Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Binder Worthy

I received some new baseball cards today. Yeah, yeah, what else is new? Well, I hope you picked up some new cards today too.

So tonight I am starting on putting them in binder pages. Which is it's own idiosyncratic topic in this idiosyncratic hobby. I'll get back to that shortly; let's check out my new baseball cards first.

I really like these cards:
The scanner had no trouble at all figuring out the exact 3.5 x 2.5 dimensions of these cards. (Which reminds me to share a link with you - Keith Olbermann's tribute to Sy Berger is clutch).

My second recent Blue Bat card - I might need a double of this one. I also like "Bat Speed" cards that can freeze almost everything in the frame.

Has Topps ever made the player on the box card #1?

I've been eagerly anticipating the backs of these cards:
Hey, nice bonus picture!

What I was anticipating, however, was Topps finally making a saber-metric-centric card back. Not a special variant card back as in 2014 Series 2 and Update, but simply a set of baseball cards with a decided saber-metric theme to the stats on the back. Given the history of their efforts to put unique stats on the back of the original Stadium Club releases, I thought we might see it here. Of course, there's always next year.

And I'm sure plenty of people flipped over their first in-hand Stadium Club card this year to see if the player's Rookie Card would be included on the back. Sadly, I somewhat doubt Topps will ever do this again - which card is the Rookie Card these days, anyway? That question has gone way beyond arguing over XRC cards from Traded sets. Hmm, perhaps Topps could print these with different RC editions on the back, with the same fronts, but one card with the Bowman Chrome, one with the Topps RC, etc. Oh dear. Did I just type that out loud? If that were to happen, I'm sure this would drive some collectors bananas. Personally, I would just laugh.

Speaking of bananas though,
I'm sure this card would immediately drive some collectors bananas. First a vertical card in the set, then a horizontal card. HOW CAN THESE BE PLACED ON A BINDER PAGE?!?!?

This doesn't bother me at all. Just used to it I guess. Sometimes I like to put all the horizontal cards together on pages, and dream of 1956 though. I'll eventually get around to this for 2014 Series 1 & 2. Maybe. The results of that might make me too depressed, however.

Anyhow I love this Matt Holliday card. For a photograph likely shot via recording pixel information on a digital memory storage card, it sure looks pretty analog. Almost painted, even.

Also this card shows me that a team color will be part of the design with that stripe under the name bar there.

And of course, let's check out the back some more:
Another sweet portrait shot on the back! I like pictures of baseball players with clouds behind them. So '51 Bowman Mantle-esque. For once, I hope Topps re-uses that image on a full size card.

It looks like the team color will be featured prominently on the back. The teal on the Griffey card was so stealthy in that regard.

Is that a #2 I see up there, as in card #2? This is the second of my brand new baseball cards?

Yes, it's true. I simply bought this set of baseball cards. I've come a long way on that. I've been mentioning the idea on the blog, and put it to the test with these new Stadium Club cards. I picked up the base set for $40, delivered. About ten bucks less than the price of one box, tonight, on that online greatest baseball card retailer of All-Time site, where I bought these.

In one way, these cards were actually free. Because I recently sold a card for $280. Of course, since I just bought a hand-collated set of 2014 Stadium Club, I threw away my chance to pull a similarly valuable card via "ripping a box," such as the /25 on-card auto version of the Griffey card you just saw.

But as I've written a story about on here before, I learned a long time ago that gambling isn't my thing, and now finally with most baseball cards, I've learned to quit while I'm ahead. And one box wouldn't have got me very close to a set of these wonderful cards, either.

I feel so grown-up now. I'd better get back to some baseball cards:
Babe Ruth, photo-bombed! Not too many photo bombs on baseball cards, Topps usually frowns on that idea and those stay on the cutting-room floor down at 1 Whitehall St.

I like Babe Ruth baseball cards. I know I'll never own an original one, such as either of the Goudeys, though I'm not sure there are any other originals, as in contemporary to his playing days, or close to it. It has always struck me as strange how the Roaring 20s seemed to fail at producing any baseball cards.

