Although he played during the steroid age he managed to not get tainted by it while hitting 521 career home runs.

OK, one more post and I can wrap this series up.