Catching up…

Last year I drove across the mid-west getting married, on our honeymoon, and driving to the National and back in our personal car. This year, I helped drive my best man and brother from another mother(cousin) move from Ohio to Minnesota. Next year I’m not driving anywhere! However, while I was out and about, I stopped in a few different cities to check out the card stores/retail chains. I’ve posted most of these on twitter, but as Paul Harvey was fond of saying, here’s the rest of the story…

I left Texas sometime around the early morning of the 17th of May with the intention of being in Dayton around midnight. I’ll never forget the day, as prior to leaving we found out about the death of a music legend, Chris Cornell. His music(whether in Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden, as a solo artist, or with Audioslave) has been always been an influential part of my life, and it’s a shame that he’s passed.* As far as making it to Ohio that night, our tires had other plans. As around Nashville both right side tires would not stay inflated. I tried stopping to fill them up a few times, and I could limp for an hour without needing to refill, however they wouldn’t stay inflated. My wife’s a magnet when it comes to attracting nails in tires, and these had been plugged a few times. Thus I decided it was probably for the best to crash for the night, get them changed in the morning, then drive the remaining 5-6 hours. That morning while waiting for my tires to be changed, I grabbed a few retail packs of 2017 Donruss. While I can’t be certain which individual packs they were, I posted on Twitter my entire trip’s worth of Donruss/retail pack breaking here. With the right side tires replaced, rotated, and filled I set out for Dayton.

When I made it there, my cousins(best man, and his younger sister – my god daughter) and I stayed up super late and played different games on my Nintendo Switch. That next morning I figured it was probably best if I stopped by and said hello to the in-laws(same town), and helped the father in law move his truck onto a trailer so he could sell it later that week. Beats mowing his lawn, eh? Lol. For this, his wife(mother in law) rewarded me with the Nintendo line-up of toys that McDonalds(where she works on the side) had at the time.

Later that day, we stopped in at the local card/comic/gaming shop – Mavericks where they had a discount bin of 3 relics/autos for 2$. I was pleasantly surprised to find several Hall of Fame, and future Hall of Fame members from the “relic boom” era of the early 2000s. I may have even started a binder sorted by induction year because of this discounted box. Also, they had junk 4,000 count boxes for 4$ each, of which the one that I purchased, I’ve yet to fully dig through – but most of it is from the junk wax era, naturally.

A day or two later, we set out for Minnesota with cookies and monster handy for the equally long 18 hour drive. We stopped for breakfast in the Twin Cities, and made a stop into ‘topher‘s favorite LCS 3 Stars. Here I picked up a Heritage team set(minus SP/inserts), and a bargain box.  The latter of which, I broke down in the replies below the bargain box link.

When we finally made it to northern Minnesota, we both crashed hard at our grandma’s house. There’s absolutely nothing around, and if you leave our hometown in any direction there’s no cell phone signal for hours. It’s a dark hole of technology. Everything moves slower up there, they get major life changing gadgets years after they’ve released – the sports bar finally got wifi! Last year! I suppose waste not, want not is most important for the mostly rural farmers.

We did drive down to the nearest bigger town to stop in at Wal-Mart for groceries for the final leg of our trip. Naturally I checked their sports and toys aisles, nothing intriguing sports wise, but I did get a rare World of Nintendo Ganon 2.5″ figure. Woot. From there, we drove down to Fargo where after lunch with his father and grandmother, I left my cousin behind and rejoined my grandma and uncle three hours north. But before leaving Fargo to return to my hometown, I wanted to check out Fargo’s visitor’s center to see the wood-chipper from the movie(Fargo, duh…). I was saddened to hear the Roger Maris museum was temporarily closed after a major theft last year that the FBI is/was investigating.

There’s something about grandma’s place that feels safer than any other. She lives 17 miles from our hometown, in a town of ~300, mostly middle aged and elderly folks. The town’s got two gas stations, a grain depot, a bar, two churches, and co-op schools serving K-12. There’s absolutely nothing around for miles, and it’s just perfect. I need to go up there every so often just to completely refresh the brain batteries. :).