But, now, I do have an original Babe Ruth card, in that I'm pretty sure this picture of Babe Ruth has never been on a card before. I have never seen this photograph until I held this baseball card in my hand, and that is what I expect from a baseball card. And that is very well done, Topps, after seeing the same baseball player picture repeated on so many other cards. Thank you.

It looks like Topps has gone with Red as the Yankees team color perhaps? Let's check:
Nope, that would be a little odd for the team with the Blue pin-stripes. Red is just used on the front for a little contrast - classy. I'm not sure we really need the old-school NY logo on the back of the card twice though.

And another nice photo on the back - this looks like it could be a colorized photo, but I like that. Such modern creations would make for an interesting look at the game in the early 20th century. Hint, hint.

Even though Topps didn't go with some unique set of stats on the back and pretty much just kept it classy, the text about Ruth does consider stats newer than this All-Time Great:

Digitally cutting that text out for you revealed the diagonal to essentially the second design on each and every baseball card - the design on the back. This one is pretty strong, overall.

The set is really off to a good start though, I would have to say. Imagine pulling those three cards from a pack sequentially - Griffey, Holliday, Ruth - not a bad run. Of course, in a modern pack of baseball cards, a run like that would soon be interrupted, and this set follows Topps standard checklist guidelines:
A Rookie Card…if you thought Topps might finally release a set without these, well, consider Topps Dynasty, their new ultra-high-end "set" that comes in this mind-bending product configuration - 1 pack per box, 1 card per pack - for $300 per box, or pack, or card, however you like to think about three Benjamins leaving your possession just to pull a Nick Castellanos card. Though they are nice enough to leave the RC logo off those cards once you give up that much of your wallet.

And what's up with this Singleton guy? Does Topps thinks he knows how to play this game? First Topps shows him squatting on first base, now he is holding a glove by the laces? Three Topps cards in and he has two things I've never seen on a baseball card before. (I'm sure the Two Outs symbol has to be on a baseball card somewhere, I hope, at least).

A further mystery - the first Brown card - Orange? Let's ask the back what's going on:
Oh, yeah, man, the Astros, technically an Orange team. A little tough with the dirt around Home Plate being a main design element. But that's OK, this card-back makes me feel nice and relaxed. Yeah, my eyelids are nice and droopy, like Jason Motte cards, that Singleton guy, he's pretty chill, man, yeah. I'd better keep a half-closed eye on his future cards, yeah. There just might even be a touch of red in that photo, man, yeah, you'll just have to look at that one up close on your own card, yeah.

Baseball cards - so relaxing. Even without ripping packs, I'm still chilling out nicely. That's because putting baseball cards in binder pages really connects you to the cards. You have no choice but to handle each one singly, and in the process, you usually slow down and consider each card, one at a time. How much do you consider a card when you rip packs into a stack of cards and then make a pile of #s 1-10 and then get them in sequential order and immediately move on to cards 11-20? And then stick them in a box with a Post-It note for missing card #13, not to be seen again until card #13 finally arrives, giving one last glimpse at #12 and #14… ?

One thing I always watch for on every Topps design in cards from the New York Mets, and here comes one now:
Full-Bleed Action, at last, five cards in. Full bleed designs are great for action shots. I like Curtis Granderson. I hope he finds his power-stroke again next year, somehow.

But Topps let me down just a little here, as quality control on the crucial Mets Orange stripe there slipped and it is the thinnest such stripe so far. I'm sure the back will have plenty of Orange though:
Yes, lots of Mets Orange. But hardly any Mets Blue, which is what always makes the Orange look so nice. My first Mets card on a Topps design I haven't liked in a long time. Like the Astros card, an Orange theme over the dirt of the baseball diamond wasn't just exactly perfect, like using some Mets blue would have been (the Astros would be just straight out of luck, as usual, with no real secondary color these days). Curtis doesn't look all that thrilled with the results either.

Ahh well, you win some, you lose some, but usually on Topps Baseball Cards, you always tend to win:
Hey, who let an Opening Day card in here? Though I do like Koji Uehara cards. And David Ortiz cards. Shane Victorino, not so sure which one that is, so, naturally, let's ask the back:
A Double Dome card! Has a player ever been shown hatless on his baseball card, twice? And re: Red Sox, and beards - I predict there will not be one Boston Red Sox baseball card in 2015 with a player sporting a beard. You heard it here first, or worst, or first, or something.

