2019: Collecting Goals

Over the past couple of weeks, as 2018 was coming to a close, I began to think my collecting goals for the next year. As I covered in a previous post, 2018 was all about redefining my collection. In doing so, I revised my collecting habits and focused my collection. As we move into 2019 many of my collecting goals will be focused.

Set Collecting Goals
As for the sets I want to collect, the list right now stands at 11 sets. Topps Series 1 & 2 (counted as 1 set), Topps Update, Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Draft, Pro Debut, Heritage Minor League, Gypsy Queen, Topps Big League, Heritage (including High Number), Donruss.  This may seem like a big list, but there were easily over 50 sets released in 2018.

Most of these sets I will buy complete. My plan this year is to reduce the number of hobby boxes I purchase. There are a few of these sets that I will always want to buy a hobby box or three to open: Bowman, Bowman Draft, Pro Debut and Heritage Minor League. These are my favorite sets and I love opening those packs.

I am considering buy hobby boxes of Gypsy Queen and Heritage, but a lot depends on the price of the boxes. Last year Heritage was priced out of my range because of the Ohtani autographs. Donruss has been a fun box to open in the past and I may just get one this year.

The others however, I am going to buy as complete sets. I have met some great sellers on Twitter, like Christopher Torres (@CRT_Sportscards), that I definitely plan on doing some business with this year for my set and PC needs. As always, I will still buy a few packs here and there, just to see what the product looks like as it comes out. My intent this year is to start redirecting my hobby money to all aspects of my collection.

PC Goals
First and foremost is my Athletics PC. Above all else, this PC is my primary collecting focus for 2019. In 2018 I ended with 8,230 unique cards in my PC. The total amount of cards on my Athletics checklist is 19,726. So, my collection stands at 41.72% complete. I also have quite a few uncatalogued cards for which I need to create listings before they can be counted in the PC.

My goal for the A’s PC is to be at 50% complete by the end of 2019. This means I need to add approximately 1,633 unique cards to my collection, IN ADDITION to all of the cards that come out in 2019. There were over 600 unique A’s cards released in 2018. That means I will need to add roughly 2,000 cards in 2019 to reach this goal.

The other goal I have for the A’s PC is to complete the base sets (including traded/update) for Topps from 1970-present, Fleer (1960-61, 63, 81-2007), Fleer Ultra (1991-2007), Donruss (1981-98, 2001-05, 2014-present), Score (1988-98), Bowman (1989-present) and Upper Deck (1989-2010). The Score run will be the easiest to complete as I only need 5 cards at this point. I will cover the status of this goal in a future post.

I have quite a few player PCs that I am looking to organize and expand in 2019. My primary players include: Mark McGwire, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Austin Beck, Lou Trivino, Daniel Mengden and Daniel Gossett. I was fortunate to see many of these guys in the Minor Leagues, particularly with the Stockton Ports, and they are some of my favorites.

My McGwire PC is going to receive the most attention this year. I need to take some time to reorganize it and catalog the cards I have in this PC. One goal I have is that I want to add 50 1987 Fleer Update McGwire and 50 1989 Upper Deck McGwire cards to the PC. These are two of my favorite McGwire cards along with the 1987 Topps.

I do have individual goals for each of the player PCs, but I am not going to take the time of list each goal here. Suffice it to say that I am looking to add a significant number of base cards (including doubles) and autograph cards to each of these player PCs. It would be nice to get each one of them into their own 1.5” binder by the end of 2019.

I am also considering adding at least 3 more players to the PC list in 2019. One prospect I really like that I am strongly considering is Sean Murphy. He is viewed as the A’s catcher of the future. Murphy will be starting the season with AAA Las Vegas and we could see him in Oakland sometime in 2019. I met him and got to see him play when he was with Stockton in 2017. He has a cannon of an arm.

Rainbow Project Goals
This year I will finish my current Rainbow project: 2018 Topps Update Lou Trivino. I currently need 3 more to finish it off: Gold /2018, Pink /50, Camo /25. There is another, Clear /10 that I would love to get, but only for the right price. For my collection the Rainbow only goes down to /25. Any card I get with a shorter print run is a bonus.

I will be resuming my Matt Olson 2015 Bowman Draft Rainbow. I don’t remember where this one stands, but I started it a couple years ago after I happened to win a printing plate from this set for a very good price.