The wife found cheap flights and flew in the Friday before Memorial Day and flew into Minneapolis, so I drove down the 6 hours and after picking her up, returned up north. She had arranged for us to catch the Twins game that Sunday – but only booked the hotel for Sunday into Monday. While driving home, AGAIN the tires went out – this time the other two. So we slept in the car in the parking lot of a Walmart outside of Alexandria, Minnesota. While there, we grabbed a few packs of 2017 Donruss, and a discounted Bowman from 2016. In the morning while getting the other two replaced, they informed us that the tire shop in Nashville didn’t rotate them, and that both new tires were placed on the right side – passenger and rear. The tire shop in Minnesota swapped them around however and replaced the remaining two older tires.

With the tires taken care of(and a 2 ton jack purchased….), we made the trip up to my home town and had a dinner party at my uncle’s place. Before driving the 17 miles to grandma’s for bed, we stopped in at the ‘barely staying alive’ K-Mart. Inside we grabbed these Angry Birds Twins stuffed animals for a buck each. In the morning, grandma made her specialty pierogies for breakfast before helping us pack for the return trip to Minneapolis.

We arrived in Minneapolis just in time for the team to open the gates – two hours early. We’d been hoping to catch a few of the local sights after the game but… little did we know, the Twins were about to play the longest game in Target Field history – six and a half hours! 15 innings! During the game, which the Twins lost, we met up with the team’s mascot T.C. and got his signature on our ticket, saw a deranged drug addict run on the field, and enjoyed our favorite stadium food – a Cuban sandwich from Tony O’s(Tony Oliva’s restaurant if that weren’t obvious…) stand near the gate we entered.

After the game we were wiped, so we decided on checking into our swanky, spendy, 5 star hotel in downtown. Really. It was right across the street from First Avenue, the Target Center, and the Mayo Clinic. The first of which, we checked out the attached restaurant and had two Purple Rains, and a Grave Dancer. Pretty good drinks, obviously named in honor of Prince, and Soul Asylum.

Before leaving for Texas the next morning we checked out a few of those local sights, including the Spoonbridge and Cherry, Minnehaha Falls – no Little Hiawatha to be found, and Mickey’s Diner – yes the same one from Mighty Ducks and a few other movies/TV shows. In a semi-funny twist of fate, the return trip to Texas, was about the same amount of time it took me to get to the Twin Cities, pick up the wife, and the entirety of the Twins game.

So with all of that, you might understand the blog absence. The wife spoiled me with a few hobby boxes of Diamond Kings after we made it back, and tomorrow I’ll share some of the pictures and background story for those of you who missed it on twitter. :).

  • May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and with the tragic suicide of a music legend, I feel the need to share a few of my favorites. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out for help from friends or a licensed physician. 
  1. Hunger Strike, in tribute to their fallen friend, and fellow musician Andrew Wood, Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder showcase a perfect harmony. 
  2. Nothing Compares 2 U, a cover of a Prince penned work. Truly, nobody’s compares to Cornell ‘ very distinctive voice. 
  3. Billie Jean, with no offense to Michael Jackson – Chris absolutely rocked this tune.
  4. Black Hole Sun, probably Sound garden’s most memorable music video and song. 
  5. Unplugged in Sweden, I cannot recommend this acoustic performance enough. 
  6. Wide Awake, much more could have been done to prevent the Hurricane Katrina disaster that affected others and my own family. This one’s dedicated to those affected with property damage, and the unfortunate who lost their lives. 

#3-stars, #angry-birds, #bowman, #chris-cornell, #donruss, #fargo, #mavericks, #mickeys-diner, #minnehaha-falls, #minnesota, #nintendo, #prince, #roger-maris, #soul-asylum, #spoonbridge-and-cherry, #t-c, #tony-oliva, #twins, #update, #world-of-nintendo

2016 Bowman

Bowman Base:
32 Byron Buxton
53 Brian Dozier
54 Joe Mauer
140 Miguel Sano
147 Max Kepler

For those who saw my tweet, you’ll notice I posted a comparison for Kepler’s 2010 1st rookie/chrome rookie and 2016 base. They corrected his errorenous birth year…but his place of birth has changed?

Bowman Prospects base:
BP32 Wander Javier
BP61 Tyler Jay
BP97 Nick Gordon
BP135 Adam Brett Walker II

A nice crop of top prospects, including I think the first base cards of Javier and Jay. One of these days I’ll share my steal of a pickup for a #/5 Nick Gordon card.

