Saturday, 31 August 2019

Nationals Exposure

As soon as I read that there would be an insert set saluting the 50th anniversary of the Montreal Expos in Archives this year, I knew I had to grab the Nationals spot in a group break, if for no reason but to expand my Expos collection.
I'll get the actual Nats content out of the way right away with the base cards.
And the inserts. At least I can say I'm a completist.
Let's start the Expos content with a trio of base cards. I was kinda hoping they'd get one in each design. But that super young looking Gary Carter is kinda cool.
Here's one more insert before we get to the Expos specific insert set.
There's one each of these Expos card per box, and being a case break, I ended up with 10 of them. As I wrote earlier in the week, their desire to include autographed parallels did limit them to living alum. There's a few players I would have liked to see (Valentine, Cromartie) but I still like the content. That might be the first Maury Wills card  where he's pictured with and listed as an Expo.
Two of the three players to be sporting Expos caps in the Hall of Fame round out this group of 10.
Still one more Expos card before we get to the autographs. This green parallel is /99.
While this is an Expos autograph, it doesn't come from the anniversary portion of the set. This is actually one of the Fan Favourite autographs. This is the only one that's part of that portion of the set, with all the others being from the 50th Anniversary portion.

Those are pretty plentiful in the release, falling about one every 2.5 boxes. And that held, as I got 4 of them.
With all respect to Marquis Grissom, he's probably the least interesting to me of the Expos autographs I landed. That's mainly because I already pulled one of his autos from a previous release. I do like that he signed this vertically, realizing that the blue ink wouldn't go with the blue jersey.
Staying with the similar era as Grissom, here's what I really wanted to see from this. New faces for the hit portion of the binder. This also appears to be the first certified autographs of their closer from the late 1980s/early 1990s.
And here's another player who looks to be making their certified auto debut. He was listed on the actual 1969 issue as Jose Laboy, but Coco is far more interesting. His signature style is really interesting, as I didn't think there were too many people that write out their last name one letter at a time. Then I remembered that I just posted one a couple weeks back.
Maury Wills is a frequent signer for Topps, but much like this is appears to be his first pictured/listed Expos card, this seems to be his first autograph card where he isn't a Dodger.

And there you have it! That was definitely a worthwhile pickup for the ol' PC.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Bills! Bills! Bills!

Since I didn't really have enough Bills in my COMC to-be-posted folder for a significant post, I decided to wait until a group break envelope, containing the blindingly loud cards from 2019 unparalleled and combine them for a single post.
Robert Foster was an undrafted free agent in the 2018 season, and impressed enough to see a lot of playing time last year, as well as to be a part of base sets in 2019. Here, we return to 2018, with a nice card from last year's Contenders Optic. Work a team logo into the background, and I'll generally like the design.
I just liked the contrast of the calm nature of Watkins while everybody behind him is celebrating.
If a pair of siblings is selected in the first round of the draft, it really seems logical to put them together on a card. Although since Tremaine was drafted ahead of Terrell, maybe they should have swapped places on the card. 
While 5th-rounder Vosean Joseph has received some NCAA cards, it does appear that he has yet to have a card in Bills gear available. So, I just went for the cheapest option to add one of his autos to the Bills binder.
One of my favourite things about Unparalleled is that their sets tend to throw in a couple of players to make their first appearance in a Panini set, and call them rookie cards despite it not being their rookie season. They probably waited to long for Ford, who was released in May and is now in the Packers system. Croom is still with the Bills. The Ford is the base card, while Croom is a Groove parallel. From Unparalleled.
Here's the Astral parallel, which is /200.
These are the base cards for the actual rookies. Dawson Knox makes one of his first appearances on a Bills card, while the other 4 have made numerous appearances already.
If you want more Unparalleled parallels, here's a Flurry (so appropriate for Buffalo around December) of Devin Singletary.
And fresh off leading the team to a 4th quarter win to wrap up a perfect preseason, here's an Impact parallel /75 of Tyree.

Now, I'm ready for kickoff!

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Raptors Randomness

Time for another Raptors post that gets ignored.
Yes. This gets counted as a Raptors card. At least until they start issuing cards for team executives/advisors. Embry has been a senior advisor for the Raptors since 2004, and that's enough for me to consider him a Raptor for the purposes of the binder. He also continues the tradition of the retired legends having nice-looking autographs.
Yes. This gets counted as a Raptors card. Adel was signed and playing for their G-League team for part of the season, before moving on to Cleveland. Although he'll never have an official Raptors card, it still is enough for me to count it.
Kyle Lowry's autographs, no matter what the team, are finally starting to settle into a price point that seems more accurate for the multi-time all-star. Fortunately, I grabbed this one before that. And since he has plenty of Raptors autos out there, this doesn't count as a Raptors card. I just had no other place to put it.
But it does act as a perfect segue into the portion of the post that shows off the cards that are obviously Raptors content. These were retail-only inserts in Hoops this past season.
If not for the Championship sets, this would be my first card of Marc Gasol as a Raptor. And if he'd fallen off the parade bus, it might have been my only cards of him as a Raptor.
This is from the Panini Father's Day bonus packs. Only one season, but what a season!
I'm ending on a really interesting relic. A plain blue swatch? If I'm identifying correctly, this comes from one of the Toronto Huskies throwbacks that Lowry and the team sported during the 16-17 season. The possibility that it was made it enough to throw the card into my COMC inventory.