That's a lot of Red even without a Red ball-cap. Let's go back to a soothing player who plays for Blue:
The sun always shines on Adrian Gonzalez cards. ¡Viva Mexico! There are so many Caribbean players these days, I'm going to have to make more effort to figure out which ones hail from one the land to our south, donde tengo mucho amigos. I also liked the back of this one:
Wherein the Topps photographer coaxed the biggest smile out of Adrian yet. He'll get there, someday. And I can report that while considering Adrian's smile over the years via the cheater technique of typing his name into the search box on COMC, I discovered that his 2014 Bowman card finally shows that he plays in the field too. I'll have to watch for that, though in a repack, some day.

Ahh well, I try to consider binder pages and I end up doing web searches of Adrian Gonzalez baseball cards. I'm pretty sure I will be OK with this complete base set acquisition technique, pretty much because of the process of putting the cards away in binder pages, and because I can now enjoy the mystery of ripping packs of cards via opening cheap repacks. I used the buy-a-set deal for Series One this year and I even saved you, dearest reader, some cards to share as I put that one in it's binder pages. If I don't spend too many days getting lost in these wonderful new Stadium Club cards, you'll see them soon.

The topic I really had on my mind when I wrote the post title a while back now, was the sad fact that a lot of baseball card collectors never see a binder page of 9 baseball cards. Some worry about damaging the cards, which I find, just, sad, considering a base card costs all of, hmmm, twenty cents in this post. But then of course some sad baseball card collectors can only enjoy cards that are worth more money than that. And these few sentences are enough on all that. 

So, let's see page #1 of 2014 Topps Stadium Club:

Now that's Baseball Cards.

Except, wait, wait, there is always a crucial decision to make when assembling a page of baseball cards: 9 cards, or 18?

Let's take a look:

With the secondary photo, team color, and the overall mostly careful design work on the back, well, I have to wonder, has anyone ever scanned the back of a 9 card binder page of baseball cards before?

For 2014 Topps Stadium Club, 9 cards it is.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rest In Peace, Sy Berger

I think you will see a lot of these posts today. I hope so.

This is my only Sy Berger card:
There are two others, and I will own them someday. I think I want to try my luck at ripping another box of the 2011 Lineage release, which had a /60 on-card autograph that I have always wanted - one of only two autographs I truly wish to own.

Here are some links on the brief details:

And here is the gold standard, the New York Times obituary. If you are not an NYT subscriber and have read all of your ten free articles this month, I suggest finding another electronic device which still has some space on it's NYT cookie to read this one, quite good:

Here is perhaps his last interview:

In the hobby of baseball cards, you never stop learning little tidbits of information about the game, the players, and the cards themselves. I write this blog to share those tidbits I discover, in hopes you enjoy them as well, though venting my opinions on cards might out-number those tidbits all too often. This afternoon I was researching ways to contact someone to chat with for a post I hope to write, though it isn't anyone at Topps, and along the way I stumbled across this news. In the article from Sports Collector Daily, I saw a picture of the bottom of a box of 1952 Topps for the first time.

I think the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of the text on the bottom of the box are a just exactly perfect epitaph for Sy Berger:

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some baseball cards to sort. Thank You, Sy Berger!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Nighty night, Archives

Before being de-railed by picking up a few repacks and sharing the contents with y'all, I was working on putting away all my cards from 2013 Archives. I finished off the '72 style cards, but I had a lingering decision to make - would I finish the 85s?

I have always liked 1985 Topps Baseball. I didn't collect it much at the time, and in fact it was probably a low point in collecting for me until I skipped most of the 90s. I have a whole lot of 1986 Topps probably due to meeting new friends in college, including a baseball card collector.

But I basically like diagonal design elements on a baseball card. They get things moving on the card. And unless you are sitting right in line with 2 bases, you will always see the game of baseball on some sort of diagonal. A diamond is four diagonals after all.

