Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The National for the little guy, Pt. 2: Out of dimes

Most of today's collectors have a few years on me, but I felt about 60 years old by the time my day at the National came to an end.

My brain felt dead, my eyelids were heavy, and my bones ached. Six hours of digging through baseball cards in a seemingly mile-long conventional hall will do that to a person, no matter their age.

If I were a cell phone, I would've had about 2% battery by the time I stumbled up to what turned out to be the final table of the day. I had exactly eight dollars left in my wallet at the time, and, although I would've ideally have like to come home with a little money left over, the National isn't exactly made for budgets.

And, since I couldn't come up with a better way to spend eight dollars, I dropped it all at that last table of the day, securing forty 2015 commons from a 5/$1 box.

Buybacks aren't my thing, but, no matter how stupid these so-called "hits" might be, I couldn't pass up the chance to add a new Teke to my collection for 20 cents.

The release of Series 2 a few weeks back was kind of overshadowed, which meant that I was able to pick up a decent number of my needs from the set on the cheap.

Since I only had eight dollars left, I wasn't able to buy every card I needed from the guy's stack, so I only selected the very best ones. Only the Grade A cardboard for me. (Do I sound like a snob yet?)

Most of the best ones, it turns out, were of the horizontal variety.

I found various Series 1 and Series 2 inserts scattered around the National's halls.

Most of these became mine for dimes, and I actually picked up a big stack of those "First Home Run" inserts during my digs. I especially enjoy the fact that Topps slipped a few pitchers (like Doc Gooden) into the Series 2 edition of the series.

To me, it's the second-best insert set of the year...

...right behind the "First Pitch" series.

Since I kinda, sorta decided that I'm going to try and build this set, I picked up every single one I could find. I grabbed seven in all, my favorites probably being the Kelsey Grammar and Bill Kreutzmann/Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead drummers).

Macklemore is not pictured because I'm embarrassed to provide photographic proof that I actually bought a Macklemore card.

I'm still not a GQ fan, but the 30ish dime singles I bought from the set at the National would've netted me one retail pack of the stuff.

The set is prone to greatness, as shown with the Cano and Doby cards here. And, hey, Seaver and Reggie are SPs. Can't go wrong with some dime box short-prints.

Oh, and Topps, I'd like those throwback inserts a lot more if you hadn't JUST used that idea a few months ago in Opening Day.

Allen & Ginter hit the shelves about a week before the National came, and the only A&Gs I picked up on Saturday came from that final 5/$1 guy I mentioned earlier.

I'm not nearly as big on this design as I was on last year's (the "measles filter" that other bloggers have noticed is a bit distracting), but I am happy that I landed the Mike Mills and David Cross cards.

Cross is a terrific and very accomplished comedian, but he'll always be Tobias Funke to me. And, as I've mentioned many times before, Mills was the bassist for R.E.M., one of my favorite bands ever. (This post's title is a sorry play on the name of one of their best albums.)

He's still writing great tunes for The Baseball Project these days.


Steps closer to my yearly task of completing Heritage's "News Flashbacks" series in the snap of a finger, and for the price of just a few dimes.

The dime boxes at the National provided my first tastes of both the 2015 Finest and Prizm brands.

Prizm is its usual meh self, and Finest isn't anything spectacular this year.

Prizm aside, I did catch up with some of Panini's better efforts from the past year or so.

I will forever be a fan of acetate baseball cards.

I also sampled a hefty amount of another new Panini brand, Diamond Kings.

I seem to be in the minority, in that I was never a huge fan of the original Diamond Kings subsets from the '80s. These are okay, and, although I do like the canvas card stock, I just can't get that excited over them.

Kudos to Panini for including Ted Kluszewski in a current set, though.

Mini refractors?

Mini refractors.

I'm actually kind of ashamed to admit that I do like the gimmicky, shiny minis, but I will always, always prefer the standard, original, lovable mini.

Most of the dime boxes I picked through seemed to have a few minis for me to hunt, and I did so at my heart's content. GQ, Golden Age, A&G...all mine.

Even Jackie Gleason made an appearance.

And, as usual, the dime boxes put quite a hurtin' on my mini-collections.

Included in this nifty "anthemic" shot is Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathan Papelbon.

That lineup is so 2007.

A terrific quartet of themed hits here.

Brian was actually the one who found that Tiant, and he was gracious enough to hand it over to me upon discovering it.

As if a card of Luis Tiant wasn't awesome enough, he's signing what looks to be a copy of his '77 Topps issue.

These are a couple more recent mini-collection suspects.

I guess the chicks really do dig the longball.

The throwbacks probably benefited most from my day at the National.

Most of these were dime finds (the two Pujolses were in a 3/$1 box), and all elicited audible gasps of excitement when I unearthed them.

That's the power throwbacks have on me.

We'll close things out tonight with a fantastic new "play at the plate" for my binders.

Mike Piazza is doing his best to suffocate a helpless Cub.

Dime box digs take energy, there's no denying that. A good chunk of my stamina (and funds) went towards excavating the best ten-centers the National had to offer, and it was well worth it.

As a whole, the National probably has the best dime boxes you'll find, and I even knocked out a good chunk of my 2015 needs in the process. (More on that in an upcoming post, by the way.)

All that digging sure made the nap on the bus ride home especially peaceful.


Tony Burbs said...

If Macklemore collected baseball cards, he'd probably be a dime boxer, just a thought. I'm living the convention vicariously through you and look forward to the rest of your score!

shoeboxlegends said...

For some inexplicable reason I actually like the buyback cards from the past couple of years, and that worn out Tekulve is a gem!

Adam said...

Really dig the First Pitch cards from the main set, still on the hunt for the Metallica, Melissa McCarthy, and Gabriel Iglesias cards from that set.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been keeping up with 2015 releases too well, so I can see I'm going to have my work cut out for me at my next show. I'll walk on past the buybacks, but I've gotta get a bunch of the First Pitch cards, the Diamond Kings look nice enough to give a shot, and Mrs. Shlabotnik is a huuuuuge fan of Mike Mills and R.E.M., so I promised her the A&G card (base at the very least, autographed if possible).

Sorry, I didn't pick up on your R.E.M. reference until you pointed it out... Maybe if you'd called it "Automatic For The National" or "New Adventures With Five Dimes"... :-)

BobWalkthePlank said...

Pujols in the outfield!

Jeff Jones said...

Was thinking the same didn't he come up as a 3B?