There you have it!

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Mailbag Time!

The trader mailbag opens again, with a pair of small envelopes from Baseball Card Breakdown and Cardboard Clubhouse. I'll be leading with the former, and hopefully not get them mixed up as I go.
I consider the removal of cards from the Bark in the Park the one thing that soured me on the Big League set. A fun set for set builders should be right up my alley! And then they weren't there. Booo! Fortunately, BCB remedied that with a 'sample' of what could have been.

I really should post a picture of Charlie in his Blue Jays collar. The only problem is that he's in full coat now, so it hides under his curls.
OK. Here is an older photo of him with his previous Jays collar.
And here's the back of the card that never was.
TJ Graham's career for the Bills wasn't that spectacular, but at least he did get a nice parallel in team colours.
Although he never made it beyond AA ball, that's still far more of a professional career than I ever had. As for the autograph itself, you can make out two of the letters. That's better penmanship than the autos I posted from that tin of Premier a couple days ago.
And it ends with a random sampling of Jays and Mets. I love the Canada Day cap that Morrow is sporting in his photo. The cards in the lower corner are numbered, with Rios being /999 and Turay limited to 1599 super shiny cards.
Switching to the CC envelope, here's some stickers! The Smith and Raines are fine - I just didn't crop the scan correctly.
The Iooss collection is an insert set I've get way too few cards from. After this mailer, I think it stands at 2 now.
I was always amused how, when he'd come to bat at Olympic Stadium, the announcer would turn up the Frenchness of his name to 11. I guess I amuse easily.
And here's a whole bunch more Expos. Although there are a lot of fun names in the recent Archives release saluting the 50th anniversary of the Expos, I was disappointed that Warren Cromartie wasn't on the checklist. Even if they stuck to living players for that insert set for auto purposes, meaning no Mack Jones, Gary Carter or Charlie Lea, I figured Warren would be part of it.
Ending on a couple Senators, including a Radek not named Bonk.

Thanks for these, and I'm always reloading for mailers to send in your direction.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Insert Hunt

2014-15 Hoops is another one of my favourite boxes to bust, and is for reasons I also like Rookie Anthology and Chronicles - variety. There are a lot of inserts and parallels per 12 card pack, usually 3 or more per. Which makes each pack interesting.

I'm just going to highlight the inserts and parallels in the order they upload, and end with the hits.
I guess calling these cards Hoops Dreams would be really cheesy. And possibly a copyright violation as well. At least the black and white photo does make it look like Randle is reflecting on his future.
There were 10 of the gold parallels, 10 of the red-back parallels, and 10 of the green parallels in the box. Those numbers made me decide just to scan one card each per insert, regardless of how many were pulled. Of all the parallels, including the numbered ones, this gold rookie of Joel Embiid, last seen being reduced to tears by Kawhi's bouncer, is the best of all of them.
Not enough sets use parquet as the background for a design. It would at least be more interesting than the usual white you see on high end releases.
And you can play with the colours in an interesting manner. Imagine how bland either of these two would look if the wood grain was gone and it was just one plain colour.
A courtside seat combined with a full-bleed photo makes for a beautiful card. I like how they get the other backboard in the background to make the court seem longer than it is.
A green parallel is perfect for a Celtics card.
Once again, I've managed to have two cards that can sorta go together back-to-back. Parquet, then some CanCon.
Maybe I should have selected a better card for the Class Action insert set than this derpy photo of AI.
More full-bleed, and this time some Raptors content.
Oh yes. The legendary match-up between Deron Williams and Chris Paul. That doesn't really scream out Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird, does it?
Nine steals in a game might not be completely worthy of the card, but Carter-Williams managed that in his NBA debut game. Now if only the photo was of one of those swipes, it would be an even better card.
Here's the first of the numbered parallels. The /99 ones are 1 per hobby box.
There's another combination of action and non-action photos among the inserts with this one.
Red backs. The dullest of the inserts.
Here's the second Raptors appearance among the inserts, a flashback to when their playoff appearances usually meant the ol' one-and-done. I tried not to do multiple appearances of the same player with this post, but I figured I should at least double up on the Raptors/DeRozan content.
Just another excuse for there to be multiple insert cards for the star players.
And finally, the parallels draw the non-hit portion to a close with the silver parallels to /399. Getting 4 of these to go alongside the /99 card makes it seem like everything collated out just right.
The Blast from the Past relics show how Panini dealt with outdated jersey swatches back in 2014.
Autograph time! Although I don't think of Orlando Magic when I think of Horace Grant, he did spend parts of 7 seasons there, just like he did for his more familiar stomping grounds in Chicago. And it is a nice autograph of a retired player with a really solid career.
I really didn't know if O'Quinn was still in the league, but it turns out he's still around, and signed with Philadelphia this off-season. With a name like O'Quinn, it just seems destined to be on the back of a Celtics jersey.
Something Panini did with Hoops this year that was odd was adding a third autograph in boxes if you landed an auto of a lottery pick, and generally having one of the autos being of a rookie player. When I pulled the Grant and O'Quinn autos, I expected there would be a third. Lavine did get picked near the back of the lottery, but this is one of the better ones to get from that portion of the set. He, and his two slam-dunk championships, have moved on to Chicago since this card. (Aaron Gordon was robbed in 2016)

But there you have it! And I can finally get caught up on trade envelopes next post.