Bowman Chrome Prospects
BCP32 Wander Javier
BCP61 Tyler Jay
BCP97 Nick Gordon
BCP135 Adam Brett Walker II

One of these days I’ll make heads or tails of the past few years chrome cards in Bowman, and chrome cards in Bowman Chrome. Today’s not the day however with another nice team set purchased from BrentAndBecca. Hassle free team sets, yes please!  Now to get around to paging and bindering the aughts to present Bowman….

Bowman Scouts’ Top 100:
BTP-2 Byron Buxton
BTP-12 Jose Berrios
BTP-29 Max Kepler
BTP-78 Nick Gordon
BTP-82 Tyler Jay
International Ink:
II-WJ Wander Javier
Sophomore Standouts:
SS2 Byron Buxton
Turn Two:
TT-BJ Tyler Jay/Jose Berrios

Here’s the usual top 100 fodder, a few featured player spots, and reused ideas in a different design/format. However, I think “Turn Two”‘s design looks really cool – featuring two similar players, pitcher/catcher batteries, or defensive pair mates.

PA-NG Nick Gordon
Chrome Rookie:
CRA-MS Miguel Sano
Bowman Scouts’ Top 100:
BTP-2 Byron Buxton
BTP-12 Jose Berrios
International Ink:
II-WJ Wander Javier
Turn Two:
TT-BJ Tyler Jay/Jose Berrios
Ultimate Autograph Book Set:
UAC1 Jose Berrios, 23 others, 1/1.

Sure the last one would be awesome to own, I’ll stick with trading for base autos here. Not much of a prospector, and I’d rather have base first, with inserts and autos optional on a pickup as available. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not gonna go out of my way or overspend to get anything scribbled on by these Twins.

#2016, #bowman, #checklist, #tyler-jay, #wander-javier

April card show.

Rich sure knows how to host ’em! I heard about a card show this past weekend, and despite knowing I should probably be saving for the National, I couldn’t resist.

When we entered we did a quick review of what everyone had, saw a few regulars and chatted for longer than the March show. That show was cut short since I had to run off and save the day at work. Surprise, surprise…

One guy that we met a few months back really caught our collector attention. He makes his rounds to all the region shows, and if I’m not mistaken is based in the Oklahoma area? He’s real big on buying out entire collections online, estate sales, etc. which worked to our advantage this month. See for yourself.

When we started pulling some Bowman, he showed us a Killebrew auto ball with PSA authentication and said someone else came by and asked about it, but that he knew we might attend and we’re huge Twins fans, so he told him an outrageous price for the ball. When he told us a much, much, much nicer price, it was one we couldn’t pass up. Seconds later the auto hound came back to inquire again only to find it had sold. :D. Funny how #TheHobby works, eh?


So he runs our payment, and I remembered seeing the Callahan’s, in particular the Walter Johnson. I checked through the rest of his display, pulling more Senators/ex-Senators, and two that were about the Hall Of Fame itself. We started talking about Ed Delahanty, his unfortunate Niagara demise, four brothers, and how it’s one of the great early baseball stories, and he cut me a deal on top of the deal I got for “knowing your baseball history” and “it’s refreshing to see younger people enjoying the early baseball history”. 60$ value, was quoted 15$, and paid 10$? …for all of those? Uhh, yes please. Kthxbai. Dug out the greenbacks and paid the man.


Again he remembered something after I paid, the 71 Dell sticker collection he just got. “I’m not even sure if there’s a Twins book in here, or if you’d be interested, but I could do 10$ for it?” needless to say, the wallet made a reappearance. I shared the entire book on twitter, and apparently my good friend/Twins historian extraordinaire Michael said he and his brothers had one back in the day. His was used for it’s original purpose though. Stickers! Lol.


Finally done pulling stuff, the vendor even threw in a Topps coins Twin for free!



Finished the day chatting with Rich, and checking out with what he had that filled some holes:


I don’t usually get buybacks, but Angela insisted. Had I done them a once over, I’d have seen the 61 Washington Senators’ – wrong franchise! :(. Can’t take her anywhere. :). That 1954 Topps did complete my team set though, so we’ll call it a push. Heinie-Jo!


