Thursday, August 7, 2014

It's a long way back to Just Commons

If you're not on the Just Commons bandwagon by now, you're missing out on some great cards.

COMC may be great for vintage and mid-to-high level inserts and parallels, but base over there seems to be a tad overpriced. Just Commons has a large inventory of cards from nearly every set and year imaginable. It's the perfect place to go for, well...commons.

It's usually worth your while to get at least ten bucks' worth of cards from the site, as any order above the ten-dollar mark comes with free shipping. I'd been itching to make another Just Commons buy for a while now. Trouble is, I haven't had a ton of extra cash lately.

Selling a few things on Ebay changed that in a hurry. I was finally ready for another stack of Just Commons goodies. I loaded up my cart with 78 different cards for just over fifteen bucks.

One thing I really like about the site is that it has a terrific selection of mid '90s issues. Hilarity is bound to ensue any time I get my hands on a batch of cardboard from that era.

The Larkin you see above is one of those cards I've always kept in the back of my mind. At twenty cents, it was a great last-minute add to my order.

I doubt a lot of people remember Pinnacle Summit these days, but the image of Barry Larkin holding his poor teammate on a leash will forever be burned into my memory.

It's the type of card that could only come from the '90s.

The same goes for these two.

Mr. Zeile is holding one of those bulky old cell phones that seem funny in the current era of iPads and smartphones.

Lee Stevens is the latest add to my quest to find as many cards as possible of ballplayers participating in other sports. I didn't even know it existed until I placed this order.

I've seen ice hockey before, but roller hockey is a new one on me.

I've mentioned this in past Just Commons posts, but my strategies for buys like these is simple.

One of the downsides to Just Commons is the fact that they don't have images to accompany their cards. Since most of the reasoning behind what I buy or don't buy has to do with the photo, that can be a problem.

Thankfully, it's a problem with an easy solution. I simply go over to COMC and use their wide inventory of images to find the cards that are right for each order. That's how I stumbled upon this terrific shot of a sliding Shawn Green. Note the bonus Cal Ripken cameo as well.

You may not have gotten my business, COMC, but you help me make better buys.

Thank you.

One thing I was particularly excited about with this order was the dent it made in my "Short Term Stops" collection.

As you might be able to tell by now, 1998 Ultra was one of the focuses of this batch. Not only does it feature cool shots of guys like Stevens and Green, but it also produced just my second card of Todd Zeile as a Marlin.

Florida was the second of three stops he'd make in '98, having been sent there with Mike Piazza in a blockbuster deal. Of course, Piazza would be dealt to the Mets after only five games with the Marlins.

Zeile didn't last very long either, being traded to the Rangers after just 66 games in Florida.

It was a crazy year for the Marlins.

Though it arrived with a blotch of mysterious goo on the front, I was happy to finally have a '91 Topps Pro Debut Moises Alou in my collection.

It's the last of three cards I know of that features him as a Pirate, which is significant since he played in all of two games with the franchise. (These are the other two.)

Vince Coleman became famous for swiping bags in Cardinal red during much of his career. What some might forget, however, is that he donned a different shade of red near the end of his time in the bigs. Coleman spent 33 games with the Reds in 1996.

He notched the final twelve of his 752 career steals in Cincinnati.

I keep finding more and more reasons to love 1998 Fleer Tradition.

On the left is my second card of Joe Carter as a San Francisco Giant. He spent all of 43 games with the club near the tail end of the '98 season, his last year in the bigs.

The Dunston is the first card I own of him as a Pirate, and, as far as I can tell, the only one in existence. He spent just 17 games with Pittsburgh in 1997. Some of you might have noticed that it'd been on my "Dime Box Dozen" list for a while now.

Speaking of which... are the second and third "Dime Box Dozen" nominees I wiped out with this order.

The Bowa completes my "Topps set" of his, one that stretches all the way back to his first solo issue in 1971.

The Young, on the other hand, is horrendous. So horrendous, in fact, that I simply had to have it.

Am I crazy?

I don't know how, but I'd never noticed that Just Commons has a fair selection of Conlons in their inventory before this order.

I snagged a few from the 1993 checklist with this batch. That's my first manager card of Frank Chance, and one of only about a half-dozen issues I own of "Zeke" Bonura.

That has to be one of the best nicknames in history.

I also took the opportunity to bulk up a few of my newer player collections with this order.

As I recently posted about, Greg "Toe" Nash has quite a story behind him. At just twenty cents, I jumped at the only card of his in the Just Commons inventory.

The 2007 Just Josh Donaldson outdoes his actual rookie cards by a good three years, so finding that one for a dime was a treat.

Even if it does have to remind me that he was once in the Cubs farm system.


These are both my first "zero-year" cards of a couple of today's biggest stars.

Adam Wainwright never pitched for the Braves, having been sent to the Cardinals in the 2003 J.D. Drew deal. I bet Atlanta would like to have that one back.

Anthony Rizzo was sent from Boston to San Diego for Adrian Gonzalez. After 49 games in the bigs with the 2011 Padres, they dealt him to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner.

We're happy to have him here in Chicago.

This was one of the more curious finds from this order.

