Monday, May 30, 2016
I was on a break
Hello there. Miss me?
I took a little break from blogging but I'm officially back. If you want to know the reasons I disappeared, it's nothing fascinating. Yeah, Blogger's inability to publish posts when I wanted it to was the instigator, but I went away for the weekend, too, and trying to goad Blogger into publishing posts while I was attempting to be on vacation didn't sound attractive. When you can afford to drop inconveniences you should, every time. And so I did.
Those of you on Twitter know I didn't stay away from the community or the hobby totally. You also know I enjoyed a bit of hobby luck. I'll save that for tomorrow's post.
But in the meantime, I did pick up some cheap old packs while I was away!
I'm not in the habit of buying old packs, mostly because the ones most available are often from the last 25-30 years, and in most cases I'm not collecting that stuff. But these were staring me in the face, all for a dollar each, and I was in the card-buying mood.
So I picked up 10 packs, handed the 11-year-old kid my money (they're making card dealers younger and younger these days) and I now have pack-opening material for weeks -- or months, given my posting rate on A Pack To Be Named Later.
Out of the 10 packs, six have never been opened on APTBNL. So I'm saving those for that blog, if I can ever squeeze a post past the Jedi Jeff/cynicalbudda blockade.
The other four I am opening right here, right now. And it's appropriate I'm using '90s references because 3 of the 4 packs are from that time, and one is just beyond that time. I made sure to buy packs that I either never opened or opened rarely. These all fall into the period that was my break from the hobby.
I'll start opening:
1994 Topps, Series 2
I opened maybe 6 packs of 1994 Topps in '94, and I'm pretty sure every one was from Series 1. I remember the generic pitcher that was on Series 1 packs. I don't remember Mike Piazza appearing on the pack at all.
I also don't remember looking forward to Topps Finest cards in '94 Topps. I didn't even know what Finest was at the time.
These cards probably came out just before the strike. I associate '94 Topps with that lost season completely. So let's see if this pack can redeem my memories of this set:
#761 - David Cooper, Draft Pick, Mariners
First card is a player who never made the majors, played just two years in the minors, and posted a career 6.60 ERA (and 1-10 record). Yeah, I dislike 1994 Topps for good reasons.
#454 - Keith Miller, Royals
I'll read the back to you: "Keith's legendary aggressiveness may have been counterproductive in 1993 as he suffered shoulder, elbow, groin and thumb injuries." Topps wants you to dial it down a notch, Keith, you spaz.
#534 - Mike Devereaux, Orioles, top left corner dinged
#523 - Mike Moore, Tigers
#415 - Dave Fleming, Mariners
#490 - Kent Hrbek, Twins
#492 - Jesse Orosco, Brewers, gold
My guaranteed gold parallel. These packs I bought are rife with Brewers, Giants and Marlins. They should have been a dime per pack.
#429 - Bryan Hickerson, Giants
This card was cut so it's slightly taller than the other cards. The quality control with this pack was by far the worst of anything I opened (P.S.: I don't know why anyone thought blister packs was a good idea).
#704 - Archi Cianfrocco, Padres
#465 - Dennis Eckersley, Athletics
#715 - Hank Aaron, Braves, 20th anniversary
One of the best cards -- if not the best card in the entire set. Also one of my favorite night cards.
#521 - Bob Welch, Athletics
Bottom left corner ding.
Nothing here made me sorry I didn't open more of this stuff in 1994. Overall pack grade: C.
1995 Fleer Update
This is a pack that I've never opened. I've never even opened regular '95 Fleer.
The '95 Fleer set has a lot of problems, mostly in the area of design. It's not called the acid trip set for nothing and the Update set continued that same trippy vibe. You can see a hint of what's inside with the thoroughly unreadable red lettering on the wrapper.
Ignore the $1.50 label, I assure you everything was a buck:
#4 of 10 - Charles Johnson, Rookie Update, Marlins
Wow. I guess the mid-'90s didn't waste anytime throwing newbies at you from the moment you opened the pack. Charles Johnson was a big deal ... until he got traded to the Dodgers. Then he wasn't.
#U-51 - David Hulse, Brewers
#U-55 - Joe Oliver, Brewers
Brewers, Giants and Marlins. I am not impressed.