Loves me some 1955 Bowman. I think two of those 1953 Bowman ended up being dupes, but I’ll just exchange them at the next show – something I did this month with some dupey goodness. Thanks for that Rich. :).


I couldn’t turn this down. Eddie Robinson not a major name in the hobby, or really MLB…but how do you turn down a 1950s autographed card? Well, for one, if it’s this:


While beautiful, and I know certain Owls, NorCal-lers, and south paw-ers that would love it, not a Twin! Do you know who’s also not a Twin?


Minnie miscut-jo!

Dinner beckoned, and we left the show overjoyed at what we left with, the deals we found. See you guys in May?!?

#71-dell-stickers, #bowman, #callahans, #card-show, #cardenas, #killebrew, #pickups, #twins

March Card Get-Away/Vacation 2015

In late March, we decided to head down to San Antonio and Austin to get away for the weekend. We rented a “fun car” model from a rental company, and floored it out of DFW. Of course on the way we stopped at some card stores, and lemme show you the hoghlights. :).

First up was Sports Cards Plus in San Antonio. We had a few hours to kill before we could check to our hotel, and pretty much all of them were spent here. It’s your common run of the mill strip mall card store, but the employees enthusiasm, knowledge and laissez-faire attitude make this one of the better shops I’ve ever visited. Along the outsise walls there’s new products, and binders of vintage, with sprinkles of rarer issues and memorabilia in different display cases.

The highlight though was a shelving unit near the back with x-count single row boxes sorted by company and year (ding ding, winner!) as well as some niche packratty stuff like magazines, oversized promo cards, even some 90s Kenner figures. I finished so many sets this way, almost as much as I pulled from the middle of the store.

In the center, there’s a hodge podge of 80s/90s wax boxes, packs, promos, etc. as well as x000-count boxes. So I asked what’s the deal, apparently they run a “bring in yours to dump, pull set fillers” deal with these on an honor system. So of course I spent a good hour or two rummaging through this section, and probably would need many more to finish. I found several #/x Bowman Twins, and the clerks were rooting for each I pulled, knowing they’re going to a more loving home. That’s for sure. ;).

While ringing me up, the owner asked an employee if they still had that “Taiwan Twins bobblehead” and if I’d be interested. Angela loves vintage bobbleheads/”nodders” so we said of course. I don’t think either of us expected to find a creepier Twins doll than our Vikings 60s edition, but this one’s pretty close! We paid and made a reminder to come visit very soon!

After enjoying a night on the San Antonio riverwalk (some of us a bit too much…), we woke up the next morning and saw The Alamo. Between dodging tourists, and the annual Alamo fun run x-mile marathon, the historic site hadn’t changed much since I last visited. Still not positive where Ozzy peed, and everybody was whispering about it, but maybe we’ll figure it out next time. :p.

We stopped at the gorgeous Gris Mill eatery in Greune(pronounced green), before making our way to Austin. Once in-town, we sought out Card Traders of Austin. A bit more cramped, this store was setup similar to the previous day’s store. Newer stuff on the outer walls, display cases along the wall with hits, vintage, and a stack of 1989 FuckFace… Their stock of vintage was impressive, I think only Rich has more 1950s Bowman. Another thing that I liked were the sorted by year shoe boxes of base/inserts/parallels. The place was really busy, I guess they host Magic tournaments on Sunday, and the clerks acted like it, but they still attended to us every so often. Something we overlooked as they were really busy. The owner was really knowledgeable about these, and gave us fair prices despite big book-ing us.

From there, we returned to DFW with dreams of returning soon, and maybe hitting up the couple of stores we missed.

My first ever 1951s, I now have at least one card from Topps’ 51-15 run, even completed the Senators ’51 Bluebacks. Poor conditioning on the 52s, noticed the trimming on Runnels too late. :(.
1954 Topps may have been my favorite set if not for 1955, 1956, and my birth year set(1987). Just beautiful.
Finally got Tony-O’s true rookie!
Speaking of finally, Sweet Music’s Fleer rookie, this one completed a Fleer team set run from 1981-1992. Very nice!

#austin, #bowman, #card-traders-of-austin, #fleer, #san-antonio, #sports-cards-plus, #topps, #vintage