April 24, 2014

Picking up a Michael Sam autograph

Football is working its way back into the minds of collectors.

Press Pass, SaGe, Leaf and Upper Deck have released most of their pre-draft products, collecting on the hype of Johnny Football. Right before the first 2014 releases were to come out, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced he was gay.

So, card companies jumped on the national media attention surrounding him to get his autographs in products.

Press Pass came out too soon, but it did allow customers to send in a UPC from a hobby box to redeem a Sam autograph. Since I bought a box, I figured, why not?

I got the Sam autograph back in about a week – talk about a quick redemption time.

Sam’s base autographs are selling for about $10 to $20 oneBay. So there are easier ways to pick up one of his cards, if you are interested. 

April 18, 2014

Analyzing the odds

When hitting the retail card aisle, collectors are presented with a number of options: blasters, rack packs, loose packs (and some other configurations I can’t remember). You might think that because these cards are found in the same place, made by the same company, and are the same brand that they are the same, but not all retail products are made the same.

I was looking through the card aisle (with Marie) and we were talking about cards. We looked at the dozens and dozens of blasters sitting on the shelves and I made a remark that I wouldn’t go for a blaster and opted for rack packs instead.

That’s when I flipped the packs to their backs to show how the odds were different.

For a rack pack of Opening Day (which comes with 24 cards and three inserts), the odds were much easier to pull something – anything. Inserts were 1 in 2 packs with relics and autos being tougher pulls than that. On the blaster, the inserts were 1 in 4 packs.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Opening Day
Total packs: 7
Total cards: 77
Price: $9.99
Inserts: 7

Rack packs
Total packs: 3
Total cards: 72
Price: $9 ($3 each)
Inserts: 9

Loose packs
Total packs: 10
Total cards: 70
Price: $9.90 (99 cents each)
Inserts: 10

Other odds include:
Rack packs
Opening Day Autograph: 1:80
Opening Day Relic: 1:80
Mascot Autograph: 1:162

Opening Day Autograph: 1:278
Opening Day Relic: 1:273
Mascot Autograph: 1:555

Based on price, total cards, and odds, what do you think is the best option? 

April 16, 2014

Panini offers Japanese versions of Masahiro Tanaka Donruss card

How very 2001 of you, Panini?

Panini Donruss baseball cards had another wrinkle thrown into it this year. Panini offered a wrapper redemption program where collectors would get back a few cards, including Yankees rookie Masahiro Tanaka.

These cards have done well on the initial eBay wave – going for about $20. 

However, Panini snuck in Japanese versions of the card with everything on the front and back written in, well, Japanese. Panini didn’t reveal how many of these cards were made but called them “extremely rare” on its blog. The only Japanese Donruss card that has sold so far has gone for close to $100.

These are the first ‘Yankee’ cards of Tanaka on the market. I use Yankees in quotes because the Donruss cards are not licensed by Major League Baseball Properties and therefore cannot use team names or logos.

This is reminiscent of the 2001 Bowman Chrome Ichiro that featured and English and Japanese version of these cards. 

April 15, 2014

Using Sports Card Album to show off your collection

Have you checked out Sports Card Album yet?

If not, the app/website provides collectors with a place to upload pictures of their collection.

The app is only available for only for iTunes, but an Android app is in the process of being created.

I wrote about Sports Card Album for Beckett. You can check out the link here and read about Sergio Dubois’ work in getting the site and app into fruition.

I have only created one album so far of my DrazenPetrovic cards, but I am sure to put more up when I get some time. It would be interesting to see all of Derek Jeter collection in one place.

If you use the app, tell us your user name in the comments. You can find me on Sports Card Album as – what else? – ‘yanxchick.’

April 14, 2014

Steiner Sports lets you offer a price in its Amazon shop

Steiner Sports is letting collectors offer them a lower price on certain items through Amazon

I know … I know. A couple of thoughts popped into my mind when I saw this.

1.       Why do they need to sell on Amazon when they have their own store?

Amazon obviously reaches millions upon millions of people. The first place I tend to go to when looking for something is Amazon – although not usually collectibles. I think collectibles is still a market that Amazon is trying to build.

2.       Steiner prices are pretty high to begin with.

Sure enough, you can only offer on items that are more than $200. So, you’re still going to put out a few hundred dollars if you want to get something from its Amazon store.

Some of the cheapest items in the Steiner Amazon shop include Andy Pettitte Pants, a Cesar Cabral jersey, a Curtis Granderson windbreaker, and a David Robertson Hat .

On the other side of that, there is a Mariano Rivera uniform set from his 40th save of 2013 for the low, low price of $50,000.

And, I always have to look.

There are some Derek Jeter items. All the jerseys seem to cost about $25,000. I wonder if I offer the $4 in my wallet, they could take it. 

The most expensive item at Yankee Stadium (that is not a suite)

When you go to a game at Yankee Stadium, you don't have to leave empty-handed. The Yankees team store is huge and filled with anything you can imagine.

Hello Kitty as a Yankees fan. Check.

Masahiro Tanaka collectibles. Check.

Miniature Yankee corvettes. Check.

Amazingly overpriced cards that aren't worth the plastic they are in. Double check.

I saw pajamas, nightgowns and panties just in case women wanted to get a little cozy in their Yankees gear.

So, yeah, you can get anything - even on any budget. If you're looking for something a little pricier that has a better story, Steiner Sports has a shop at the stadium. It's not terribly big, but it does have the most expensive items in the stadium.