I plan on starting at least one new Rainbow project this year. Not sure which player or which set or how many Rainbows, but one will be from a 2019 release. Two players I am considering are Matt Chapman or Jesus Luzardo.

Sets In Progress
I mentioned in my previous post that I have quite a few sets that I have started that I have never completed. In 2019 I intend to complete some of those sets. There will be other sets that I add to this list, but I know I want to complete.

2018 Topps Big League
2018 Topps Heritage Minor League
2017 Topps Chrome Update – 17 cards needed
2018 Topps Series 2 – didn’t buy much, may just buy complete
2013 Pinnacle – 112 cards needed

Lists for most of these sets can be found on the Sets in Progress page on this blog. (Insert link) If you have any of the cards I need for my set, I would be interested in making a trade.

MiLB Collection
I love going to Minor League Baseball games. It’s fun to watch players develop. It’s also a great way to meet prospects and get their autographs. This year I want to organize and expand my MiLB collection. The Stockton Ports are my home team and the Modesto Nuts (formerly A’s) is my secondary home team. My goal is to expand both of these collections by picking up all of the team sets I need from 1991-present. I also want to get all of the Pro Debut, Heritage Minor League and other major label Minor League cards from 1991-present for this collection.

Another goal I have for my MiLB collection is to create some binders for the other Oakland A’s affiliates by level. For 2019, my goal is to pick up all of the AAA (Nashville and Las Vegas), AA (Midland), A (Beloit) and Short Season (Vermont) affiliate team sets from 2015-present.

 

As a whole these goals do seem a bit lofty. However, over the course of the year, they are very attainable and simple. Again, these are my goals and they can change at any time. There many be a product that comes out that is simply amazing that I want to chase. Or there may be a new player that arrives at the MLB level that I want to collect. These are flexible goals. I just wanted to create a plan for myself as I head into the new year. Last year I redefined the direction of my collection, this year I want to move it forward and take it to the next level.

If you don’t already, you can follow me on Twitter at @bicemusic. I am always open to bulk trades. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or comment below!

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2018: Creating Definition

I love collecting baseball cards, I always have and I always will. I believe there is no wrong way to collect cards, as long as you are enjoying the hobby. Personally, I needed to redefine my collection, give it focus. It was wandering, I was buying the some of the latest product and only completing 2 or 3 sets each year. Also, I had a lot of Oakland Athletics card, over 20,000 cards at the time, but the organization was haphazard. Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time trying to refine and organize my collection.

I have a lot of friends in the hobby that I have met through Twitter or Instagram. We would talk about our collections and our approach to building them. These conversations helped me to redefine how I collect baseball cards. In February, one of my friends Ben (@ourtradingcards) offered to send me a copy of his Oakland Athletics Master Collection Checklist.

This checklist helped me to refocus my A’s collection. I was clearly able to see what cards I have in the collection. I was also shown how many cards I am missing from my collection. There were many cards and sets that I didn’t even know existed. I am very thankful to Ben for this checklist.

I am still going to collect sets. My approach to buying these cards is still being refined, but I am limiting what packs I will buy and which sets I will buy complete. I used to buy packs of whatever came out from Topps and Bowman. These purchases left me with many cards, either duplicates or sets I don’t wish to complete, stored in boxes taking up space.

My list of sets I am going to collect in 2019 is still being refined, but it will definitely include: Topps (Series 1&2, Update); Bowman (Base, Chrome and Draft); Gypsy Queen (my new favorite) and the Minor League sets (Pro Debut, Heritage Minors). There are others I am on the fence about, but I know my approach to buying these cards will be different than in years past.

In the next few days I plan on writing a post about my collecting goals for 2019. There are certain cards and sets I wish to acquire in the next year. I am still working out some of the details, but I plan on posting my goals within the next week.

2018 was about redefining my baseball card collection. 2019 will be about taking it to the next level (hopefully).

If you don’t already, you can follow me on Twitter at @bicemusic. I am always open to bulk trades. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or comment below!

Collecting Goals – March 2018

I have been thinking a lot about my card collection lately. I have a lot of Oakland Athletics cards, it is one of my passions. Recently, a new friend of mine Ben (Twitter @ourtradingcards) sent me a copy of his Oakland A’s master checklist.  Looking through this checklist, I realized that there are a lot of cards I don’t have. There are some sets that I never even knew existed.