In the first three decades of Topps baseball card designs, a diagonal element is quite rare, only seen in 1966 and partially in 1977.

Then came 1980, which is one of my favorite designs to this day. I completed that set but sold it in my early 20s; I am just starting on a re-do of that.

1985 brought back the diagonal in a big way:
Aside from the diagonal, I also like the use of color in the design as the bed under the player's name; it's just kind of a bonus how colorful the blurry crowd is on this particular card. I just pulled this card the other day from a repack; these have brought me all the way back to four 85s I have on hand to consider, though I have a loose pack of them around here somewhere, and another little stash of them hiding in their Undisclosed Location with Dick Cheney, in the event of a terrorist attack, or not having enough storage space in my current living quarters. Anyhow, let's see a bit more of the real deal, from back in the day:

Hey, look, it's Night Owl's favorite hat! He writes a great blog about the 1985 set, but I have been purposely not reading it that much, because I still might put the 1985 set together, and I'd rather see the cards for the first (or second) time in my life one at a time, as the stack of cards reveals them. I might pick up a vending box full of the things, an idea I was in awe of as a child reading baseball card catalogs. 500 cards, in one box? Incredible.

Then in 2012, when I was still busy casually putting together the 2011 Topps set and hadn't discovered baseball card blogs yet, Topps released their Archives set. I kind of got into that one in a retro way, picking up more of it in 2013 than when it was new. And that was probably traced to purchasing some of the 2nd Archives release, and finding this card:
A favorite player of my youth, and just simply a guy that generally photographs well, all with those strong diagonals and harmonious team colors in the design. A for Effort Topps, and P for Perfect, or so I thought. And despite a fondness for Stargell cards all my life, I had never noticed his unique batting-helmet-over-the-cap style on display here (and a theme of an ongoing collecting effort I'll share with you some day - you'll be surprised who else I discovered capping it like that).

I also pulled this card:
This is one of my favorite cards of 2013, and is probably definitely my favorite from outside of my standard love, Topps Series 1 and Series 2. A memorial patch, a night card, I could go on with all the things I like here, and have. This single baseball card gave me a better appreciation for Salvador Perez than any other connection I have to the game of baseball, which says a lot to me considering he plays for my favorite team's most dangerous rival the last few years. I hope KC wises up next year and plays his back-up a little more often so he doesn't tail off so bad late in the season, though I also simultaneously hope they don't figure that out and/or have such a thin team that they can't actually do that, like this year.

I started to think maybe I should track all these down, though I was far more interested in that with the 1972 cards, and proceeded to work on those when I could. But I kept liking the 1985 style cards I pulled, and started to wonder - could this set satisfy my desire to gaze upon 1985 Topps Baseball? This card probably could:
I knew instantly this was most likely an alternate take shot at the same time as the photo used on his second card in the 1976 set. But it was still basically a new photograph for me. I also liked how Topps worked on the authenticity, by putting a 1976 style Royals logo on this card - scroll back up a little to the Perez card to see what I mean (and check out the Cardinals icon on the Porter card way back at the top.)

Though on the Brett card, the key design decision of printing the name of the team next to their logo works out just fine, and with only one "KC" on the card on George's hat, on other cards things didn't work out so nicely minimalist:
Ugg. Here he have the word Royals three times, and the the letters KC three more times. Baseball cards are much better without so much busyness all over them.

Now with some teams like the Royals, they just don't have much of a graphic icon that can be used to get around this problem, as compared to classic baseball iconography that some teams give Topps an easy out with:
I'm not sure how Topps selected the red socks for the Red Sox, rather than the script "B", or a block capital "P" for the Pirates, rather than their iconic Pirate. The Red Sox wear those on their left shoulder, perhaps that's how they did it? 
No, that can't be it - the Rays have a left shoulder patch every bit as iconic as the red socks for the Red Sox, that would look fantastic next to the word Rays on the card. And I have no idea why the Ray isn't on the alternate powder-blue Rays uni there. And since the Rays weren't around in 1985, Topps could do whatever it wanted here.

