Sunday, March 13, 2016

You Bought Cards Where?

When I first got back into collecting, I bought a fair number of packs at Target and Wal-Mart. That was because I was trying to collect the same way I did when I was a kid: collecting literally everything.

A month or so later, as I was looking at what a "complete" or "master" checklist looked like for just the 2014 Topps set, I began to despair. There was no way I could ever get everything -- not even every Brewer card, since there are others who collect the Brewers -- so I started drawing lines. Those lines have been refined and expanded over time out of necessity, since I do not have infinite money to spend on baseball cards.

One of the lines I drew is that I stopped buying unopened packs of new products unless I had some reason for it (like my SuperTraders break). This was a reaction to the fact that Topps loads up its products with teams that the Manhattan-based Topps sees as more saleable and drawing more money than the Brewers. I think it was the 2014 Archives hobby box I bought that spring -- a box I bought before realizing that Topps had included a grand total of four or five Brewers and twelve Yankees including John Ryan Murphy, a backup catcher who we will probably never see on a card again because he's now a Twin.

Yesterday, though, my wife and I went out to a late lunch to use a gift card we had and then to run some errands. Those errands included stopping at Target, so I bought a few packs/repacks there.

I didn't get a lot of great cards, to be fair, but here are the highlights.

The first thing I got was one of those 20-card packs of Heritage. I engaged in a bit of pack searching, to be honest. The packs are red cellophane, so you can see what the first card on the pack was.  When I saw one with "Brewers" peaking through, I grabbed it.  

The Brewer I got was Wily Peralta. Just as Heritage pays homage to the 1967 Topps design, it appears that Peralta is paying homage to a Hall of Famer who appeared in the 1967 Topps set: former Brewer, Astro, Dodger, Angel, and Athletic pitcher Don Sutton.

Peralta has some work to do to emulate Sutton on the field, but he has the Sutton pose down pretty well already. But he does need to get that bubble perm too.

A second pack/box I got was a blaster of 2014 Topps Update with two packs of the Update Chrome in it. I don't need any Brewers from the Update set except for one of those ridiculous sparkle variations of the now-long-gone Tom Gorzelanny, and unsurprisingly Topps decided that there weren't any Brewers that merited inclusion in the Update Chrome set. I got the box, though, because it was only $10 instead of the normal $15, and, I mean, it was a good deal thanks to two great cards that I needed that came out of those packs:

The Molitor came out of the regular Update packs, while the Aaron is a Chrome card that came out of those packs. So, even though I really didn't need anything from those sets that I knew of, I needed something anyway.  Can't complain about that!

Next, I bought one of those "four packs" of the 2016 Topps product that comes in a blister pack with an "Amazing Milestones" card showing. Knowing that I needed the Spahn Amazing Milestones for my Milwaukee Braves collection, I chose one with him on the front.

Having participated in a case break for 2016 Topps, I once again knew that I would not get anything in the regular cards that I needed.  But, still, I got something pretty nice in the packs -- though this time, it was not a card I need.

After pulling a Yoan Moncada autograph from the Panini Contenders box I opened a couple of weeks ago for the SuperTraders group, I'm starting to wonder if the cosmic powers are trying to tell me that I need to become a Red Sox collector.  Geez.

But, this does highlight the beauty of those blister packs. By keeping the packs safe from pack searchers behind plastic, everyone has an even chance to get a relic card. 

Finally, I decided to get one of those "four packs, 50 cards, and a surprise" repacks. My surprise was one of these:

To be specific, I got Adrian Gonzalez. Does anyone happen to have the Ryan Braun out there? Does anyone want this Adrian Gonzalez thingy?

The packs I got were all 2015 cards: Opening Day, a couple of Bowman packs, and a Gypsy Queen pack. Probably the best card I got out of those packs was a mini Bowman Chrome:

The remaining cards had a few duplicates for me, but there were a couple of cards that were interesting.

First, there was a former Brewer farmhand from the 1990s:

Boze was nothing special. He was a 12th round pick in 1990 after his first year of junior college. He worked his way up to the majors slowly but surety, putting up decent numbers in Single-A and Double-A in 1992 and 1993.  He spent 1994 through 1996 at Triple-A New Orleans where his strikeout rates shriveled up and died. But, because the Brewers sucked in the mid-1990s, he got to the major leagues anyway in 1996. In his 32-1/3 innings in the major leagues, he had an 0-2 record with a 7.79 ERA and a 2.227 WHIP, giving up 13.1 hits per nine innings and walking 7 batters per nine innings. 

I'd call that ugly, but that would be cruel to ugliness everywhere. That's just positively diabolical.

Finally, there was an excellent mid-1990s card in the repack:

Sophie Kurys was truly a superstar in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Indeed, as her excellent SABR biography notes, Ms. Kurys -- who passed away in 2013 at the age of 87 -- is still the holder of the all-time professional baseball record for stolen bases in a season. In 1946 and in just 113 games, she stole an incredible 201 stolen bases. Indeed, in just 914 games over her nine-year career, she stole 1,114 bases. Sure, Rickey Henderson has broken that record with his total of 1406, but it took him 25 seasons to get there!

All said, it wasn't a bad bunch of cards that I got yesterday. Still, I don't think I'll go back to buying a bunch of packs. I'll save my money to buy Brewers.


  1. 201 bases in 113 games?! I imagine that other teams were just conceding the bases after a certain point. Talk about records that will never be broken!

    1. Talk about putting pressure on the pitcher! The pitcher had to know that if she didn't get her out she would soon be standing on third. Wow.

  2. Looks like a fun time busting packs and a repack. Great pull on the AAGPBL!

  3. Rickey didn't have to steal bases in a skirt. 'Nuff said.

  4. Nice.. I wish they sold repacks here.. Then again, we also had Target run away because they mucked up something horrible here,..

  5. I've done a good job limiting my retail purchases too. It is just easier to find cards on eBay for my trade partners then hoping I hit certain teams. My box breaks with Kevin and Brian usually calm my pack opening itch.

    Holy smokes that was a ton of stolen bases. Could you imagine the amount of pickoff atttempts if she played in todays game.

  6. I'm with you on buying singles you like, but every once in a while it's nice to scratch the itch!

  7. suttoning! yes!

    1. Indeed the origin of the term! I apologize for not providing proper attribution!

  8. Normally I'd object to someone pack searching... but the fact that you were looking for Brewers somehow made it okay for the day ;) Congratulations on pulling your Peralta!

  9. I did something I never do Saturday which was to buy some packs of Heritage. The only reason was to get some cards to send out to fellow traders. I actually pre bought the complete Heritage set (1-425) a few weeks back and purchased the 5 Sox short prints from a single on line dealer. You have a few Brewers heading your way.

  10. I'm buying less this year. Stadium Club and Diamond Kings are on my shopping list though. I've been guilty of pack searching at the retail level but not at my LCS.