I have decided that I am going to set collecting goals for myself each month. I am on a budget and I need to limit and focus my spending. This will help me save money for sets and hobby boxes I really want, like Bowman and Topps Pro Debut, while making progress on my Oakland A’s collection.

Each month, I am going to pick up a few Oakland Athletics Team Sets I do not have. One will be a Vintage set. Vintage I will define as pre-1980s cards. One will be a set from 1980-1999. One will be a set from 2000-2017. The final one(s) will be any team sets from new releases.

Here are the team set I am planning to purchase for March 2018
Vintage: 1954 Bowman
1980-1999: 1988 Mother’s Cookies Oakland Athletics SGA
2000-2017: 2009 Upper Deck
New Releases: 2018 Topps Heritage (02/28), 2018 Donruss (03/07), 2018 Topps Opening Day (03/14)

Note: Topps Gypsy Queen, Inception and Tribute also release in March, but I will likely be saving those sets for pickup in April. March is a release heavy month.

Vintage
I chose the 1954 Bowman as my Vintage set because it is a simple design that I have always liked. There are 14 cards in this team set and I already have 2 in my collection: Bobby Shantz (#19) and Alfred Robertson, Jr (#211)

1980-1999
The Mother’s Cookie Cards are some of my favorite cards. For the most part they have a full-bleed design (no borders), good profile photos and a nice glossy finish. These are typically limited in quantity (approximately 15,000 sets each year) because they were a Stadium Give Away (SGA). I chose the 1988 set because it is one I have been wanting because it was the first year I really followed the A’s. I’ve been a fan since 1985, but didn’t really start following intently until late 1987.

2000-2017
I chose the 2009 Upper Deck because I’m pretty sure my Local Card Shop (LCS) has this team set and I want to support them while picking up something I need.

The sets in these goals will not be all that I buy, but they will be the primary focus of my spending.

2017 Topps Heritage High Number Hobby Box Recap

The other day I opened a hobby box of 2017 Topps Heritage High Number. Over the past couple of years Heritage has become one of my favorite series to open. I enjoy all of the Heritage including the Heritage Minor set. The nice thing about the Heritage High Number is that the set is smaller, 225 cards (including short prints), so there is a higher percentage of set completion from a single box.

This particular set picks up where the Topps Heritage leaves off. The base set is card number 501-700 and the last 25 (numbers 701-725) are short prints. There are 24 packs per box and each pack has 9 cards. Every hobby box comes with a topper and a hit. The topper is either a 3-card Ad Panel, 1968 Original Buyback or a Poster. The hit is either a relic card or an autograph card.

Here are some stats for this box:

Base Cards (501-700): 191 cards, no duplicates = 95.5% complete
Short Prints (701-725): 8 cards, no duplicates = 32% complete
Total Set (501-725): 199 cards = 88.4% complete

Based on the set completion percentage alone, there is no need to buy a second hobby box, unless you are chasing hits. Notable Rookie Cards in this set are: Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ and Matt Olson.

Fortunately, I pulled all 12 Oakland Athletics cards:

Notable inserts:
Chrome
Base: Koda Glover 558/999
Refractor: Kyle Freeland 453/568

Inserts
Now and Then: Aaron Judge
Now and Then: Andrew Benintendi
Nolan Ryan Highlight: Breaks Strikeout Record

2017 HHN Inserts

Parallel and Variations
Action Image Variation: Brandon Phillips
Blue Border: Josh Reddick (not serial numbered, but only 50 made)

2017 HHN Parallels

Box Hit
Clubhouse Collection Relic: Masahiro Tanaka

2017 HHN Tanaka

Box Topper
1968 Originals Buyback: Ray Culp.

2017 HHN 1968 Buyback

Other Insets (not pictured)
Rookie Performers (2): Bradley Zimmer; Dansby Swanson

Award Winners (3): Kris Bryant – MVP; Eric Hosmer – ASG MVP; Kris Bryant – Hank Aaron Award

Combo Cards (2): Carlos Correa/George Springer – Houston Hammers; Eric Thames/Domingo Santana – Brewers Bashers

Now and Then (1): Wil Myers – Triple for the Cycle

All in all, this was a fun box to break. Hertiage is known for having many variations, parallels and error cards to chase. Not all of the variations are obvious so you have to look closely at many of the cards to make sure you are not missing anything. Check out Cardboard Connections’s Heritage High Number Variation Guide for more info.