I've noticed that Just Commons has a tendency to overprice a lot of their rookie cards. Even no-namers can command an absurdly high mark.

That's why it was such a shock to find a 1997 Bowman Chrome R.A. Dickey rookie buried in their inventory for a mere forty cents. Granted, a lot of the buzz behind Dickey has died down, but it was still pretty shocking to see. They're asking more than forty cents on most of his standard base issues.

I may not have made it to the National this year, but this Just Commons order featured a nice supplement to one of my biggest finds from 2013's show.

My comment after seeing this one on gcrl's blog last month was pretty straight-forward.

I need to find a copy of that '95 Score Biggio.

Find one, I did. It's a rare double mini-collection hit, as it features shots for both my "double dip" and "multiple-exposure" themes.

What I like most about this one is the fact that Score chose to the multiple-image treatment to both Biggio and the baserunner, former Cub Mark Parent. Most I've seen limit themselves to the featured player.

While we're on the topic of Mr. Biggio...'s that for a strange baseball card?

I always seem to discover one new under-the-radar set with each passing order from Just Commons.

The honor this time went to 1999 Topps Gallery.

The fairly basic design allows more focus to be placed on the photography.

Each shot has a nice little shaded frame around it, which is fitting given the set's name. Looking through the images of these did actually feel like walking through a cardboard gallery.

Whether it's Jose Guillen diving into the Wrigley Field ivy or Greg Vaughn signing autographs, this set was made for a photography nut like myself.

This, however, was by far the best Gallery had to offer.

I'd earmarked it as a must-have after seeing it around the blogs a couple times. At fifty cents, this was one of the pricier cards of my latest purchase. Well worth it, no doubt.

What we have here is a rare card of a pitcher attempting to break up a double play. From the looks of it, Greg Maddux was just as devastating on the bases as he was on the mound.

This card earns even more bonus points for featuring the aftermath of what I still think is one of the coolest cards I own.

I can't help but wonder what took me so long to discover such an awesome set.

If I've already overloaded you with Golden Age, I apologize.

You'd think after my blaster of the stuff that I'd had enough. Not even close.

The bulk of this Just Commons order comprised of many of the better cards I didn't get from that blaster. Ironically, the money I got for that Michael Spinks redemption I pulled is what allowed me to pull the trigger on this order, Golden Ages and all.

One of the cards I was most excited to buy was the Eddie Gaedel you see above. Though it's nowhere near as neat as the other Gaedel I own, it's still a strong nominee for Card of the Year in my book.

Oh, how I wish I was there to see Eddie Gaedel hit on that fateful afternoon in 1951.

The selection of Golden Ages at Just Commons is impeccable.

They had almost every single card I wanted, and most were priced between 18 and 30 cents a pop. This page alone features the likes of Dizzy Dean, Jim Bouton, Steve Yeager, and so many more.

Oh, and let's not forget my first card of Ernie Banks as a Negro Leaguer, either.

The ballplayers in this set go all the way back to turn-of-the-century stars like Ed Delahanty and King Kelly.

Just as important to the mystique of Golden Age, however, is their selection of pop culture personalities. 

I can honestly say that you're seeing the first Liberace card in my collection there.

Also present are the cardboard debuts of Bobby Brady, Peter Brady, and Fatty Arbuckle.

The Buddy Holly has to be one of my five favorite cards from 2014 Golden Age.

On a slightly unrelated note, I finally saw American Graffiti a couple weeks ago. It's easily one of the better films I've seen in a long time. And, complete with a couple Holly songs, it has arguably the greatest soundtrack of any movie ever released.

I accepted long ago that I'm one of the few people my age who actively listens to 1950's rock 'n roll, and I'm fine with that.

I guess it'll be up to people like me to keep names like Buddy Holly and Little Richard afloat years from now.

As much as I may like Buddy Holly, though, that wasn't my favorite music-related Golden Age card.

This was.

I've said this before, but The Ramones and The Beatles are in an eternal tie for my favorite band. The Fabs have been fairly well-documented on cardboard, which is more than I can say about The Ramones.

Before this set came along, this was the only card I owned of the quartet from Queens. Thanks to Golden Age, I finally have a solo issue of Joey Ramone, my favorite singer in rock history.

I liked it so much, in fact...

...that I added a mini for good measure.

Ironic, since Joey Ramone was one of the tallest singers rock has ever seen.

It's hard to go wrong with Just Commons. This mix of cards made for one of the most diverse and exciting orders I've ever placed on the internet.

Hopefully I won't have to wait such a long time until my next one.


Mike said...

Nice stuff! the Joey!....and don't feel bad about not throwing business to COMC because I put in an order this week for you!

JediJeff said...

Next time you come down to Orland for a show, swing thru Evergreen Park and visit Gaedel's grave.

beefman said...

Congrats on picking up the 1998 Shawon Dunston! It's still the only card I know of that pictures him in a Pirates uniform. I'm glad you found it! Nick J

defgav said...

Nice cards.

As far as Moises Alou as a Pirate, he also shares a 1990 Fleer card with Chuck McElroy.

Salgado said...

This site is infinitely better than sportlots. Trying to manage p/h there is infuriating with its 1995 website design.

Ana Lu said...

The Maddux card..what a sight!