#U-198 - Fleer Update Checklist
#U-130 - Ozzie Timmons, Cubs
#U-26 - Jack McDowell, Yankees
#U-96 - Matt Dunbar, Marlins
#U-194 - Chris Hook, Giants
Everything about this set is unreadable.
#U-192 - Mark Dewey, Giants
#U-167 - Darren Holmes, Rockies
#U-99 - Rich Scheid, Marlins
#U-94 - John Burkett, Marlins
Now that pack stunk. There are guys in there that I didn't know were major leaguers before I opened this. Overall pack grade: D
1995 Topps, Series 1
Welcome to one of the first sets issued after the strike (or maybe it was issued in the final stages of strike, or perhaps that lovely time period when replacement players were roaming the fields).
You can read the desperation in the writing on the front. Topps would like you to pretty please buy their baseball cards because they're POWER PACKED, and every card is foil stamped. This was a selling point then.
Also, you can find Spectra Light insert cards in every pack. Did anyone know what a Spectra Light card was when '95 Topps first arrived? And, there are Own the Game instant win cards, too, because nobody is buying cards anymore!
As I've said a few times, I bought maybe 3 packs of this stuff in '95 and that was it. But I enjoy the set, so this -- out of the 4 I'm opening -- is the one pack I was most interested in seeing. There may be some needs here:
#334 - John Flaherty, Tigers
#378 - Mark Dewey, Pirates
#115 - Wally Joyner, Royals
#333 - Mike Jackson, Giants
#310 - Ruben Sierra, Athletics
No longer a big deal, but still hanging on and blinged out.
#57 - Rey Sanchez, Cubs
Another useless fantasy team regular.
#264 - Brent Mayne, Royals
#371 - Orlando Miller, Astros, Star Tracker
#369 - Relief Pitchers Prospects
I'm pretty sure Steve Phoenix is a made-up name and I know Bucky Buckles is a made-up name. Or maybe not. (Ewww, he's a Cubs fan).
#159 - Bill Wegman, Brewers
#243 - Melvin Nieves, Padres
#199 - Derek Jeter, Yankees, Future Star
That's a pretty good pull, even though these Future Star cards are ugly as sin.
Lance Johnson, White Sox, Cyberstats
This is what Topps referred to on the pack as "Spectralight" cards. The back, as you know, featured projected stats as if the 1994 season was completed.
Good to know One-Dog would've held onto his triples crown.
#38 - Tim Wallach, Dodgers
Not a bad pack. There are 7 or 8 cards here that I need. 1995 Topps gets trashed because the lettering is difficult to read. But the set was issued in a year of unreadable sets. I can't hold it against '95 Toppsy. Overall pack grade: B-minus
2000 Topps, Series 2 (Hobby Edition)
We're exiting the '90s but still have the '90s on our mind with Mark McGwire as the cover boy.
I bought a few packs of this stuff. It was probably the start of my slow transition back into the hobby, although I wouldn't jump back in fully for another five years. This set bored me then and it's even more boring now.
Here, we're into full-on "LOOK FOR ..." mode. Hank Aaron reprints. All-Star Autographs. Topps Combos, MVP Game/Sweepstake cards, and Other Great Inserts. PLEASE BUY OUR CARDS.
#385 - Robb Nen, Giants
If you haven't been keeping track, that is the fifth Giant I've pulled here.
#349 - A.J. Hinch, A's
#263 - Andy Fox, Diamondbacks
#330 - Butch Huskey, Twins
#407 - Steve Parris, Reds
#OTG10 - Larry Walker, Rockies, Own The Game, Stat Stars
Topps in full shiny mode.
#325 - Kirk Rueter, Giants.
#403 - Shawn Estes, Giants
#329 - Ray Durham, White Sox
#423 - Dmitri "Da Meat Hook" Young, Reds
#292 - John Franco, Mets
Flimsy checklist, 2 of 2
I spied a number of dupes in that pack, despite not buying a heck of a lot of it in 2000. Overall pack grade: C-minus
Not the greatest packs to open, but I knew that going in. I promise The Pack To Be Named Later packs are slightly more interesting. Slightly.
And now it's time to see if Blogger has fixed its publishing issue. Will you see this post on your blog roll at 7:45 tonight as I planned or will it be another Midnight post? Or maybe 6 a.m. the next morning?
Really hope that's back to normal. Or you may be seeing more of these breaks.