With the high percentage of set completion and the variations to chase, I believe this box is worth the money.

Have you bought any 2017 Topps Heritage Minors? Whether it is a single pack, retail Blaster Box or a Hobby Box, comment below and let me know what you think of this set!

Card of the Week: Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signature

My card of the week for October 10-17, 2015 is the Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signature. This card is numbered 18/25. This is likely the most valuable autograph card I own. I pulled a redemption for this card from the first box of 2015 Topps Stadium Club I purchased. I bought 2 in total. Giancarlo Stanton is currently on the Miami Marlins.

Redemption card for the Giancaro Stanton auto card.

Redemption card for the Giancaro Stanton auto card.

After pulling the redemption, my first thought was do I sell it or keep it. I decided to keep it. I watched the Topps Redemption Update report to see when Stanton signed and turned in his cards. About a month ago I saw that Stanton submitted his cards to Topps and so I entered the redemption code. Just over a later a week later I received the the package containing this beautiful card.

Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signatures #18/25

Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signatures #18/25

Of course now the question remains: Will I get this graded? At this time, I’m not sure. I don’t really have the money to invest in getting cards graded right now. Also I am undecided as to whether or not getting cards graded is worthwhile for me. However, if I do decide to invest in grading cards, this would be one towards the top of the list.

Card of the Week: Sonny Gray 2014 Stadium Club Rainbow Foil Auto

So I was inspired by Jesse over at the Dodger Dad Blog. He has a feature on his blog for a card of the week. This is something I’ve thought about doing for a while, but I wasn’t sure which card to feature as my first card of the week. A week ago I bought the perfect card. I happened to get this card on eBay for under $10 shipped. I received the card on Friday and so here we are…

My card of  the week for October 4-10, 2015 is the 2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Rainbow Foil Autograph. This card is number 04/50. Until this summer, I did not own any Sonny Gray autographed cards. This card is now my 3rd Sonny Gray autographed card.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

I have always loved Topps Stadium Club. It is one of a few sets where the photography takes center stage. This particular photo appears to have been taken during the 2013 ALDS. That year Sonny pitched in Games 2 & 5 of the series. Both of those games took place in Oakland.

Here is an up close picture of the gold foil stamped number.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

One Year of TTMs: A Progress Report

I have been sending out cards to be signed though the mail (TTM) for just over a year. I wanted to share a progress report on this process and outline what my focus has been for sending cards .

I sent my first TTM out to Pat Neshek in March of 2013. The return was really fast, around 6 days. However, it would be another 8 months before I would pick up this hobby full force.

Since November 2013 I have sent out 110 requests including 15 that I sent out in the last 2 weeks. Of those requests I have had 88 successes, a return rate of 80%. Of the pending requests 12 were part of the requests from the last 2 weeks. This means that 10 requests are over 1 month old.

In the successes, I have received back 307 autographed cards from the cards I sent. I have also received 3 bonus signed cards included in 2 of the successes. 2 cards from Bob Lacey and 1 card from Frank Tanana.

As of this post, I have only had 2 failures. One RTS for “not at this address”. One RTS because forwarding time expired, but it did list the current address on the label and I was able to turn that failure into a success.

To date my primary focus has been sending out Oakland Athletics cards and cards that are apart of one of the following sets: 1981 Fleer, 1987 Fleer and 1988 Topps. So far, I have received 92 Oakland Athletics cards from my TTM requests.  Here are the stats for the sets I’ve been collecting:

1981 Fleer (660 cards): 29 autographed cards – 4.39% complete

1987 Fleer (660 cards): 45 autographed cards – 6.82% complete
1987 Fleer Update (132 cards): 10 autographed cards – 7.55% complete
1987 Fleer combined (792 cards): 55 autographed cards – 6.94% complete

1988 Topps (792 cards): 56 autographed cards – 7.07% complete
1988 Topps Traded (132 cards): 3 autographed cards – 2.27% complete
1988 Topps combined (924 cards): 59 autographed cards – 6.39% complete

Note: Not all of the cards in these sets were signed TTM some were signed in person at various ball games or events.

In my next post about TTMs, I will outline some of the changes I have made to the focus of the requests I send out.