Off Topic: What is the deal with Topps Vending Boxes?

I stopped by the card shop and picked up my second 1989 Topps Vending box in hopes to put a big dent in the cards I still need to complete the set. I purchased a Vending box earlier to jump the collection, I assumed another 500 cards would yield a decent amount of cards that I need. Well it was uncanny how many cards I already had. Almost so that I have a suspicion that one of two things happened. One, the vending boxes (both from the same place) were not unsearched, or two that all vending boxes are not random as I initially thought, but contain the same cards. Out of 500 cards I got an impressive 7 new cards for my set. Keep in mind the set comes solely from the first vending box and one pack that came from my Secret Santa (give or take a couple cards from you fine fokes).

The only good thing that will come out of it, is that 1,000,000 cards for kids will be getting some donated cards. A great idea by the way, check it out if you haven't already.

So does anyone have any ideas? Am I just THAT unlucky?


Secret Santa Gift

I got my Secret Santa (*cough*Waxaholic*) package while at work last week. It was a big surprise as I get about two or three letters/packages a year there. Those usually come from venders in the form of "Suck-Up" Gifts. I sat holding this package wondering, "who knows my work address, let alone my job title" (silly me, I used my work e-mail address, which has a very informative footer, to discuss the Secret Santa arrangement). Upon opening the gift, I knew right away what it was. The contents was as follows:

One pack of 1989 Topps.
One pack of 1991 Donruss.
One pack of 1991 O-Pee-Chee.
and a small giftwrapped package.

I am currently (and lately, weakly) attempting to complete the 1989 Topps set. It's rather fitting that the first Wax I ripped into in 10 years was a pack from that set. Here a the highlights.

What late 80's early 90's set is complete with out Mr. Sierra. I honestly have never seen him play, or know much about him other than the fact that he was very popular when I was collecting in grade school.

Mr. Honeycutt. The Current Dodger Pitching coach. Another face I recognize from my early collecting days.I don't know how Brian pulled it off, but there is probably not another card from the 1989 Topps set I love more than this card. Plus I need this card for the set.

This is another guy that I remember from my earlier collecting days. The sports goggles. Also Another card I needed.

The following all were cards that I need for my set.

Got tired of waiting in the "on deck circle", must have been 3-2 for a while. Either that or he should stick with one doughnut on the bat.Very cool catcher action shot. This is a great looking card.
I am not really sure what these packs were for, but I am not complaining. I like opening packs, I can always use more cards. Here are a couple highlights from the Donruss pack.

Greg Swindell, He was a Diamondback on the '01 world series team, and currently one of my friends on Facebook ( in terms of the Facebook friendship, this little back and forth comes to mind. "what's that make us?" - Lone Starr, "Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become. - Dark Helmet).

I had to laugh when I saw this card. It looks like "take your son to work day". Either that or Augie Ojeda standing next to ex-teammate Adam Dunn.

The world series logo on the bottom caught my eye. Nice little sub-card, I like the history.

Wait, is that Sabo again? Can't be he doesn't have the googles.

No Donruss pack would be complete with out a Puzzle card. This one has a wee bit of wax attached. For Authenticity of course.

This was the first O-Pee-Chee pack I have ever ripped open. It brings a tear to the eye don't it. You got to share in one of life's milestones with me. Is the joking pretty thick? I am sorry, my creative juices are completely wiped clean from my brain, I am fighting a cold and my mind and energy was zapped a long time ago.

The pack was full of big names:

Now for the Gift wrapped package finale. Inside where three cards.

The second of these cards I have received in a week. I love it, I do. I will take as many of these cards as I can get. What is not to love. Chad Tracey, Bat Relic, and a 2007 Ginter? Absolutely awesome.

This comes from the 2009 set. Mr Scherzer, Mr. Tiger. Our loss, and we will miss you. A class act, and gentleman. I hope he does well. Still a favorite of mine and I will continue to look for his cards. Nice Auto!

And now for the Pièce de résistance. I actually have two cards very similar to this, when I saw the card I thought I now had three. On second glance I realized it was VERY different. You see, my original two were bat relics. This one, is much better.

A Luis Gonzalez Bat Relic "On Card" Auto. I think Brian did good. He did really good. Thanks Santa!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Our best wishes too all, and our hopes for joy in any celebrations you may have with family and friends.

A special thanks to my Secret Santa. I will post scans later on!


Off Topic: Wicked Cards (part 1)

A little bit ago I posted this post in which I mentioned a 2009 auto I got of a sheep sheerer. Wicked Ortega from "My Past Time……. I Love It!!" mentioned that he would take it off my hands. I have always been leery of trading anything that I thought might be of some value, but my time in the blog-o-sphere has shown me a couple of things.

One, the value of a trade is that all involved receive cards that they treasure for their collections.

Two, the value of the card has a whole lot more to do with intangibles than Beckett.