That Amex card could really come in handy in a place like this. Fans can find autographs, stadium dirt, game-used memorabilia in the Steiner Store. But there was one item that caught my eye -- a Thurman Munson signed baseball.

You don't see too many of his autographs around because he died in 1979 at 32 years old.

However, I wasn't walking out of the shop with that autograph ball. Did you see the price tag?


April 13, 2014

Retail break: 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball cards

The newest baseball product on the market is 2014 Gypsy Queen. The first year, 2011, was great. Marie and I opened a case and had a great time with lots of relics of Hall of Fame players and stars.

Since then, however, Gypsy Queen hasn’t been as great, but I picked up two value packs anyway. Each value pack comes with three retail packs and a pack of exclusive white-framed border cards.

Here’s what I got:

Value pack 1

White Paper
CC Sabathia
Jon Lester
Ernie Banks

Pack 1
Glove Stories: Yasiel Puig
Martin Prado
Craig Kimbrel
Kyle Lohse
Chase Utley
Mini: Nick Markakis

Pack 2
Dealing Aces: Cliff Lee
Wil Myers
Michael Wacha
Wilmer Flores
Allen Craig
Mini: Nick Franklin

Pack 3
Wade Boggs
Andrelton Simmons
Cole Hamels
Ian Kennedy
Jonathan Villar
Mini Black (/199): Hiroki Kuroda

Value Pack 2

White Paper
Wil Myers
Whitey Ford
Stan Musial

Pack 1
Debut All-Stars: David Ortiz
Derek Jeter
Paul Konerko
Jake Peavy
Ted Williams
Mini: Kyle Gibson

Pack 2
Dealing Aces: Madison Bumgarner
Duke Snider
Christian Yellich
Randy Johnson
Gio Gonzalez
Mini Red (/99): James Loney

Pack 3
N174: Yogi Berra
Travis D’Arnaud
Brandon Phillips
Jason Grilli
Deion Sanders

Mini: Aaron Hill

April 11, 2014

Kouz is back in the majors

Happy Day!

Kouz is back in the majors.

On Wednesday, I headed for the Yankees game and listened to the Texas Rangers game while on my way to the ballpark. Yes, I have something of a baseball problem too, but that’s not the point. As I was listening, there was a name mentioned recalled from the depths of my collection – Kevin Kouzmanoff.

He did well in Spring Training with Texas, but they sent him to triple-A to start the season. However, Adrian Beltre tends to get a bit banged up during the year, so I wondered if Kouz would eventually get a shot.

It came sooner than expected.

Kouzmanoff pinch hit in the top of the seventh and singled off Boston’s Junichi Tazawa. I screamed in my car like a little girl on her birthday getting  shiny new bike – or something like that.

Kouzmanoff hasn’t played in a Major League game since 2011 with the Colorado Rockies. He spent the last two years in the minors in the Kansas City and Miami organizations. I wondered if he would ever make it back because he is 32 years old. He started his career the flashiest way possible – he hit a grand slam on the first Major League pitch he saw.

One of Kouz’s best years was in 2007 where he hit .275/.329/.457. In 2008, he had a career-high 23 home runs. However, his career regressed from there. He never hit higher than a .260 batting average and never hit more than 18 home runs.

He did have defense on his side though. In 2009, Kouz broke the National League single-season record with a .990 fielding percentage and his glove wound up in the Hall of Fame (FYI, Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman won the gold glove that year).

I got a chance to check it out when I visited the Hall of Fame this winter.

No matter what happens to him this season, I’m happy to see him back in the Majors. I think he could be a serviceable backup while Beltre deals with a quad issue. He may even prove a little useful off the bench.

Who knows? I may even see a few more cards in my Kouz collection. 

Here are a couple of past posts on Kouz and my collection:

July 27, 2011: Chasing a minor leaguer

April 9, 2014

Is Topps taking care of redemptions?

It seems as though Topps is taking care of redemptions. I noticed a few people on Twitter making a note that they received several redemptions, and, sure enough, I got a package at my door.

Literally. It didn’t actually fit in the mailbox, so it was left in front of my door.

I got two of three of the redemptions I’m waiting on, including the picture on top of the 2013 Topps Prime of  Demaryius Thomas autograph.

The final card I am waiting for,  however, is a Billy Hamilton autograph relic refractor from 2013 Bowman Platinum. Funny thing about this card … I’ve seen a bunch of these on eBay for MONTHS. I get those frustrations of collectors who wait on cards when they see newer autos of the guys they are waiting on.

It’s baseball season. It would be nice to get the Hamilton card.

In the meantime, Thanks Topps. J

April 8, 2014

Which Chuck Finley am I really collecting?

Have you ever watched Burn Notice?

Every time Sam Axe introduced himself as Chuck Finley, I chuckled. Younger fans may not get the reference, but my mind would always go back to the days of the California Angels. Finley pitched from 1986-2002 (and for the Angels until 1999), so maybe a few people have heard of him, but it’s still funny every single time.

Ever since the TV show, whenever I see a Chuck Finley card, I put it to the side and it goes in to my PC pile. Starting a mini-PC on Finley may not be the wisest move right now, but collecting cards was never meant to be smart.

Check out this video, if you have never seen Burn Notice. Start at the 30-second mark for a little Chuck Finley action.