Thursday, November 21, 2013

The re-return of Just Commons

I've noticed a brief spark of interest in Just Commons lately around the blogosphere.

It's great to see the site get its fair share of recognition. After all, it's one of the few places left that keeps low-end collectors like us in mind.

I've already heaped a great deal of praise on Just Commons, but it deserves more. Do yourself a favor and check the place out if you haven't already.

You might remember my first two Just Commons purchases. Both were well north of 100 cards a piece, and both recaps necessitated two posts each.

Yes, the contents of a third Just Commons order arrived a couple weeks ago. Due to budget constraints of the card show I'll be attending on Saturday, I had to trim it down from my usual gargantuan order.

After all was said and done, I ended up with 75 new cards, just eclipsing the generous ten-dollar free shipping bonus that the site offers. (I'll only need one post for this recap, by the way.)

The one that triggered this Just Commons "re-return" (How I Met Your Mother fans might get the reference) was the '98 Fleer Ultra Trevor Hoffman you see above. I'd just received the contents of my second Just Commons batch when this one popped up on a couple Padre blogs around the blogosphere.

I'd seen cards of non-catchers goofing around in catching situations before, but never one of a guy in full-fledged catcher's gear, as Mr. Hoffman is sporting on this spectacular card.

I used it as an excuse to fill up another cart of Just Commons fun.

The people at Just Commons bust cases and cases of many newer products.

That's how I nabbed a whole bunch of cool Topps Update parallels in my last order. Among those was an emerald Casey Kotchman variation. I would've bought the gold bordered issue to go along with it, but Just Commons didn't have one in stock at the time.

As it turns out, though, they busted even more of the stuff after I placed my second order. Luckily for me, they pulled the gold bordered Kotchman, which I jumped on this time around.

I guess I'll be building an Update Casey Kotchman rainbow as well.

Shockingly, my hobby box of Topps Update landed me all but three cards I needed for my various player collections.

I've never had that good of luck with a box before in that regard.

Just Commons had all three of the final pieces I needed, two of which you see above. (Not pictured: Aaron Harang's first card as a Mariner.)

I'm still shocked that Topps included Kyuji Fujikawa in their Update checklist, seeing as he played in all of 12 games with the Cubs before undergoing Tommy John surgery early in the year.

I guess some things are better left unexplained.

I'm officially nominating Opening Day's "Ballpark Fun" series as Insert Set of the Year.

I think these two help my case.

As great as the more current cardboard is, though, the bulk of this order featured '90s and early 2000's pieces.

I'm not sure how, but I got the idea to complete the '92 Pinnacle "Sidelines" series while I was perusing the Just Commons archives.

I'd received quite a few of these from other bloggers. Just the sheer oddity makes them great.

Interestingly enough, I was only three cards short of finishing it off. One of my remaining needs was this cool and/or embarrassing shot of former pitcher Jim Gott, who apparently earned a black belt in karate.

I just hope he did so against more worthy opponents than Kramer.

Along with the Gott, Just Commons just so happened to have the other two pieces I needed to finish the Sidelines puzzle.

Featured on the left is Robin Yount, indulging in his love of off-road vehicles. (Who's to say that Yount is actually pictured there, though?)

On the right is former Cardinal pitcher Bob Tewksbury, showing off a few pieces from his passion of artistry.

I can't say I have even a remote interest of either of these hobbies, but more power to Yount and Tewksbury for sticking with them.

Both of my previous two Just Commons orders featured a staggering amount of O-Pee-Chee singles.

Although I'd initially picked out a couple dozen more for this most recent batch, I ended up limiting myself to about six or seven of them in order to free up a bit more budget for the card show.

Among those few must-have pieces were these '82 OPCs of Bobby Bonds and Luis Tiant.

I still have to remind myself that Tiant was actually on the Pirates for a short while.

If you've frequented Just Commons in the past, you might have noticed that their homepage features sets that the people in charge have recently restocked.

They'd just gotten a new batch of late '80s Classic singles in when I was building this third order. Since I've always liked the Classic brand, I decided to take a look and see what they had.

One of the first pieces I found was the Phil Niekro "sunset" issue, a card I'd wanted for a while. I only own one other issue that features the knuckleballer's oft-forgotten second stint with the Braves.

After being released by the Blue Jays in 1987, Atlanta scooped Niekro up to make one final career start. He allowed five runs in three innings, walking six and striking out none in his last game. (He'd end up with a no-decision.)

Niekro is seen walking off the mound after that final start on his '88 Classic issue. A fitting tribute to one of the game's greats.

The Danny Tartabull, as it turns out, doesn't feature Tartabull at all. That's actually Hal McRae.

It's a great new add to my "errors" mini-collection.