Now with the team name on the card, players in their road uniforms present some interesting opportunities:
I kind of like how that turned out. But if they had zoomed that digital image out just 5% more, the "Los Angeles" would look just exactly perfect over the "Dodgers," even with the repeat of the word Dodgers in the logo.

Topps did pull off a nice card in that vein:
Cool. Says it all right there, gets both of their main logos, repetition is discreet and no big deal, unlike this card:
And this card:
Has there ever been a card with four Chief Wahoos but only a single player? That might be a tough find. I didn't think I would ever find a card with the team name repeated four times, but there it was:
Now, this is a standard potential problem (or not a problem at all, except for nuts like me) for cards of players of many teams,  whenever the designer goes with team logos on the baseball card, seen often in logo'd sets:
A triple logo card. This even happens in the original 1985 Topps:
And this isn't a totally terrible thing. I really look forward to owning that particular card; I had to download that scan from the Night Owl. (Blogger tip: don't hotlink baseball card images; download them to your own computer first, then re-upload them to your blog post. Otherwise someday you might just have a little blue ? icon where your hot linked image was, though I truly hope the 1985 Topps.blogspot never goes away). 

I love red, white, & blue cards and ironically the Expos have the best examples of these all the time, though the Dodgers should have good ones as well if Topps would ever use red on their cards a little more often. On that card I probably like the image due to the way the two diagonals interact, even on a zoomed in card; it helps that the diagonal lines lead you to Carter's eyes looking out of the frame rather than at the photographer.

So you could say now that I am just nitpicking Topps for using team names in the design and the photographs, and that is a bit true. But contrast this effort:
With this one:
And here I am purposely leading you astray with an image that doesn't even show an NY anywhere, from one of the most non-iconic teams, on their uniforms at least.

Because ultimately what turned me off from the the 2013 use of the 1985 Topps baseball style wasn't the repeats of the team icon or team name, but the reason that it is so glaring on so many cards. Which I can't quite show you without scanning a lot of them all together, say in a binder page, but I'm just not up for that.

When I put together all 50 of the 1972 cards, I discovered that only 7 of them even showed a player's belt. When I considered doing the same for the 1985s (though I need another half-dozen or so), I discovered that of those 50 cards, on exactly zero of them could I see even the player's belt.

I get the certain "theme" of Archives - shooting pictures of players at Spring Training, with palm trees and batting cages and tiny empty exhibition stadiums in the backgrounds, just like the old days on Topps baseball cards, even in 1985. You would be hard pressed to see a player's belt in the 1965 set, for example, but it avoids the problems of busily repeating the team's name 3 or 4 times by zooming in all the way past the text on the uniforms. 

But ultimately I just didn't want to look at 5 1/2 more pages of baseball player torsos, generally carelessly cropped, though I do have to give Topps credit for not repeating all the trivia questions like they did on the 1972 cards. I already had a nice colorful 5 1/2 pages of such cards in the 1972 design.

And I still like the idea of Topps re-using their designs and will probably always take an interest in such, on a design-by-design basis. (Bring on 1976!) I had hoped maybe this nice convenient 50 card set would give me a nice look at 1985, with current players and without a lot of additional expense. Archives does hold that promise to an extent, but this particular effort just fails for me, and I finally made my decision, probably with the help of those cards from the repacks.

I would much more enjoy tracking down the actual 1985 Topps Baseball cards. And then I could read another great baseball card blog...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Shopping with the window closed

One of today's goals was to buy two new tires for the truck. Instead, I bought, and if I type on long enough here, I can get the not very surprising reveal all the way off the teaser part of the blogroll, and yeah, you are already guessing what I bought … a repack.

The tire store was across the parking lot from a K-Mart. A K-Mart I hadn't previously pillaged for any possible remaining Mike Trout rookies. And the tire clerk had forgotten my truck has a diesel engine = I needed a higher load range tire than they had in the shop.

So off to K-Mart for a little Trout fishing. Early to bed / early to rise / fish all day / make up lies. I'll be honest here though - there were no 2011 Update packs to be had, which wasn't too surprising.

