Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trading Cards

I guess my blogging hiatus was a bit too long.  It took about ten minutes of searching before I could remember/figure out the log-in information for my blog.

Over the past (almost) two months of being between jobs I have had zero urge to blog.  Previously, my blogging bread-and-butter was the political genre.  But, being between jobs, I had way too much time on my hands and spent most of that time reading political blogs, which ended up being not very healthy.  My brain became over-saturated with politics and my "give-a-shitter" went on tilt.  So, I got away from it.  Lately, my blog reading has been 75% sports and pop-culture and 25% politics/news of the day.  This way, I still know the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but I don't get so bogged down in this realization.

I have also given up political radio/podcasts.  When I do listen to the radio, it's 100% sports-talk.  And the only podcast I'm subscribing to now is my daily dose of The Bob and Tom Show.

And I am in a much better place mentally (hence the blog post).

Then what do I do all day?  Well, for a few weeks I obsessed about my golf clubs.  I ended up buying a new set of iron heads from Golfsmith for $50. The building of these clubs ate up a nice chunk of time and energy (and in the future I'll write up a post on them, as it was a fairly intricate process that I'd like to document for posterity's sake, but the details of which are much to lengthy and would side track me from the main point of this post.  See what I did there?  I gave myself motivation for a future post.)

Which brings me to my new (renewed) obsession:  TRADING CARDS.

I've previously written about my childhood passion for collecting basketball cards, so you know I have an interest in the subject.  My interest was renewed when I started surfing around on ebay and found out that there are thousands upon thousands of trading cards that I have missed out on collecting.

Since I don't have a favorite team and I don't have a favorite sport, I decided to restart my collection by focusing on my favorite current athlete:  Luke Hochevar. 

At the same time that I started hunting down baseball cards (and window shopping for John Stockton basketball cards --  I got out my old basketball cards and discovered that I have about 225 unique John Stockton cards.  Since I haven't collected for over a decade, there are a ton of Stockton cards out there that I'd love to have, but I'll wait to collect them until a later date.), I discovered a new corner of the blogosphere:  trading card blogs.  The interesting thing about most of these blogs is that they post scans of their latest finds/pulls/purchases online.  I like the idea so much that I thought I'd do the same.
Here are my latest ebay purchases:

If these three cards look the same, it's because they are, kinda.  The card on the left is a 2007 Bowman Chrome Rookie BASE card.  A "base" card is the standard card that each set is built with.  The middle card is an insert card, in this case a 2007 Bowman Chrome REFRACTOR Rookie card.  These insert cards are made in smaller batches, which means they are more scarce than the base cards, and, therefore, more valuable.  The card on the right is even more scarce.  It is the 2007 Bowman X-FRACTOR Rookie card.  This card is marked with a serial number, 241/250, which means that there were only 250 of these cards produced.  The smaller the serial number, the fewer were made. 

Other cards from this series that I'll need for my set are ones that are AUTOGRAPH (which is self-explanatory), GOLD series (in which the frame of the card is gold), ORANGE series (frame is orange), RED series (red frame), and then have them be REFRACTORS and X-FRACTORS of each series.  As you can see, this may take a while, especially as each series is more and more scarce and valuable (which means more expensive).

These two cards are autograph cards.  The left card is a 2008 SP Authentic AUTOGRAPH Rookie card (serial numbered 719/798).  The one on the right is a TriStar Authentic AUTOGRAPH card (28/50) from when Luke played for the minor league Wichita Wranglers. 

Finally, this card is the crown jewel of my collection thus far.  It is a 2009 Topps Triple Threads "Rising Stars" PRINTING PLATE.  There are three parts of this card that make it great.  First, it is autographed.  Second, it has a game-used jersey under the cutout "1st Pick".  Finally, it is serial numbered 1/1 with the words "White Whale" on the back.  It is considered a "White Whale" because of it's scarcity.  The front of the card is actually the PRINTING PLATE that was used to make the other cards in the set (which explains the lack of color on the front of the card).  Needless to say, I love this card.

(And here is the back of the same card.)

My long-term goal is to own every Luke Hochevar baseball card that has been made.  It will be tough, but I believe it is a reachable goal because he is still young in his career.  The majority of his cards have come out in the past 3 years.  It would be a much more difficult goal for me to go back and track down all of the cards of someone at the end of their career or who's retired (like John Stockton).

But, one of the difficulties in reaching my goal is that modern card collecting has changed from when I was a kid, in large part due to autograph cards and "game used" cards.  These inserts (extras) are more valuable than the base set due to their scarcity, which will add to the difficulty in collecting them.

Even more difficult will the "1/1" cards (an example of which is above).  These cards are the most rare (and most expensive) cards because, as their name implies, there was only one card like it made.  And I am in love with hunting these "white whales".  I've already bagged two (the one above and one which is being shipped) and another has slipped through my finger tips.  I believe the ability to be the ONLY person in the world with a particular card is one of the greatest feelings a card collector can experience.

I have a handful of other cards that I've won one their way.  Look for posts of those in the coming days and weeks.  Also, I'll be updating my blog list on the right to show my current tastes and will be listing all of the great trading card blogs that I've discovered over the past week.

So, I'm back to collecting pieces of cardboard.  And, I'm back to writing in my journal.


SONG:  "Here Comes the Hotstepper" by Ini Kamoze  -- a great rap/reggae song from my youth.  My friend BJ and I spent an entire weekend at his mom's house when we were in junior high school calling MagicFM to request that they play this song.  I can't remember if we ever got through, but it was fun trying.  I'm also 98% certain we never new any of the words to the song (and still don't to this day). 

LOOKING FORWARD TO:  the rest of the cards I've won on ebay to arrive in the mail.

TELEVISION:  "Deadwood" on HBO.  I've been watching this show via Netflix and it is highly entertaining.  The cast is great, the scripts are well written, and I always daydream about what it would have been like to live in the Wild West after watching an episode.  I highly recommend it.


  1. "Day dreaming about living in the wild west", Guess who is alot like their Dad. Mom

  2. I am so happy to see a blog from you. I missed hearing all you have to say.