Thursday, September 26, 2013
Flea market countdown, Pt. 1: Prospective
I'm already preparing for the inevitable cardboard drought that seems to hit each fall.
For the most part, card shows tend to clear out in later months of the year. New releases are slim to none in the fall/winter months, which means scratching my pack-busting itches won't be as easy with less product on the shelves.
And, unfortunately, my beloved local flea market is usually on its last legs around this time of year. We're looking at another month or so of Sunday gatherings before it closes up shop for the winter.
Just like anything else, you can bet I'll do my best to savor the taste of these last few precious moments. I'm going to milk all the glorious cardboard I can out of the last few weeks at the flea market.
I think I did that last Sunday. As I hinted at in a prior post, I came away with another great haul in my latest binge. (I just wish it hadn't taken over a week to post about it.)
In what'll be a three-part series, I'll once again be showing off my finds from another superb weekend at the local flea market.
I hope you're ready to dig in.
I've mentioned my distaste for the whole "prospecting" side of the hobby many times on this blog.
It didn't take long to realize that the strategy wasn't for me. I'm not in this thing to make a quick buck.
Let's not get confused, though. I do enjoy seeing the latest and greatest "young guns" that this great game has to offer. And I do snatch up their cards when I can.
The difference between myself and a prospector, though, is that I fully intend to keep my so-called "money makers". Especially when I can find them for a dime.
Before last Sunday, I didn't own a single card of Jose Fernandez, Hyun-Jin Ryu...
...or Evan Gattis.
Never did I think I'd find anything of theirs in a dime box, though. At least not during their much-hyped 2013 seasons.
But, lo and behold, each of the five cards you've seen so far did indeed come out of a dime box, specifically the one my regular vendor (who else?) puts on display every week.
Gattis has quickly become one of my favorite players in the bigs this year, which makes finding this pair of rookies a special surprise for me.
I'll even look past the fact that Topps used the exact same photo on each.
Mere seconds after I walked up to his table, my regular guy let me know that he'd recently acquired some fresh new stock for one of his dime boxes.
I still don't know exactly where he gets all the newer stuff, as he's told me in the past that he doesn't rip packs too often.
One of the newer products on the shelves these days is Bowman Platinum, a brand which I've been apathetic towards in its brief history. They're nice cards, but I've never been able to justify splurging on a pack of the stuff.
But I'm more than willing to drop some loose change on singles from the set. For the price of a little less than two retail packs of Platinum, I was able to take home a stack of over 50 hand-picked additions to my binders.
Among those gets were more "prospective" cards of Zack Wheeler, Billy Hamilton, and Wil Myers. Grizzled vets like Josh Reddick and R.A. Dickey were also well-represented as well.
Platinum is a fairly nice set, but I'll stick with the dime boxes for the time being.
Although they didn't scan as well as I'd hoped, the dime bins also produced a few sapphire parallels from this year's Platinum.
Now these I like.
Quite a bit, in fact.
As it turned out, that whole "new" dime box was packed to the brim with 2013 issues.
I'm not the biggest Panini Prizm fan, as I've mentioned before. For a dime, though, I'll pounce on any Matt Harveys and Coco Crisps I can find.
And when's the last time we've seen "Neon Deion" on a baseball card?
Again, I'm not huge on Gypsy Queen.
With the exception of Flagship, I've probably shown them on this blog more than any other 2013 product to date. That's because they're just so darn easy to find in dime boxes.
Which is one of the few positive things I can say about GQ.
Neither Bowman nor Gypsy Queen are necessarily known for their photography.
But I'll be darned if these aren't a couple of absolutely awesome "throwback" shots of Rickie Weeks and "Mo".
Maybe these brands are good for something after all.
For now, though, let's stray away from the newer stuff and get more into the random goodies.
We start with the wonderful world of oddballs.
In the past, the only oddities I'd pick up were the ones that fit snugly into my player collections. These days, I snatch them up willy-nilly.
Even Corey Patterson, arguably the worst Chicago Cub I've ever seen (which is saying something), is a welcome sight in this household if he makes an appearance on an oddball.
The power of odd is just that strong.
I'm developing a bit of an obsession with picking up former "hot list" rookie cards.
Both of these have been highly sought after in the past. I specifically remember Jeff Francoeur's 2002 Bowman rookie being all the rage during his breakout '05 season. People were dropping insane amounts of cash on that card.
Nowadays, it can be had for a dime.
The cardboard universe works in ebbs and flows sometimes.
My White Sox binder proved to be a particular beneficiary from these dime boxes.
I wouldn't say I've devoted an all-out player collection to "The Big Hurt" (yet), but his '91 UD issue was one I've long wanted.
Because, if you look near the bottom-left portion of this shot, the former first sacker is oh-so-subtly flipping the bird to the cameraman. Whether purposely or not is your own perspective.
I should note, though, that it isn't the first time he's been accused of doing such a thing.
The Ventura is one of many 1991 cards to feature a photo from the first-ever "Turn Back the Clock" contest at Comiskey Park. I really need to go through my archives and dig up all the throwbacks I own from that groundbreaking game.
At the least, I think it'd make for a nice post around here.
Closing things out tonight is a fantastic gathering of the game's greats, courtesy of this year's Golden Age release.
Call me crazy, but this is nipping on Flagship's heels as my favorite product of the year. I didn't think Panini would be able to outdo last year's Golden Age effort, but they certainly proved me wrong there.
The inclusion of Jake Daubert (top-center) in this checklist deserves a round of applause. The former first baseman enjoyed a fine career, one that included an NL MVP Award with the Dodgers in 1913.
But, in a tragic story that often gets overlooked in baseball history, Daubert strangely passed away after a botched appendectomy in 1924. He was still active in the majors with the Reds at the time of his passing, marking a saddening end to a (possibly) prospective Cooperstown-bound career.
Before Golden Age came along, I owned a grand total of four cards of Jake Daubert. Three of those came from the famous Conlon brand. Seeing one from a newer release like Golden Age is like a breath of fresh air.
Heck, maybe it really is my favorite brand from 2013.
Am I crazy for saying that?
With names like Jake Daubert among its ranks, I certainly don't think so.