But the baseball card jones had to be sated. I selected this:

I have been skeptical of these. I like repacks. But a big reason I like them is I at least get to know one of the cards I am buying. Yes, I am a box searcher. I look through all of the packs to figure out which one has some goofy card I like, before you get a chance to pick one blindly, without even looking.

But I can't do that with these obviously. Here is the rest of what this pack promises, hidden behind the ugly green plastic:

Well that's good, of course I want to collect my Favorite Stars from a Championship Collection of Trading Cards. Who wouldn't?

And though I keep wanting to work on another post unrelated to repacks, well, this repack might have a card that I can use in that post, so, just to be sure, I'll open this repack first.

But first, let's inquire a little more skeptically. Where did this repack come from? As always on this blog, let's check the back:

Hmmm, I thought you could get in big, big trouble for being an MJ Holding Company. And I'm pretty sure Michael Jordan might enjoy a few recreational sports cards in his spare time, but I'm also pretty sure he's got bigger companies to run than a used sports cards repacking company. I have seen this name before somewhere, I will have to look into this mystery company sometime. This was part of my goal of buying this pack. Journalism. Serious, heavy-hitting, data-driven, well-researched Journalism. Yeah, that's the ticket. I was going to get real with these repacks, and count the cards inside. But there's 100 cheap-ass baseball cards inside, we already know that, silly!

No, I was going to help educate just what my loyal blog readers should expect for their hard-earned five spot from those 100 baseball cards. How much junk wax? How many cards from last year? Which manufacturers paid off this repacker the most? How many "hits"? Would I break even buying this pack, or could I turn a profit flipping repacks? (You'll be surprised….)

But then, this happened:

WHAT! Repackers can't do this! Sure, they can cruelly Bip you with multiple copies of the same card, but they are not supposed to just put stacks of cards all from the same junk set in there like they didn't even care about the product they so lovingly distribute to baseball card addicts like me. I mean, if I wanted cards all from the same set, I'd buy one of those repacks full of actual junk packs of baseball cards.

So much for my serious research. Ruined by bad data before I even start. There is only one solution — I'll have to buy another one of these repacks to see if MJ Holding Company has formed a habit with this practice. Darn.

OK, OK, let's look at some baseball cards already. Here is that crucial tone-setting first card:
Hey, a Manager card. I like Manager cards. In fact, that will be the title of an upcoming post. I knew this repack would help me be a good blogger. And if you love baseball cards, you have to have lots of Alou cards. We'll save this one for further consideration some day in 2017, at this rate. But 2003 Topps? There are reasons I drift away from baseball cards once in a while. I like colorful cards. I like strong primary colors. But I think this set puts me to sleep, and it's already late.

What's the next card?
Hmmm, that MJ Holding Company repacker person is more sly than I thought. The second card is the famous baseball player replaced by the first card! Maybe MJ can help you understand the game of baseball after all.

I'll have to blame these poor scans on the beer though. I ran a chainsaw a bunch today, and to try and get the taste of gasoline off the tip of my tongue, I went with a heavily hopped beverage - 2014 Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - and forgot to check how the scanner was registering the cards before I scanned them all for you. Sorry about cutting off the tops of the cards there. Bad blogger, bad. This will be a problem for the whole post, oops.

That's sure a lot of blue on that card though. I like it though. Nicknames make for better baseball cards. I'll read the back later, let's keep flipping through these blue cards:
It's a Manger Hot Pack! Yippee! This is a very rare "In Action" Manager card, though you can't really expect a 72 year old baseball lifer to challenge the photographer to stay in focus.

But this was my first clue these cards came from an actual baseball card collection. Luckily for me, that collector who sold their collection to MJ Holdings Corporation - hmmm, I wonder what you could get back in trade for baseball cards from them? - well, they picked up the Traded set from Topps in 2003, which is where Topps put all the Manager cards that year. Which is a pretty good idea Topps could use when they have a hard time filling out all 330 cards in the Update set these days. BRING BACK THE MANAGER CARDS! please.

But I couldn't be that lucky to purchase 100 Manager cards at once. I also found this card:
Nice palm trees! I think this card might hold down the Twins shoulder patch binder page slot for a while. Me likey.