I already featured the Borders in a rather painful post recently.

I decided to do a little minor league digging for this recent Just Commons order, coming up with a few fun gems in the process.

My favorite of those, however, was the Eddie Pearson you see above. I've never seen a bullpen phone featured more prominently on a baseball card.

And how cool is that very minor league-ish bus in the backdrop?

I did a little Score hunting as well.

The mid '90s was a great period for the brand, as it featured a lot of cool cards that tend to fly under most people's radars.

I can take solace in a great "autograph" shot like the Lima, but it's got nothing on that wonderful Carlos Baerga card.

I guess the 5'11" second baseman wanted to sky over his teammates for once. I can't think of another good reason why he'd be standing on a chair.

Check out the car parked in the outfield for no apparent reason. And let's not forget the McDonald's in the backdrop.

Score packed about as much goodness into that card as humanly possible.

Also among my pickups were new hits to my unheralded Chad Bradford and Kevin Millar player collections.

I actually have Intentional Talk playing in the backdrop as we speak.

Just Commons has quite a few singles available from the gargantuan 1995 Topps Archives Dodgers set.

I probably could've pulled the trigger on a lot more, but I settled on just this faux-reprint of Tommy Lasorda for now.

Lasorda's one and only real player issue comes from '54 Topps. This one, though, features what we might have seen had he received a card in the '55 checklist.

I actually like it a little better than his lone actual Topps piece.

If there was a focal point of this order, it came courtesy of the Ultra brand.

Like the aforementioned Classics, I'd noticed that Just Commons recently restocked their selection of early-to-mid 2000's Ultra. Once again, I couldn't resist taking a peek.

Ultra had just kind of milled around before the millennium hit. It debuted in 1991, but I don't know that I ever took real notice of the brand until around 2000.

I vaguely remember opening a couple packs and instantly enjoying them back in the day. The photography on some of these cards is quite Stadium Club-esque.

A perfect example of that is the beautiful Darryl Kile pictured above.

It's the definition of a perfect pitching shot.

I added this terrific Grudzielanek "play at the plate" to my cart without a second thought.

Only after I received my order, though, did I realize that this and the Kile may well have been taken during the same game.

Both shots prominently feature Dodger Stadium, and the catcher on the "Grudz" card is Jeff Reed, who was indeed a Rockie at the time. Hmm...

Detective Mosby is on the case! (Uh-oh.)

My best guess is that both of these shots were taken during a Rockies-Dodgers showdown on April 10th, 1999. Kile only started one other game against the Dodgers in '99, and Grudzielanek didn't play in that one.

It's impossible to tell when exactly the Kile was snapped, but I'm pretty sure the "Grudz" was taken on a play in the bottom of the fourth in that contest. The former Dodger infielder was forced out at home on an Eric Young ground ball, and the home team would be left scoreless in the inning.

However, the Dodgers would go on to win this particular contest, 2-0.

That's enough detective work for one day.

As I found, Ultra is a great source for mini-collection hits.

Among the goodies was this spectacular "double dip" shot, featuring one of my more obscure binder guys in Carlos Febles.

"Throwbacks" and "pitchers on the basepaths" also joined in on the fun.

Knowing where Rick Ankiel's future took him, that's certainly a foreshadowing shot.

This is one of the better "cards with kids" pieces I've ever seen.

That's something I'll have to rank one of these days.

Probably my favorite card of the order, though, was this 2005 Ultra Steve Finley.

It'd been on my "Dime Box Dozen" list since the beginning of this year, without an end in sight. I'd originally discovered it via Night Owl's blog, but no one seemed to have an extra copy available.

Interestingly enough, though, one popped up in the newly-restocked Ultra archives of Just Commons. And it carried a meager 12-cent price tag. That's about a penny for each month I've been waiting to own this amazing card.

First off, it's a great addition to my "at the wall" mini-collection. I think the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium is easily one of the best in the business, as it features the faces of many past greats who wore the hallowed Dodger Blue.

Among those heroes is Fernando Valenzuela, who is seen here staring at the cardholder just a split-second away from being crashed into by Steve Finley.

Needless to say, it felt great to finally cross it off my "Dime Box Dozen" list.

And it's all thanks to Just Commons.

The fun just never ends over there.


Cards from the Quarry said...

Quick correction, the Rockies catcher is actually Jeff Reed. Jody Reed was a Rockie in name only at the expansion draft before being flipped to the Dodgers.

PS I have the exact same Darryl in my third Just Commons order which should be here in the next day or two.

JediJeff said...

That Oaks card needs to exist without the shaving cream.

petethan said...

Ah, man! I was looking forward to hitting you with that Jim Gott in action card...