Three, "Hey we are all friends here, send the darn card where it is most appreciated."

So I did what most do, I put the card in the mail and sent it out. Wicked will take care of me. Never met the man but if the web can be trusted, he seems like a stand-up guy. I sent it with the understanding that he values the card more than I do, and we can talk the rest at a later date. Well he maintains the "Good Man" status, and he did take care of me.

Mr. Ortega sent a couple of Will Clark cards, and a Gaggle of Diamondback cards. When I say gaggle, let me just say that they more than enough made up for the "John Hancock" of a man that I never heard of.

With out further ado, here are a couple of cards that he sent. I will stretch this out a couple of posts if you don't mind, if not I won't have much to blog about. I haven't been pulling in cards lately, neither for set completions or TTM.

Orlando Hudson - 142 - Allen and Ginter 2007

I was very pleased to see this card. I love the 2007 Ginter set, I actually like it better than the 2008 set but I got back into collecting a couple months too late to pick up any packs. The 2007's (and '06 for that matter) just look cleaner for some reason. This is my first card of this set, and I love the O' Dawg.

Stephen Drew - 94 - O-Pee-Chee 2009 (Black Border)

Another set that I like from 2009. This year, in my humble opinion, was a good year for set design. I don't have many of these cards, as I don't have the time or money to invest in too many set collections (1 or 2 tops me out). Its nice to at least get D-back team cards of sets I like.

"Desert Heat" Webb & Haren - 157 - Topps 2009 (base)

"Desert Heat" Webb & Haren - 157 - Topps 2009 (retail black)

I didn't know this card existed. The two "Ace's" on one card. BEAUTIFUL. Not much else to say, this has got to be one of my favorite cards. To top it off, Mr. Ortega sent me a black variant that looks absolutely sick. (there where quite a few of these 2009 Topps variants in the package).

"Diamond Stars" Stephen Drew - DS24 - Topps Opening Day 2007

If you are wondering why this is here you are not alone. When I was touching up the scan to post online I was shaking my head. Why did I scan this? Don't get me wrong I love the card. First of all it is shiney, that is always a point. It's of Stephen Drew, I like Drew. It's an insert set that I don't have. But, why did I scan a card that even on first glance I should have known would not scan well?

David Eckstein - 12 - Upper Deck First Edition 2009

I don't know if it's the steroid era, or just the fact that I have changed my tastes as I have gotten older; but I really like scrappy hard working players now, much more than home run hitting super stars. When I moved from the Phoenix area to the Los Angeles area in 2002 to work at Disney's California Adventure park (among other reasons), I needed to find a local team to follow. The Dodgers were not an option, I didn't have the hatred for them that I do now, but I still couldn't pick a team that would put me in situations where my two favorite teams where always playing against each other. Being employed in Anaheim for the company that owns the Angels made my decision pretty easy. Discounted tickets and a very user friendly ballpark really sold me. My only other hard choice was; who on this team will I claim as my "favorite". Mr Eckstein quickly won the title. Now years later he is no longer with the Halos, but I do want to report that I am happy that he has put in hours in for both of my teams.

Will Clark - 300 - Score 1990

This was one of the best looking sets for 1990. I love the team logo medallion like thing-a-ma-bob. I believe I have "The Thrill" in this set, but I love having more.

Chad Tracy Bat Relic Card - AGR-CT - Topps Allen & Ginter 2007

I was thrilled to see this card. My second 2007 A&G card is a relic. (Well second only because I saw the O-Dawg card first). I have seen these white bordered beauties before but I have never held one.

Thanks Wicked!


More TTM Success

Corey Hart surprised me yesterday. Not just the fact that I got a TTM success from him out of the blue, but the envelope was stamped "Phoenix". When I first saw it in the mail box I assumed that I was getting a response from a Diamondback player, Brandon Webb, or perhaps Chris Young. Mr. Hart signed not only this card but the signature card I sent as well.

Thanks Corey!


Another Gem TTM Success

Well, I have pretty much given up on TTM until spring training. That being said, TTM hasn't entirely given up on me. Another friendly letter arrived in out mail box last week.

I had sent an attempt to Stevie Williams to an address in California in September. The letter came back from Atlanta, GA on the 12th of this month. Like Scherzer, Mr. Williams sent back an extra card. He signed one for My oldest son Jayden, and another for my 1 year old Benjamin. In addition he also sent each one a Decal Sticker.

Its hard to describe what it means to me to get responses like this. He went out of his way to supply a second card for a family he doesn't know and will most likely never meet. The situation being that his kindness was directed at my boys makes a big softy of a Daddy very happy.

Oh and I love the ball point pen signature. Don't get me wrong, the best looking is the blue Sharpie, but the ball point pens just seem really down to earth. They feel very authentic.

On Jayden's card we even got a partial finger print. Talk about authentication.