So much blue though, isn't there some other set of cards in this repack?
A blue bat! Blue empty seats! Blue alternate uniform! There is no escape from the blues, every grown-up knows that. I'm pretty sure I've never seen a blue bat on a baseball card before though. I'm also pretty sure 1989 Donruss is going to have a tough time convincing me to keep any of their other 659 cards with a design that boring. But of course, with baseball cards, there's always the next pack…

This pack was pretty loaded with those cheap flimsy cards though. That portion of it did have one other surprise:
So for you lazy types that couldn't be bothered to figure out how to put the challenging jigsaw puzzle together even though you already owned hundreds and hundreds of the baseball cards that came out of the same packs, they gave you a cheater card showing you what the puzzle looked like? I did not know that. I'll use this to my advantage. Clearly, the one cool piece of this puzzle would be the one with the Brave on it. Sorry, Warren, this puzzle just doesn't do it for me, and nether does this set of baseball cards.

But that's the beauty of a repack - there are always other sets to check out:
Back to the blues. Does this pack have a theme or what? And What IS That in Tony's uniform there? A Saturday Night Special to really put the fear in base runners thinking about stealing one? Never trust a Pirate. And those fore-arm bands? What's up with that?

Even beer can't help you escape from the blues, trust me:
Something doesn't seem right about that card. Those pesky red Empty Seats? You thought I liked these cards. I do, I do, that's not it. That Espy card is a classic. No, no, it's something else...
There, that's better. Whatever possessed the Mariners to switch to teal anyway? Teal is pretty classy, sure, but the ocean is blue, everybody knows that.

And what about collecting my Favorite Stars like I was promised?
Everybody likes an Eddie Murray card. But wasn't there some of those chippy black border cards everyone hates in here somewhere?
And wasn't I complaining just yesterday about lackadaisical baseball card editors carelessly dropping graphical elements on the cards? Yes, yes I was. But I dig that Win! Twins! logo. Looks like I'll have more Twins patch cards to be looking for.

I'm not sure what to make of 1987 Donruss. I mean, it's like every card got run over by one of those old-time bullpen buggies I discovered while wasting time on the Internet, like you are right now:
Which are pretty cool. I hope that idea has been factored into a nickname for this set. I mean, I do like black border baseball cards, they make the colors in the image just pop oh so well. I wonder what else I can find in 1987 Donruss?

Shazam! Now there is a puzzle I would like to complete! And they call this stuff junk. At least that means it will be cheap!

There was quite a stack of these cards in the pack, but sadly no puzzle pieces. Were there any more good cards?
All-right all-right, another cool Mark Langston card. His binder page will be filling up before I know it. That star sure does look pointy, Mark, good thing you usually have a great leg kick going on your cards.

I think there were a lot of famous baseball players in 1987 sets. I sure hope so, because they sure printed a lot of their cards, which is good for me, so I can find sweet Hall of Famer cards like this one:
Nice. Though again I wish I could re-assemble the card and put that old school Sox logo over in the left corner, a little more outta the way.

Yes, 1987 Donruss seems like it could be enjoyable to assemble, particularly since I won't let 1987 Topps grow into very big piles. And I'll need some 1987 cards to keep up with my baseball history:
Why there's Johnny Football of his day. Quarterback of the Michigan Wolverines but made Pro in Major League Baseball instead. I doubt you'll ever see his like again. He was pretty famous in Michigan when I was growing up, but I never knew he was also born right there in Ann Arbor - what a storybook baseball card, thanks Donruss. I'll have to keep an eye out for more of his cards and see how his total career turned out, I forget these things. Here he is in 1987 already a DH though, hmmmm…

Well, so much for my repack with a very low score on the variety index. Let's hope the repacker tried a little harder putting the second stack of cards together:

Sweet. A baseball player from the very first set of baseball cards I ever collected, still going strong on cardboard in 1991. This would be Frank's final of 3 Upper Deck cards, but is better than his 91 Topps. This pack is off to a good start!

Though this is a rather routine action in game - the runner is already safe on a pick-off attempt - I always like a card where the fielder hasn't closed his glove on the ball yet. Hey man, nice shot. Upper Deck was also known for intriguing photos on the back of course:
I think this might have been one of Bryce Harper's favorite cards when he was a little boy. 

It was nice to see a short run of 1991 Upper Deck to start the next portion of 50 cards, because that set is full of these types of cards:
Now there's a Pitcher In Action card. Repacks usually have a generous helping of early Upper Deck issues, quite probably because the print runs of those cards are pretty high I imagine. This will work out well for me, because I think I will just keep an occasional UD '91 until I have 9 really good ones. They are not all fabulous action shots though, Upper Deck also liked to have fun posing the players:
Another great Empty Seats card, naturally in this pack with blue seats. Yes, all four of those cards are keepers. That card has some potential for use in the post I try to keep working on, if I didn't keep buying new repacks lately. Once the card designer puts a team logo on the card, you can quickly get triple logo cards. Unlike this set:
Perhaps Leaf was just practicing here for their unlicensed future. With no logo or even team name, the photo selection doesn't come through to support that design decision. And I have never liked the main element here, recalling the little sticky-back thingies you would use on each corner of a photo to affix it to a page in an album, you know, when people kept their photographs without using electronics, back when we had to walk 3 miles through the snow, each way, to get to the one room school house, sonny. 1991 Leaf will be a one-and-done set in my binders - I will probably just keep one card from it, when and ever I find a really, really good one.

Perhaps someday Leaf will hook me up with a card from my oddball personal baseball card memes like this Stadium Club does:
This card could read Louisville Slugger for the name and I would be happy to accept it as a Lurking Catcher card. That bat looks like it's up to something…I'm always on the look-out for Floating Bat cards now. 

With a hit of Stadium Club, this repack is finally starting to behave like a repack. And nothing says repack like a shiny 90s insert:
I might scan that one again to see how it turns out a second time. Or, I might have a Shiny 90s scan-off contest - wait till you see a 95 or 96 Pacific Oooooh, Shiny I pulled from my extra repack the other night; just ridiculous. I'll give you a heads-up in advance so you can have shades handy that night.

Did I just type the word night here in the middle of the night? Did I find a night card? Yep.
A pitcher-at-the-plate insert night card no less, probably; you can't always tell if any Diamaondbacks card is actually from a night game. Like most inserts in the 21st century this one too, from 2002, is mostly designed for a relic version. I think bat relic cards for pitchers are about the only such cards I would enjoy owning.

Once you start pulling inserts in a repack, the cards from sets you've never seen before won't be far behind:
This is actually a 3-D card, in that you would need a 3-D scanner to capture the embossed faux-baseball stitches on the top right of the card; also the surface of the card is also a nice faux-leather, though you'll not often see leather that glossy. Still a fun go at something a little different from Upper Deck in the 2001 Ovation set. There were a couple more of these in the repack, gave it a little heft. I think I will enjoy owing some of these for the tactile experience. Much better than 1995's Topps Embossed. You missed Topps Embossed? Don't worry, they're easy to find, and real, real cheap too.

You never know what those non-Topps baseball card companies would try next:

Here Fleer tries a hand at a retro issue in 2001 for it's 20th Anniversary. I hadn't seen one of these before; I'll be keeping an eye out for more. The back of it is pretty interesting:
This is actually a nod to sets in the later 80s, rather than 1981 Fleer, which wasn't all that adventurous on the back. I like this kind of baseball data a lot better than new composite statistics I haven't had time to figure out yet. My usual radio announcer, Dan Dickerson for the Tigers, uses some of these #s occasionally. For several minutes I had to wonder how Wilson's 1st Pitch On-Base Percentage could be higher than his Batting Average — he must have been hit by a 1st Pitch in an At Bat or two.

This is another card I can use in a future post, and in future collecting, but it came near the end of the pack, which closed with another several 1991 Upper Deck. This repacker also thinks I should have a certain wonderful baseball card, that I didn't have to scan for you tonight:
…because I scanned it for you the other day; this is the third copy of this card I have pulled lately.

I thought I had probably seen another of my newly repacked 91 UD cards online before, but it turned out that had only been the back of the card. So this was another fun find in my retro repack of bewitching baseball cards: